‘President Johnson escalated the war from 1965 in order to strengthen his negotiating position with the government of North Vietnam.’ Explain why you agree or disagree with this view. (24marks)
President Lyndon Johnson had increased the escalation of the war from 1965 onwards, many factors and decisions that he made had resulted in this. Although President Johnson had negotiated with North Vietnam about strengthening his position in the government he had also escalated it by increasing US' involvement in the Vietnam war with Rolling Thunder, and increasing the number of American troops – as well as many other larger factors. Johnson believed that by holding peace conferences throughout his time in presidency this would strength his negotiating position with the North Vietnam. With his persuasive nature and determination to win over the North Vietnamese, his main aim from holding these peace talks was to persuade North Vietnam that they wouldn’t be able to win the war and overthrow and they should therefore negotiate with the US government. President Johnson also thought that by setting up a bombing campaign, which was known as Rolling Thunder, would scare North Vietnam and could increase his chances in forcing North Vietnam to accept a negotiated settlement. This shows how strong of a character President Johnson was and would do anything to increase his chances of making North Vietnam accept his negotiated settlement and under any circumstances. The US military advisors had influenced President Johnson heavily. The military advisors had strong beliefs and aims of protecting America’s national reputation, credibility, and honor. They didn’t want America to look weak or lose any of their power that they held worldwide. Johnson had believed that the US military would have the power to takeover and overcome some of the out of control problems that they were facing on the buildup of the Vietnamese War. Johnson was told to increase military presence as Saigon...
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