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Johnsons Conflict

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Sealion13
Words 1178
Pages 5
Johnson’s Limited War

DeVry University

November, 2013

The year 1965 could easily have been named Lyndon Johnson’s “Conflicted Conflict”. When we consider the big picture of 1965, the war in South Vietnam is not exactly progressing, as those in Washington would like, anyway. There have already been limited strikes against some targets in North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. However, the full brunt of American military force has yet to be felt by Hanoi. General Westmoreland, a decorated veteran of two wars is in command at MACV and devised several strategies to allay Johnson’s greater concerns over a wider war. This paper examines Johnson’s trepidation with widening the war in South East Asia, the strategies he was offered to allay some of these fears, and finally a general assessment of the “Rules of Engagement” as they were applied in Vietnam. President Johnson’s unconditional war on poverty was his greatest concern in early 1965, over all he wanted to complete the work of the New Deal and include all Americans in the prosperity of freedom. He was also a fervent believer in containing communism, and did not intend to loose South East Asia in the same manner that China was lost. (Moss, 2010 p.122) Additionally he feared broadening the war because there was always the possibility that if the United States became too aggressive in its prosecution the Soviets and or Red China may intervene. The Chinese intervention in Korea was still a fresh memory. The idea of 2.5 million communist troops pouring into Vietnam armed with modern weapons was too close to the human waves encountered by allied forces in Korea 13 years previous. Johnson’s apprehension may very well have been an internal conflict between stamping out communism in Vietnam, and keeping the world from nuclear war. Fortunately, for Johnson, General Westmoreland had a plan to...

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