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The American South and the Vietnam WarBelligerence, Protest, and Agony in Dixie$
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Joseph A. Fry

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813161044

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813161044.001.0001

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Southerners and the Vietnam Commitment, 1953–1964

Southerners and the Vietnam Commitment, 1953–1964

(p.51) 2 Southerners and the Vietnam Commitment, 1953–1964
The American South and the Vietnam War

Joseph A. Fry

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter examines southern political leaders, newspapers, and the public during the decade leading to the US commitment to oppose communism in South Vietnam. Over this ten-year period, a clear majority of the South’s influential political figures in Washington opposed committing US military forces to direct combat in Vietnam. Despite developing powerful arguments in favor of restraint, southerners joined other congressmen and senators from across the nation in an overwhelming vote for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, proposed by President Johnson in August 1964. Particular attention is devoted to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of State Dean Rusk as southerners; to the role of Senators J. William Fulbright and Richard B. Russell in the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution; and to the influence of defense spending, honor, partisan politics, and personal ties to Johnson in the southern endorsement of this constitutional basis for the war.

Keywords:   Cold War, Ho Chi Minh, Ngo Dinh Diem, Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Republic of South Vietnam, National Liberation Front/Vietcong, defense spending, Lyndon B. Johnson, Dean Rusk, J. William Fulbright, Richard B. Russell, John C. Stennis, Albert Gore Sr., John Sherman Cooper

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