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President Lyndon B. Johnson signs "Gulf of Tonkin" resolution, 8/10/1964

 

Overview: November 1963 to 1968

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Lyndon Johnson inherited an increasingly deteriorating military and political situation in Vietnam.  Though Kennedy had reportedly begun to cool on the conflict, Johnson made the choice to escalate; 1965 saw the first deployment of American ground troopshttps://catalog.archives.gov/id/74258721as well as the beginning of Operation Rolling Thunder, a three year aerial bombardment campaign.

 

The Gulf of Tonkin Incidenthttps://catalog.archives.gov/id/2803383in the summer of 1964  gave the Johnson administration justification for further escalation and troop deployments.  Anti-war protests in the U.S. escalated in turn.



Catalog Resources:

National Security Council Meetings Files, 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969- Notes from official NSC meetings during the Johnson administration, many of which dealt with Vietnam.

 

President's Daily Diary, 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969- Activity logs prepared by secretaries outside the Oval Office. Sample of entries, starting with LBJ's first days in office after assassination. A major topic is Gulf of Tonkin attacks.

 

Johnson White House Photographs, 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969-238 photos relating to Johnson’s visit to Vietnam, Johnson with troops in Vietnam and in the U.S., the Honolulu Conference, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, President Nguyen Van Thieu, Johnson administration advisers, and anti-war demonstrations.

 

Letter from John Steinbeck to President Lyndon Johnson, 5/28/1966- This letter was sent after trip by Steinbeck and his son to Washington, D.C., where the two were received by Johnson. Steinbeck praises Johnson, talking derisively about anti-war protesters in previous American wars

 

Letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson from Jackie Robinson, 4/18/1967- Robinson discusses the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr.'s opposition to Vietnam, the role of Vietnam protest in civil rights, and states his support for Johnson.

 

This blog is just a sample of the information available in the National Archives catalog. For more tips on searching for digitized records in the catalog, check out this post on Expanding Your Digital Toolkit.