JOHNSON 1963-1969

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 20-05-13 19:40

JOHNSON

  • man of his time
  • intensely partriotic, proud of US prowess
  • defeat= unconceivable 'damn little pissant country'
  • abhorred idea of appeasing enemy
  • US should fight 'aggressors' in SE- Asia whatever cost
  • Domino Theory
  • national honour Us continue committment
  • no great understanding of foreigners- Thailand hand shake incident
1 of 30

KENNEDY'S ASSASINATION

  • 1961- said Diem fight & reform own war
  • China & USSR benefit US 'bogged down chasing guerrillas'
  • KENNEDY'S LEGACY
  • J= guilt feelings stand by K & those who helped him 'I swore to myself that I would carry on' 'I often felt as if president Kennedy were sitting there... looking at me'
  • tragic circumstances= little debate/ questioning
  • emotionally & constitutionally had to carry on policies
  • K's war, increase US involvement
  • J= 'no real popular mandate' forced carry on K's work
  • couldn't abandon K's officials
  • retention K's advisers ensure continued involvement
2 of 30

JOHNSON'S WAR?

  • J thought he the boss
  • 'tell me it smells like roses' loyalty
  • wanted all assistances' '****** in my pocket'
  • Judge Abe Fortas= friend, official tell Karnow most influential adviser: he knows nothing about Vietnam, but knows Lyndon
  • J= POORLY ADVISED
3 of 30

KENNEDY'S MEN

  • Rusk & McNamara= no fresh ideas on Viet
  • Rusk= obsessive continue struggle in SE- Asia, withdrawal= loss of faith in US committment to oppose communist aggression lead to a 3WW
  • McNamara= influential, some say 'McNamara's War' memoirs 1995, lamenated the administrations lack of historical knowledge & understanding
4 of 30

WARNING VOICES

  • 1963- Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield= United & neturalised Vietnam. J reject this idea, lead to communisation of Viet
  • J, Rusk & Mc- assure South Viet gov= political, social & economic reform policies win over people, NO major US involvement
  • no K men admit past errors, no one want a real debate
5 of 30

MILITARY ADVICE

  • Chief of Air Force- Curtis LeMay- 'bomb Vietnam back into the stone age'
  • J= scared
  • 'duty-bound' listen
  • only war Generals had- want intensify it & win
6 of 30

JOHNSON'S VIEW

  • did not want to be 1st US president lose war especially to communists
  • REPEATED THIS
7 of 30

EARLY DEBATES 1963-64

  • Dec 1963 Hanoi sent increase numbers of People's Army of North Vietnam (PAVN) into SV strenghethening VC
  • Diem successor Minh retreat home & deposed of
  • strategic hamlets= failure
  • VC= strong- USSR & China send more weaponry
  • estimated half south controlled by VC
  • Maxwell and Mc visit= 'very disturbing'
  • Prime Min Kahn beg for aid
8 of 30

DEBATES- WHAT NEXT?

  • Taylor & Mc= direct action
  • LeMay= bomb Viet
  • J= war won quick before Congress demand withdrawal
  • April 20th J publically declae as long as SV want support US would remain involved
  • doubts- May 1964 convos 'I don't think we can get out', 'biggest damned mess'
9 of 30

HOW WAS JOHNSON ABLE TO ESCALATE?

  • July 1964= 200 men died Viet, J add 2500 men to US forces
  • war going poorly
  • debate in Washington on how to help Saigon win, NOT how to get out
  • Rusk & Mc= urge escalation even to strike in NV
10 of 30

AUGUST 1964- GULF OF TONKIN

  • for past decade CIA send south vietnam teams on sabotage missions NV
  • J approve covert operations
  • Maddox= espionage missions 
11 of 30

AUGUST 1964- GULF OF TONKIN INCIDENT

  • J claim NV attack unprovoked, 2 navy ships
  • Maddox & Turner Joy in Gulf of tonkin 4th August 1964
  • ask for Congressional support
12 of 30

GULF OF TONKIN RESOLUTION

  • June 1964 administration create resolution aim= rise Saigon's morale
  • Hesitant to show Congress
  • G.O.T incident= perfect opportunity get it passed
  • Congress believe innocent US navy lives were jepordised, willingly pass
  • gave J power to wage war
  • 'like Grandma's night shirt... It covered everything'
  • 'all necessary steps... including use of armed forceto assist'
  • expire when president decide safe in SE- Asia, or when congress terminate
  • Senate- 2/3 empty won 88 to 2
  • some senators= unconvinved: 'all vietnam is not worth the life of a single American boy'
  • No one listenened
13 of 30

WHO WAS TO BLAME FOR ESCALATION?

