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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 Decisions to Withdraw from Vietnam, 1968–1970

Southerners and the Decisions to Withdraw from Vietnam, 1968–1970

(p.239) 6 Southerners and the Decisions to Withdraw from Vietnam, 1968–1970
The American South and the Vietnam War

Joseph A. Fry

University Press of Kentucky

Following the Vietnamese communist Tet Offensive of early 1968, Presidents Johnson and Nixon reluctantly made the decisions that would ultimately lead to US withdrawal from Vietnam. As these decisions were made and implemented, majority southern opinion and key southern legislators remained supportive of the war. This regional position was particularly important to Nixon when Democrats from other sections abandoned the deference they had shown Johnson. The southern public and media and the voting records of Dixie’s congressional representatives demonstrated this dogged prowar perspective. Majority southern opinion was also evident in the South’s response to the My Lai Massacre and support for Lieutenant Calley, in the hostility toward GI coffeehouses, and in Senators Gore’s and Ralph Yarborough’s failure to win reelection. But the war’s ever-mounting agony was affecting the South. Senator John Sherman Cooper emerged as a prominent proponent of legislating an end to the war, and even former hawks such as Herman Talmadge began to waver following Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia in 1970.

Keywords:   Tet Offensive, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Gulf of Tonkin) Hearings, congressional-executive relations, Richard M. Nixon, Vietnamization, mad-man theory, George Wallace, John Stennis, My Lai Massacre, William Calley, Hugh Thompson, F. Edward Hebert, Cambodia, John Sherman Cooper, Cooper-Church Amendment, GI coffeehouses

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