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What was LBJ's approach to the Vietnam War? |

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President Johnson's approach to the war was rooted in the belief of the Domino Theory.  In this paradigm, it was understood that if one nation in a particular region moved towards Communism, its neighboring nations would move in that direction.  With this in mind, the stakes are the highest for any anti- Communist nation to stand up to the forces of Communism, if nothing else to show to other nations that the United States would not allow Communist infiltration of a region to pass without a credible response.  Johnson's predecessor, Kennedy, had placed "military advisors" in Vietnam to counter the threat from the North.  Johnson inherits this and commits himself to not "losing Vietnam."  At this point, Johnson sees the issue as both the stopping of Communism and the testing of American pride.  The escalation of the war continues with the increasing of "advisors," whose function is to help the South Vietnamese defend themselves against the Viet Cong/ Northern attacks.  This progresses with limited bombing campaigns, "Rolling Thunder," and the increase of financial appropriations for the war, along with increasing the number of United States military personnel in the region.  Seeing that this has minimal, if any, tangible effect on the will of the North, Johnson begins to send in armed forces in the forms of significant deployments, and in the process convinces the American public of the need to commit themselves to the war effort in the region.  The increase in troops was enhanced by bombing of populated areas in the region, not limiting itself to strategic targets, but designed to weaken the will and resolve of the enemy.  With all this in mind, Johnson continued to ensure that the United States had a presence in the region.  Once the building resentment and unpopularity of the war in both casualty and perception had resulted, Johnson understood that he could no longer successfully seek another term as President and took measures to reduce the bombing for offensive effect and reserved it as use to defend the soldiers present.

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