In 1963, after President Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Beanies Johnson was sworn into office. With American advisors already in Vietnam, America had a responsibility to defend South Vietnam. Johnson was immediately forced to decide if the United States should send more troops to Vietnam. The situation in South Vietnam became progressively worse as North Vietnam was adapting and becoming more dominant. Following the Truman doctrine, the fear of communistic influence in Asia and the American concern for South Vietnamese sovereignty led to Lyndon Johnny’s decision to defend South
Vietnam in 1965 against increasing challenges from North Vietnam. The decision to defend South Vietnam caused controversy and social uproar on the home from. Today, the main question one could ask regarding this decision is, ‘Was it worth it? ‘ The United States, at the time of the Lyndon Johnny’s Presidency, found itself fighting two wars: A war on Poverty in the United States and the War in Vietnam (Borrowers). Johnson had started many programs for example the Great Society, which he viewed as a very important aspect of being a world super power. He even declared that the country was in a war on poverty.
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In is state of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson unconditionally declared poverty as a very significant problem of American Society at the time surrounding the Vietnam War. The main problems contributing to the poverty in America were lack of funding for education and medical care for elderly people (Borrowers). The view of communism in the United States had the majority of the population disagreeing With this rather new form of government, and although the Truman Doctrine had been created over fifteen years prior to this time, the United States still had a responsibility to contain the spread (“Truman Doctrine”).
North Vietnam had just recently been taken over by communist leaders and was working to gain control after South Vietnam. This situation shares similarities with the united State’s past experiences with the spread of communism, except for the fact that the United States Was now reluctant to act deliberately on the matter (Whitewater 59). The united States saw the growing tensions in Vietnam as a threat to their success in the Cold War, but regarded it as another country’s problem that can wait. Kennedy and Johnson (at first) both had internal affairs they had to deal with before focusing on the Vietnam War.
Lyndon Beanies Johnson was the Republican Vice President under the Democrat President John F. Kennedy. President Josh moons had a very minor role in the government as Vice President, and from the start neither he nor Kennedy trusted each other. He lacked expertise in subjects regarding foreign affairs and had little support from many southern states because he supported civil rights (Kaiser). Johnson felt humiliated as some points in his vice presidency because he didn’t have the power that he wanted. Previously, he was president Eisenhower right hand man and almost had equal power.
Now he had to sit back and watch, as all of his ideas were overruled as if they were insignificant (Gardner). The different opinions between Johnson and Kennedy could have been a foreshadowing of Johnson desire to intervene in Vietnam. Johnson felt restrained and unable to voice his opinion, which brought him to the feeling that he had more power as President after Kennedy was assassinated. Once he was sworn into office, Johnson knew himself that he lacked the education and learning abilities that President Kennedy had to offer (Gardner).
Lyndon Johnson even told multiple Kennedy ides, “Don’t expect me to absorb things as fast as you’re used to. As a matter of fact, to tell the truth, John F. Kennedy was a little too conservative to suit my taste,” (Johnson) telling them that things would be run differently now that he was president. He and Kennedy’s views were much different on the terms of the Vietnam War. Kennedy was more reluctant to become deeply involved in the Vietnam War, when Johnson was neutral on the subject at first as long as the war would not have a significant effect on the his Great Society success.
Johnson Viewed Vietnam in his early presidency as an inhibitor to his political reputation. The last thing he wanted was to have the country’s attention to his Great Society reforms to be distracted (Dallas 242). “Privately, he compared the situation of the South Vietnamese government and himself a man standing on a newspaper in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” (Dallas 242). Johnson knew that disaster was inevitable but it was just a matter of time. The United States was already involved in the Vietnam conflicts, and he compared serious intervention in the Vietnam War to the Atlantic Ocean and the man drowning.
The amount of time before intervention is symbolized by the amount of time that the newspaper would keep the man afloat, not very long. Why did President Lyndon Johnson believe that intervention in the Vietnam War was inevitable? What events or facts led him to believe there was no way out of this disaster? To the united States Government and Johnson himself, the Vietnam War was a long and dreadful road to curing the threat of Communism (Herring 1 10). Although Johnson wanted to take the challenge of keeping the sovereignty in Vietnam, he took a vow to not let Vietnam experience the same problems as China (Herring 110).
