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lyndon baines johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson
  • After Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson assumed the presidency and inherited the Vietnam dilemma. While trying to avoid a full-fledged war, Johnson authorized the bombing of North Vietnam and the first major deployments of U.S. ground troops in the South. After the Tet Offensive in 1968, Johnson announced that he would halt the bombing and not run again for president.
robert s mcnamara
Robert S. McNamara
  • Secretary of Defense
  • McNamara shaped U.S. policy in Vietnam-and the presentation of it to the American people-as much as any American with the exceptions of Presidents Johnson and Nixon. While publicly confident about U.S. capabilities in Vietnam, McNamara grew increasingly doubtful in private. He resigned in 1968.
gen william westmoreland
Gen. William Westmoreland
  • Chief tactical commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam under LBJ. Criticized for requesting increasing troop numbers for deployment to Vietnam after the Tet Offensive.
operation rolling thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder
  • Three months after being elected president, Lyndon B. Johnson launched Operation Rolling Thunder. Unlike the single bombing raid in August 1964, this time the raids were to take place on a regular basis. The plan was to destroy the North Vietnam economy and to force her to stop helping the guerrilla fighters in the south. Bombing was also directed against territory controlled by the NLF in South Vietnam. The plan was for Operation Rolling Thunder to last for eight weeks but it lasted for the next three years. In that time, the US dropped 1 million tons of bombs on Vietnam.
search and destroy
Search and Destroy
  • “We had to destroy the town in order to save it.”
  • Uprooting villagers with suspected ties to Viet Cong, killing livestock and burning villages. Over 3 million refugees created.
pacification
Pacification
  • The military, political, economic, and social process of establishing or reestablishing local government responsive to and involving the participation of the people. It includes the provision of sustained, credible territorial security, the destruction of the enemy's underground government, the assertion or re-assertion of political control and involvement of the people in government, and the initiation of economic and social activity capable of self-sustenance and expansion. the economic element of pacification includes the opening of roads and waterways, and the maintenance of lines of communication important to economic and military activity.
  • Campaign to win the “hearts and minds”
defoliation
Defoliation
  • Napalm
    • Gas Bomb that set fire to the jungle
defoliation1
Defoliation
  • Agent Orange
  • Toxic chemical that killed plant life and devestated the landscape. There were 19 million gallons of defoliant used in Viet Nam. Each plane could destroy 350 acres of forest per run. A spray run took less than 4 minutes, used 1,000 gallons of Agent Orange and was often sprayed by 3 planes flying side by side. That meant 1 run equaled 1,000 acres of jungle destroyed.