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Vietnam War

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Johnson, not Kennedy, bears the responsibility for the escalation of the war in Vietnam. 'How far do you agree with this statement?' President Johnson must take major responsibility for the escalation of the war in Vietnam, however he cannot take full responsibility as Kennedy also played a part in increasing commitment there. Johnson takes the larger amount of responsibility as he took the first major escalatory step by approving of large scale bombing in Vietnam; Operation Rolling Thunder, as a response to the Gulf of Tonkin incident. LBJ was also the first President to send ground troops into Vietnam. LBJ may have also got further involved in Vietnam because he didn't want to 'lose Vietnam' like Truman 'lost China' because 'losing China' affected Truman's reputation greatly and therefore LBJ did not want the same to happen to him over Vietnam. ...read more.


Johnson has to take huge responsibility because Operation Rolling Thunder left America in a position where they could not pull out of Vietnam without trying to secure victory. Johnson believed that America should fight communist 'aggressors' in South-East Asia, whatever the cost and so he was the first President to send in ground troops into Vietnam, therefore resulting in a full-scale war. This is the second major step he took in escalating the war in Vietnam, and the most important. LBJ now put America in a position were they had to face the guerrilla fighters of the North face to face and they were expected to win. Johnson had now escalated the war to such an extent that previous Presidents may have just only thought about as an option. ...read more.


Although the coup was taken out by the ARVN, it did have some American involvement in it, this occurred during the time that Kennedy was President. Kennedy or Kennedy's government's influence in the coup increased commitment in Vietnam as they were now trying to be able to choose the government of South Vietnam. During Kennedy's time in office the number of military advisers in Vietnam were increased from 500 to 16,000. This increase meant that the commitment of America was also increasing, and therefore making it even harder for them to pull straight back out. LBJ also had the same foreign policy advisers as JFK; Robert McNamara and Dean Rusk. This meant that there were new fresh ideas being brought into the White House and therefore possibly the problem of Vietnam was still being tackled by Kennedy's ideas as Johnson did not have much experience in foreign policy. ...read more.

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