Kennedy: The Cold War - Vietnam

  • Created by: RiAs
  • Created on: 19-05-19 16:55

Beginning Involvement in Vietnam

  • In 1956, American Friends of Vietnam speech took place encouraged involvement by calling Vietnam a "tiny nation for which we are in large measure responsible" - speech conducted by JFK congressman.
  • President Kennedy was to continue focus on Vietnam as he believed in containment, the domino theory and the Third World.
  • He did not want to be accused of 'losing' Vietnam especially after his failure at Bay of Pigs.
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Escalation in Vietnam

  • In January 1961 there was under 1000 American advisers in Vietnam and by JFK's death around 17,000.
  • Kennedy increased involvement as Diem seemed incapable of defeating Communists in South Vietnam.
  • The administration summed advisers and war material would stablise situation.
  • Kennedy did not want to withdraw a lose Vietnam.


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JFK's options for Vietnam

  • Reform Option:
    • JFK administration suggested to Diem social, economic and political reforms to make him popular but he refused causing hostility between him and American press, as well as, his sister-in-law Madame Nhu.
  • The American Ground Troops Option:
    • Kennedy knew sending troops was not the option and by 1963, JFK knew the Vietnamese hated the US troops and wanted them out.
  • Replace Diem Option:
    • Buddhist monks burned themselves out of protest against Diem's religious policies.
    • The monks had demonstrated Diem's unpopularity and shocked Kennedy.
    • Bobby suggest leaving Vietnam but Kennedy still feared giving in to communists and not being reelected.
    • JFK concluded to stay which led to the overthrow and eventual assassination of Diem
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