COMPARISON OF JOHNSON AND NIXON WAR TECHNIQUES 1
Comparisonand Contrast of Johnson and Nixon Approaches in the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was one of the earliest military missions that the USundertook with the hopes of reducing the influence of the USSR in theworld. In fact, the army supported the Southern Vietnam forces thatwanted to defeat the Northern region. In the process, the governmentspent vast sums of money towards supporting the forces that neededvehicles, weapons as well as food supply. In this case, LyndonJohnson and Richard Nixon are the two leaders that initiatedimportant moves in the war. Johnson promised to remove the forcesfrom Vietnam, but, later increased their number secretly, and themove angered the Americans. On the other hand, Nixon tried to reducethe influence of America in the war and empowered the SouthernVietnamese forces instead. This essay will compare and contrast theapproaches that the two presidents used in attacking Vietnam and theresponse it evoked among the American civilians.
Both Johnson and Nixon regarded the Vietnam forces as an enemy thatthey had to face and defeat. However, their approaches were quitedifferent since each one of them had policies that defined theirconduct. Johnson promised the American public that he would reducetheir involvement in the war in order to win the war. Later, heacknowledged that his plan was insufficient and he decided that hewill increase the troops to defeat the forces from the North Vietnam.In fact, he initiated the “Operation Rolling Thunder” thatlaunched a number of attacks on the North Vietnam side1.The air bombings were the ones that intensified the attacks and tryto win the war in the end. In particular, it was an approach thatwanted to demoralize the forces from the Northern part while itmotivated the Southern side. Johnson also tried to keep theincreased involvement a secret since he knew that the American publicwill respond negatively2.In the process, the civilians noticed that the forces had beenintensified and the war was less likely to end. In summary, Johnsonbelieved that winning the war will be achieved by increasing theforces to fight against the North Vietnamese.
Nixon, on the other hand, decided to withdraw the American soldiersand empowered the South Vietnamese to make sure that they had theability to handle the war. In this case, he named the mission the“Vietnamization” since it was a way of leaving the two sideshandles their domestic issues without any interference. Moreimportant, Nixon withdrew 540,000 soldiers and ensured that the SouthVietnamese were able to find weapons, money as well as training3.Hence, the approach was a way of ensuring that the forces had theability to fight without the help of the Americans that had gone backto their home country. His technique was just a way of turning theconflict into a civil war between the Northern and the Southern side.He also wanted to achieve victory without spilling the blood of theAmerican soldiers. As a result, Nixon’s policy was able to appeasethe Vietnamese as well as the American public4.The scenario showed that he had met the promises that he had given tothe voters that had given him the seat. Even if his domesticachievements were not successful compared to Johnson’s record, hewas able to win their trust.
Johnson’s failure to end the war was met by violent response whilethe Americans praised Nixon for removing the troops from Vietnam. Inparticular, the Johnson took the funds that were supposed to benefitthe American public and used it in the Vietnam War. However, theunemployment was high and the social problems had increased, and thatevoked the public protest and the upheaval as well5.Hence, the fact that Johnson was unable to withdraw the troops led tothe anti-war as well as the anti-war movements that opposed hispolicies. In this case, he had promised the civilians that he wouldremove the forces, but, his failure led to the backlash. On the otherhand, Nixon decision to withdraw the troops was met by the positivereaction. In fact, the Americans loved Nixon because he was able tokeep his promise that he had made during the election6.The civilians had wanted the army to be moved out of the war sincethe government was spending huge amount of money in financings theiractivities. Apart from that, the nation was experiencing a high levelof unemployment and that showed the need for a change7.It was a relief when Nixon withdrew the forces and it gave himanother term in the office where he won by a landslide.
In conclusion, the approaches that the two presidents used are quitedifferent and it shows their influence over the American people aswell. Johnson failed to meet his promise, and that did not turn outwell. The Americans wanted the war to end since it was siphoning alot of financial support that could have been used to improve theconditions back home. For instance, the unemployment level was high,yet, massive amounts of money were being taken to Vietnam. However,Nixon knew what the voters wanted, and he focused on granting themtheir wishes. More important, he decided to withdraw the forces andalso empowered the Southern Vietnam forces. He gave the army weapons,support and training to ensure that they defeated the Northern sidewithout the American’s involvement. The decision even earned himenough support from the Americans that believed he had honored hispromise.
Daddis, Gregory A. "The Problem of Metrics: Assessing Progressand Effectiveness in the Vietnam War." War in History 19,no. 1 (2012): 73-98.
Horten, Gerd. "The mediatization of war: A comparison of theAmerican and German media coverage of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars."American Journalism 28, no. 4 (2011): 29-53.
Macekura, Stephen. "The limits of the global community: TheNixon administration and global environmental politics." ColdWar History 11, no. 4 (2011): 489-518.
1 Horten, Gerd. "The mediatization of war: A comparison of the American and German media coverage of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars." American Journalism 28, no. 4 (2011): 29-53.
2 Ibid., 1.
3 Macekura, Stephen. "The limits of the global community: The Nixon administration and global environmental politics." Cold War History 11, no. 4 (2011): 489-518.
4 Ibid., 3.
5 Daddis, Gregory A. "The Problem of Metrics: Assessing Progress and Effectiveness in the Vietnam War." War in History 19, no. 1 (2012): 73-98.
6 Ibid., 5.
7 Ibid., 5