Hearts and Minds was a euphemism for a campaign by the United States military during the Vietnam War, intended to win the popular support of the Vietnamese people.
Hearts and Minds campaigns typically refer to Liberal, Western governments that are attempting to liberate oppressed people from communism, fascism or religious theocracies. When an oppressed people live in fear of local warlords or thugs, liberating forces like the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and U.S. Army Civil Affairs units try to protect them and help them rebuild schools and infrastructure in order to pry their allegiance away.
The term "hearts and minds" as a method to bring a subjugated population on side was first used during the Malayan Emergency by the British who employed practices to keep the Malayans' trust and reduce a tendency to side with the ethnic Chinese communists.
The program was inspired by President Lyndon Baines Johnson. He used some version of the phrase "hearts and minds" a total of 28 times. In ten of these instances, Johnson inverted the words and used the phrase "minds and hearts." The first time he used the phrase in his presidency was on 16 January 1964, and the last time was 19 August 1968. In his usage he addressed very different audiences, including heads of state, congressmen, and the American people. Also, Johnson referred to the "hearts and minds" of disparate groups, including the above-mentioned audiences and even humanity as a whole. His use of the phrase is most commonly taken from the speech "Remarks at a Dinner Meeting of the Texas Electric Cooperatives, Inc." on 4 May 1965. On that evening he said, "So we must be ready to fight in Viet-Nam, but the ultimate victory will depend upon the hearts and the minds of the people who actually live out there. By helping to bring them hope and electricity you are also striking a very important blow for the cause of freedom throughout the world."