Why did Johnson escalate key involvement in Vietnam Essay

613 WordsOct 7, 20133 Pages
Why did Johnson escalate key involvement in Vietnam Charlotte Woolcott Johnson’s escalation in Vietnam was a defining moment of his presidency. Many things influenced him to escalate, including the cold war context, the advice from the working group, the weakness of the South Vietnamese Government, and protecting the US bases. I think that the main factor which influenced Johnson to escalate US Involvement was the advice given to him by the Working group because these were his closest and most trusted advisors. Johnson felt that if Vietnam became communist, then American interests and security would be threatened by a stronger communist network. Politically, Johnson would lose the mid-term elections…show more content…
With the free hand recently provided by Congress, Johnson presumed that escalation would help to protect his soldiers. He ordered the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy to begin an intense series of air strikes called “Operation Rolling Thunder”. He hoped that the bombing campaign would demonstrate to the South Vietnamese the U.S. commitment to their cause, and its resolve to halt the spread of Communism. Ironically, the air raids seemed only to increase the number of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army attacks. Johnson ordered a Working group from the defence Department, the State Department, the CIA, and the JCS to study Vietnam and suggest policy options. The Working Group said that an independent and anti-Communist South Vietnam was vital to America. During the Cold War many of the foreign policy analysts subscribed to "The Domino Theory" — which contended that should one country come under communist rule, its neighbours were likely to follow suit. Johnson thought that America would have to take a stand and that if they didn’t, then the American prestige would be at stake. Johnson listened to the working group as they were considered “the best and the brightest” – there were very few voices against what they had to say. Johnson could never have envisaged what he had started. By the time of the 1968 presidential election, America had become involved in a war that was to take on far greater dimensions than anyone could have
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