Populo Spring 2019


This journal is published by students and staff at the Department of Political and Cultural Studies at Swansea University.

The online version can be found at https://projects.swan.ac.uk/populo/

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Chief Editor Frances Smith Politics and International Relations Editors Anastasia Anderson Politics and International Relations Thomas Howard War and Society Louis Bromfield Politics and International Relations


POPULO Volume 2 Issue 1 Table of Contents

Introduction ……………………………….……………….…..……... p. 4 Mac McMillan, ‘To what extent did wars between 1870 and 1905 reshape military thinking?’ (HUA102) .………….... p. 5 David Sinton, ‘Would it be possible for us to have free will if determinism were true?’ (HUP100) ….…………………….. p. 13 Mitchell J Skinner, ‘Would Kennedy have escalated or de- escalated America’s involvement in Vietnam if re-elected in 1964?’ (AM245) ……………………………………………………… p. 22 Archie Castledine, ‘Is intentional harm to civilians ever permissible during war? Consider the principle of distinction, and the doctrine of double effect to defend your answer.’ (PO239) ………………………………………………………………..… p. 37 Katherine Brewster, ‘Discuss the effects of Urban Renewal in New York City.’ (AM253) ………………………..………………. p. 52 Joe Ansley, ‘“‘Deliberative democracy’ overcomes the participatory deficit that liberal democracy is perceived to have.” Discuss.’ (PO238) ………………………….……………... p. 63 Freddie Evans, ‘The Third Reich had “nothing to gain by waiting” strategically, economically or militarily when it went to war in September 1939.’ (HUA304) …………….………….. p. 74 Call for Papers ………………………………………………………… p. 121


Introduction Populo has now entered its second year as a biannual undergraduate journal presenting more first-class work from a variety of students in the Political and Cultural Studies Department at Swansea University. As was previously the case, we have received many high quality pieces of work, with all three years represented. Students from Politics and International Relations, War and Society and American Studies will all find interesting essays written by their fellow students within this journal. The current editorial team consists of four dedicated students; Anastasia Anderson, Louis Bromfield, Thomas Howard and Frances Smith. We are very grateful for all the guidance and support from Eugene Miakinkov, as well as the help in completing this journal from the society Presidents, Olivia Bray and Michael Rose.


To what extent did wars between 1870 and 1905 reshape military thinking? Mac McMillan – HUA102 During the period from 1870 to 1905 the tactics and training procedures utilised within the British Army were outdated, comprising of poor doctrine that did not learn from failure. Although there were several conflicts that could have influenced British military strategy and doctrine, this essay will look at the key elements learnt from the Boer War from 1899 to 1902. It was the combat experience in this period that prompted the development of improved tactical doctrine in the main teeth arm, the infantry. It also highlighted to commanders the importance of tactical skills and individual initiative above drill and discipline at unit level, which later informed the success of the British Expeditionary Force at the beginning of the Great War in 1914. The Boer War ended in 1902 and in the twelve years from 1902 to the beginning of the Great War in 1914 the most critical and wide-ranging changes to British Military Infantry doctrine took place. The thesis of this essay will evidence that infantry doctrine, from 1902 to 1914, was developed from the surprising defeats suffered during the Boer War that removed the Victorian mentality of complacency and easy victory experienced in previous wars. The essay will show that this period, to some extent, did reshape military thinking and ethos in the first part of the 20 th century. To achieve this, the essay will first consider British Infantry doctrine, prior to and during the Boer War. It will then develop the thesis by reviewing tactics and doctrine developed from the lessons of the Boer War. The essay will then consider the antithesis of its arguments and conclude with a summary of findings. The Victorian Army was indoctrinated with Frederician theory and plagiarised Jominian text used first by Patrick MacDougall, the first


commandant of the staff college, in 1856 in his ‘ Theory of War’. This was followed by the military historian E. B. Hamley in his 1866 work ‘ The Operations of War’ - although Hamley argued that the Jominian system only worked in short campaigns and was not as effective in long drawn out wars. Jomini argued the point of deploying masses onto the decisive point and spent much of his effort on the correct formation and the drilling of troops on marches and when deployed for combat 1 . As will be seen this strategy would fail against highly effective mass fire from modern weapons in the hands of skilled riflemen. Although the artillery and cavalry arms of the British Army learnt from fighting in South Africa it was the infantry that received the most lessons. This was due for the most part because the majority of the infantry in the British Army was present from the early stages of the war in 1899 until the end of the war in 1902. The failures in fighting a very mobile opponent armed with smokeless and magazine fed rifles made the British realise that reform was needed and urgently. 2 The fact that Great Britain had previously fought against the Boer in earlier conflicts should have appraised the Army of the excellent capabilities of the enemy, especially its skills with fire arms and small unit skirmishing. However, there was a complacency in British thinking that treated the Boers with contempt, with British Intelligence publishing a secret report that believed the Boers would only deploy raiders against the British and also assumed that they only had minimal armaments. 3 1 Hew Strachan, European Armies and the Conduct of War , (Abingdon: Routledge, 2001). 2 Great Britain Royal Commision, Report of His Majesty's Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Military Preparations and Other Matters Connected with the War in South Africa , 7 vols (H.M.S.O, 1903), Vol 2. 3 Britain Great, Office War, and Division Intelligence, Military Notes on the Dutch Republics of South Africa , (1899), p 49-52.


