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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 Debate over the War’s Conduct, 1967

Southerners and the Debate over the War’s Conduct, 1967

(p.193) 5 Southerners and the Debate over the War’s Conduct, 1967
The American South and the Vietnam War

Joseph A. Fry

University Press of Kentucky

As the war became mired in a murderous stalemate during 1967, influential southern hawks pressured President Johnson to comply with military requests for another two hundred thousand US troops in Southeast Asia and the unrestrained bombing of North Vietnam. This chapter examines this pressure for an “all-out” war and emphasizes the Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee’s (SPIS) August hearings, chaired by Senator John C. Stennis. Like the SFRC hearings in 1966, the SPIS sessions embodied a focused (and from LBJ’s perspective unwelcome) public debate—this time over the war’s basic strategy. While continuing to address important southern antiwar dissidents and southern public and media opinions, particular attention is given to Dixie’s conservative, evangelical religious beliefs and denominations and to race and civil rights as critical regional considerations. These religious and racial sections include the roles of Billy Graham, Martin Luther King Jr., and Muhammad Ali.

Keywords:   John C. Stennis, Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee (Stennis) Hearings, Strom Thurmond, John G. Tower, Thruston Morton, religion, Billy Graham, Southern Baptist Church, race, civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr., Julian Bond, Muhammad Ali

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