Each week, The Spokesman-Review examines one question from the Naturalization Test immigrants must pass to become United States citizens.

Today’s question: Why did the United States enter the Vietnam War?

Matthew Avery Sutton.

“It was about communism, but it was also about capitalism,” said Matthew Sutton, a professor of modern U.S. history at Washington State University.

Sutton, chair of the Washington State University History Department and Berry Family Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts, said the roots of America’s involvement in Vietnam go back to the era of European colonialism.

Harry Truman was blamed as the president who “lost China,” Sutton said. None of his predecessors wanted to be labeled as the one who lost South Vietnam. Eisenhower sent advisers and assistance with the condition that the South Vietnamese government lived up to certain standards which it failed to meet.

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