The Cooing of a Dove: Senator Albert Gore Sr.'s Opposition to the War in Vietnam



As a senator from Tennessee, Albert Gore Sr. became one of the leading congressional critics of American involvement in Vietnam during the 1960s and early 1970s. Weary of many aspects of American containment policy, Gore voiced concern over military assistance to dictators, secrecy in foreign aid programs, and the viability of sending American troops to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. He privately opposed sending U.S. soldiers to relieve the French garrison at Dienbienphu in 1954, and his anxiety mounted during the widening U.S. role in Vietnam during the Kennedy years, although Gore did not express any public reservations. After supporting the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, Gore quickly broke with the Johnson administration and began advocating as early as December 1964 a negotiated settlement of the war. In October 1967, he called for the “neutralization” of Southeast Asia. Gore's often-ignored role as a high-level congressional critic of the Vietnam War deserves further exploration in examining the reasons for and impact of congressional opposition to the conflict.