These views quickly changed during the opening salvoes of combat in what would be later known as the ‘Black Week’ of December 1899. 4 During the Battle of Talana Hill on 20 th October 1899, the Boer forces used their Mausers to great effect and were able to take many British lives due to the skill of marksmanship, in conjunction with the ineffective British doctrine of close order marching and formation. 5 During Lord Methuen’s march to relieve Kimberly, an officer described the infantry fighting as “…an honest, straightforward British march up to a row of waiting rifles.” 6 Although the British had great success with close order battle in previous engagements, such as that in the Sudan, the Boer War highlighted its weaknesses against a well defended enemy capable of accurate small arms fire. At the Battle of Enslin on the 25 th November 1899 Lord Methuen suffered a casualty rate of 44% and although the battle objectives were achieved, it was obvious that the attrition level could not be maintained. 7 The British soon realised that the use of tight order formations and a failure to fight from cover where available would lead to further defeats. The Infantry Drill Manual of 1889 maintained the use of the traditional British Line formation and it was not until the 1896 edition that this was adapted to include “… all movements in contact with the enemy should be covered by a screen of troops in extended order…” 8 . Unfortunately, the lack of a cohesive national doctrine led to tactical 4 Field Marshal Lord Michael Carver, The National Army Museum Book of the Boer War , (Oxford: Pan Books, 2000), pp. 15-52. 5 L.S. Amery and others, The Times History of the War in South Africa: 1899- 1902 , (S. Low, Marston and Company, 1902), v. 2. p. 164 6 L.M. Phillipps, With Rimington , (General Books LLC, 2009). 7 Amery and others, The Times History of the War in South Africa: 1899- 1902 , pp. 338-339. 8 E.M. Spiers, The Late Victorian Army, 1868-1902 , (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992).


decisions based on an individual regiment’s experience of warfare, which therefore resulted in great variations of military formations at the battalion level. However, the development of a more open order form of advance and assault as laid out in the Infantry Drill Manual of 1896 did allow some battalions to incorporate these adaptions into their fighting formations against the Boers with some success. A very effective example would be General Sir Ian Hamilton – who, whilst stationed in Ladysmith prior to the Battle of Elanslaagte on the 21 st October 1899, had begun a training regime with his brigade on tactical extension. During the ensuing battle, the 1 st Devonshire regiment attacked using a frontal extension of over 700 yards and a gap of over 450 yards between each firing line. They used fire and manoeuvre whereby one line would rush forward in the advance whilst another would provide continuous covering fire. 9 In the Elgin Commission of 1903, Sir William Gatacre espoused the use of extension and stated that the aim in training was to develop “…sudden, short, rapid and irregular in interval and strength, otherwise the defenders get many chances; each rush must be locally supported by comrades’ fire till the runners have settled down ready to support the next group in turn 10 .” By the end of the Boer War the infantry and, by extension, the British Army had developed the necessary tactics to face an enemy with modern fire power in a difficult situation. Although the beginning of the war had shown the Army to be inefficient for the conditions, it developed into a highly skilled and very capable fighting force.

9 J. Lee, A Soldier's Life: General Sir Ian Hamilton, 1853-1947 , (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000), p. 49. 10 Commision, Report of His Majesty's Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Military Preparations and Other Matters Connected with the War in South Africa, p. 273.


The lessons of the war were not forgotten, and training of the Army concentrated on extension, concealment and cover, small unit tactics and a healthy respect for modern fire power. There were still many doubters to the lessons learnt in the veldt and they argued that the Boers fought differently to other armies. This was characterised by Sir Henry Colvile’s summation that the conditions of warfare in South Africa were exceptional and not likely to be repeated 11 . Eventually, the 1911 edition of the Infantry Manual reflected the concerns of many doubters and the tactic of extended formations was still included. However, the manual included a new caveat, that had an emphasis on masses of supporting fire from direct and indirect means including machine guns and artillery 12 . This allowed for the forward advance of troops in a dispersed formation who would then reform for the final push towards the enemy’s positions. During the early battles of the Great War British Infantry tactics used extension, fire and manoeuvre compared to the German and French forces who favoured the same deep and close order formations of the previous century. 13 The British had learnt the lessons of the Boer War and adapted them to combat against modern technology and masses of fire from machine guns and artillery at the outbreak of the Great War. This essay has considered only a specific area of change that the wars of the late 19 th and early 20 th century bought about in military thinking. The requirements of the length of the essay has prevented any inclusion or discussion of the use of earthen works, accurate rifle 11 Commision, Report of His Majesty's Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Military Preparations and Other Matters Connected with the War in South Africa, pp. 288. 12 Great Britain. War Office. General Staff, Infantry Training, 1911 , (London: H.M.S.O., 1911). 13 M. Gilbert, First World War , (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994).


