This article examines the relationship between pacification and modernization theory during Lyndon B. Johnson's stewardship of the Vietnam War. It uses Johnson's South Vietnamese pacification program, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS), to reveal the hopes, intentions, and limitations of the administration's approach. This article contends that CORDS represented Johnson's attempt to define the Vietnam conflict as a progressive expression of the Cold War through modernization theory. It also argues that CORDS's inability to resolve the contradictions implicit in development and security exposed the limits of Johnson's vision for both Vietnam and the Cold War. Finally, the article illustrates how interadministrative debates regarding the intersection of pacification and modernization anticipated intellectual tensions that divided modernization theorists and dominated the field in the 1970s.

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