Link to teaching case: 


In 1964--65, the United States made a series of decisions that culminated in the commitment of large ground forces to South Vietnam for sustained offensive action. President Johnson thus effectively took over the defense of South Vietnam. This case examines the decision, particularly in light of the numerous "lessons of Korea" that were used to justify escalating US involvement in Vietnam. "Americanizing the Vietnam War" covers the planning and decision--making of 1964--65, and reviews the use of Korean War analogies by both sides. "Vietnam Documents" presents 19 key cables, position papers, and memoranda which figured in Washington plans, during 1964, and decisions, during 1965. The Vietnam Hypothetical puts the reader in the place of Clark Clifford, who received two confidential assignments from LBJ: one, to assess the French--American analogy; and two, to explain why there were so many contradictory "lessons of Korea."


Richard Neustadt & Melanie Billings-Yun


Harvard Kennedy School

Pub date: 

Tuesday, January 1, 1980