skills, camouflage, artillery tactics and the use of the machine gun, and so has concentrated on one of the key reforms of tactics and doctrine that has influenced future battlefields since the Boer War and continues to do so. There has been much written about the Boer War and its influence on the reform of the British Army prior to 1914, however, much of the work concentrates on the strategic and management level of the army and the General staff. 14 Other writers, such as GR Searle, have argued that the Boer War had a negative impact on British tactical thinking as the difference in military tactics and requirements when comparing the Boer War and the Great War demonstrate the changes made in the period in between were irrelevant and, to some extent, even harmful. 15 There is a serious gap in the historiography of the influence on tactics of the Boer War, and this has led to a failure of historians to consider the tactical level changes that came about from the period. The tactical doctrine of fire and manoeuvre provides an example of this failure, as it has few detractors and is still used today with combined arms operations as well as single unit combat. In conclusion, the Boer War, as experienced by the British Army culminated in the development of infantry tactics which are still used on the modern battlefield. The Army of the Victorian period – influenced heavily by Frederician and Jominian theory and which had been defeated at Colenso, Stormberg and Magersfontein – had been replaced by a force that recognised the tactical use of terrain and the extended advance to contact, resulting in reduced casualties and 14 J.E. Tyler, The British Army and the Continent, 1904-1914 , (London: E. Arnold and Co, 1938). 15 G.R. Searle, The Quest for National Efficiency: A Study in British Politics and Political Thought, 1899-1914 , (California: University of California Press, 1971).


allowing for an effective attack in force. Not all lessons from the period were effective but the Boer War provided the catalyst needed for full scale reforms that had been casually ignored in previous conflicts. The British Expeditionary Force of 1914 utilised infantry tactics that far outperformed their European counterparts. This is shown from the early battles of the Great War in Mons and Le Cateau, as whilst the German armies had superiority in their numbers, the British, using dispersed formations and accurate fire, were able to achieve early successes and gain a reputation for having the best infantry with the best tactics on the field of battle.


Bibliography Amery, L.S., E. Childers, G.P. Tallboy, and B. Williams, The Times History of the War in South Africa: 1899-1902 (S. Low, Marston and Company, 1902), v. 2 Carver, Field Marshal Lord Michael, The National Army Museum Book of the Boer War (Oxford: Pan Books, 2000), Commision, Great Britain Royal, Report of His Majesty's Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Military Preparations and Other Matters Connected with the War in South Africa , 7 vols (H.M.S.O, 1903) Vol 2 Gilbert, M., First World War (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994) Great, Britain, Office War, and Division Intelligence, Military Notes on the Dutch Republics of South Africa (1899) Lee, J., A Soldier's Life: General Sir Ian Hamilton, 1853-1947 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000) Phillipps, L.M., With Rimington (General Books LLC, 2009) Searle, G.R., The Quest for National Efficiency: A Study in British Politics and Political Thought, 1899-1914 (California: University of California Press, 1971) Spiers, E.M., The Late Victorian Army, 1868-1902 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992) Staff, Great Britain. War Office. General, Infantry Training, 1911 (London: H.M.S.O., 1911) Strachan, Hew, European Armies and the Conduct of War (Abingdon: Routledge, 2001) Tyler, J.E., The British Army and the Continent, 1904-1914 (London: E. Arnold and Co, 1938)


Would it be possible for us to have free will if determinism were true? David Sinton – HUP100 This essay will be arguing that it is not possible for us to have free will if determinism is true. To do this, I will begin by broadly defining what is meant by these two terms before examining and challenging some arguments on the compatibilist side of the debate. The arguments I will be examining come from Kai Nielson, Harry Frankfurt and Susan Wolff. These philosophers provide a classic compatibilist argument, and deep-self theories respectively. After examining these arguments, I believe it will be clear to the reader that free will is not compatible with determinism and that each of these philosophers fail to demonstrate anything other than determinism may be false. It would only take one example to prove that free will is compatible with determinism, but I will argue that this is yet to be demonstrated. Firstly, determinism can broadly be defined as the theory that every event is causally determined by events that have come beforehand. Determinism is sometimes confused with fatalism which is the idea that whatever will happen will happen. Fatalism is just a logical truth and does not make any reference to causation which is the main point of determinism. Determinism also differs from constraints we face in life such as our genes, upbringing, and threats of reward or punishment. These constraints almost certainly determine some aspects of human behaviour, but determinism is an all-encompassing theory that requires all events to be causally by events that have come before. Free will can broadly be defined as free to do otherwise. An example is that I have chosen to write this essay, but I am equally free


to not write the essay and accept any consequences that this may bring. For free will to be compatible with determinism it would be necessary for all previous events to play out in the same way and yet it still be possible for me to choose not to write this essay. The question of whether free will is compatible with determinism is a question of whether human beings have genuine choices in any given situation or whether our actions are inevitable. Free will is closely linked to ideas of personal responsibility and the idea that people are morally responsible for their actions. I will focus on two essays by Harry G. Frankfurt and one by Susan Wolf that follow this line of argument, but I will begin by looking at a classical compatibilist argument by Kai Nielson. Nielson is a soft determinist which means that he believes that determinism is true, but determinism is compatible with free will. This is in contrast with hard determinists and libertarians who both believe that free will is incompatible with determinism. However, hard determinists believe that determinism is true, and libertarians believe that it is false. Nielson’s main line of argument focuses on the fact that he believes that many incompatibilist arguments are making a false contrast between the idea of an action being free and it being causally determined. Nielson states that the idea of a causeless event does not make any sense. Therefore, every event and action are causally determined. Nielson believes that the correct concept to contrast with freedom is constraint and that just because it is theoretically possible to predict a man’s actions by knowing enough about his inclinations and past events does not mean that the man is compelled to act or constrained from acting in a certain way. The three conditions for freedom set out are: 1. He could have done otherwise if he had chosen to.


