March 3

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Mar 3, 1965:

U.S. jets bomb Ho Chi Minh Trail

More than 30 U.S. Air Force jets strike targets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Since such raids had become common knowledge and were being reported in the American media, the U.S. State Department felt compelled to announce that these controversial missions were authorized by the powers granted to President Johnson in the August 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

The Johnson administration came under increasing criticism at home and abroad because of the bombing raids. Congressional opponents of the Johnson administration thought the president was escalating the war without authorization. Overseas, there was also an immediate response. Not surprisingly, the communists roundly criticized Johnson's actions. In Havana, Premier Fidel Castro condemned the United States and promised that Cuba would aid North Vietnam. On March 4, about 2,000 students attacked the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. There was also a reaction in non-communist capitals. Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada expressed concern about the risk of escalation, but said that Canada understood the U.S. position. In Britain, however, there was mounting criticism of the government's support of U.S. policies in Vietnam. In New York City, Women Strike for Peace members demonstrated outside the United Nations to urge an end to the war.

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