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M. Butterfly Historical Context

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Historical Context

The Vietnam War

During the early 1950s, the Western power with a vital interest in Vietnam was not the United States, but France. However, in 1954, the French were defeated by the Vietnamese at Dien Ben Phu, which ended direct French involvement in the region. It is this defeat that Ambassador Toulon alludes to in M. Butterfly ("It's embarrassing that we lost Indochina.").

In the Geneva Accords that followed, Vietnam was divided into two separate countries, North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Communist North Vietnam was under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, and South Vietnam was under the nationalist, anticommunist rule of Ngo Dinh Diem, who was supported by the United States. During the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower, U.S. military advisors were sent to South Vietnam. U.S. commitment to defending South Vietnam against communist aggression from the North increased during the presidency of John F. Kennedy...

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This section contains 990 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our M. Butterfly Study Guide
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M. Butterfly from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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