2. His actions are voluntary in the sense that the kleptomaniacs are not. 3. Nobody compelled him to choose as he did. 16 If all these conditions are met, then an action is free, and Nielson believes that this is compatible with determinism. The problem with this argument is the first condition: Nielson talks of people being free from constraints to perform actions but makes no mention of what causes these actions to be performed. Determinism is the theory that every event is necessitated by previous events. If people could have chosen to act otherwise, then the action performed was not necessitated by prior events; it was merely made possible by them. Part of the causal chain of events that lead to an action being performed includes a person choosing to perform the action in question. If the person making the choice had instead made a different choice, then the causal chain leading to the action is different and this would explain what had caused the eventual action. For example, it feels possible that I could choose not to submit essay in before the deadline, but I am going to (or did by the time this is read). For me to choose not to submit would have needed a different sequence of events leading up to this point for me to have made that choice. I may have crossed paths with a more rebellious group of friends and learned not to respect deadlines. However, that never happened, therefore the essay was bound to be submitted. The ability to choose to do otherwise is entirely unprovable and determinism is a theory that attempts to explain the world without leaving space for free will.

16 Kai Nielson, ‘The Compatibility of Freedom and Determinism’, in Free Will (Malden: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 39-46


Nielson’s theory is a more accurate description of freedom of action which is distinguished from freedom of the will in deep-self theories. Examples of deep-self arguments are offered by Susan Wolf and Harry Frankfurt. I will mainly concentrate on Wolf’s argument as she covers the same areas and ideas as Frankfurt in addition to offering more support for them. The deep-self theory makes the distinction between freedom of action and freedom of the will. Freedom of action is the freedom to act on our desires, whereas freedom of the will allows us to exert control over what we desire, which is in other words, the freedom to want to want something. Frankfurt describes freedom of the will as being demonstrated when what we want to want aligns with our desires. One point worth examining is that there may be competing desires within an individual. An example of this would be an individual going through the process of becoming fit. To begin, the person will have competing desires, one of which is to go to the gym and the other is to stay at home. Yet the person needs to go the gym to improve their fitness. The person will sometimes have a stronger desire to stay at home and eat pizza as opposed to going to the gym so they will stay at home on these occasions. According to Frankfurt this person is not demonstrating free will. After time, the person motivates themselves to overcome the desire to stay home and eat pizza and starts going to the gym every day. Eventually the desire to stay at home at gym time disappears and the person’s desire to want to become fit aligns with their desire to do exercise. At this point, according to Frankfurt, the person is demonstrating free will. 17 Susan Wolff finds a problem with this argument by using the example of a dictator’s son named Jojo. Jojo was brought up by his

17 Harry Frankfurt, ‘Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person’, in Free Will (Malden: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 127-144


father Jo the first and would often accompany his father on his daily routine. While accompanying his father, Jojo witnesses some brutal behaviour such as arbitrary torture and his father imprisoning citizens at random. After Jo the first dies Jojo takes his place and continues his father’s brutal form of governing. When asked, Jojo claims he is happy with his actions and would not want to change them. In other words, he is controlled by his desires which are the desires that he wants to have. According to Frankfurt, Jojo is demonstrating free will but Wolf believes that this is dubious due to his childhood upbringing. To counteract this, Wolff adds a further condition, which is sanity. This condition must be met to show that free will is being demonstrated. Wolff defines sanity as a person knowing what they are doing and the person knowing the difference between right and wrong. This definition of sanity would disqualify the dictator’s son from being able to exercise free will as he would be diagnosed as insane. Wolff argues that sane “deep-selves” can evaluate themselves and correct themselves accordingly. If these conditions are met, then a person can exercise free will and are then responsible for their actions. Wolff claims that if we are free to act on our desires and are free to control our desires then no more freedom is necessary. Something must have caused the deep-self to be the way that it is. If people are capable of choosing which desires they will follow, and which desires they would like to have separate of causes external to themselves then determinism is not true. If Jojo’s deep-self is insane due to his upbringing, then sane deep-selves must be sane because of their upbringing. Both deep-selves could have been causally determined to be how they are. The sane deep-self argument is a strong argument in favour of people being able to demonstrate free will, but it does not demonstrate that free will is compatible with determinism. The deep-


self merely adds to the chain of causes and Wolff recognises this dilemma in her essay. 18 Finally, Frankfurt makes a separate argument that people can be held morally responsible for their actions if determinism is true and uses a thought experiment to attempt to prove this. In Frankfurt’s example, Jones is coerced into performing an action by Black. The action is to leave town, or he will be killed. Frankfurt then adds the condition that Jones wanted to leave town anyway, so the coercive threat had no bearing on his decision. This is meant to illustrate that Jones has chosen to leave town when he has not been free to have done otherwise. Frankfurt then anticipates that someone may object that jones could have acted otherwise. For example, the threat of being killed unless Jones sets off a nuclear bomb can, and surely should be ignored. To counteract this objection Frankfurt makes Black’s powers more sophisticated and allows him to read and control Jones mind. Now, Black can know what Jones will do in advance and if Black sees that Jones is going to act in a way that Black disapproves of, like, for example by not leaving town, then Black is able to hypnotize Jones so that he acts in the way that Black chooses. However, throughout Jones life it is not necessary for Black to use these powers as Jones freely acts in the way that Black would have chosen without the need for Black to interfere. In this thought experiment Frankfurt has shown that Jones is morally responsible for his actions without being free to act otherwise. Frankfurt concludes that people can be morally responsible for their actions if they really wanted to perform the action anyway. He believes that moral responsibility is compatible with

