American involvement in Vietnam was largely in response to Cold War polices and Strategies. Kennedy took a much more laid back approach to Vietnam than Eisenhower did. He only wanted to support the South and not give them direct military aid by getting involved. Kennedy believed that the nations themselves should bear the burden of fighting the war and America would merely give them supplies and political support. However, the administration’s attempt to help the South largely failed because neither the South Vietnamese nor the Americans knew how to deal with guerrilla warfare. Another issue was that Diem’s support quickly declining to the point where it was just about his own family. He never trusted any popular government official in office, and would quickly replace them. Kennedy kept urging Diem to change his ways before all support for the South diminished (Kaiser). Between 1960 and 1968 Vietnam evolved into an American war and the tactics greatly affected the American soldiers.
In 1960 the South Vietnamese communist organization, The National Liberation Front, more commonly known as the Vietcong, joined forces with the North Vietnamese. The American forces backed the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, which only stemmed the influence of the communist in South and proving to be very ineffective. In 1961, Maxwell Taylor sent a telegram to President Kennedy recommending the dispatch of US forces to South Vietnam so that the US forces can be called upon to engage in combat to protect themselves, their working parties, and the area in which they live (Taylor, 121-123). In 1963 the situation continued to escalate. Kennedy is trying to gain the American public’s support by being interviewed by Walter Cronkite of CBS, saying that as ...
... middle of paper ...
Public Papers of the President: John F. Kennedy, 1963 (September 2, 1963), pp. 651-52
Public Papers of the President: John F. Kennedy, 1963 (September 9, 1963), pp. 658-59
Robert Dallek, Flaw aint: Lyndon B. Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973, 1998, pp.238-40, 243-45,249, 267-271, 272-75, 276-80
Taking Charge; The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964,
Telegram from Taylor to Kennedy, November 1, 1961, United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1947 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971), Book 11, 337-42.
Telephone conversation between Diem and Lodge, November 1, 1963, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, vol. 4, p. 513.
U.S. Department of State Bulletin, 51 (August 24, 1964), 268
We Were Soldiers (2002)
Working Class War: American Combat Soliders and Vietnam by Christain G. Appy. 1993 by the University of North Carolina Press.
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