Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 247–256 | Cite as

A foreign policy success? LBJ and transatlantic relations

  • Sylvia EllisEmail author


Challenging traditional historiography that claims Lyndon B. Johnson’s foreign policy was his political weakness, this article aligns itself with recent, more positive assessments of his record ‘beyond Vietnam’. President Johnson contributed to the avoidance of a lasting split in the Atlantic alliance despite General de Gaulle’s anti-Americanism, the unpopularity of the US engagement in Vietnam, and increasing US calls for ‘burden-sharing’. He was able to do this by recognising his own and his country’s limitations in external affairs, by relying on the judgement of key advisers, by adopting a calm approach in contrast to de Gaulle’s inflammatory behaviour, and by supporting progress toward détente and Ostpolitik. Thus, although transatlantic relations faced major tensions and serious realignment during the Johnson years, they remained relatively stable.


Lyndon Johnson NATO transatlantic relations Charles de Gaulle Multilateral Force Harold Wilson burden-sharing 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northumbria UniversityNewcastleUK

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