Seeing what I believed to be an erroneous analysis of the Vietnam War becoming so widely accepted was too disturbing for me to give up in my attempt to present what I believed to be a more accurate alternative interpretation. The argument below elaborates upon a number of points treated in a cursory manner in the previous chapter. I believe that the two chapters taken together undermine the widely held view, evident in the quotations below, that the conflict in Vietnam was a war of aggression rather than a revolutionary civil war.
This clandestine organization initially focused on political organization and propaganda, and came under heavy pressure by the Diem regime. Diem was an implacable enemy of the Communists and his nationalist credentials were comparatively clean, but he had inherited a very fragile situation.
From the beginning he faced the threat of military coups, thrusting criminal gangs, a weak bureaucracy and army, and fierce factional fighting within South Vietnam between not only political factions, but religious groups Buddhists and Catholics as well.
Diem's "Denounce Communism" campaign for example, indiscriminately persecuted and alienated numerous civilians including people who helped the anti-French resistance who may or may not have had strong links or sympathies with Communism. Diem's coldness towards Buddhist sensibilities in some areas also aggravated an already shaky situation.
Diem bravery and calm demeanor during these attempts to kill him often won the esteem of American supporters.
In addition, some Buddhist opponents of Diem it is held, were not the innocent religious leaders often portrayed in the press but sometimes collaborated with or were manipulated by that opposition.
His land reform measures for example, while not going to the extent urged by American advisers such as more sharply limiting the number of hectares one farmer could ownin the words of one historian, "did succeed in breaking up the vast estates in the delta, and it changed the landless peasants in the South from the large majority to a minority.
The Communists would later lament that this redistribution of land "seriously interfered" with their subsequent efforts to win over the peasantry through land reform.
Diem's other reforms emphasized agriculture rather than the forced-draft industrial development of the north, and the general restoration of order under his regime saw rising indicators of prosperity.
Rice production for example which had fallen below pre-World War II production levels insurpassed the previous level by Production of rubber rose from 54, tons in to 75, inand cattle and pigs registered a threefold jump over the same period. Diem also placed limits on foreign capitalists and the amount of control they could exercise in various sectors.
The agricultural boom, combined with the opening of hundreds of new primary and secondary schools and new hospitals staffed by American-trained nurses and physicians, raised South Vietnamese living standards at a pace that would have been impressive in any underdeveloped country, not to mention a country that was simultaneously bracing for a massive attack on its homeland.
Harsh methods to suppress dissent, and abrasive personalities in his administration alienated a number of South Vietnamese, particularly Buddhists. His large scale resettlement of the peasantry, a key component of his rural strategy, floundered due to communist infiltration, poor planning and arbitrary implementation.
While dependent on US aid, Diem was not afraid to disagree with or stand up to his American sponsors when he felt their demands were unworkable, incurring the enmity of the new US Ambassador Henry Lodge —64 and certain US media figures that kept up a steady drumbeat of negative press, undermining his efforts.
Am I merely a puppet on Washington's string? Or — as I had hoped — are we partners in a common cause?.
If you order Vietnam around like a puppet on a string, how will you be different — except in degree — from the French?
Ambassador Lodge boasted privately to Kennedy that "the ground in which the coup seed grew into a robust plant was prepared by us.
As early asthe Central Committee of the Party had issued a resolution to pursue armed struggle. Thousands of regroupees were re-infiltrated south, and a special unit was also set up, the th Transport Group, to establish way-stations, trails, and supply caches for the movement of fighting men and material into the zone of conflict.The Tragedy of the American Military.
The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. – South Vietnam was on the ropes under a Revolutionary Guerrilla War approach combining strong organization building, terrorism and guerrilla strikes.
– The introduction of American airpower and troops presented a massive challenge that directors of the communist effort attempted to meet with a Regular Force Strategy. This includes the brutal border battles of , and the Tet .
The Vietnam Conflict Extract Data File of the Defense Casualty Analysis System (DCAS) Extract Files contains records of 58, U.S. military fatal casualties of the Vietnam War.
These records were transferred into the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration in An Analysis of American Propaganda in World War II and the Vietnam War Connor Foley Submitted in Partial Completion of the Requirements for Commonwealth Honors in History.
Military Thinking On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War. by Harry G. Summers, Jr. Presidio Press. pp.
$ Colonel Harry Summers begins. Fathers, Sons, and Vietnam: Masculinity and Betrayal in the Life Narratives of Vietnam Veterans with Post Traumatic After Vietnam, American society was still a patriarchal system analysis of these men's narratives, I argue that the shift in notions of masculinity.