March 14
Kennedy and Southeast Asia

President Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Their ardor for confronting communism in the Third World helped contribute to an expanded US commitment in Vietnam. 
This class will focus on the sticky issue of understanding John Kennedy's Vietnam legacy. What motivated a President known for his normally astute response to international affairs to dramatically increase the US role in Southeast Asia? What were his long-term intentions toward the region? Did he have other policy options?

Note: The reading for this class is on the long side, but you'll have two class sessions to complete it.

bullet Logevall, Choosing War, pp. 1-107.
bullet Reading Notes


bullet Rusk-McNamara report (1961, excerpts), advocating increased aid for South Vietnam
bullet Rusk instructions on handling Ngo Dinh Diem (Aug. 1963)
bullet NSC meeting on Vietnam (Oct. 1963)
bullet National Security Action Memorandum 263 (Oct. 1963)
vn1.jpg (148048 bytes)
Southeast Asia at the time of the Geneva Accords, 1954

vn2.jpg (128559 bytes)
The enemy situation in South Vietnam, early 1964

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