“Peace without Conquest”: Lyndon Johnson's Speech of April 7, 1965

Authors

  • DROR YURAVLIVKER

    Corresponding author
    1. London School of Economics and Political Science
      Dror Yuravlivker is currently teaching government/politics and history at Chigwell School, London.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would like to thank Dr. Steven Casey of the London School of Economics, Sarah Haldeman of the LBJ Library, Leila Nadel-Cadaxa, Dr. David Yuravlivker, the staff of the Library of Congress Manuscript Reading Room, and Joann Davis of PSQ and the reviewers for their helpful comments.

Dror Yuravlivker is currently teaching government/politics and history at Chigwell School, London.

Abstract

This article explores the speech that President Lyndon Johnson delivered on April 7, 1965 entitled “Peace without Conquest.” He sought to answer Vietnam critics with “unconditional discussions” and a billion-dollar electrification project for Southeast Asia, but he also reaffirmed his determination not to withdraw. This article analyzes the situation leading to the speech, the speech itself, and public reaction, concluding that although LBJ's speech failed to bring peace to Southeast Asia, it succeeded in mollifying critics enough for the administration to escalate the war. Johnson's speech exemplifies the powers and dangers of rhetoric—a lesson still relevant today.

Ancillary