Hell No! They Won't Go!: Lyndon Johnson and the Nonmobilization of U.S. Army Reserve Forces

Berggren, Kathleen, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Hitchcock, William, Department of History, University of Virginia

This essay examines the Lyndon Johnson administration's reserve force planning policies from July 1965 through April 1968 asking why the president did not mobilize U.S. Army Reserve Forces for active duty service in Vietnam as most military advisers recommended. I argue that President Johnson repeatedly elected not to call up reserve forces during this period, despite the military’s vehement protestations, because of the perceived domestic political and international ramifications of a mobilization. Whereas mobilization policymaking had traditionally been conceived of as an operational matter that fell under the military’s purview, Johnson and his civilian defense and domestic policy advisers used force planning as a political tool to control public, Congressional, and foreign perceptions of American intentions in ways that previous wartime administrations had not.

MA (Master of Arts)
Vietnam War, reserve force mobilization
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