Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Elwood D. Watson

Committee Members

Dale J. Schmitt, Stephen G. Fritz


During the period 1945 - 1960, the United States developed an intense fervor of anticommunism and strove to prevent the spread of communism to other nations, particularly the Indochina region. As a result, the government ignored or responded inadequately to key social events at home affecting both women and African Americans. This thesis will explore the extent of the active involvement in Indochina to prevent the spread of communism and the effects of that involvement on major social issues at home concerning African Americans and women. The United States had numerous opportunities to discontinue its involvement in Indochina, but it repeatedly chose to remain an important participant in the events that took place in that country from 1945-1960. As our involvement intensified, less attention was given to discrimination, educational, workforce, and civil rights issues that concerned African Americans and women. A slight period of peace allowed these groups to petition the government for help, but the response was often inadequate. As a result, these two groups formed social and political committees that would later become a major factor in the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s.

The research for this thesis included both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources include documents from the Eisenhower Public Library (accessed online), the Truman Public Library (accessed online), and personal accounts from those involved in the government and social actions at this time. The majority of the material was available from the Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University.

The conclusions drawn from this research are: a) the United States government demonstrated the precedence of fighting communism over domestic issues both by the choice to remain an active participant in Indochina and by the extent of involvement; b) African American issues were often ignored unless some type of public demonstration forced the government to take notice and act; c) the anticommunist movement caused the government to overlook issues facing women to the point that the outrage generated by the ambivalence led women to revolt from traditional stereotypes to gain equal rights.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.