2019 Annual Graduate Student Symposium

Title

Commitment, Credibility, and Counterinsurgency: John F. Kennedy and South Vietnam 1961

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Commitment, credibility, and counterinsurgency were central themes of John F. Kennedy's foreign policy aspirations. When President Kennedy was elected in 1960, he was married to America's global commitments in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Crises in Europe and Latin American, especially after the Bay of Pigs incident, plagued American credibility in President Kennedy's eyes. By 1961, John F. Kennedy and his inner circle needed a vocal point of American credibility. There was no better place than South Vietnam. Commitment, Credibility, and Counterinsurgency: John F. Kennedy and South Vietnam 1961 focuses on John F. Kennedy's commitment to protect American global aspirations. As a counter to revolutionary movements, Kennedy was inspired by what many called counterrevolution or counterinsurgency. Therefore, this work also focuses on John F. Kennedy's fascination of elite military forces, psychological warfare, and his plans of actions to counter "Communist" aggression in Southeast Asia. Why is this important? Supporters of John F. Kennedy, in the past or contemporary, have presented President Kennedy as a social reformer rather than a hawkish war lover. The idea is, if he had not been assassinated there would have been no Vietnam War. However, this work illustrates that Kennedy was more of a hawk than expected. Before Kennedy's tenor was over, nearly 16,000 American military advisors were on the ground in South Vietnam. Kennedy's commitment was to protect the world from Communist domination. American credibility will be saved by military force, and counterinsurgency will when the hearts and minds of those all over the world.

Start Date

3-4-2019 12:00 PM

End Date

3-4-2019 2:00 AM

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Fernando Calderon

Department

Department of History

File Format

application/pdf

Embargo Date

4-17-2019

Electronic copy is not available through UNI ScholarWorks.

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Apr 3rd, 12:00 PM Apr 3rd, 2:00 AM

Commitment, Credibility, and Counterinsurgency: John F. Kennedy and South Vietnam 1961

Commitment, credibility, and counterinsurgency were central themes of John F. Kennedy's foreign policy aspirations. When President Kennedy was elected in 1960, he was married to America's global commitments in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Crises in Europe and Latin American, especially after the Bay of Pigs incident, plagued American credibility in President Kennedy's eyes. By 1961, John F. Kennedy and his inner circle needed a vocal point of American credibility. There was no better place than South Vietnam. Commitment, Credibility, and Counterinsurgency: John F. Kennedy and South Vietnam 1961 focuses on John F. Kennedy's commitment to protect American global aspirations. As a counter to revolutionary movements, Kennedy was inspired by what many called counterrevolution or counterinsurgency. Therefore, this work also focuses on John F. Kennedy's fascination of elite military forces, psychological warfare, and his plans of actions to counter "Communist" aggression in Southeast Asia. Why is this important? Supporters of John F. Kennedy, in the past or contemporary, have presented President Kennedy as a social reformer rather than a hawkish war lover. The idea is, if he had not been assassinated there would have been no Vietnam War. However, this work illustrates that Kennedy was more of a hawk than expected. Before Kennedy's tenor was over, nearly 16,000 American military advisors were on the ground in South Vietnam. Kennedy's commitment was to protect the world from Communist domination. American credibility will be saved by military force, and counterinsurgency will when the hearts and minds of those all over the world.