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Transcript of Vietnam
Attacks on American military installations in January, 1968
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
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
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
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
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