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Proponents of War
US Dissent


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Proponent of the Vietnam War

"A President's hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right."-Johnson


Lyndon B. Johnson was elected as the United States President for the term November 22, 1963 at the assasination of President Kennedy. After Kennedy's death the problem of deciding how to proceed in Vietnam fell onto the shoulders of Johnson. Faced with the crisis of Diem's government being overthrown in 1963, Johnson's administration made the decision to increase the USA's participation in the war.

An excerpt from a meeting on July 21st 1965:

"Ball: We cannont win, Mr. President. This war will be long and protracted. The most we can hope for is a messy concludion. There remains a great danger of intrusion by the Chinese. But the biggest problem is the strike at the  very jugular of Northvietnam will become very great. I am concerned about world opinion... IF th ewar is long and protracted, I believe it will be, then we will suffer because the world's greatest power cannot defeat guerillas

Johnson: But George, wouldn't all these countries say that Uncle Sam was a paper tiger, wouldn't we lose credibility breaking the word of three presidents?" (Williams)

In the election of 1964 President Johnson was relelected after defeating Goldwater. Ironically during re-election Johnson's slogan was geared toward the de-escalation of the war.

For more insight into the feelings of President Johnson toward the Vietnam in 1964 go to this audio where "Johnson speaks with Stone about a variety of issues, including policy in Panama and Vietnam"



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"The test before us as a people is not whether our commitments match our will and our courage; but whether we have the will and courage to match our commitments."- Johnson

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Interesting Links for Lyndon B. Johnson:

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The National Archives and Records Administration
Fast Facts online
The History Channel Online
American Presidents Life portraits
The National Archives and Records Administration
Mr. Charon's History Links- Audio


Ho Chi Minh


Last Update: 10 May 2000
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