John F. Kennedy was arguably one of the best presidents and most powerful man we have experienced in the short life of America. As a leader of this country, he was a part of major events and made great progress in the timespan he spent in office (1961-1963). Some of these events include the creation of the Peace Corps, the ratification of the 23rd amendment, and the Cuban Missile crisis. (Kelly) Although, there is one undying question that has been asked by many. Possibly one of the most vexing questions left unanswered about JFK’s presidency, as well as the era of the Vietnam War. If JFK had lived out his term, rather than to be struck down by an assassins bullet, how would the outcome of the Vietnam War have been different?
With the assassination of Kennedy in 1963, LBJ became president after being sworn in the same day. LBJ promised the nation he would continue to pursue the very essence of what Kennedy was striving for. LBJ, who had his own agenda as well, is noted for his triumphs with Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as for signing the Civil Rights act in 1964. However, even with those certain triumphs, LBJ is and was examined closely with his dealings in how he handled the Vietnam War.
The true answer to why the United States got involved in Vietnam lies in part in the Truman Doctrine. This statement is true for two reasons. First, the Truman Doctrine set forth a policy that was applied the international spread of Communism. Second, the Truman Doctrine was brought up when the conflict in Vietnam was increasing. The first United States involvement in Vietnam began in the late 1940's, long before it escalated to include the United States Military. Because of the basic terms or the Truman Doctrine, the United States was drawn in the Vietnam conflict. The Truman Doctrine dealt with fears of Communism, the domino theory, and a feeling there was a need for containment. All of Vietnam was in danger of falling into the hands of Communism.
The United States involved themselves in Vietnam for four main reasons: they wanted to contain communism, prevent the domino effect, support a very weak South Vietnam, and get retaliation for being attacked. After seeing China fall to communism in 1949, Lyndon Johnson did not want to watch the same thing happen in Vietnam. He decided that the United States must fight to contain communism in Vietnam and prevent the domino theory. The domino theory simply stated that if one country fell to communism, neighboring countries would soon follow suit, falling like a set of dominos. Essentially, Americans believed that if South Vietnam fell, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand would follow. Also, South Vietnam could not stand against the Vietcong alone because they were too weak and ill-equipped to fight. The United States believed that with good government, a large scale and ...
...nd the approach taken ultimately failed. The turning point of the US involvement was the assassination of JFK. Foreign policy in the United States had been extremely straight forward following WWII. There was no question that the standards for foreign policy would have dictated the massive involvement in Vietnam had two other people been in office during Kennedy and Johnson’s era. The Uniqueness of Kennedy’s foreign policy, and his approach which made him so loved would have dominated over the opinions of McNamara in 1964. But because Kennedy was killed, and the country was in turmoil, and Johnson’s less strict foreign policy, the advice of McNamara was taken more seriously and the US went to very violent conflict in Vietnam. John F. Kennedy would have been more focused on diplomacy and the result would have been a more steady resolution to the communism in Vietnam.
The conflict in Vietnam was a situation where no matter which path taken, more negative than positive effects would hit the US and their allies. President Lyndon B Johnson took office after the assassination of JFK and now controlled a grieving nation. During the mid 1960s, Unites States President Lyndon B Johnson was forced to make a decision about the future in Vietnam. Any action he took would significantly affect those in the US who were still recovering from the death of a beloved president. Johnson and his advisors quickly narrowed their options down to three distinct options, all with what seemed to provide minimal benefit to the American people. Those three avenues of approach included pulling out all troops already in Vietnam, inserting thousands of more troops into Vietnam, or seeking neutralization over the countries of North and South Vietnam. President Johnson, while considering his options, was highly concerned with “The Domino Theory,” the threat of communism in Southern Asia; however he was also concerned about his image as president. With that being said, he knew that this was a deteriorating situation in Vietnam and no matter what path was chosen, he would face criticism. President Johnson, along with his advisors, procrastinated as long as they could to “pick their poison,” deciding that inserting combat troops was the best way to obtain economic and strategic value in Southern Asia.
The Vietnam War began in 1954 after North Vietnam’s victory over the French colonial administration of Vietnam. North Vietnam’s goal was to unify the entire country by establishing a central Communist administration with support from the Soviet Union, China, and other Communist allies. By 1957, the Communist Vietnamese, known as the Viet Cong, utilized guerrilla war tactics against all those who were opposed them in the region. The United States government sought to guard against a Communist bloc in SE Asia and seized the opportunity to prevent the unification of the inevitable Communist rule of Vietnam by conducting strategic bombing methods in North Vietnam and surrounding areas suspected of housing the Viet Cong. President John F. Kennedy was a supporter of Dwight Eisenhower’s Domino Theory, which states that a communist victory in one country would cause a chain reaction of Communist rule in neighboring states.
The U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War spanned from 1964-1975, and is an example of U.S. foreign involvement drawn out to an unnecessary extent. Throughout The War there were many decisions that the American citizens, and eventually the South Vietnamese, began to resent. Much of the Vietnam controversy could have been avoided if America had acted in a quick manner. America’s involvement in the Vietnam War lasted a total of eleven years from beginning to end making it, “the longest war in which the United States took part in” (Vietnam War). America went into the war to protect South Vietnam from the North Vietnamese Communists. The U.S. entered the war because of the Truman Doctrine, “Truman had declared that the United States must help any nation challenged by Communism” (Vietnam War). The Domino Theory, the idea that if one country fell to Com...
The reasons for the Vietnam War took place long before the war even began. For years, the Vietnamese had been under French colonial rule. But, when Communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh came back to Vietnam, he established a group called the Viet Minh, the goal of which was to remove all French occupation from Vietnam. So, the fighting started, and Ho Chi Minh tried to get the US to support them. But, being true to their policies of containment, the US started supporting France. The United States' thoughts about Communism's potential growth can be summed up in one basic idea: the Domino Theory. This theory stated that if one country in a region fell to Communism, the surrounding countries would soon follow. Because of this, the US committed to keeping the North Vietnamese contained once the French withdrew from Vietnam. But, the thing that really pushed the US into sending troops into Vietnam was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. On August 2nd and 4th, 1964, the North Vietnamese fired upon two US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. Following this, Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7, 1964, which gave the president authority to send military troops into Vietnam without declaring war. So, President Johnson sent troops into Vietnam, which had already erupted into civil war, to aid the South Vietnamese.
Vietnam was in a state of turmoil during the mid 20th century; after gaining independence from imperialist France, the country was torn between nationalist political parties in the South and Communist ones in the North. Even though the United States had made efforts to support france during the revolution, it was inclined to back the nationalist South Vietnamize after the coup rather than the communist North. In doing so the United States made an unwise political commitment to Vietnam, which would lead to the longest and most unpopular war in the Nations history. Vietnam represents an important chapter in American history, due to its symbolic meaning of the times in an era where the slogan "make love not war" was prominent, its direct relevancy to internal political conflicts during the cold war; and the amount of commitment the United States was obliged to undertake during that time concerning the spread of communism.