Primary Source Investigation #2
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This discussion addresses the following outcome:
Analyze policy options related to Vietnam available to Lyndon Johnson through 1965 (CO#1);
Interpret key primary sources related to situation assessment and policy decisions from 1963-1965 (CO#3).
By 1965, there was a good deal of international disagreement concerning the fate of Vietnam. Chinese and the Soviet leaders preferred any policy that would strengthen North Vietnam and present the greatest long-run chance for Vietnam to be united under a communist government. The French (and much of the rest of the international community) were fearful of the ramifications of an all-out war involving the US in Vietnam. US policymakers believed that a conciliatory approach, such as ones proposed by the French and others, would invariably lead to an advantageous situation for North Vietnam.
For this activity, consider the primary sources among this week’s readings: Tonkin Bay Resolution [PDF File size, 12 KB], Aggression from the North “White Paper” on Vietnam. [PDF File size, 96 KB] France’s Attitude Toward US Policy in Vietnam [PDF File size, 161 KB], and “A Compromise Solution in South Vietnam” Memorandum. [PDF File size, 104 KB]
After reading these primary sources, Chapter 4 in Herring, and listening to/reading the Module 4 Notes Presentation
(Links to an external site.)
Links to an external site.
, consider the following questions/directives as you craft a post of at least 250 words:
How does the State Department “white paper” depict the situation in Vietnam in 1965?
Why was the US, in effect, wholly against the approach proposed by de Gaulle?
Using the primary sources as well as the other course readings, pretend you are an advisor to the president. Create a list of policy options (what Johnson could have decided to do) available to Johnson in 1965. Then, select the one you believe he should have, in retrospect, taken. Explain why.