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1964   Cold War   1969

The Cold War (1962-1979)refers to the period that spanned the time between the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in late October 1962, through the détente period beginning in 1969, and then ending in the late 1970s.

The U.S. maintained its Cold War engagement with the Soviet Union during this period, despite internal U.S. preoccupations with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam Conflict antiwar movement.

Vietnam Conflict
U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson landed 42,000 troops in the Dominican Republic in 1965 to prevent the emergence of "another Fidel Castro." More notable in 1965, however, was the U.S. intervention in Southeast Asia. In 1965 Johnson stationed 22,000 troops in South Vietnam to prop up the faltering anticommunist regime. The South Vietnamese government had long been allied with the United States. The North Vietnamese, under Ho Chi Minh, were backed by the Soviet Union and China. North Vietnam, in turn, supported the National Liberation Front (NLF), which drew its ranks from the South Vietnamese working class and peasantry. Seeking to contain Communist expansion, Johnson increased the number of troops to 575,000 in 1968.

Although neither the Soviet Union nor China intervened directly in the conflict, they did supply large amounts of aid and material to the North Vietnamese, and supported them diplomatically.

While the early years of the conflict saw significant U.S. casualties, the administration assured the U.S. public that the conflict was winnable, and would, in the near future, result in a U.S. victory. The U.S. public's faith in "the light at the end of the tunnel" was shattered on January 30, 1968, when the NLF mounted their "Tet Offensives" in South Vietnam. Although neither of these offensives accomplished any military objectives, the surprising capacity of an enemy even to launch such an offensive convinced many in the U.S. that victory was impossible.