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Robert Mcnamara

Robert Mcnamara

Robert Mcnamara was a key figure in the USA during the Cold War and served under multiple Presidents. As I said in previous articles History is alot about perception and different understandings of events, but at its core it is undoubtedly about facts aswell. Here are a few facts about Robert Mcnamara for you; why not add some of your own in the comments? 

- An American business executive and the eighth Secretary of Defense, McNamara served under two Presidents from 1961-68; John. F. Kennedy and following his assassination, Lyndon. B. Johnson.

- McNamara entered the USAAF as a captain in early 1943 and served most of World War II, leaving active duty in a946 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

- During his time in the war McNamara devised schedules for B-29 bombers doubling as transport planes providing supplies for Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists in the Chinese Civil War. Thus he was a sensible choice as Kennedy’s main advisor in providing support to Vietnam following his previous experience with B-29s.

- McNamara encouraged training and equipping U.S. military personnel, as well as such allies as South Vietnam for counterinsurgency operations.

- McNamara defied President Eisenhower’s old policy of massive retaliation in favor of a flexible response strategy that relied on increased U.S. capacity to conduct limited, non-nuclear warfare. This pattern is reflected throughout his life e.g. supplies to Chinese Nationalists and to South Vietnam.

- When two U.S destroyers were falsely reported to have been destroyed by the North Vietnamese, McNamara seized the case as a reason to escalate U.S military involvement in Vietnam.

- During Kennedy’s time as President, with McNamara as key adviser, America's troops in Vietnam increased from 900 to 16,000 advisers.

- McNamara’s plan in 1965 led to the commitment of 485,000 troops to Vietnam by 1967 and almost 535,000 by June 30th 1968.

- He claimed that the Domino Theory was the main reason for entering Vietnam but as the war waged on he became skeptical about whether the war could be won simply by deploying more U.S troops and continuing bombing attacks.

- He seemed to have a complete change of heart by the end of the Vietnam War and said in an interview “Kennedy hadn't said before he died whether, faced with the loss of Vietnam, he would withdraw; but I believe today that had he faced that choice, he would have withdrawn.”

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