The Vietnam War Lyndon Johnsons War 1963-1968
A) THAT “BITCH OF A WAR”
The “Great Society” at home v. The war abroad
His priority is not Vietnam for a ‘great society’ his idea was to care for the elderly
education reform, Medicare, civil rights (domestic political programs)
The JFK connection:
Johnson kept the kennedy advisors when he came into office
Robert McNamara = sect. of Defense
Dean Rusk = Sect. of State
McGeorge Bundy = National Security Advisor
The deteriorating Situation in South Vietnam
The Generals Take Over
Eg. Minh to Khanh (Jan 1964)
Can South Vietnam survive?
SV army is battered and looses battle after battle
March 1964= VC control 40% South Vietnamese countryside
JCS= “Americanization” of the War?
The 1964 election?
McCarthyism was compared to chicken shit if they lost Vietnam.
Johnson wants to win relection
Lyndon Johnsons Response:
Increase “advisors” (23,000 in 1964)
Covert ops (special forces for secret missions)
The biggest failure in Vietnam was the lack of South Vietnamese government. There
was no legitimate government that would keep the support of the SV people.
Americans always blamed North Vietnam.
The Tonkin Gulf Resolution
August 2-4 “attacks” on Maddox and Turner Joy The Maddox radar operator thinks the ship being attacked, in turn Johnson
demonstrates a massive retaliation and starts to bomb North Vietnam
August 5 LBJ- “repeated acts of violence against the armed forces of the United
-Doesn’t mention special forces attacks, the fact that they were in NV waters and the
actually truth if they were attacked or not
-Tricks the Senate and the people
August 7 Congress: (416 to 0 in the House 88 to 2 in the Senate)
Could now “take all necessary measures to repel armed attack against the forces of
the United States and to prevent further aggression”
1964 election Johnsons defeats Barry Goldwater
Johnson wants to give the generals a free hand and full control, and even said if they
need it use nuclear weapons.