50 min

Madame Chennault Nixon at War

    • History

Coming out of the conventions in August ’68, Richard Nixon begins his campaign against Hubert Humphrey, his Democratic opponent, with what looks like an insurmountable lead.  Running as the peace candidate, Nixon promises a quick end to a costly and increasingly unpopular war. The strategy works, until late October, when Humphrey finally breaks with LBJ and goes public with his own opposition to the war.  Overnight, the race begins to tighten. This is Nixon's last shot.  He lost to JFK in 1960, by less than two-tenths of a percent – one of the closest elections in U.S. history – and isn’t about to let it happen again.  So, when word leaks, a week before the election, of a possible breakthrough in LBJ’s long-stalled Vietnam peace talks, Nixon sees it all slipping away, and moves to avoid that outcome, at whatever risk. His response is to sabotage the Paris Talks, through a mysterious secret intermediary known as the Dragon Lady. LBJ learns of Nixon’s efforts to blow up the talks, but can’t reveal his source – FBI wiretaps on the South Vietnamese Embassy. “Of all of Richard Nixon’s actions in a lifetime of politics,” biographer John Farrell will later say, “this was the most reprehensible.“

Learn more at NixonAtWar.org.

Coming out of the conventions in August ’68, Richard Nixon begins his campaign against Hubert Humphrey, his Democratic opponent, with what looks like an insurmountable lead.  Running as the peace candidate, Nixon promises a quick end to a costly and increasingly unpopular war. The strategy works, until late October, when Humphrey finally breaks with LBJ and goes public with his own opposition to the war.  Overnight, the race begins to tighten. This is Nixon's last shot.  He lost to JFK in 1960, by less than two-tenths of a percent – one of the closest elections in U.S. history – and isn’t about to let it happen again.  So, when word leaks, a week before the election, of a possible breakthrough in LBJ’s long-stalled Vietnam peace talks, Nixon sees it all slipping away, and moves to avoid that outcome, at whatever risk. His response is to sabotage the Paris Talks, through a mysterious secret intermediary known as the Dragon Lady. LBJ learns of Nixon’s efforts to blow up the talks, but can’t reveal his source – FBI wiretaps on the South Vietnamese Embassy. “Of all of Richard Nixon’s actions in a lifetime of politics,” biographer John Farrell will later say, “this was the most reprehensible.“

Learn more at NixonAtWar.org.

50 min

Top Podcasts In History

More by PRX