‘Just Like Dodge City’ – Santo Domingo – May 12, 1965

Trading a headache for an upset stomach.

Trading a headache for an upset stomach.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – ABC Radio – The Johnson Doctrine – Dominican Republic – May 12, 1965 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

News on this day, at least in the U.S., centered around a new Latin-American hotspot; The Dominican Republic. In the midst of political instability with all the earmarks of a civil war, President Johnson decided the best thing to do was intervene militarily, partly to calm an out-of-control situation, but mostly to “prevent another Cuba” as Chief of Staff, General Wheeler put it, hoping to prevent another Communist takeover.

So Operation Power Pack was launched on April 29th with an invasion of The Dominican Republic by U.S. Marines, with some 42,000 U.S. troops eventually landing on the island.

So the news for May 12, 1965 was about the ongoing crisis and attempts by all sides to come to some conclusion. Meanwhile,fighting was continuing and the targets were now U.S. troops. Needless to say, our decision to send in the Marines was perceived by many as a power-grab of a country going through an internal crisis. Our wisdom of committing troops to the crisis was questioned, particularly since things were rapidly spiraling out of control in Southeast Asia, and it was feared our military would be stretched thin.

But we were still very much entrenched in a Cold War, and the specter of Cuba loomed large in our Foreign policy toward Latin America. And since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was only three years earlier, there were still echoes of “A Communist toehold in the Western Hemisphere“, and it was a driving force in many foreign policy decisions with respect to that region.

But on this day, it was about U.S. Marines engaging rebels in Santo Domingo, prompting one Marine to remark “It’s just like Dodge City“.

And it was. And that’s how it went this May 12th in 1965 as reported by ABC Radio News and one of several Special Reports given during the crisis.

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