Americanizing the Vietnam War

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  • Product Description

    Abstract:
    In 1964-65, the United States made a series of decisions that culminated in the commitment of large ground forces to South Vietnam for sustained offensive action. President Johnson thus effectively took over the defense of South Vietnam. This case examines this decision, particularly in light of the numerous "lessons of Korea" that were used to justify escalating US involvement in Vietnam. Americanizing the Vietnam War treats briefly the planning and decision-making of 1964-65 and reviews the uses of Korean War analogies on all sides of the argument. Vietnam Documents presents 19 key cables, position papers, and memoranda which figured in Washington plans during 1964 and decisions during 1965. The Vietnam Hypothetical puts the reader in the place of Clark Clifford receiving two confidential assignments from LBJ: one, to assess the French-American analogy; and two, to explain why there were so many contradictory "lessons of Korea."

    Learning Objective:
    This case is part of a series of cases written to illustrate the uses and misuses of historical analogy in decision-making.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1983
    Teaching Plan: Available with Educator Access
    HKS Case Number: 271.0
    Case Author: Ernest May
    Faculty Lead: Richard Neustadt
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 28
    Setting: United States, Asia
    Language: English
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 25+
    _geography: Asia
  • Warranty Information

    /review/271.0.EducatorCopy.pdf, /teachingplan/271_2.pdf

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