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ERNEST GRUENING, WAYNE MORSE AND THE SENATE DEBATE OVER UNITED STATES PARTICIPATION IN VIETNAM 1965-1969 AND ITS AFFECT ON UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY

by Beggs, Alvin Dwayne

Abstract (Summary)
Dr. Gary R. Hess, Advisor On 2 August 1964, while patrolling in the Gulf of Tonkin, the U.S.S. Maddox was attacked by the North Vietnamese Navy. Then on 4 August both the U.S.S. Maddox and the U.S.S. C. Turner Joy were also allegedly attacked. These events were used by President Johnson to secure authority from the United States Senate, by a vote of 88-2, to take actions he deemed necessary to protect United States military personnel, national security interests, and United States allies. In this thesis, the Gulf of Tonkin incidents will be summarized and the ensuing Senate debates analyzed with a specific focus on the dissenting position of Senators Ernest Gruening (Democrat-Alaska) and Wayne Morse (Democrat-Oregon), the only members of Congress to vote against the resolution. There has been much written about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the Congressional debate; however, there has been little focus on the continued arguments of these two senators from 1964-1968. This continuing debate over Vietnam deeply divided the Senate into three main groups who each held distinct opinions on the support they should give Johnson in relation to the issue. One group compromised of Hawks believed that the president should be given full support in taking whatever action he deemed necessary, even if it led to war. A strong response after all would discourage other enemies from attacking the United States. A second group believed that the president needed to be supported at this time, especially since the United States had been attacked. They also held the view that the United States foreign policy needed to be re-evaluated once the conflict was resolved. How far could the United States extend itself before it became spread too thin and thus ineffective? The third group did not believe that the United States should be involved in Vietnam at all. While the Senate finally ruled to support the president's request for the resolution and continued to fund the war once it had become Americanized, it was those who opposed the resolution and were overruled who made the most valid argument.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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