Former Secretary of State Dean G. Achaeans in 1949 wrote, ‘The unfortunate but inescapable fact is that the ominous result of the civil war in China was beyond the control of the government of the United States,” (Franken). Since the government did not intervene in the Chinese struggle to prevent communist uproar in the country, a revolution completely overturned the way of the government into communism. As a result, China became a very large threat to the United States in the Cold War since China was a large ally of the Soviet Union. Through the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations, that idea ever left the white house.
It was a mistake that haunted the United States for years after the revolution, and Johnson would assure he would not let this happen to Vietnam (Franken). Although this growing relationship between the Soviet union and China created a lot of suspicion in the United States government, a small break in alliance was created between the TV’0 countries. Nikkei S. Khrushchev became more concerned with the betterment of his Soviet citizens rather than the spread of Communism. China wanted to focus more on the spread of communism causing it to become a world power.
This agreement created an incredible amount of suspicions throughout the united States government because they believed China was not only urging North Vietnam to attack South Vietnam, but also assisting them. The major decision makers, especially Lyndon Johnson, believed this was part of China’s plan to take over Asia because they had seen this similar situation in Korea (Franken). Lyndon Johnson had a very good idea of what would happen if he had left Vietnam on its own to work out the problems. Without intervening, he would give the spread of communism a very large advantage in the cold war.
The South Vietnamese forces could only hold off North Vietnam for a short amount of time, and they were in great need for United States assistance. The humanitarian aspect of the Vietnam War also played a role in the Johnny’s reasoning over Vietnam. He wanted to protect the human rights of the South Vietnamese people because they were fighting for the existence of freedom from communist totalitarianism and the democracy that their government still maintained (Franken). In order to protect the South Vietnamese government from this communist takeover, the Lignite States Government had to abide by the Truman Doctrine.
This policy brought on the United States the significant responsibility for containing the spread of Communism around the world (“Truman Doctrine”). With the possibility of Communist takeover in South Vietnam, the United States was responsible for the defense of the country. One of Johnny’s main goals was to unify South Vietnam since the build up of a revolution was imminent due to the Communistic influence that North Vietnam and China had on Asia and particularly South Vietnam (Dallied). The last thing Johnson wanted Was to be responsible for an American defeat against Communism.
Johnson knew that going the success of his Great Society was bad enough, but losing to Communists was worse (Whitewater 53). In 1964, Johnson had known that soon enough the United States would be fully involved in Vietnam, and he wanted to let the situation play out for as long as possible until he would have an assured victory in the 1964 election. The American public knew little about the plans Lyndon Johnson already had for intervention in North Vietnam. He wanted to punish North Vietnam for giving support to the revolutionaries in Vietnam (“Vietnam War”).
This is an exact execution of the Truman Doctrine cause Lyndon Johnson sought military involvement to prevent the spread Of Communism. The final significant pressure on Lyndon Johnson to make the decision to send United States combat troops into Vietnam was a North Vietnam attack on an American ship. On August 2, 1964, the growing tensions between the United States and North Vietnam heightened significantly when the US Maddox was attacked in the Gulf on Tontine. The ISIS Maddox was electronically spying on North Vietnam, and was attacked by North Vietnam naval forces. This incident put every eye in the United States on President
Lyndon Johnson, and they were all waiting for his decision. It was unclear to the public whether or not this would be the decision to have the United States become fully involved in Vietnam since Johnson had been so reluctant over the subject in the past. Johnson and the United State’s government were prepared to react strongly against North Vietnamese forces and their actions involving the US Maddox (Herring 120). Air strikes against North Vietnam were launched by the United States as retaliation to the attack in the Gulf of Tontine. The United States slowly started showing significant signs of intervention in the Vietnam War.
