Lyndon B. Johnson’s Policies on Vietnam

Topics: Vietnam War, Lyndon B. Johnson, South Vietnam Pages: 6 (1937 words) Published: December 22, 2013

December , 2012

Working Title:
Lyndon B. Johnson’s Policies on Vietnam
Thesis Question:
To what extent did Johnson continue Kennedy’s foreign policy concerning Vietnam? Thesis statement:
Johnson starts to follow Kennedy’s policies of containment in Vietnam but realizing the commitment needed to win the war, he eventually causes a much larger American involvement in Vietnam.

Table of Contents

Section Page
Part A:Plan of Investigation3
Part B:Summary of Evidence4
Part C:Evaluation of Sources5
Part D:Analysis6
Part E:Conclusion8
Part F:Bibliography10

Part A: Plan of the Investigation
Both of the American presidents Kennedy and Johnson played essential roles in the Vietnam conflict. Kennedy, supporting the idea of containment, committed the U.S. to support the government of South Vietnam in the early 1960s. After his assassination in 1963, Johnson became the next president, but to what extent did he continue Kennedy’s foreign policy concerning Vietnam? This investigation will therefore compare and contrast Johnson’s and Kennedy’s foreign policies concerning Vietnam, which will be analyzed with references to primary and secondary sources that clearly show the foreign policies of the two presidents. However, more intonation will be put on Johnson’s influence on Vietnam, and how his administration actually decided to act after Kennedy’s death. Additionally, emphasize will be put on how Johnson greatly deepened the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, after realizing the vast commitment it would take to win the war. This investigation will primarily examine the degree of change in foreign policies of the two presidents towards Vietnam, and not the success or failure of Johnson’s policies. Part B: Summary of Evidence

Kennedy’s Foreign policy 1961-1963:
Committed the U.S to the Vietnam conflict, due to his support for containment and the domino theory Increased U.S. military advisors from less than 700 men in January 1961 to 16,000 men by November 1963 Financed an increase in the South Vietnamese army from 150,000 to 170,000 men Launched propaganda and political activities to discredit the Viet Cong Drafted the NSAM 273, affirming to continue supporting South Vietnam Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president - 1963:

Also supports containment and the domino theory
Pledges to continue Kennedy’s foreign policy concerning Vietnam and to work with Kennedy’s former advisors Approves NSAM 273
Johnson in 1964:
Encounters many difficulties and lack of progress partially due to a confused and ineffective government in South Vietnam Realizes the vast commitment needed to win the war
Needs an excuse to openly attack North Vietnam and not lose his elections in 1964 Is able to exploit the Tonkin incident of August 1964 and to use it as an excuse: Convinces congress to pass the Tonkin Resolution on August 7th giving him full authority and a blank check to wage war against North Vietnam Uses this resolution to Americanize the war in Vietnam

This resolution set the difference between Johnson’s and Kennedy’s foreign policies The Tonkin Resolution in 1964 caused Johnson’s Foreign policy to change: Johnson was now able to send some 25,000 American combat troops to Vietnam by the end of 1964 Operation Rolling Thunder starting in the spring of 1965 also emerged from this resolution: It was a ongoing bombing campaign and aerial raids against North Vietnam This operation also demonstrated Johnson’s much greater military commitment to Vietnam than Kennedy’s, showing It was the first sustained U.S. military operation in Vietnam Johnson finally decided for an open-ended military commitment to Vietnam in 1965 Johnson was ready to provide whatever military support needed to win the war This eventually led to the United States committing more than 500,000 American troops to Vietnam....
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