Military Industrial Complex in Vietnam

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On 26 July 1950, President Harry Truman approved a multi-million dollar military assistance package designed to help the French defeat a strong communist movement in French Indochina. The package included $15 million worth of military equipment and a small number of American military advisors assigned to supervise the flow of tanks, plans, artillery, and other equipment.1 By 1954, the United States government had provided 80% of the war supplies used by the French in Indochina which equated to about $3 billion.2 This marked the beginning of the United States involvement in Southeast Asia and the expansion of the military-industrial complex in America. This paper will explore the role the American military-industrial complex played as part…show more content…
But much of this fear was driven by American newspapers. In 1951, Charles E. Wilson praised the American Newspaper Publishers Association for basically convincing the free world that they were in constant danger. Wilson also told the group that because of this perceived danger, Congress was now able to budget vast sums of money to avert it.10 At the advent of the 1960s, Eisenhower’s definition of the military-industrial complex had fundamentally been altered by President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy, along with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, consolidated the military industry process and set up controls similar to that of a major corporation.11 As Commander-in-Chief, Kennedy resisted pressure from senior military advisors to send additional troops into Vietnam. Kennedy’s desire was to have all troops out of Southeast Asia by 1965.12 These beliefs were reinforced by the failures of the Bay of Pigs operation in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Kennedy had no desire to escalate the Cold War which was contrary to what the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Central Intelligence Agency wanted. By refusing to go to war, Kennedy was also reducing the possibility of greater profits for many defense contractors. Despite the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating Kennedy, the speculation that the CIA or members of the military-industrial complex were somehow
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