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Essay / Research Paper Abstract
This 6 page report discusses VanDeMark’s 1991 book that tells about the decisions and actions that increased American involvement in the Vietnam war between 1964 and 1968. VanDeMark shows how Johnson’s advisors were undeniably “hawks” who were determined to increase U.S. involvement in the tiny Southeast Asian nation to “prevent” the communists from gaining any measure of power there. Bibliography lists only the primary source.
6 pages (~225 words per page)
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being "observers" or offering the South Vietnamese "military training" to a full-on involvement in the war. History professor at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and writer Brian VanDeMark analyzes
the pressures that President Johnson faced and the dilemma that was Americas presence in Vietnam in his 1991 book "Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of the Vietnam
War." VanDeMark shows how Johnsons advisors were undeniably "hawks" who were determined to increase U.S. involvement in the tiny Southeast Asian nation to "prevent" the communists from gaining any measure
of power there. VanDeMark also offers a very different yet very convincing portrait of Johnson from most books about the Vietnam war. The reader begins to understand that
LBJ was a president who had no real desire to escalate the distant war but who was gradually and reluctantly drawn "into the quagmire" of the Vietnam war. The book
is well-worth reading, particularly since it offers what amounts to as a day-to-day description of how events unfolded to reach their logical consequences. Such outcomes were the deployment of tens
of thousands of U.S. military personnel to fight in and die in a war in which even some of Johnsons key advisors have since described as "pointless." Summary of "Into
the Quagmire" In his introduction to the book, VanDeMark writes: "Vietnam divided America more deeply and painfully than any event since the Civil War. It split political leaders and
ordinary people alike in profound and lasting ways" (pp. xiii). He does not offer such a statement as opinion but a simple matter of fact. For the first time
in American history, a significant number of Americans were adamantly and loudly opposed to actions being taken by their government. But when Johnson was elected, Vietnam was an issue he