President Kennedy was firmly committed to a intervention in Vietnam as he needed to prove himself as president- how far do you agree with this statement? (12 marks)
The most significant reason to why Kennedy had intervened in Vietnam was due to his Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara who was really close to Kennedy. He played the most important role as he encouraged Kennedy to send US advisors, and advocated large intervention in Vietnam. McNamara had pushed forward Kennedy’s ideas on Vietnam by advocated large scale bombing in Vietnam. He was known as the ‘statistic man’, which was great but very concerning as his lack of historical knowledge and his tendency to try to reduce problems to statistical by eliminating the human factor was deadly. Even with many lives lost Kennedy needed to prove himself as president and to do that he believed in the Domino Theory.
The domino theory was a theory by President Eisenhower on how if one country fell, the ones close by would fall as well to communism. Kennedy believed in this theory and was committed to stop it from happening at any cost. To do this Kennedy sent more military advisors to Vietnam to train the South Vietnamese in fighting against communism guerrilla attacks. This showed commitment as he sent more than 15 000 men to Vietnam to stop it from falling to communism. This linked to Kennedy’s youth and inexperience as he really miscalculated US involvement in Vietnam.
Similarly, Kennedy was aware of his youth and inexperience which made him keen in foreign affairs such as Vietnam. From the advice given to him by Dulles that America should not intervene in Vietnam due to what happened to France, Kennedy failed to listen because he was inexperienced and didn’t know the consequences would be major. He was determined to show that being young and a little inexperience is not that of a bad thing and that it has a lot of good to it. This links to him wanting to keep a good reputation.
Finally, Kennedy felt...
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