How did Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon deal with Vietnam and what were the similarities and differences in their plans? Was any particular plan more effective or less effective?
When JFK was elected president in 1960 he vowed to support the government of Diem in South Vietnam in an effort to contain communism. He supported the domino theory and he was convinced that if South Vietnam were to become communist then other states within the vicinity would do the same as a result. Kennedy did not want to see that happen.
In 1961 Kennedy agreed that America should finance an increase in the size of the South Vietnamese Army from 150,000 to 170,000. He also agreed that an extra 1000 US military advisors should be sent to South Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese army. However neither of these decisions were announced publicly because they broke agreements made at the 1954 Geneva agreement.
During JFK's presidency the Strategic Hamlet program was introduced. This joint U.S. South Vietnamese program attempted to settle the rural population into fortified camps. The aim was to isolate the population from the insurgents , provide education and healthcare and strengthen the government's hold over the countryside. However this was a failure and drove many South Vietnamese peasants into supporting the North Vietnamese communists because the peasants resented being removed from their ancestral villages. Kennedy was informed of this and his response was to send more military advisors to South Vietnam. His aim was to have 12,000 of these advisors in place by the end of 1962. JFK also sent 300 helicopters with US pilots. They were told to avoid military combat at all costs but this would prove to be impossible.
Some Buddhist's monks expressed their opposition to Diem's government bycommitting suicide in public in 1963. Kennedy soon realized that Diem could never unite South Vietnam and he agreed that the CIA shoud initiate a program to overthrow him. Diem was eventually overthrown and killed in November, 1963 several weeks prior to JFK's assassination.
After Kennedy's assassination Vice President Lyndon Johnson was immediately sworn in as President. Johnson was a fervent supporter of the domino theory and he wanted to support South Vietnam against the National Liberation ...
This solution provides a discussion of how Presidents Kennedy , Johnson and Nixon handled the Vietnam War.