Unit 6 Question #2
Examine how Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon each dealt with Vietnam. What were the similarities and differences in their plans? Was any particular plan more effective or less effective? How did media coverage of each plan affect the political atmosphere in the United States?
Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon all had different approached in the aspects of the Vietnam War. Major themes of Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1960 was the inability of the Eisenhower administration to secure Third World countries on the American side. To triumph upon new partners to the United States, Kennedy constructed his remote strategy in light of the idea of country expansion. He suspected that the United States could help Third World nations and assisting in the creation of countries to assemble better transport and communication frameworks and in addition to enhance agricultural businesses to better grow an economic frontier. By bettering the country, no matter which one, people would have a higher morale, a higher economic stability and financially enabled countries, and the ability to protect ones countries if needed. Even though President Kennedy had sent the initial amount of troops to Vietnam to fight in the war, Lyndon B. Johnson was the President that the American people would remember and whose name will always be connected to the overall outcome of the Vietnam War. President Johnson succeeded in pressuring congress to pass something called the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the President an unlimited free pass to take every necessary measure to turn away any assault against the powers of the United States. With this power, the Johnson showed the world that this war was hard to win and get to the top of the power struggle, and became incredibly disliked at home in the United States. Johnson’s own administration started to distance themselves from him and his Secretary, McNamara had surrendered. McNamara was a huge supporter in the beginning stages of the war, but by the time Johnson had done what he wanted, McNamara could no longer support the war not the decisions of the President. The new Secretary Clark Clifford had told President Johnson that the war was a sink hole and that it would never come to an end. The budgeting for the war was enormous, more than any other war, due to its high tech military operations, like Rolling Thunder, and we were not gaining ground. Johnson eventually dropped out of the presidential race in 1968 and Richard Nixon then took office, promising to end the Vietnam War in an honorable way. Nixon wanted to turn the tides of the war and prove that we can exit without a loss. He started to pull out troops and send funding to the Vietnamese country. This started to turn the heads of the American people and they began to think that the war was finally over. Television and media will always help politics in more ways than one. People believe what they hear and I believe that was one way Nixon was elected. With America hating the idea of the Vietnam War, Nixon stated during his campaign that he would start to pull troops back and end the draft. By stating and doing so, the American people started to be for the war again because of the soon to be end.