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Jfk And Vietnam

June 2024
1min read


“Would Kennedy have pulled us out of Vietnam?” asks a story in September. The misty memories of Camelot hide the fact that JFK lacked overriding political strength. Narrowly elected in 1960, he had failed to increase his congressional majority in the 1962 mid-term elections. Nevertheless, in 1963 he committed his administration to a highly controversial program of civil rights.

If JFK had withdrawn from Vietnam while simultaneously pushing his domestic reforms, Senate moderates would have abandoned him, leaving him to the liberals (who at the time favored intervention in Vietnam). Kennedy already had met defeat in pushing his Medicare program; it lost in the Senate by 48 to 52 in July 1962. He would not have allowed Vietnam to defeat him in the far more important matter of civil rights. Like LBJ, he would have stood fast.

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