April 7 - 1954 - Dwight Eisenhower Describes the Domino Theory
Presidential press conferences usually do not have long lasting impacts on world events, but when Dwight Eisenhower addressed the issues at play in the Indochina War in a press conference in 1954, he articulated a specific theory about the spread of Communism that would influence American foreign policy for decades. Specifically, Eisenhower was asked why Americans should care about stopping Communism taking a foothold in Indochina, what is now Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Eisenhower responded with a multi-part answer that had an allusion to the "falling domino principle." In other words, Eisenhower was saying that if one nation fell to Communism, then their neighbors would become Communist in a succession of regime changes. Eisenhower refused to commit to helping Indochina directly, but the logic he laid out in what would become known as the domino theory was a driving principle in American involvement in Vietnam and the eruption of the Vietnam War.