  • Congress
  • Rusk & Mc not open about covert raids, implementations etc
  • did administration create incident to get resolution passed?- many doubts surounding 'attacks'
  • Summer 1964- Bobby Goldwater accuse J- 'soft on communism'
  • did J exploit events to intensify Us involve to win election?
14 of 30

RESULTS & SIGNIFICANCE

  • vitally important
  • have nation behind him
  • war could be taken North, bombed NV for 1st time
  • J looked tough
  • public approval ratin increase 42% to 72% win election
  • sugest nation united behind president in Vietnam policy
15 of 30

1964 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

  • voters ask about viet
  • Repbublican cand Bobby Goldwater= use all US strength, trigger-happy hawk
  • reccomend use of atomic weapons in Hanoi
  • J= peace candidate 
  • left-wingers= J too war-monger
  • right-wingers= J  too soft on communism
  • told left no rash, no majoy war intentions 'we are going to send American boys to do what Asian boy's ought to be doing themselves'
  • RIGHT= 'America keeps her word'
  • xmas 1963 to JCS: just let me get elected and you can have your war
  • gained votes due to G.O.T
  • J hope Saigon win own war
  • during campaign J & advisers didn't know what to do in Viet
  • most reluctantly agree escalation only answer
  • won elections, J won popular mandate to do as he saw fit
16 of 30

WHY DID JOHNSON ESCALATE THE WAR?

  • combative personality, macho Texas background, aggressive man sseek military solutions
  • over-confident and arrogant 'you tell those press bastards that I'll see them when I want to and not before'

HOWEVER

  • private doubts, frequently admit didn't know what to do
  • more often than not responded due to pressure of events
17 of 30

INCOMPETENCE OF SAIGON GOV

  • Saigon regime= failing
  • gens squabbling annoy US Ambassador General Maxwell Taylor 
  • (Lodge had enough lte 1964- only suggest US to run Viet)
  • Mexwell Taylor= impecible military presitge & formidable intellect but poor choice
  • J picked him to please JCS, but situation needed a real diplomat, not impatient soldier
  • Taylor treat Saigon Gens like cadets, 1964 summon them to US embassy 'do you all undersand English? 'tired of coups' 'wasted words'
  • Rusk tired SV 'we must change the pace at which these people move' 'can only be done with a persuasuasive intrusion of Americans'
  • Nov 1964: 100 VC dressed as peasants attack US airbase near Saigon
  • JCS demand retaliance
  • VC attacks encourage J administration escalate- safety of US in Viet
18 of 30

WORKING GROUP RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • J order WG, Def Dept, State Dept, CIA & JCS study Viet policy, develop suggestions

WG SAID:

  • independent, anti-communist Vietnam vital for US 
  • 'national prestige, credibility and honour' at stake
  • emphasise escalation necessary, Saigon gov= weak 'close to a standstill' 'plagued by confusion... and poor morale'
  • suggest heavier bombing to be halted when Hanoi would negotiate
  • J= commander in chief and his mil & civillian experts urge escalation

Halberstam notes 'the best and the brightest' were behind J's escalation

Congress & public= supportive

19 of 30

DISSENTING VOICES

  • regret insignificant little Vietnam become so significant
  • Geroge Ball- concentrate on containing  in Europe, more involved US become harder to get out, US public not support war for long
  • no need to bomb jungle for VC 'needles in a haystack'
  • US soldiers= ineffective, US presence not good substitute for poor Saigon gov
  • he and Mansfieldfear Chinese involvement
20 of 30

OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER

  • early 1965
  • concern security US bomber bases
  • VC move freely in SV
  • xmas eve 1964- VC plant bomb in bar where US chill
  • feb 1965- VC attack huge US camp Pleiku 8= US dead, 100=wounded
  • J 'I've had enough of this'
  • J order air attacks NV
  • limited air war
  • intensify march 'Rolling Thunder' 67% americans approved
  • bomb routes 'Ho Chi Minh trail' secure position US in SV
  • decrease infiltration from North
  • demoralise Hanoi
  • neutralise Saigon
  • feb 1965 J not delcare war, fear China intervene
21 of 30

DEFENDING US BOMBER BASES WITH US TROOPS

  • Spring 1965- 2nd escalation step
  • large numbers US ground troops

WHY?

  • request from Gen Westmoreland
  • commanded 16,000 MAs since 1964
  • Spring request US marined protect US bomber base Danang
  • TRIGGER EVENT
22 of 30

WARNING AGAINST

  • Maxwell Taylor- once committed need more sent in to protect
  • White Us fight no better than French, US unable distinguish VC and friendly vietnamese
  • US look like colonists & conquerors
23 of 30

GROUND TROOPS ARRIVE

  • J ignore Taylor
  • 3500 marines land Danang 28th March 1965
  • April 6th 1965- J approve 18,000 & support forces sent in more marines
24 of 30

SUPPORT

  • was it J's undeclared war?
  • Congress grant $700 million for mil operations in Viet
  • May 1965 House of Representatives vote 408-7, Senate 88-3
  • US journalists= hawks, pro-war
  • J had support from Congress & journalists
25 of 30

JOHNSON'S EXPLANATION

  • speech April 1965
  • Us need fight to live securely and freely
  • NV= aggressive, attack SV need opposing
  • NV= puppet expansionist for expansionist comm powers USSR & China conquer all Asia
  • E & K built & defend Viet, dishonourable abandon COMMITMENT TRAP
  • abadon allies= question US credibility
  • appeasement= WW3
26 of 30

DETERIORATION IN SAIGON

  • June 1965 civillian gov of Phan Huy Quant overthrown by military
  • Thieu became head of state= small landowner, ambitious, prominent Viet catholic fam, convert given training USA, decisive, cunning, stubborn & corrupt
  • Ky became prime minister- gambled & womaniser, said Viet need men like hitler, flamboyant
  • 'bottom of barrel individuals'
  • Siagon gov control less of SV and less effectively
  • Ky & Thieu= corrupt, incompetent, unpopular
27 of 30

MORE US TROOPS

  • 1965 Ky's gov losing control & territory to VC
  • Thieu 75% countryside= VC
  • more US troops poured in less ARVN want fight
  • Westmoreland demand more troops- prevent SV collapse & protect US troops already in
  • Cabinet meetings July show how J doubt usefullness increase troops
  • 28th July 1965: TV J (noon less people) increase more troops request Westmoreland
  • 75,000 already there, increased to 125,000
  • congressional leaders gave assent day before

1965 Polls & White House mail:

  • 70% nation behind J
  • 80% believe Dom theory
  • 80% increase troops would stop US failing
  • 47% more troops sent
  • majority US support J
  • end 1965 200,000 US troops
  • Oct 1965 beat comm soldiers battle Ia Drang
28 of 30

DOUBTERS

  • protests @ unis March 1965
  • Vice P Hubert Humphrey- why risk Chinese intervention  why support unstable country
  • US plane shot down, J cried 'Where are we going?'
  • Dec 1965 bombing halt fail persuade Hanoi negotiate
  • cabinet meeting show consensus in J admin 
  • Cia& Maxwell Taylor= oppose send more troops
  • Mc= mil victory unlikely
  • JCS divided over tactics
  • J uncertain US win
  • NO ONE COULD AGREE
29 of 30

ESCALATION 65-68

  • WestM, Mc & JCS agree increase troops 2nd half 1965
  • Mc= 'stave off short term defeat'

end 1966- 385,000

early 1968- 535,000

war of attrition= FAIL

30 of 30

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all resources »