Assess the view that Lyndon Johnson had no choice but to send US troops to Vietnam in 1965.
this argument is difficult to maintain as it is clear that Johnson did indeed have a choice. Instead he ignored warnings of those who opposed him and declined to get too involved, claiming foreign ignorance, and focused instead on domestic policies. Although on the surface it appears that Johnson was left with little choice, the decision he made to send troops to Vietnam in 1965 was the consequence of a variety of choices actively made by Johnson himself. By the summer of 1965, the fissures that would shatter Lyndon Johnson's presidency in 1968 were readily apparent
P1 (Advisers )
Herring, Gelb and Betts, that Johnson suffered a limited choice due to mounting pressure from his advisors, correlate with the evidence presented, especially that only a major US ground force could avert disaster in Vietnam, therefore Johnson did not have an individual choice and is therefore a more credible view.
P2 (Commitment Trap)
Murphy, Ruane & Hall
P4 (Deterioration of South Vietnam)
P5 (Johnson’s Personality)
Concl.- There is no doubt that Johnson had a choice on whether or not to send troops to Vietnam in 1965 and Logevall and Dallek successfully provide evidence to discredit the view presented by Schulzinger and others that advisors forced Johnson into escalating the war. Similarly Herring, Gelb and Betts are examples of historians who discredit the commitment trap and the idea that Johnson had no choice but to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors, most namely, Kennedy, because his popular mandate meant that he no longer had to copy previous presidents – he did so out of choice. Taylor and Schmitz also demonstrate that Johnson authorising Operation Rolling Thunder led him to knowingly set the US on a path that would inevitably lead to troops being deployed in 1965. The personality debate is additionally...
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