Tags: Presidential History | lyndon johnson | wartime | quotes

Lyndon Johnson Wartime Address Highlights: 5 Quotes From His Re-Election Withdrawal Speech

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 04:03 PM

For better or worse, Lyndon Johnson's legacy in the White House became intertwined with the Vietnam War. Johnson escalated involvement from the United States through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1965. By 1968, the Vietnam War had sparked massive protests throughout the nation and Johnson no longer believed he could win a second term as U.S. president.

Johnson made the surprising decision to withdraw from his bid for a second term on March 31, 1968. In the televised speech, he also announced his plans to begin scaling down American involvement in Vietnam. These five quotes encapsulate Johnson's thinking as he turned his focus from re-election to Vietnam:

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1. Finding a lasting solution for peace in Southeast Asia was America's goal.
"No other question so preoccupies our people. No other dream so absorbs the 250 million human beings who live in that part of the world. No other goal motivates American policy in Southeast Asia."

2. Smaller-scale bombing in North Vietnam would open doors to peace talks.
"Our purpose in this action is to bring about a reduction in the level of violence that now exists. It is to save the lives of brave men – and to save the lives of innocent women and children. It is to permit the contending forces to move closer to a political settlement."

3. North Vietnam must be sincere in withdrawing forces from the South.
"We have no intention of widening this war. But, the United States will never accept a fake solution to this long and arduous struggle and call it peace."

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4. American involvement in Vietnam was necessary.
"Peace will come because Asians were willing to work for it – and to sacrifice for it – and to die by the thousands for it. But, let it never be forgotten: Peace will come also because America sent her sons to help secure it."

5. Johnson ruled out running for a second term.
"With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office – the presidency of your country. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president."

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For better or worse, Lyndon Johnson's legacy in the White House became intertwined with wartime in Vietnam.
lyndon johnson, wartime, quotes
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2015-03-18
Monday, 18 May 2015 04:03 PM
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