President Kennedy's Role In The Vietnam War

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President Kennedy believed that Dwight Eisenhower’s approach to conflict was too aggressive. Soon after being sworn in as President, he appointed a group of advisors to help him devise a new strategy to deal with the communist conflicts. In March of 1961, “Kennedy presented to Congress an outline of a strategy that would come to be known as Flexible Deterrent Options” or flexible response, “and it was adopted as an official national security policy of the United States” (Flexible). This strategy gave the President the ability to be flexible in his reaction to conflict with either military or nonmilitary options. In 1962, President Kennedy was informed that the Soviet Union was supplying Cuba. All of his advisors wanted to go to war.…show more content…
Nevertheless, he increased military troops in South Vietnam. The government “was determined not to lose either the nation of South Vietnam or the broader region of Southeast Asia to communism, cementing its military commitment to Vietnam” (1961–1968: The Presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson). Kennedy was growing frustrated with the volatile issues in Vietnam. In September of 1963, “he declared of the South Vietnamese: ‘In the final analysis it’s their war. They’re the ones who have to win it or lose it’” (Tindall and Shi). Shortly after that he declared that the U.S. would remove military forces by the end of 1965. President Johnson assumed presidency in November of 1963 after the assassination of President Kennedy. He continued the flexible response strategy. Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf resolution in August 1964, which allowed the President to “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attach against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression” (Tindall and Shi). In early 1965, Johnson reluctantly declared war on Vietnam. In February of 1965, attacks by Viet Cong gorillas forced President Johnson to call for Operation Rolling Thunder. Johnson knew the war must not escalate to the point that the Chinese and Soviets would join. This meant that the United States was not likely to be victorious in the Vietnam War (Tindall and

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