Sheridan set out to subdue the Indians' resistance to federal authority, they took full advantage of the new weaponry and means of transportation that the Civil War had proven.
To regain the initiative on the war front, President Johnson signed off on Operational Plan 34-A on January 19, 1964. The plan called for graduated pressure on North Vietnam, proceeding in stages from surveillance and small hit-and-run raids by South Vietnamese commandos, then in operation, to more destructive “airborne and seaborne raids on important military and civilian installations” such as bridges, railways, and coastal fortifications, then to large-scale “aerial attacks conducted against critical DRV installations or facilities, industrial and/or military,” designed to destroy North Vietnam’s infrastructure and incapacitate its economy. This secret plan, now declassified, amounted to a declaration of war against North Vietnam. Although U.S. officials were well aware that the insurgency in the south was largely sustained by the rural population rather than by Hanoi, they reasoned that increased pressure on North Vietnam could reduce the flow of weapons and supplies to the NLF and, in any case, punish the DRV for supporting the NLF.
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