Turning point of the Cold War and JKF Assassination

7 July 2016

The assassination of President Kennedy was the turning point in history as many felt he and his family was American royalty, he had the ability to reach Americans through his speeches, as it helped Americans through some stressful times in cold war history, he was a catalyst in allowing Americans to be part of history from the first walk on the moon and the equality of all human rights in the United States. One of his most famous sayings and what rallied so many Americans behind President Kennedy:

“And so my fellow Americans… ask not what your country can do for you… ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world… ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. ” On November 22, 1963, just three weeks after Diem’s assassination in Saigon, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office, kept Kennedy’s key Vietnam advisors in place, and pledged, “Let us continue. ” The United States would soon be well past the point of no return in Vietnam.

Turning point of the Cold War and JKF Assassination Essay Example

For President Johnson, it was very difficult to repudiate his predecessors’ legacy in Vietnam, especially the fact he was not elected but became President by default due to the death of President Kennedy. Johnson and his administration felt compelled to escalate the U. S. involvement as more and more Americans were becoming increasingly vulnerable to the Vietcong attacks. On May 4, 1964, a trade embargo was imposed on North Vietnam, this in fact was a notable stepping up of hostilities.

Some would say trade embargoes can be more effective than the actual art of war. But in many cases these trade embargoes are the catalyst for initiation of war, in this such case with the Vietnam War. In 1965, Johnson began sending ground troops into Vietnam, from this point on the Vietnam War was nicknamed “Johnson’s war. ” Johnson also felt it necessary to continue the war just to honor the other three Presidents who were associated with this war (Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy) he felt an

exit from this war would have damaged the US credibility as an anti-Communist superpower. Some historians believe Kennedy had an opportunity to extricate the US from Vietnam in 1963. But Johnson felt that when the Kennedy administration colluded in the autumn of 1963 the coup against Diem, the US had the moral responsibility in the commitment to Vietnam increased since the US helped removed one of South Vietnamese leaders, the US had an even greater reason and obligation to support the next Democratic successor.

It is also said by some historians that even though President Kennedy may have had an opportunity to get out of Vietnam in 1963, there is no clear point where that would have been feasible as the US had invested nearly a decade of monetary aid, men and materials in the Saigon regime by the time of Kennedy’s demise. Also, by this time the US was heavily invested in the credibility of “nation building” something Kennedy’s predecessors had not done. The American intervention in Vietnam began in 1963 with direct aim of stopping the South falling into ‘communist’ hands.

In August of that year, Lyndon Johnson, who had taken over the American presidency in the wake of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, ordered the first air strikes on the North. Six months later the ‘Rolling Thunder’ air campaign began. In this campaign alone more bombs were dropped on North Vietnam alone than were used in the whole of the Second World War. In the following five years the two Vietnams received the equivalent of 22 tons of explosives for every square mile of territory, or 300lb for every man, women and child. 7 million tons of bombs and defoliants were dropped in total and 2.

6 million Vietnamese were killed. The American deployment jumped from 23,300 in 1963 to 184,000 in 1966 and reached a peak of 542,000 in January 1969 under Richard Nixon’s presidency. The Tet offensive is seen as the great turning point: from then on the war, costing ? 30 billion a year, was widely acknowledged as unwinnable by the Americans. It was only a matter of time before mighty US imperialism was humiliatingly forced to withdraw. The Tet Offensive took Americans by surprise, the major objectives had been to drive a wedge between the Americans and the South Vietnamese.

The attack on the US embassy was an attempt to show the vulnerability of the American armed forces. The Vietcong had hoped that the Tet Offensive action and the liberation of towns and cities would lead to an uprising against the US their belief was the South Vietnamese soldiers were tired and weary soldiers, dislocated peasantry, fractious youth and widely discontented layers of South Vietnamese society were ready to join the struggle. But unfortunately this was not the case and the Vietcong had sporadic recruitment from this campaign.

The Tet Offensive also aided in changing the view and minds of the American people as this was the same time, live televised coverage of the war was a harsh reality to so many Americans which had changed their views on the Vietnam War. President Johnson became increasingly unpopular to the point he had chosen not to seek re-election during the following Presidential campaign. The Tet Offensive was the true turning point for US involvement in the Vietnam War, it was the catalyst for Nixon’s campaign to bring troops back home and pulling out of the war.

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