• 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...


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.


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.


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. The role of partisan politics in the spread of McCarthyism

    By brandishing the convenient issue of Communist infiltration, conservative Republicans not only gained control of Congress by 1950, 27 but found a useful instrument in Joe McCarthy by backing and intensifying his drive against "internal subversion" and, essentially, the Democrats, with an eye to the elections of 1952.

  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. Free essay

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

    For example, the South Vietnamese government gave back farming land abandoned by owners during the Indochina War (1941-54).

  2. Assess the strategic strengths and weaknesses of America's 'containment of communism' policy since 1945.

    So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences."13 As you can see the terminology of Alsop and Eisenhower is very similar, they both saw that if one country becomes communist then others surrounding would inevitably fall as well.

  1. America In Vietnam, 1953-73

    lengths to demonstrate this opposition; some even lost their lives in protest. In the immediate aftermath of Kent State 80 universities were closed by protests and 100's more were disrupted. Also Reserve Officer Training Centres(ROTC) were burned at a rate of about 4 a day on university campuses.

  2. US Policy towards Vietnam 1960-73

    These events convinced Kennedy that Diem would never be successful in uniting the South Vietnamese against communism. Several attempts had already been made to overthrow Diem but Kennedy had always instructed the CIA and the US military forces to protect him.

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

    Between 1959 and 1961 on average 4000 South Vietnamese officials were assassinated a year. This shows us that the USA had become involved in the Vietnam War because of there helpful leader Diem to help prevent the spread of communism.

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

    Eisenhower was adamant not to rage another land-war like that of Korea again, it was unthinkable that the United States should secure an armistice in Korea and then send US troops to fight another local War somewhere else. It would not only be hypocritical, but it was both costly in

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