Compare and contrast Nixon's, Kennedy's and Johnson's policies on Vietnam.Compare and contrast Nixon's, Kennedy's and Johnson's policies on Vietnam.

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To be fair, Kennedy did not really get time to act on Vietnam. He was cut down in the beginning of the conflict, when we were still in the feeling out stage. Johnson inherited the presidency and the war, and had enough on his plate. He wanted to appear strong, so he decided to take on the war. Nixon inherited the war at its worst, when it was unpopular and we were floundering. Getting out was the only feasible option.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are many points that could be made here, but for the sake of keeping it short, I will look at the main aspects of each man's policies.

  • Kennedy's policy was to advise and guide South Vietnam.  Under JFK, the US was not very directly involved in the war.
  • Under Johnson, the US became much more deeply involved and was trying to win the war on its own.  It was under LBJ that US troop levels reached their peak.  His only goal was to win the war at any cost.
  • Nixon was trying to get out of the war.  He gave us "Vietnamization" and the search for "peace with honor."  By the time he came to office, Nixon pretty much thought the war could not be won and was not worth it.  Most of his actions were aimed at trying to get a decent peace treaty.

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