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Lyndon Johnson and how he handle the Tet offensive - Research Paper Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction The Tet Offensive on 30th January 1968 was the most unexpected events and most destructive during Vietnam War. It was carried out on the day of Buddhist holiday (Tet) which is considered a period of truce and as such, what the communists and Viet Cong did on that day caught many by surprise…
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Lyndon Johnson and how he handle the Tet offensive
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Lyndon Johnson and how he handle the Tet offensive

Download file to see previous pages... Johnson the president of United States. His domestic public support for the war waned leading to his abandonment of re-election in the 1968 elections. As for Giap the North Vietnamese army general “they were not able to destroy enemy forces but the offensive sent shudders through vital points” (Willbanks, 2008, p. 66). However, the question we need to ask ourselves is: why was the Tet offensive carried out in the first place and how did Lyndon Johnson handle it? Americans under General William Westmoreland took troops to Vietnam for continuity of its foreign policy of containing the spread of communism and for nation building just like Lyndon’s predecessor John Kennedy. North Vietnam under General Giap wanted to win the war fast and weaken South Vietnam military and at the same time provoke an uprising that would see the overthrow of government which was under Thieu. However, they underestimated the military power of allied forces hence the defeat. Many criticisms have been leveled against Johnson on the way he handled the whole affair. The doves believed American should not have been involved in the war in the first place while the hawks supported the effort. This paper will argue that Johnson was guided by his domestic as well as foreign policy when handling the offensive. He only had two options: leave his domestic program of “Great Society” and get involved in war thus risk losing all programs at home or seek peace and let the communists win the war but this option would have rendered him a coward. He could not have the “guns and butter” as Eisenhower used to say (Bringham, 2008, p. 119). He had an option of granting Westmoreland more troops to finish the war but this would have resulted into full-scale war attracting China and Soviet Union into the war. On the other hand, withdrawing the troops and seek peace but this would definitely result in defeat. The withdrawal of the troops in the end gave North Vietnam the edge and when war finally ended in 1975, South Vietnam was under control of the communists. Background Tet Offensive of 1968 was carried out in the midst of Vietnam War. The war was an extension of the cold war between two superpowers: U.S and U.S.S.R after the Second World War. Though the two nations collaborated against common enemies such as Japanese and Germany, it was clear that the two had tense relations filled with suspicions and lack of trust. The two super powers had very divergent political ideals; the U.S wanted states to free and democratic under capitalism form of government while the U.S.S.R viewed capitalism as a source of all evil and the cause of world war in the first place. It thus wanted to eliminate capitalism and replace it with communism hence the beginning of cold war. The cold war shaped U.S foreign policy for decades to come with Harry S. Truman’s doctrine of containment being the guide. It was meant to contain the spread of communism by using U.S funds to promote economic development in affected nations especially Europe and South Eastern Asia. A developed nation which takes care of the well-being of its people and lets them determine their future by electing a democratic government would combat communism spread. U.S.S.R on the other hand, was bent of spreading communism especially to border countries for security reasons. Various indirect wars were fought in the struggle for dominance ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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