18 Susan Wolf, Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility, in Free Will (Malden: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 145-163


determinism if the fact that the individual could not have done otherwise is only partly why they performed an action. 19 This thought experiment deals with the problematic first condition that is in place in Nielson’s conditions for freedom by making it impossible for Jones to do otherwise if he had chosen to while still seeming to demonstrate that Jones has free will. This appears to be a very strong analogy to determinism and how personal responsibility is compatible with it. However, the problem with this argument is that in a deterministic world, Jones’ actions are necessitated by previous events. There is nothing in this argument that suggests that the reason that Jones actions aligned with Black’s intentions is anything other than chance. Frankfurt does not address what caused Jones to act in the way that so happened to align with Black’s intentions. If determinism is true, then Jones actions were necessitated by previous events and he could not have acted otherwise with or without the addition of Black’s magical powers. If Jones had murdered someone and liked it then there is a utilitarian argument for imprisoning him as he may be more likely to murder again but that is a different topic as to whether Jones is responsible for what he has done. 20 In conclusion, if determinism is true, then it is not possible for people to have free will as their actions are performed to satisfy a desire and these desires are determined by previous events over which they have no control. If determinism is true, then the feeling of having control over desires which is guided by a deep-self is merely an 19 Harry Frankfurt, ‘Freedom, Responsibility and the Ability to do Otherwise’, in Western Philosophy An Anthology , 2nd edn, ed. by John Cottingham (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 332- 338 20 Peter Strawson, Determinism and our Attitudes to Others, in Western Philosophy An Anthology , 2nd edn, ed. by John Cottingham (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 326-331


illusion as the choices made by the deep-self have been made inevitable by prior events. However, if this feeling is not an illusion, and we are free to act on and control our desires, and this decision is guided by a deep-self, then we have free will. If this is the case, determinism is false. Our choices are either free or they are determined, they cannot be both.


Bibliography Frankfurt, Harry, ‘Freedom, Responsibility and the Ability to do Otherwise’, in Western Philosophy An Anthology , 2nd edn, ed. by John Cottingham (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 332- 338 Frankfurt, Harry, ‘Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person’, in Free Will (Malden: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 127-144 Nielson, Kai, ‘The Compatibility of Freedom and Determinism’, in Free Will (Malden: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 39-46 Strawson, Peter, Determinism and our Attitudes to Others, in Western Philosophy An Anthology , 2nd edn, ed. by John Cottingham (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 326-331 Wolf, Susan, Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility, in Free Will (Malden: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 145-163


Would Kennedy have escalated or de-escalated America’s involvement in Vietnam if re-elected in 1964? Mitchell J Skinner – AM245 “We don’t want our American boys to do the fighting for the Asian boys”. 21 This quote from Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 can be seen in hindsight as crazy, stupid, and outright unthinkable. That LBJ could say that, only a matter of years before 543,000 American soldiers were entrenched in America’s longest war - Vietnam. However, could all of this been different if John F. Kennedy was not assassinated in 1963 and then re-elected in ’64? A truly hypothetical question, but an important one when looking at the character of JFK, the legacy of Vietnam, and most importantly, the Cold War. Many historians believe that Kennedy would have simply continued in Vietnam and left a legacy similar to LBJ, due to the combined pressures presented by the Cold War and domestic hawkishness. However, there are historians and writers who believe a second Kennedy term would have de-escalated the war in Vietnam, and avoided the deaths of 59,000 Americans and Vietnamese. There are various reasons why historians believe this: his experience in World War 2, his preference for negotiations, and the more immediate European threat. Despite having just 3 years of his Presidency to base this hypothetical question on, it is possible to conduct a thorough and balanced argument with a reasonable conclusion, which this essay aims to achieve. In order to reassure American allies of the U.S’s commitment to defeating communism and preserve its status as the defender of liberty in the world, the tone of an American President was vitally

21 Noam, Chomsky, Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War and US Political Culture (London: Verso, 1993), p. 108.


