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The Words Behind the War

Ken Burns' ten-part documentary, The Vietnam War, premiering on PBS September 17, will expose to 21st-century viewers many voices from that distant time. Among those voices will be the two presidents who held office during that turbulent era, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. The film's producers worked closely with the Miller Center of Public Affairs, which administers the Presidential Recordings Program. Oval Office conversations, caught on tape, take the listener behind the scenes of this most controversial war. We are now making these conversations open to the public through our The Presidential Recordings Digital Edition web site, published by UVA Press's electronic imprint, ROTUNDA. Links to the conversations are below.

Viewers of the Vietnam War documentary will also want to read Miller Center scholar Ken Hughes' two highly acclaimed books, Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate and Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam War, and the Casualties of Re-election—both of which offer audio files of the presidential tapes via these links—as well George Herring's ebook essay The War Bells Have Rung: The LBJ Tapes and the Americanization of the Vietnam War.

 

From the Johnson White House

LBJ and Sen. J. William Fulbright, 2 Dec 63

President Johnson and Sargent Shriver, 1 Feb 64

President Johnson and John S. Knight, 3 Feb 64

President Johnson and Robert S. McNamara, 25 Feb 64

President Johnson and McGeorge Bundy, 2 Mar 64

President Johnson and Robert S. McNamara, 2 Mar 64

President Johnson and Robert S. McNamara, 21 Mar 64

President Johnson and Robert S. McNamara, 2 Apr 64

President Johnson and Sen. Richard B. Russell, 27 May 64

LBJ and Robert S. McNamara, 3 Aug 64

President Johnson and Robert S. McNamara, 4 Aug 64

LBJ and James Rowe, 6 Aug 64

President Johnson and Rep. Gerald R. Ford, 17 Jun 65

President Johnson and Robert S. McNamara, 2 July 65

President Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr., 7 Jul 65

LBJ and Sen. Everett Dirksen, 2 Nov 68

 

From the Nixon White House

President Nixon and Rev. Billy Graham, 7 Apr 71

H. R. Haldeman, 21 Dec 70

President Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger, 6 Oct 72

President Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger, 3 Aug 72

 

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