Essay on Johnson's War: The Domino Effect

Essay on Johnson's War: The Domino Effect

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In 1947, President Harry Truman made a vow to the nation, later known as the Truman Doctrine, to contain communism in Europe and elsewhere. President Truman’s successors continued to make the vow that they would do whatever it took to stop the spread of communism and prevent the “domino effect.” President John F Kennedy increased the number of military advisors and Special Forces in South Vietnam but President Johnson made the decision to engage in full warfare in the region. Because Johnson decided to engage in full warfare, it is fair and truthful to dub the Vietnam conflict, “Johnson’s War.” After President Johnson finished JFK’s term, he was in a bit of a “pickle.” Johnson wanted to stay the course in Vietnam but he feared that a military setback in the region would tarnish his image for the upcoming election. Johnson campaigned against Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater and Goldwater advocated for systematic bombing in North Vietnam before invading. However, President Johnson campaigned for restraint in Vietnam. Shortly after Johnson was inaugurated to a full term as president, he began to drastically increase American resources towards the war effort in Vietnam. It is fair to say that the Vietnam War was Johnson’s war and his handling of the conflict caused unrest and frustration with the American people.
Though the Vietnam conflict was Johnson’s war, previous administrations had laid the foundation for invading Vietnam. President JFK had sent military advisors and Special Forces to the region and President Harry Truman had started the American policy that its armed forces would do whatever necessary to contain communism and prevent the domino affect. The first step that LBJ took to escalate the Vietnam War was when he urged t...


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...rations laid the groundwork for the Vietnam conflict but Johnson was primarily responsible for the America’s entrance to the conflict. Operation “Rolling Thunder” escalated American involvement in the war by drastically increasing bombing campaigns and troops in the region. With media covering the war, they were able to present the horrific scenes of Marine’s setting civilian homes on fire and air raids causing many civilian casualties. The presentation of these scenes went against the American government’s argument that the United States had moral justification for entering the war to spread democracy and freedom. The rising death tolls of American soldiers and the lack of justification for U.S. involvement in Vietnam sparked protests across the nation. All in all, Vietnam was Johnson’s War and this conflict was not seen as a victory for the American armed forces.

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