U.S Presidents involved with Vietnam (1945-1974)

An overview of the Presidents involved with Vietnam, starting with Truman in April 1945 going all the way through to Nixon in August 1974.

The table is brief and includes the following for each of the 5 Presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon):

  • When they were in power
  • Whether they were Republican/Democrat
  • Their Chief advisor's
  • Their Political ideologies
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A2 History 25th September 2010
President When In Power Democrat / Chief Advisors Political Ideology
Truman 12th April Democrat James Byrnes (Foreign policy advisor) Containment ­ Stalling
1945 ­ 20th the spread of
January 1953 Communism
Eisenhower 20th January Republican John Foster Dulles (Secretary of State) conservative republican,
1953 ­ 20th career soldier,
January 1961 Harold Stassen (Disarmament Advisor) Domino Theory,
Increased Commitment
Henry Cabot Lodge, JR (UN Ambassador) to Vietnam,
Kennedy 20th January Democrat Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defence) Strongly antimilitary,
1961 ­ 22nd Believed that the third
November 1963 Dean Rusk (Secretary of State) world was important in
the Cold War
McGeorge Bundy (Assistant for National Security
Attorney General (Robert Kennedy)
Johnson 22 November Democrat Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defence) Fighting for freedom as
1963 ­ 20th well as security,
January 1969 Dean Rusk (Secretary of State) Willing to fight
Communism "whatever
the cost"
Nixon 20th January Republican Henry Kissinger (National Security advisor) Advocated use of
1969 ­ 9th August Nuclear Weapons and
1974 needed to make peace
with Vietnam
Chris Cartwright

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