Why did President Lyndon Johnson decide to send combat troops to Vietnam in 1965 - Essay Example

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After the successful revolution which saw the defeat of the French, Vietnam was divided into two countries. North Vietnam was established as a socialist country while South Vietnam was built following model of western democracies. …
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Why did President Lyndon Johnson decide to send combat troops to Vietnam in 1965
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Download file to see previous pages Because it served as a buffer against the further spread of communism in the region, the West, especially the United States made serious efforts in supporting the South. However, South Vietnam’s government apparently failed in living up to the expectations of its people when it comes to uplifting them from poverty and landlessness. In the midst of worse economic disparities between the government bureaucrats and the majority of the people, the National Liberation Front or the Viet Cong began to advance an insurgency with ample support from the North. During the term of Pres. John F. Kennedy, the policy of the U.S. was still that of extreme caution. In treating the Vietnam issue, the Kennedy administration practiced the minimum requirement of the policy of containment, which is to provide logistical support and training to the South Vietnamese Army in order to make it capable in fighting the Viet Cong. By the time of his death, Kennedy had already sent more than 15,000 U.S. military advisors to Vietnam. Even with the presence of that many troops already in a foreign country, the demand for more continued to rise as South Vietnam’s security problems continued to grow worse. ...
Just like his predecessors, it was obvious that Johnson was very concerned with how one piece of the domino is about to fall, South Vietnam. It was the domino theory that inspired Kennedy to let the U.S. take an active role in South Vietnam by providing advisors and war materiel to the South Vietnamese Army. It was also this theory that would eventually prompt Johnson to send ground troops to the country. However, the orientation of the large numbers of U.S. troops sent to South Vietnam was not really to strike at the most potential source of support for the insurgency, which is the North. Although the ground troops were utilized to hit the local insurgents, the Viet Cong, they were instructed to take defensive posture against the North Vietnamese Army. This was apparently guided by a political and military response to the domino effect: containment. Containment is essentially defensive posture against the further spread of communism. For politicians who would not want to be labeled as too soft on the communists and who also do not wish to be considered as militarists or hawks, standing for policy of containment would seem to be the viable option. Pres. Johnson was an advocate of containment and this could be seen in the years immediately after he took over when Kennedy died. This policy, however, was constantly criticized by the political right in the U.S. as a sign of weakness, or of the unwillingness to venture into an escalated war that would achieve a quick and decisive victory against the enemy. Johnson defended his policy of containment well during the 1964 elections. His rival, Sen. Barry Goldwater often raised the issue of Vietnam just to portray him as a weak president at a time when the U.S. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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