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3. Why could Johnson not win in Vietnam?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about why Johnson was unable to win the war in Vietnam, focusing in particular on: (i) his failure to learn the lessons from the French experience in Vietnam; (ii) the popularity of the Communist regime in North Vietnam, cf. the unpopularity of Communism in Eastern Europe; (iii) the extent to which the South Vietnamese government was associated with a foreign occupying power; (iv) Johnson's failure to rally support for the war in Vietnam, (v) the impact of the Tet Offensive on Johnson's credibility, the concept of the 'credibility gap'; (vi) the extent to which the nature of warfare in Vietnam nullified the United States' military superiority; (vii) Johnson's meetings with informal foreign policy advisors, 'The Wise Men', and their failure to read the situation in Vietnam; (viii) the 1968 presidential election and the decision of both Robert F. Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy to challenge Johnson for the democratic nomination on anti-war platforms; and (ix) Johnson's announcement on 31 March 1968 that he would not be seeking the Democratic nomination, and his retirement from politics.
In this course, Professor Mark White (Queen Mary, University of London) explores the life, political career and presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson through five key questions: (1) How did Johnson rise to power?; (2) Why did Johnson go to war in Vietnam?; (3) Why could Johnson not win in Vietnam?; (4) Why did Johnson launch the Great Society and how successful was it?; and (5) What was Johnson's legacy?
Mark White is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London, specialising in US foreign policy in the Cold War and the US presidency since 1945. His recent publications include Against the President: Dissent and Decision-Making in the White House (2007) and The Presidency of Bill Clinton: The Legacy of a New Domestic and Foreign Policy (2012)
Cite this Lecture
White, M. (2021, March 15). The Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-69 - Why could Johnson not win in Vietnam? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-lyndon-b-johnson-1963-69-white/why-could-johnson-not-win-in-vietnam
White, M. "The Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-69 – Why could Johnson not win in Vietnam?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Mar 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-lyndon-b-johnson-1963-69-white/why-could-johnson-not-win-in-vietnam