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The Foreign Policy of Lyndon B. Johnson

The United States and the World, 1963-1969

Jonathan Colman

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A balanced overview of Johnson’s policies across a range of theatres and issues

Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency was characterised by domestic successes and vilified interational policies. He presided over the advancement of civil rights and educational reform while escalating the disastrous war in Vietnam.

Drawing on recently declassified documents and the latest research, this fresh account looks at Vietnam and beyond to Johnson's relations with Europe, NATO and the rest of the world. Colman contends that, although the war in Vietnam could have been prosecuted more effectively, overall Johnson dealt with the world beyond the borders of the United States very capably. In particular, he dealt with successive challenges to the NATO alliance in a skilled and intelligent manner, leaving it politically stronger when he left office in 1969 than it had been in 1963.


1. The Johnson White House and Foreign Policy
2. Vietnam: Going to War, 1963-65
3. Vietnam: Waging War, 1965-69
4. Two Allies: Britain and France
5. NATO Nuclear Sharing and Troop Offset
6. Two Adversaries: The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China
7. Two Crises in the Middle East: Cyprus, 1964, and the Six-Day War, 1967
8. The Western hemisphere: The Alliance for Progress, Cuba and the Dominican Republic
9. Dollars and Gold: Monetary and Trade Policy

About the Author

Jonathan Colman teaches international and US history at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, England. He is the author of A ‘Special Relationship’? Harold Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson and Anglo-American Relations ‘at the Summit’, 1964-68 (2004), and The Foreign Policy of Lyndon B. Johnson: The United States and the World, 1963-69 (2010). He has also published numerous articles in leading peer-reviewed journals.


A very worthwhile contribution to foreign relations literature. For students of US foreign relations it offers an interesting and broad introduction to the Johnson administration’s attempts to grapple with world issues. For scholars and historians it presents a new perspective on Johnson.

- Ben Offiler, University of Nottingham, 49th Parallel

In this finely researched book, Jonathan Colman places himself at the head of Lyndon Johnson revisionism. Without ignoring the mistakes of LBJ's management of the Vietnam War, Colman makes a good case for seeing and judging Johnson's foreign policy in the round. This is an indispensable addition to the literature on President Lyndon Johnson.

- John Dumbrell, Professor of Government, Durham University