Tuesday, April 7, 2015



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Sixty-one years ago today, April 7, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, at a news conference at the White House, that the impending fall of French Indo-China to the communists could be called a "'falling domino' principle" in relation to Southeast Asia.

The President was responding to the following question put to him by Mr. Robert Richards of the Copley Press...

"Mr. President, would you mind commenting on the strategic importance of Indochina for the free world?"

President Eisenhower responded...

"You have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the 'falling domino' principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences."

According to, Mr. Eisenhower's statement led to the incorrect conclusion among many that he was the first to use the term "Falling Domino Theory."

Ike referred to it as the falling domino principle, which, according to the referenced website, had been previously discussed by President Harry S Truman's undersecretary of State Dean Acheson in 1947 in reference to the threatened communist takeover of Greece and Turkey.

The website argues that some reporters were responsible for giving President Eisenhower the credit for the first use of  what would become one of the most well-known phrases of the Cold War, the Falling Domino Theory.

A month following Ike's press conference, the French lost the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and North Vietnam was created as a communist state while South Vietnam remained free.  

Both of Ike's successors, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, agreed with his assessment and used it to justify increases in American military involvement in the region.


Our first post on this topic of April 7, 2011 is the 3rd most popular post on JFK+50 with 23,562 hits as of today.  Obviously, the Falling Domino Theory is of much interest more than sixty years later.


"The origins of the 'falling domino principle,' and 'The Domino Effect,'" April 7, 2014,

This Day in History, April 7,

The "Falling Domino" Theory