A Few Key Characters and Terms

Our Greatest Mistakes:

Our Profound Ignorance

Underestimating the Power of Nationalism




A Few Key Characters and Terms

Ho Chi Minh

Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from 1946-1955 until he became the President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from 1955-1969. He lead the Vietminh Independence Movement.

“The Vietnamese people deeply love independence, freedom and peace. But in the face of United States aggression they have risen up, united as one man."- Ho Chi Minh

Lyndon B. Johnson

President of the United States from 1961-1963 after Kennedy's assasination. He focused on the American military in Vietnam and kept a lot of information from the American people. Johnson believed strongly in the Domino Theory. He continued sending American troops to Vietnam even though he secretly felt that the war was unwinnable.

"If we allow Vietnam to fall, tomorrow we’ll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week in San Francisco." - Lyndon B. Johnson


Robert McNamara

Secretary of defense from 1961-1968. Whether or not Lyndon B. Johnson asked Mcnamara to resign or not is still in question. Many speculate that he was asked to leave when he suggested that the United States stop bombing Northern Vietnam and let the South take over. He also wrote a book called, "In Retrospect" which discusses the Vietnam War and the lessons that can be learned from it.


"Kennedy hadn't said before he died whether, faced with the loss of Vietnam, he would [completely] withdraw; but I believe today that had he faced that choice, he would have withdrawn." - Robert McNamara



A situation from which extrication is very difficult (www.dictionary.com). The word quagmire was often used in reference to the Vietnam War. Recently, this particular word has been used to describe the Iraq War as well.

The Domino Theory

The theory that if one country comes under communist power, then more countries will fall as well.