Explain why LBJ escalated US involvement in Vietnam in 1965? 12 Marks
Lyndon B Johnson came into office January 1995, after been elected president by the American Public in November 1964. Johnson inherited a war that wasn’t really developed military but something that was aimed to developing the South Vietnamese army rather than send in American ground troops. Furthermore Johnson accepted the Communist threat and he believed that it was essential to contain this threat. Furthermore he didn’t want to be the first American president to be in charged when it suffered its first military defeat. Due to this Johnson was the president that escalated the American presence in South Vietnam.
Johnson suggested too many Americans that the war should only be fought by South Vietnamese people as it’s in their best interest to protect their own country. Many military advisors where only in Vietnam to train up the South Vietnamese army. However the South Vietnam army was never strong enough to with stand the North Vietnamese army. This led to Johnson escalating military actions as he didn’t want South Vietnam to fall to communism.
Johnson’s main aim to get in do the job and get out because he knew a lengthy conflict in Vietnam would rapidly lose support of both the Congress and American people. He was advised by General William Westmorland to bring in ground troops after the US Air base had become under attack from the North. Johnson responded by bringing in 3500 Marines and by late December in 1965 this had increased to almost 200,000 American ground troops.
In addition, another reason for Johnson escalating US involvement in Vietnam at the time was mainly because the idea of containment was a big issue in America at the time among the US Cold War policy. Johnson had the idea of by showing North Vietnam they couldn’t win the war they would eventually begin peace talks. He did this by continuous bombing of North Vietnam, also known as ‘Operation Rolling Thunder.’...
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