Vietnam War with John F. Kennedy

By: Linda Chen

Start of Presidency

John F. Kennedy was a firm believer in containing communism. In his first speech on becoming president he made it clear that he would continue the policy of the former President Eisenhower, and support the government of Diem in South Vietnam. Kennedy also stated that he supported the "Domino Theory" and he was convinced that if South Vietnam fell to communism then other states in the region would follow.

US against Vietnam

Kennedy declares "...we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to insure the survival and the success of liberty." but he underestimated their opponent Ho Chi Minh. Minh stated that however long the struggle is to get Vietnam independent and reunified he will fight till the end.

Involvement of Kennedy

  • 1961 Kennedy agreed that America should increase in the size of the South Vietnamese Army from 150,000 to 170,000. He also agreed that an extra 1000 US military advisers should be sent to South Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese Army.
  • Both of these decisions were not made public as they broke the agreements made at the 1954 Geneva Agreement
  • January of 1962- During a press conference, President Kennedy is asked if any Americans in Vietnam are engaged in the fighting. "No," the President responds without further questioning. This was a utter lie due to the fight that the fighting was bad in Vietnam
  • August 1, 1962- Kennedy signs the Foreign Assistance Act of 1962, this helps out countries that are on the rim of communist and or under direct attack
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