Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Bischof, Gunter

Second Advisor

Altman, Ida

Third Advisor

Clark, Michael


During the Cold War, the inherent mistrust between the United States and the Soviet Union kept the two superpowers from cooperating even on many projects that might have proven mutually beneficial. Nevertheless, they were willing to work together at least occasionally; two such examples are the neutralizations of Austria (in 1955) and of Laos (in 1962). Despite very different world orders in those two countries at those times, the weaker superpowers in each contest, the Soviets in Austria and the Americans in Laos, took very similar actions. They followed the same three-stage process from the outbreak of the dispute to its negotiated conclusion. This process failed, however, in Vietnam. In trying to explain why neutralization failed so soon after its success, this thesis postulates a number of possible explanations. Ultimately, it was several factors coming to result in the failure of neutralization in Vietnam.


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