important during the Cold War. Kennedy, the 35 th President of the United States, gave every intention that he would not back down to the Soviets in Vietnam. Kennedy’s rhetoric from his inauguration to his assassination assured that America would fight for freedom, and would not de-escalate the war against the communists in Vietnam. His inaugural address spoke of standing up to America’s adversaries, by stating that America will “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty”. 22 John Donovan argued this rhetoric paved the way for America’s “activism” in defending freedom in the world, as part of America’s activism in the Cold War, JFK oversaw the biggest build-up of American arms in peace-time history. 23 Another key element of Kennedy’s cold war rhetoric was his proactive attitude, Kennedy was sure that America must “move forward to meet communism, rather than waiting for it to come to us and then reacting to it”. 24 So, to suggest that Kennedy would have withdrawn from Vietnam is a fundamentally flawed notion, as he always wanted to be on the front foot taking the war to the Soviets, not withdrawing and waiting. Kennedy substantiated his claims by deploying over 15,000 military advisors to Vietnam 25 , this was part of his plan to assist South 22 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library [online]. [cited 5 November 2017]. Available from: <https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready- Reference/JFK-Quotations/Inaugural-Address.aspx> 23 John C., Donovan, The Cold Warriors: A Policy-Making Elite (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1974), pp. 175-177. 24 George C., Herring, America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975, 2nd edn (New York: Knopf, 1986), p. 74. 25 Dean, Robert D., ‘Masculinity as Ideology: John F. Kennedy and the Domestic Politics of Foreign Policy’, Diplomatic History, 22 (1998), pp. 29-62. <https://academic-oup-com.openathens- proxy.swan.ac.uk/dh/article/22/1/29/article> [accessed 5 November 2017] (p. 52).


Vietnam “in every way we properly can” which he also addressed at the General Assembly of the United Nations. 26 After the Second World War, America was placed centre stage; the gatekeeper to global capitalism. They were charged with defending any country under threat from authoritarianism and harsh regimes. Scholars such as Brian VanDeMark go as far as to claim that America became “arrogant and stubborn… [in their] power to shape foreign events”. 27 This attitude translated into a hawkish mentality that dominated much of Congress, the military, and the public - which ultimately pushed Kennedy into a corner he couldn’t escape. In a 1963 interview with Walter Cronkite, he sharply criticised the Diem government and adds that “I do not agree with those who say we should withdraw. That would be a big mistake.” 28 The argument against withdrawing was strongly advertised by his military advisors as the ‘Domino Theory’, where, if South Vietnam falls, so will the rest of Southeast Asia, Kennedy would later subscribe to this theory and reiterate his view that the war must be won. 29 In publicly supporting 26 Denise M., Bostdorff, and Steven R. Goldzwig, ‘Idealism and Pragmatism in American Foreign Policy Rhetoric: The Case of John F. Kennedy and Vietnam’, Presidential Studies Quarterly, 24 (1994), pp. 1-16.< https://search-proquest-com.openathens- proxy.swan.ac.uk/docview/215692085?OpenUrlRefId=info:xri/sid:primo&ac countid=14680> [accessed 5 November 2017] (p. 4). 27 Brian, VanDeMark, Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the escalation of the Vietnam War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. xiv. 28 Cronkite Interview of JFK [online]. YouTube, 2009 [cited 5 November 2017]. Available from: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM3uaXp8DAk> 29 Lawrence, Freedman, Kennedy’s Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001) <https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/swansea-


this theory, credence is lent to the notion that he was being pressured by his advisors to be strong on Vietnam. Following the Taylor report that was sent to Kennedy (which advised him to send an 8,000-man task force to Vietnam) the Joint Chiefs and the Defence Secretary said they’d only support the idea if the President gave his word that the U.S. would commit over 200,000 troops if the plan failed, deeming it the “necessary military action”. 30 At the start of the 1960s, the United States were on red-alert from the Soviet threat and the ever-present Cold War. The victor of the 1960 Presidential election could not be seen as soft on communism, when every citizen depended on that person to defend them from nuclear war. Subsequently, it became overwhelmingly important that Kennedy, the youngest President ever with minimal political achievements to his name, worked to convey that he was strong leader. He needed to show he would beat the Soviets - this necessitated a strong front in Vietnam and at home. The consequences of failure here were drastic, something Kennedy had seen firsthand through McCarthyism and the major defeats for democrats in subsequent elections. The political ramifications were heightened even more in 1961 when Khrushchev promised to give the Soviet support to any country in a war of “liberation”, this meant that Kennedy had to match any showing of Soviet strength in Vietnam. 31 Otherwise, as Geoffrey Warner warned, Kennedy would receive a large amount of criticism from the Republicans “accusing the ebooks/detail.action?docID=279605> [accessed 6 November 2017], pp. 511- 512. 30 William J., Rust, and U.S. News Books, Kennedy in Vietnam (New York: Scribner, 1985), p. 50. 31 Guenter, Lewy, America in Vietnam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 19.


democrats of having ‘lost’ Vietnam as they had ‘lost’ Cuba and China”. 32 As Freedman points out “Democracy thus affects crisis management in a basic way, mismanagement will lose votes”. 33 Despite these claims, it is entirely feasible that President Kennedy would have de-escalated the war in Vietnam. A major factor towards this was JFK’s military experience, stemming from his experiences during WW2. These experiences had given him a negative view of military leadership. His failed mission during his captaining of PT-109 and the absolute failure of the Bay of Pigs in 1962, these experiences caused him to distrust his military advisors and be cautious to their suggestions. 34 When consulting advisors on the American attempt to overthrow the Diem regime, which Kennedy viewed with extreme scepticism, he said to them “I know from experience that failure is more destructive than the appearance of indecision”. 35 This experience was from the humiliation of the Bay of Pigs invasion, where the CIA and Joint Chiefs had made many mistakes in their attempted coup of Castro, which Kennedy had to take 32 Geoffrey, Warner, ‘Review Article the United States and Vietnam: From Kennedy to Johnson’, International Affairs, 73 (1997), pp. 333-349. <http://web.b.ebscohost.com.openathens- proxy.swan.ac.uk/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=b8992a01-4b68- 40a9-ad94-a66a9d6536ed%40sessionmgr101> [accessed 5 November 2017] (p. 346). 33 Lawrence, Freedman, ‘Kennedy, Bush and Crisis Management’, Cold War History, 2 (2002), pp. 1-14. <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/713999964> [accessed 5 November 2017] (p. 7). 34 James N., Giglio, ‘The Third World’, in The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (Lawrence: Kansas University Press, 1991), pp. 237-270. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/j.ctt1f5g4vd.15.pdf> [accessed 5 November 2017] (p. 269). 35 Giglio, p. 265.


responsibility for. 36 During the Bay of Pigs incident, military advisors only considered one option, invade Cuba. Freedman notes that “Kennedy clearly learned that it is essential for leaders to have multiple options available for debate and discussion”. 37 Kennedy always wanted to avoid full scale war in Vietnam, knowing that a prolonged military intervention would not necessarily win the war for the US, and did not want to put American lives on the line for an uncertain outcome. 38 The “Jaw jaw is better than war war” quote from Winston Churchill embodied JFK’s attitude to foreign policy. 39 In his 3-year tenure, Kennedy managed to resolve many crises with diplomatic actions rather than military force. Garry Hess wrote that “Kennedy brought about imaginative and modernised policies which moved American foreign policy towards international peace”. 40 Kennedy’s legacy is not embodied in just words, but through his actions as well. Most notably was his attitude towards the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, where he committed the U.S. to pursuing a negotiated outcome with Khrushchev instead of bombing the missiles as his military 36 Jack, Colhoun, ‘Bay of Pigs: A Disaster Waiting to Happen’, in Gangsterismo: The United States, Cuba and the Mafia, 1933-1966 (New York, US: OR Books, 2014), pp. 110-124. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/j.ctt18z4gvc.15.pdf> [accessed 5 November 2017] (p. 114). 37 Steve, Adubato, ‘Leadership Lessons from JFK’, in Lessons in Leadership (Rutgers University Press, 2016), pp. 182-186. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/j.ctt1f2qqz2.25.pdf> [accessed 5 November 2017] (pp. 184-185). 38 Giglio, p. 269. 39 Freedman, p. 11. 40 David L., Anderson, ed., Shadow on the White House: Presidents and the Vietnam War, 1945-1975 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1993), p. 67.


advisors suggested. 41 Bruce Riedel suggests that this diplomatic outcome can be attributed to The Guns of August, a book written by Barbara Tuchman, and read by Kennedy a few months before the crisis. The book outlines how leaders during WW1 did not want to go to war, and Riedel suggests this changed how Kennedy dealt with crises, noting how Kennedy believed “the United States had to proceed by diplomacy, not by a military action that would escalate to Armageddon”. 42 In relation to de-escalation in Vietnam, James Giglio states, “[G]iven what we know about President Kennedy, it is difficult to conceive of his pulling out of Vietnam without an acceptable resolution”. 43 This was shown by Kennedy a short time before his assassination asking his ambassador to Vietnam, to “explore the possibility of some sort of deal with North Vietnam”. 44 It was foreseeable that Kennedy was looking at a negotiated outcome so that he could withdraw Americans from Vietnam. Freedman continues to argue that Kennedy was “anxious not to be seen committing US forces to combat as he was admitting an interest in negotiated outcomes”. 45 Freedman assures us that Kennedy was not looking to escalate the war in Vietnam, rather he was looking for a diplomatic solution where Vietnam could decide their own future. Kennedy’s attitude towards the Cold War was very different to his military advisors, as Teresa Thomas acknowledged that “JFK was 41 Arthur M., Schlesinger, A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (New York: Fawcett Premier, 1971), pp. 691-695. 42 Bruce, Riedel, ‘From JFK to Today’, in JFK’S Forgotten Crises: Tibet, the CIA and Sino-Indian War (Brookings Institution Press, 2015), pp. 147-182. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.7864/j.ctt15hvr1q.9.pdf> [accessed 5 November 2017] (pp. 180-181). 43 Giglio, p. 269.

44 Freedman, p. 9. 45 Freedman, p. 9.


not hostile to Cold War neutralism”, Kennedy came to believe that the Cold War was a situation which could not be won through outright military action. 46 Kennedy’s reluctance to send more Americans to Vietnam came out of the belief that he wanted to, as Schlesinger describes, “take the hysteria out of the Cold War and get down to the business at hand”. 47 However, this doesn’t disregard how seriously Kennedy took the Cold War, but he did believe that the real battlefield was not Vietnam, but instead places like Berlin and Cuba, where a devastating nuclear war could break out at any time. 48 This view was also reflected by Khrushchev’s actions in Vietnam, as Khrushchev sensed the danger of focusing too much on Vietnam believing it was “a great trap for the USSR”. 49 Kennedy meanwhile, only wanted to help the Vietnamese through economic means and not get into a head to head war with the soviets 50 , so it is absurd to say that he would have escalated the war in Vietnam, just as the Soviets were pulling out, and with Berlin becoming the centre of attention in the timeline of the Cold War. Kennedy was hesitant about sending more Americans into Vietnam both for their safety and the fact that he didn’t believe sending more troops would solve the situation. Freedman notes Kennedy was “dubious” over adding American troops to swing 46 Teresa Fava, Thomas, ‘Quiet Diplomacy in Action: The Kennedy and Johnson Years’, in American Arabists in the Cold War Middle East, 1946–75: From Orientalism to Professionalism (Imprint: Anthem Press, 2016), pp. 109- 133. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/j.ctt1ffjq60.10.pdf> [accessed 5 November 2017] (p. 111). 47 Schlesinger, p. 272. 48 Freedman, p. 7. 49 Douglas, Pike, Vietnam and the Soviet Union: Anatomy of an alliance (Boulder: Westview Press, 1987), p. 45. 50 Schlesinger, p. 273.


