April 17, 2008
Vietnam War (continued)
2. Johnson and “Americanization” of the War – When Johnson because president after
Kennedy, he decides he needs to help the South. The aftermath of the “attacks”, Johnson
did two things, authorized bombings and told congress that we had been attacked on in
neutral seas. Asked congress to do what he need to.
A. Crucial Decisions and Why?
1. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution – After the incidents mentioned above this resolution was
approved by congress. Gives Johnson to do whatever is needed to keep South Vietnam
under control. He ups our military commitment, turns it into an American war, American
troops are fighting the viet kong army.
2. Americanization of War – Builds air force bases in SV and bombs the hell out of them.
They are attacked by the viet kong, so he gives the marines permission to protect them,
and then something else, this equals a slow escalation. Viet kong is a result of the
containment doctrine, this is something that trapped Johnson in the war, the political
parties in the US also have him trapped. If he does not make a stance in SV the
Republicans will not let his “programs” continue.
1. “Phased Escalation” – To hurt the viet kong until they give up. Kill as many as we can,
and inflict pain in their patrons, NV, where they get their supplies. But the NV has two
big allies, the Soviet Union and China. So we must be careful with our attacks. Inflict the
pain in limited ways. Summer 1965 Jonson is told he needs to bring more troops in, so he
does a little at a time to get to a level to defend SV. When SV is safe he won’t send more
troops in. After 3 years of this there are 538,000 troops in SV, before their we only
2. “Rolling Thunder” – At the same time as above he begins this bombing campaign.
This is relentless. Everyone thinks that the US will be successful. How can we lose, look
at our technology. 225,000 dead viet kong and NV army, Johnson uses this figure to tell
the US that we are winning in 1967. 65, 66, 67, this is when protest begin. In 1967, the