Cold War: Which Us President, Eisenhower, Kennedy or Johnson, Is Most Responsible for Committing the Us to War in Viet Nam?

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  • Topic: John F. Kennedy, Vietnam War, Lyndon B. Johnson
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  • Published : May 18, 2009
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Which US President, Eisenhower, Kennedy or Johnson, is most responsible for committing the US to war in Viet Nam?

When asked to choose who is the most responsible for committing the United States to war in Vietnam, I’d have to say it was President John F. Kennedy. Although the United States was already involved with Vietnam during Eisenhower’s presidency, our involvement increased drastically because of Kennedy’s continuous increase in aid to South Vietnam. If it weren’t for is continuing increase in aid, the United States wouldn’t have been so committed to the war in Vietnam and the US could have exited it much sooner without appearing as though we were abandoning the people of South Vietnam.

At the end of Eisenhower’s presidency, the United States was involved with Vietnam on a very minimal level. The United States was neither committed nor trapped with their decision to help out in Vietnam. It wasn’t until Kennedy began to increase the aid in South Vietnam when the United States became fully committed and therefore was unable to pull out without losing the war; something that has never happened before. It began when the Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, suggested American involvement in Vietnam and escalated with the Rostow-Taylor mission. This mission reported that South Vietnam had enough strength to substantiate a major United States effort. Kennedy accepted the mission and in turn increased the shipment of troops and equipment to South Vietnam. The amount of American advisors in South Vietnam had increased from a few hundred during Eisenhower’s term to 15,000 by November of 1963. Because of the huge increase of aid and presence in South Vietnam, the US became more deeply rooted in the conflict making it harder for them to back out of. In addition, Kennedy felt as though America could not afford to back down anywhere and the Kennedy administration was guided by the idea that the United States, as Theodore Sorenson put it, “could supply better training,...
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