Johnson took advantage to the Gulf of Tontine by proposing a Tontine Gulf Resolution, which would have given him direct power to employ military forces into the country of North Vietnam. Johnson was slowly working his way into the congress by progressively becoming more involved in the struggles. The entire congress supported the resolution except for two senators, one of them having caught Johnson in his tracks. Senator Ernest Greening of Alaska said that the war was a, “Predated declaration of war,” showing that he knew what Johnson was trying to maneuver (“Vietnam War”).
Johnson wanted to have the ability to send troops into Vietnam before declaring war on the country because it would have given him enough time to immobile troops and prepare for a massive invasion. By the end of 1964, the Ignited States had sent a total of about 24,000 advisees into Vietnam over the years (“Vietnam Wan. Increasing attacks on United States forces urged Lyndon Johnson for intervention, for example the Vetting attack on a Ignited States base near the city Apelike in early February 1965. This attack killed seven Americans and wounded over 100, and Johnson retaliated by ordering Operation Flaming Dart which bombed a North
Vietnamese Military base just sixty miles from the border of North Vietnam and South Vietnam (Franken). Johnson was very close to making his decision for intervention, and these little attacks and bombings just added fuel to his fire. In March of 1965, President Johnson sent United States Army General Harold Johnson to Vietnam for more in depth information on the situation. When he returned in mid March, he gave the president his report of twenty- one recommendations for Vietnam. General Johnson believed that the United States should go into air warfare with North Vietnam as well as send a argue amount of ground units into Vietnam.
Many of his proposals were approved and this mission played a large role in influencing Johnny’s decision in July (Vietnam Wad’). In late spring of 1965, Johnson received reports regarding the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in South Vietnam. The report stated that the RAFF would not be able to survive much longer in the battles without aide (Vietnam War”). This showed that without American assistance in the war, South Vietnam would have been easily defeated. In reaction to these reports Johnson announced on July 7, 1 965 that he would be ending more troops into Vietnam and that the draft calls would increase (“Vietnam Wad’).
This decision was a pivotal point in the Vietnam War because the United States had almost become fully involved in the war by sending 100,000 troops into Vietnam along with the troops that were already stationed there. Johnson, in his many White House tapes, would describe why exactly he wanted to intervene with the conflicts in Vietnam. One of Johnny’s tapes gives a detailed summary of the important reason for intervention: would say that we have a commitment to Vietnamese freedom. Known could pull out of there. The dominoes would fall, and part of the world would go to the Communists.
We could send our Marines in there, and we could get tied down in a Third World War or another Korea action. The other alternative is to advise them and hope that they stand and fight. (Johnson) President Johnson knew he could not let the Vietnam War play itself out because it would simply give South Vietnam into Communism. He indirectly mentions the Domino Theory knowing what would come of Asia if he did not work to stop the Communistic influences in South Vietnam. All of the countries in Asia would slowly start to go the same route as South Vietnam ND eventually become Communists.
Johnson wanted to assure that South Vietnam kept their freedom and he made it known that he would do everything in his power to help the South Vietnamese stay a democratic government. The Intervention of the United States in the Vietnam War played an essential role in helping the South Vietnamese government remain as a democracy. The American and South Vietnamese forces experience in incredible amount Of both victories and defeats. The tide of the War swayed as time Went on especially when later in the war the Viet Congo launched a series of surprise attacks known as the Et Offensive.
This series of attacks is known as the largest battle of the war and although the attacks came very quick to the United States troops, they were able to react and gain a victory in the war (“Vietnam War”). Throughout the war, the President Johnson and his efforts in Vietnam lost a lot of support from the public. Many of the rioters referred to Vietnam as “Mr… Johnny’s War” in different protests across the country (Gardner). Although this loss of support would affect his reputation, Johnson pushed on.
Following the Et Offensive, General Wasteland requested hat about 200,000 more troops be sent into the Vietnam War to help defeat the Viet Congo (“Vietnam War”). The United States simply could not settle these requests because of their economic status. Some have argued that this is one main reason for why America lost the war. After Johnny’s big decision to intervene in Vietnam in 1965, the United States ended the war with 56,000 and 300,000 wounded. Although compared to past American involvements in wars this was a lot, this was not even half of the amount of North Vietnamese that were killed, which is an estimated 900,000 (Franken).