Year
1965

Johnson considers the options

With Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara back from a visit to Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson begins a weeklong series of conferences with his civilian and military advisers on Vietnam. He also met with private citizens that he trusted during this period. Johnson appeared to be considering all the options with an open mind, but it was clear that he was leaning toward providing more combat troops to bolster the faltering South Vietnamese government.

Johnson was faced with a rapidly deteriorating situation in Vietnam. The Viet Cong had increased the level of combat and there were indications that Hanoi was sending troops to fight in South Vietnam. It was apparent that the South Vietnamese were in danger of being overwhelmed. Johnson had sent Marines and paratroopers to protect American installations, but he was becoming convinced that more had to be done to stop the communists or they would soon overwhelm South Vietnam. While some advisers, such as Undersecretary of State George Ball, recommended a negotiated settlement, McNamara urged the president to “expand promptly and substantially” the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam. Johnson, not wanting to “lose” Vietnam to the communists, ultimately accepted McNamara’s recommendation. On July 22, he authorized a total of 44 U.S. battalions for commitment in South Vietnam, a decision that led to a massive escalation of the war. There were less than ten U.S. Army and Marine battalions in South Vietnam at this time. Eventually there would be more than 540,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Monkey Trial ends

In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” ends with John Thomas Scopes being convicted of teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee law. Scopes was ordered to pay a fine of $100, the minimum the law allowed. In March 1925, the Tennessee legislature had passed the ...read more

Aswan High Dam completed

After 11 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt is completed on July 21, 1970. More than two miles long at its crest, the massive $1 billion dam ended the cycle of flood and drought in the Nile River region, and exploited a tremendous source of ...read more

The First Battle of Bull Run

In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard. Three months after the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, Union military command still believed that the ...read more

Tsunami hits Alexandria, Egypt

On this day in the year 365, a powerful earthquake off the coast of Greece causes a tsunami that devastates the city of Alexandria, Egypt. Although there were no measuring tools at the time, scientists now estimate that the quake was actually two tremors in succession, the ...read more

Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan

President Dwight D. Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan at the 1955 Geneva summit meeting with representatives of France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. The plan, though never accepted, laid the foundation for President Ronald Reagan’s later policy of “trust, but ...read more

First Battle of Bull Run begins

The war erupts on a large scale in the east when Confederate forces under P. T. Beauregard turn back Union General Irvin McDowell’s troops along the Bull Run stream in Virginia. The inexperienced soldiers on both sides slugged it out in a chaotic battle that resulted in a ...read more