Initially, America got involved with Southern Vietnam in an attempt to protect it from being dominated by the Communists whose rule and systems, was disputed by the American Government. Northern Vietnam was already under Communists’ governance and was posing a threat of taking over the South. This paper attempts to analyze how the then president of the United States viewed the Vietnam conflict, his involvement and the effect it had on his decision not to run for re-election as President of the USA.
During Johnson’s reign as the president of America, he saw the political unrest between Northern and Southern Vietnam as a way of exposing America’s war against Communism, and to protect its integrity and reputation internationally besides popularizing his own political status. Therefore he had to devise a way to directly involve America in the battle front of the conflict. America had initially established operations at specific places in South Vietnam, one of which was at the Gulf of Tonkin which was off the Vietnamese coast. During the series of attacks that were carried to the south, there was an Advisory Council posted by America in Southern Vietnam working underway to help in retaliate against northern invasion. The American military forces were also involved in protecting America’s operation bases especially at the Gulf of Tonkin.
This being the prevailing situation: President Johnson and his advisory conspired and released false information to the media claiming that the North Vietnamese torpedo boats had carried out an unjustified attack on America’s boats during their routine patrol at the Gulf of Tonkin. Moreover America alleged that two days soon after the first assault, the North Vietnamese PT boats had carried out another intended assail on two American ships. The truth was rather different in that it was actually the American destroyer Maddox, which initiated the hostility during a regular guard by organizing attacks against the north, using the South Vietnamese fleet in conjunction with the Laotian air force. Consequently, the U.S used these claims as to win its crusade of intensifying martial weight on the north an achievement it had been yeaning for a long time. On the ground of these statements, the U.S Government stepped into the war deployed more militants and eventually taking over the battle front against the north. This was instigated when President Johnson declared a significant acceleration in the battle through the media. His announcement was followed by an air hit against North Vietnam. In the year that followed, the U.S forces started assails on specific places in the North. The President of Northern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh declined any peace terms unless the U.S ended the violence and withdrew all its soldiers from Vietnam. But on the contrary, the U.S. increased its militants even as the battle grew hotter, leading to the American armed forces taking lead in the warfare in the south.
Most of the militants who served in the American war were the less fortunate and unlearned youths. There was no much advancement of the American troops against their rivals despite the human and material provisions that the U.S. government had deployed for the operation. The Viet Cong forces from the north continued to retain their power over most of the vast countryside. The heavy equipments and weapons used by the U.S. forces in the combat mainly ruined property, villages and human whose aid was the main agenda of the U.S. legislators. Since the war on only resulting to losses on the American side, masses of people at home started to demonstrate in opposition to it. The dismal failure over Vietnam caused divisions yet among President Johnson’s Cabinet since inflation had already stricken as the demands of the war recorded high expenses. This crystallized into rise on taxes a resolution that devastated the civilians and was also against a plan set by President Johnson to eradicate poverty and improve the living standards of the poor.
The impact of the Vietnam War on American people was unenthusiastic. Its negative influence stemmed from the high costs of the warfare. It severely affected the economy of the U.S. notwithstanding that there was finally a tremendous victory on the battle while the Vietcong attained a political conquest. Nevertheless, President Lyndon’s political atmosphere changed mainly due to the fact that his quest for Vietnam liberation led to an economical strain to his subjects hence. The question of unfulfilled programs during his term also threatened his future in the political arena. Most of the people who participated in the war didn’t have anything to take pride even after the attained victory. Majority of them came back crippled only to find a distressed situation. This created an intensive political, economic and social desperation in U.S. There were also protests from the blacks, spearheaded by Dr Martin Luther King, campaigning for equal opportunities in the society and political levels. He was fighting for improved lifestyles for the blacks who mainly living below poverty lines. The execution of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in his presidential campaigns destabilized the entire country. The rioting masses needed a new person who would bring an aura of hope to the devastated crowd. The new president would definitely not come from among those who contributed to the prevailing anguish thus excluding President Johnson from the forthcoming government.
One can clearly perceive that Lyndon knew that his leadership was wanting since the undertakings of his government were the core reason to the upheavals in the country U.S. also needed a sober leader who would manage to revive and restore what was lost and provide a constructive directive for the future of the nation. There was also a lot to be done to revitalize and stabilize all the sectors of the government, a fact which I also believe contributed to frighten away Lyndon from vying for presidency. In conclusion, due Johnson’s involvement in the Vietnam War, his reign was a big blow to the history of U.S and greatly contributed to his decision not to run for re-election. However, the end of his government provided an opportunity for reconstruction of America and a basis to foster a promising outlook for the country both politically, socially and economically.