In the Presidential Message made by Lyndon B. Johnson on March 31, 1968 there were many concerns addressed, particularly regarding the state of affairs in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. This speech was made around the time of the Vietnam War and the main concern of President Johnson was how the events happening in North and South Vietnam would affect the people in Vietnam, particularly the spread of Communism, and how this in turn would affect the American people. He addresses the search for peace in Vietnam, saying, “Even while the search for peace was going on, North Vietnam rushed their preparations for a savage assault on the people, the government, and the allies of South Vietnam.” Johnson views the United States as an ally with South Vietnam because they are standing against communism, a major focus of his dissatisfaction with the regime trying to take control.
In this message President Johnson is extremely effective in giving the American public the bad news about what was happening in Vietnam. There was no need to sugar coat the events happening in Southeast Asia, and all Americans were aware of the threat communism posed around the world. He conveys his point simply. He is aware of the threat posed by the communists in North Vietnam, but he is still hopeful that they will be able to negotiate peace. “Tonight, I renew the offer I made last August–to stop the bombardment of North Vietnam. We ask that talks begin promptly, that they be serious talks on the substance of peace. We assume that during those talks Hanoi will not take advantage of our restraint.” His main concern is that by not heading straight to war with North Vietnam he is taking the risk that they will attack with even more fervor. A modern American can learn a great deal about how the Vietnam War began and why the American involvement was so important. Many Americans today remember the Vietnam War for the protests that happened in the United States, but Americans can see from this speech that it was a much more complex issue than many people remember.