• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far was the military involvement in Vietnam during the Presidencies of LBJ and JFK the consequence of policies pursed in the 1950's?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How far was the military involvement in Vietnam during the Presidencies of LBJ and JFK the consequence of policies pursed in the 1950's? Historians have often argued over whether it was policies pursed in the 1950's by Truman and Eisenhower or policies pursed by Kennedy and Johnson in the 1960's that were the main cause for military involvement in Vietnam. Examining the policies pursed and actions taken in the 1950's and the 1960's I will try to determine which era played a greater role in the insertion of out right military forces. The main policy being pursed in the 1950's was that of Containment. This was based on the idea of stopping communism as soon as it started to spread. The fear was that, if communism took hold in one country it would spread to the neighbouring countries and eventually take over the whole area. This theory was known as the domino theory. Eisenhower and Truman had both follwed this policy of containment. Truman in the Truman Doctrine first stated it as a policy of the United States. Eisenhower continued this policy and expanded on the idea with the domino theory. ...read more.

Middle

He was also a democrat and therefore could not be seen as being weak on the communists. If he was seen as weak the democrats would not only lose the Presidency in 4 years but probably the mid term elections for congress. He was also young and many saw him as inexperienced. Kennedy wanted to shake off this image. Therefore as soon as he took office it was vital that he appear strong against the communist 'threat' in Vietnam. With the Bay of Pigs fiasco he became even more resolute in this policy. Kennedy increased aid to the South Vietnamese and sent over more 'advisors'. Increasing the number of advisors to almost 16000. He escalated the war even further. However it was necessary, as Kennedy like his predecessor he was following the policy of containment. The policy was never reviewed under Kennedy and remained unchanged. Whilst he was following this policy, handed down from the 1950's, Kennedy had no choice but to increase his aid and support to Vietnam. To combat the ever-increasing threat posed by the VC. As with Eisenhower, Kennedy's further escalation of the conflict in Vietnam was just a natural progression of the policy of containment. ...read more.

Conclusion

But for LBJ it was political suicide to do it. Not only would if have lost any attempted re-election, but the democrats would have also lost the mid terms and would be branded as weak against communists. The US Government still believed that all communism was controlled by Moscow, and that it was intent on spreading around the world. Whilst this may have appeared to be true in the late 40's and 50's, the evidence for it in the 1960's was not so concrete. However no one in either of the democratic administrations bothered to review the policy. The world had become a relatively more stable place in the 1960's. However LBJ and JFK did not take this into consideration when looking at their foreign policy. There policies were all based on that of the same policies followed in the 1950's. They did alter the policies to Vietnam by escalating the situation, however this was all in keeping with idea of containment. In the short term JFK and LBJ did increase military involvement in Vietnam following there own polices. However these policies all came from the 1950's. So the overall long term reason for them getting further involved in Vietnam was that of the policies of the 1950's. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Evaluate the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower.

    Although Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., is at times inconsistent or ignores important facts, he presents a good deal of relevant information in support of his arguments.

  2. How did the USA escalate their involvement in Vietnam?

    Although his personal popularity with the American public had not weakened during his eight years in office, the academic and journalistic communities that had criticized his occupancy, his policies, and his personal leadership continued to believe he had led ineffectively over the Vietnamese situation.

  1. US Policy towards Vietnam 1960-73

    Our power, therefore, is a very vital shield. If we are driven from the field in Vietnam, then no nation can ever again have the same confidence in American promise or protection. . We did not choose to be the guardians at the gate, but there is no one else".

  2. The role of partisan politics in the spread of McCarthyism

    Historian Daniel Bell combines the Lipset and Raab mentality with Rogin's ideas and observes that the groups (which included soured, conservative politicians, 24 the "new rich", 25 middle - class ethnic groups, 26 and right-wing intellectuals 27) supported McCarthyism because of his stance against the intellectual and elite and, Bell

  1. Free essay

    Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950's and 1960's

    Laos lapsed into a civil war-raising American fear of a new communist state and the Domino Effect. More aid was given as well because the communist Hanoi government was getting more and more involved in the South e.g. By 1962, the NLF(National Liberation Front- South Vietnamese guerrilla communists set up

  2. Why Did the USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s

    To show us that the USA was determined to do as much as they can in this war they had spent 70 per cent of the war budget to help France keep fighting. In 1945 the French had tried retuning to power by planning an attack on the Vietminh, in

  1. Examine the main premises behind Eisenhower's concept of containment

    It also called for the cut back of the post-Korean army strength of twenty divisions to fourteen by 1957, a cut of 500,000 men, the navy to be cut only slightly by a few ships and 100,000 men, where as the air force would be increased by 30,000 men.12 1954

  2. America's involvement in WWII

    On the following day Roosevelt argued that the attack "had given us an opportunity". Congress approved the declaration of war with only one dissenting voice. Eleanor Roosevelt noted that the effect of the Japanese attack was "to release my husband from months and pent-up tension and anxiety".

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work