The story of American intervention in Vietnam begins with an alliance - the sometimes ambivalent, often contentious, and almost always misunderstood Franco-American alliance. Paris and Washington clashed repeatedly over how to respond to the dual threat of communism and nationalism in Vietnam when the forces of the Cold War and deconization collided there during the 1950s. When a colonial power leaves a former colony, the new state usually grapples with growing pains on its own. In this case, the South Vietnamese were never given the chance as the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration systematically replaced French control in South Vietnam with American influence. Why and how the United States did so are the core questions of this book.