On January 12th 1966, President Johnson delivered his state of the union address that focused on the need to continue and intensify anti-communist measures in Vietnam. This speech was given in the middle of operation Crimp, which was at the time the largest allied military operation to date undertaken by the US and Australian militaries in South Vietnam.
In his speech, Johnson sought to justify the increase in American ground forces and spending, arguing that the expenditure was necessary to defend the people of Asia from Communist conquest. He argues that his policies were in line with the policies of past presidents, such as Truman’s American intervention in the Korean War, and Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs. He argued that the ultimate goal in Vietnam was to broker a peace deal. In reality this would allow an unpopular military dictatorship to stay in power in South Vietnam.
On same day the People’s Daily published a critique of Johnson’s offer of negotiations. Johnson holds a sparrow bearing an olive branch in one hand, and in his other arm supports an eagle/nuclear missile bearing the inscription “invasion and war.” The offers of peace negotiations were not what they seemed, Johnson was attempting to force the advance of US Imperialism through the threat and use of force.
Additionally, in the same issue of the People’s daily there were another two articles on the struggle of Vietnamese people to resist American aggression.
At Play at the time:
The War in Vietnam was a constant backdrop to the unfolding politics of the Cultural Revolution. The PRC directed material support towards the Vietnamese Communist forces. As resistance to the Vietnam war started to heat up in the second half of the 1960’s, as a result of the anti-bureaucratic thought arising from the Cultural Revolution and the active role of the CCP in supporting the Vietnamese, many leftists in Europe the United States and Japan came to consider China the center of the global revolution, and Mao Zedong thought represented the theoretical summation of the most avant-garde revolutionary politics.