Accession Number : ADA601857


Title :   Images of Inherited War: Three American Presidents in Vietnam


Descriptive Note : Master's thesis


Corporate Author : AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST


Personal Author(s) : Hersch, William R


Full Text : http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA601857


Report Date : Feb 2014


Pagination or Media Count : 204


Abstract : This study examines how cognitive forces shape grand wartime strategy across successive presidential administrations. By analyzing Vietnam through the lens of image and cognitive theory, the author attempts to answer the question, How did presidential image affect agendas and outcomes during the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations? Specifically, the author examines the presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon through key decision points and policy shifts during the Vietnam War in an effort to unveil the substantial cognitive forces with which presidents must contend, and often counter, when they inherit war. It is the author s hope that revealing the confluence of images, agendas, and outcomes during the Vietnam War will make current and future decision makers more aware of the impact that cognitive forces have in shaping war s trajectory. Moreover, he hopes that by examining Vietnam through the lens of presidential image, a broader conceptualization of war as inheritance will emerge. Ultimately, this study may help minimize current and future cognitive pitfalls in the development and execution of grand strategy, particularly when policy makers face the daunting challenge of inherited war. It also establishes the foundation for a larger project that not only examines Vietnam more broadly but also analyzes how image and inheritance influenced grand strategy in Afghanistan.


Descriptors :   *LEADERSHIP , *PRESIDENT(UNITED STATES) , *PSYCHOLOGY , *VIETNAM WAR , COGNITION , HISTORY , LESSONS LEARNED


Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
      Humanities and History
      Psychology
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE