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Kasper Rasmussen

on 11 March 2014

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Transcript of Vietnam

Losing the war
Attacks on American military installations in January, 1968
Tet Offensive
Vietnam was the ultimate test of containment

550,000 troops deployed; 58,000 American casualties (2 million Vietnamese)

Did the Johnson way and the Kennedy way differ in Vietnam?
Mr. Johnson's War
Continuation of JFK's policy - kept Kennedy's advisors

No bombing of North Vietnam - like proposed by Barry Goldwater
Johnson's priorities
Lyndon Baines Johnson
1908-1973 - born in Texas - worked as a teacher before entering politics

Member of the House of Representatives, 1937-1949; Senate, 1949-1961

Vice President, 1961-1963, President, 1963-1969

Highly gifted politician - domestic policy president
LBJ - politician and president
Kennedy's Vietnam
Support for South Vietnamese government

Some belief in the domino theory

Best way to help South Vietnam was through modernization
Containment through modernization
Same make-up - believed to be same enemy
Comparing Vietnam and Korea
Expanding the war
Great Society - Medicare, Medicaid

Civil Rights - Voting Rights Act, Housing Act

Limited resources - refused to choose between Great Society and Vietnam
Domestic agenda
South Vietnamese army - ARVN - was fighting the Viet Cong

US Special Forces - Green Berets - were assisting with training, but also some limited fighting

Number of military advisors rose from around 500 to around 16,000 during Kennedy's presidency
Containment through training
JFK refused to send combat troops to Vietnam - was scheduled to begin pulling out troops by end of 1963
Which events prompted the Americanization of the war?
Gulf of Tonkin incident, August 1964

Congressional resolution gave Johnson authority to prevent further aggression
Hanoi wanted to talk about peace - but the US refused: would mean the end of South Vietnam

Air Force bombing of North Vietnam - fact-finding tour - attack at Pleiku in February of 1965

Rolling Thunder

Summer of 1965: combat troops sent to Vietnam
Overwhelming American superiority lost against a guerilla army supplied by Communist allies
After Tet, the war was lost
Different American tactics: winning the hearts and minds and heavy bombing (Agent Orange and napalm)
Americans did not try to liberate North Vietnam

Decisive American defeat
Full transcript