End of Johnson's Presidency 1968

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End of Johnson's Presidency 1968

  • After the Tet Offensive LBJ felt increasingly isolated and under attack (especially from popular critic of the war Robert Kennedy declared himself an anti-war Democrat candidate for presidency in the November 196 elections
  • A much less well known figure Eugene McCarthy) had already run LBJ close in the New Hampshire primary elections
  • LBJ: demoralised by the advice of a group of Democrar elder statesmen, former diplomats and generals (the 'Wise Men'), consulted at Defense Secretary /clifford's suggestion, that the US should find a way out of the war
  • March 1968: bowed to the pressure and announced a partial ban on the bombing of NV and an offer of negotiations
  • Also announced to the American people "I shall not seek and will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President" - the Vietnam War, in effect, wrecked his presidency
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End of Johnson's Presidency 1968

  • Communists responded and a peace conference began in Paris in May 1968: though it quickly became stalemated over the following key issues:
         1. The US insisted NV troops leave the South, which the Communists refused
         2. The Communists demanded that the US withdraw its troops and the VC be allowed to join            the SV government, which the US rejected
  • Last months of LBJ's presidency: divisions the war was causing to US society were illustrated by running battles between police and 10,000 demonstrators at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention
  • Democratic candidate (Hubert Humphrey) under pressure from anti-war Democrats called for a halt to bombing of NV and the 'de-Americanisation' of the war
  • October 1968: in response to a NV offer to broaden the Paris talks to include both the SV government and the VC if the bombing stopped, LBJ announced a complete halt to the bombing of NV
  • Republican candidate (Richard Nixon) responded by secretly urging the SV government not to attend the talks, promising them a better deal if he became President
  • Nixon deliberately sabotaged the negotiations to boost his re-election chances
  • November 1968: Nixon won the election on a promise to bring the war to an honourable end ("Peace with Honour"); it is hard to be sure of the precise role of the war in the result
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