The Tragedy of JFK
Just as the withdrawal plan moved closer to implementation, President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, bringing the process to a close. His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, assured Americans that he would continue his predecessor's domestic and foreign policies. Indeed, Newsweek observed that the White House intended to fulfill its October 2 decision to withdraw 1,000 troops by the end of the year. In a bitter irony, however, Johnson's pledge to continuity helped to undermine the rest of the withdrawal plan because the Kennedy administration had so carefully kept its existence from public view that any further troop reduction would appear to repudiate previous policy. The United States still intended to withdraw the first thousand troops in Vietnam by the end of the year; but the Johnson administration escalated the nation's military involvement, and the heart of the plan soon died.
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