The Johnson Administration and the Recruitment of Allies in Vietnam, 1964–1968

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Abstract

The Vietnam War has generated a vast literature but one which has often forgotten that the United States fought in Vietnam as part of a coalition. This article examines Washington's efforts under President Lyndon B. Johnson to recruit third country combat assistance. He and his colleagues sought military help less for practical reasons than for political ones as a way of legitimizing the war both domestically and abroad. However, no NATO countries were willing to participate, and some of the five troop-contributing countries (Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand) were attracted probably more by American largesse than by idealism. In exploring the diplomacy of coalition-building, this article has a contemporary resonance in the light of the military campaigns initiated by the White House since 2003.

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