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Why is the Vietnam War called Johnson's War?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: December 27, 2012 
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Why is the Vietnam War referred to as the Johnson war? Is this justifiable?

? ? ?

Like so much about the Vietnam War, the popular term "Lyndon Johnson's War" is neither simple nor clear-cut, and subject to interpretation and debate. Guided by the general principles of the Cold War and the "Domino Theory" that the fall of any country to Communist rule would lead to others following suit, Harry Truman aided the French in Indochina and Dwight Eisenhower supported Ngo Dinh Diem's 1955 rejection of elections outside of South Vietnam, and backed his regime with advisors. John F. Kennedy increased the number of advisors, including Special Forces and air support, until there were 2,000 U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam in 1961. However, it was after Johnson promulgated the Tonkin Gulf Resolution on August 7, 1964, giving him the power to send troops without a declaration of war, that direct American involvement proceeded in earnest. By the end of 1964, American troop strength had risen to 16,500, and on March 8, 1965 the first 3,500 Marines landed at Danang, signaling the steady escalation, and attendant rising body count, that would earn "Johnson's War" its sobriquet.

Sincerely,

 

Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History

 

 


2 Responses to “Why is the Vietnam War called Johnson's War?”


  1. 1
    Larry C. says:

    As stated elsewhere, Johnson was corporal who wanted to be a commader and insisted on giving battlefield commands from his office, just like the "other corporal" who lost WWII. In this war would act as a commander.

    Corporals have a place and purpose but they are corporals and not commanders just for that reason.

    Our military did not loose that war. The Washington and specifically Whitehouse politicians lost the war.

  2. 2
    Louis Farrakhan says:

    GOOGLE HENRY MARSHALL & SEE WHERE IT LEADS YOU

    THE SUICIDE OF HENRY MARSHAL

    Henry Marshall, the son of a farmer, was born in Robertson County, Texas, in 1909. He studied chemistry at the University of Texas before becoming the only teacher at the Nesbitt Rural School. The school was forced to close in May, 1932, a victim of the Great Depression.

    Marshall managed to find work at a Franklin gin company. However, in August, 1934, Marshall became a clerk with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). He worked at the agency's Robertson County office. Marshall was a good worker and it eventually held a senior post in the agency.

    In 1960 Marshall was asked to investigate the activities of Billie Sol Estes. Marshall discovered that over a two year period, Estes had purchased 3,200 acres of cotton allotments from 116 different farmers. Marshall wrote to his superiors in Washington on 31st August, 1960, that: "The regulations should be strengthened to support our disapproval of every case (of allotment transfers)".

    When he heard the news, Billie Sol Estes sent his lawyer, John P. Dennison, to meet Marshall in Robertson County. At the meeting on 17th January, 1961, Marshall told Dennison that Estes was clearly involved in a "scheme or device to buy allotments, and will not be approved, and prosecution will follow if this operation is ever used."

    Marshall was disturbed that as a result of sending a report of his meeting to Washington, he was offered a new post at headquarters. He assumed that Billie Sol Estes had friends in high places and that they wanted him removed from the field office in Robertson County. Marshall refused what he considered to be a bribe.

    A week after the meeting between Marshall and Dennison, A. B. Foster, manager of Billie Sol Enterprises, wrote to Clifton C. Carter, a close aide to Lyndon B. Johnson, telling him about the problems that Marshall was causing the company. Foster wrote that "we would sincerely appreciate your investigating this and seeing if anything can be done."

    Over the next few months Marshall had meetings with eleven county committees in Texas. He pointed out that Billie Sol Estes scheme to buy cotton allotments were illegal. This information was then communicated to those farmers who had been sold their cotton allotments to Billie Sol Enterprises.

    On 3rd June, 1961, Henry Marshall was found dead on his farm by the side of his Chevy Fleetside pickup truck. His rifle lay beside him. He had been shot five times with his own rifle (a bolt-action rifle). Soon after County Sheriff Howard Stegall arrived, he decreed that Marshall had committed suicide. No pictures were taken of the crime scene, no blood samples were taken of the stains on the truck (the truck was washed and waxed the following day), and no check for fingerprints were made on the rifle or pickup.

    Marshall's wife (Sybil Marshall) and brother (Robert Marshall) refused to believe he had committed suicide and posted a $2,000 reward for information leading to a murder conviction. The undertaker, Manley Jones, also reported: "To me it looked like murder. I just do not believe a man could shoot himself like that." The undertaker's son, Raymond Jones, later told the journalist, Bill Adler in 1986: "Daddy said he told Judge Farmer there was no way Mr. Marshall could have killed himself. Daddy had seen suicides before. JPs depend on us and our judgments about such things. we see a lot more deaths than they do. But in this case, Daddy said, Judge Farmer told him he was going to put suicide on the death certificate because the sheriff told him to." As a result, Lee Farmer returned a suicide verdict: "death by gunshot, self-inflicted."

    Sybil Marshall hired an attorney, W. S. Barron, in order to persuade the Robertson County authorities to change the ruling on Marshall's cause of death. One man who did believe that Marshall had been murdered was Texas Ranger Clint Peoples. He had reported to Colonel Homer Garrison, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, that it "would have been utterly impossible for Mr. Marshall to have taken his own life."

    Peoples also interviewed Nolan Griffin, a gas station attendant in Robertson County. Griffin claimed that on the day of Marshall's death, he had been asked by a stranger for directions to Marshall's farm. A Texas Ranger artist, Thadd Johnson, drew a facial sketch based on a description given by Griffin. Peoples eventually came to the conclusion that this man was Mac Wallace, the convicted murderer of John Kinser.

    In the spring of 1962, Billie Sol Estes was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on fraud and conspiracy charges. Soon afterwards it was disclosed by the Secretary of Agriculture, Orville L. Freeman, that Henry Marshall had been a key figure in the investigation into the illegal activities of Billie Sol Estes. As a result, the Robertson County grand jury ordered that the body of Marshall should be exhumed and an autopsy performed. After eight hours of examination, Dr. Joseph A. Jachimczyk confirmed that Marshall had not committed suicide. Jachimczyk also discovered a 15 percent carbon monoxide concentration in Marshall's body. Jachimczyk calculated that it could have been as high as 30 percent at the time of death.

    On 4th April, 1962, George Krutilek, Estes chief accountant, was found dead. Despite a severe bruise on Krutilek's head, the coroner decided that he had also committed suicide. The next day, Estes, and three business associates, were indicted by a federal grand jury on 57 counts of fraud. Two of these men, Harold Orr and Coleman Wade, later died in suspicious circumstances. At the time it was said they committed suicide but later Estes was to claim that both men were murdered by Mac Wallace in order to protect the political career of Lyndon B. Johnson.

    The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations also began to look into the case of Billie Sol Estes. Leonard C. Williams, a former assistant to Henry Marshall, testified about the evidence the department acquired against Estes. Orville L. Freeman also admitted that Marshall was a man "who left this world under questioned circumstances."

    It was eventually discovered that three officials of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration in Washington had received bribes from Billie Sol Estes. Red Jacobs, Jim Ralph and Bill Morris were eventually removed from their jobs. However, further disclosures suggested that the Secretary of Agriculture, might be involved in the scam. In September, 1961, Billie Sol Estes had been fined $42,000 for illegal cotton allotments. Two months later, Freeman appointed Estes to the National Cotton Advisory Board.



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