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Abstract

In this article, the relations between various colleges (with special attention to Michigan State University) and the United States Government are explored in relation to America’s effort in nation building in South Vietnam in the late 1950s. During America’s efforts in Vietnam more reliance was put upon collegiate institutions to help negotiate foreign policy. One of the major issues regarding South Vietnam was technical assistance, and how we should implement assistance into the third world. Michigan State University, under the presidency of John Hannah, became the most important university in the technical assistance program. John Ernst argues that this was in part due to Hannah’s fervent anti-communistic stance and Wesley Fishel’s relationship with South Vietnam’s president, Ngo Dinh Diem. In this article I argue that Michigan State’s intervention in South Vietnam had negative effects on the country due to Diem’s inability to implement any meaningful reforms, and that Michigan State’s actions in South Vietnam ended up fueling the anti-war movement.

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