Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Johnson: If it wasn't for that war, everything would be fine.

If it wasn't for that war, everything would be fine.
Lyndon Johnson: If it wasn’t for that war, everything would be fine.

– NBC Radio – Second Sunday: The Johnson Years – January 12, 1969 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

January in 1969 signified the end of one era and the beginning of another. Lyndon Johnson, declining to run for a second term, had paved the way for Richard Nixon to assume the duties as President, this month in 1969. During that month, a look back at the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson and the legacy he would leave behind when he left office on the 20th.

This documentary, part of the Second Sunday series for NBC Radio, took a look back at the Lyndon Johnson years. The years that began late in November of 1963 and went until his last days in office in 1969. Between those years a tremendous upheaval in society took place. Not just in America but all over the world. On the plus side, there were sweeping social changes implemented by the Johnson Administration – a War on Poverty, the revolution in Social Services with Medicare and Medicaid. But the minus side perhaps cast a bigger shadow, in some ways overtaking the positive aspects. It was the War in Vietnam – a War that drained the resources of a nation, not only in monetary but in human terms. A war that became the bane of a Presidency and eventually caused his downfall.

And there were the social changes which had nothing to do with the economy. Music and the Youth explosion. The changes in sexual attitudes. The Generation Gap.

It was, by all accounts, a perfect storm.

There will probably never be the definitive assessment of the decade of the 60s because those ten years touched so many people in so many different ways, it would be hard to paint a universal picture of the entire era. To some it was magic, to others it was hell.  To still others it was perplexing and to even others it wasn’t nearly enough. All the elements existed in the framework of one ten year period, making it impossible to put a finger on any one part and saying that was it.

So this documentary is one aspect – one portion of one aspect, and it may give you some insights as to what went on. But it doesn’t begin to explain the whole story – that just takes a lot of digging around. And besides, we became embroiled in the 70s – and that’s another story with the slow dismantling process that took place.

But for now . . . . .

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