Vietnam towards the “free world”. 51 Kennedy was worried about turning Vietnam into a full-fledged American commitment by “over militarisation” and an “over-americanisation” of the war. 52 Since his time as a Senator, Kennedy always believed in self-determination for Vietnam. At the time, he argued against French colonisation of Vietnam and was convinced that with the allowing of political and civil liberties, a non-communist movement would prosper. 53 It was this belief which spurred Kennedy into not wanting any more military involvement as he believed it “would compromise the Vietnamese nationalism of Diem’s cause”. 54 Kennedy’s rhetoric of non-military action was finally backed up with actions in October 1963, where Kennedy authorised military disengagement in Vietnam, he wanted to reduce the number of advisors in Vietnam back down to the numbers of early 1961. 55 In January 1963, at the State of the Union, preceding this decision to gradually withdraw, Kennedy stated that “the spearpoint of aggression has been blunted in South Vietnam”. 56 Part of the reasoning behind the withdrawal is Kennedy’s mindset over what America’s role was in Vietnam. Hess notes that Kennedy was “determined to draw a distinction between the U.S. supportive role and the military mission of the South Vietnamese”. 57

51 Freedman, p. 6. 52 Schlesinger, p. 839. 53 Anderson, p. 68-69. 54 Schlesinger, p. 839.

55 Howard, Jones, Death of a Generation: How the Assassinations of Diem and JFK prolonged the Vietnam War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) <https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/swansea- ebooks/detail.action?docID=271285> [accessed 6 November 2017], p. 330. 56 Schlesinger, p. 550. 57 Anderson, p. 81.


From the arguments which were presented throughout this essay, it is safe to say that behind the scenes, Kennedy was in favour of de-escalation in Vietnam. However due to the “indoctrinated” public, Kennedy could not publicise his views, as he would be viewed as ‘soft’ on Communism. So inevitably in JFK’s short presidency, the United States “involvement in Vietnam became more military and less political”. 58 Historians who argue that Kennedy would have escalated the Vietnam war point out that LBJ was similar to Kennedy in terms of foreign policy approach, he wasn’t an out an out Hawk, and he also subscribed to the containment policy, a policy which had lasted Kennedy and 10 years previous. 59 However, people close to Kennedy and historians who wrote in the ‘Camelot’ era have a different perspective; Middle East advisor Curtis Jones saw the events unfold in Dallas and noted that with LBJ’s “Middle East policy did almost a 180 degree turn”. 60 This example of a major difference in opinion is completely reflective of the literature which covers the Kennedy era. Mark White notes that because Kennedy was assassinated, the immediate assessments of his life were overwhelmingly positive, this period became known as the Camelot School, with major contributors being Arthur Schlesinger and Theodore Sorensen. 61 To balance the literature on Kennedy, a wave of “counter-Camelot school emerged”

58 Donovan, p. 198. 59 VanDeMark, pp. 9-10. 60 Thomas, p. 121.

61 Mark J., White, ‘Introduction: A New Synthesis for the New Frontier’, in Kennedy: The New Frontier Revisited (Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 1998), pp. 1-17. <https://blackboard.swan.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/pid-2392992-dt-content-rid- 2304151_2/courses/1718_AM- 245/Mark%20White%20JFK%20Literature%20Review.pdf> [accessed 5 November 2017] (pp. 1-2).


in the 1970s and 80s which was “as extravagant in its criticisms of Kennedy as earlier writers had been in their praise”. 62 For this reason, it is hard to gain an unbiased perspective into Kennedy’s mind and gauge how he might have dealt with Vietnam if he had been re-elected in ’64, and obviously it is impossible to have a definitive judgement, but I believe a conclusion can be built on the facts presented. Before Kennedy died, he had both escalated the involvement of America in Vietnam, by committing 16,000 advisors to help the Diem government, but also ordered the first 1,000 to come home, so there is conflicting evidence which could be argued in both directions. My conclusion is based on the personality of Kennedy, and his experiences in foreign affairs and the military. During his WW2 mission with the PT-109 crew, he had seen that missions always have the chance of going horribly wrong, and as President he had seen how a bad mission can cause the loss of many lives which he was personally in charge of. In terms of foreign affairs, Kennedy had learned the lessons of bad diplomacy through the Vienna summit, but also seen how good negotiations can result in positives for both camps, like during the Cuban Missile Crisis. These are the main reasons why I believe John F. Kennedy, if re-elected as President in ’64, would have looked for a negotiated outcome with the communists in Vietnam, so that he could have withdrawn his advisors, and inevitably completely de-escalated the war in Vietnam.

62 White, p. 4.


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