America’s ally, the GVN, garnered little loyalty from the people during its two decades of existence. It remained from beginning to end, an authoritarian, repressive, and corrupt client-state of the United States. It was also constantly in turmoil. On February 19, 1965, General Nguyen Khanh was ousted in a coup d’état, tacitly approved by U.S. Ambassador Maxwell Taylor and General William Westmoreland. Khanh left the country and power was transferred to a triumvirate of generals, Nguyen Cao Ky, Nguyen Chanh Thi, and Nguyen Van Thieu. To please the U.S., the new government pledged on March 1 not to negotiate with the enemy. Thi was soon banished to the U.S., while Ky and Thieu became the key leaders for the remainder of South Vietnam’s existence. Ky was born in Hanoi and had been trained as a pilot by the French in Algeria. He was described by Ambassador Taylor as having all the qualities of a successful juvenile gang leader. Thieu, also northern-born, had fought with the French against the Viet Minh, graduated from the United States Command and General Staff College in 1957, and became president of South Vietnam in 1967. Thieu’s top power broker, General Dang Van Quang, was heavily involved in the narcotics trade, controlling the Vietnamese Navy which harbored an elaborate smuggling organization.
Robert R. Tomes, Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975 (New York: New York University Press, 1998), pp. 152-53.
During World War two the Japanese took control of Vietnam.
Young, The Vietnam Wars, p. 177; Eric Norden, “American Atrocities in Vietnam,” in Richard Falk, Gabriel Kolko, and Robert Jay Lifton, eds., Crimes of War (New York: Vintage Books, 1971), pp. 265-284; Herr, Dispatches; and Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drugs Trade, rev ed. (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991).
Reasons For The United States Involvement In The Vietnam War - The ..
The Vietnam war caused people to ask the question of sending our young people to die in places where they were particular wanted and for people who did not seem especial grateful....
Us Involvement in the Vietnam War
The noble cause thesis also elevates the plucky resistance of the South Vietnamese people and denigrates the lust for conquest of a monolithically communist DRV. Americans chose the right side to support – even if the support proved futile (at least in the short term; Vietnam, we now observe, is a reliably pro-American nation). Dumbrell, intriguingly, acknowledges that this depiction is not simply a caricature. In his review of post-1975 Vietnamese accounts of the ‘American War’ (pp.204–207), he notes, ‘slightly paradoxically’, how American revisionism was strengthened by them.
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The two-volume Victory in Vietnam (published out of Hanoi in 1988 and 1994), ‘left no doubt the revolutionary movement was one movement – directed ultimately from Hanoi’ (Dumbrell, p.204). The communists believed they constituted one side – an attribution which when made by Johnson, Nixon and later academic revisionists was derided as blinkered by orthodox scholars. Mark Moyar, for example, has been roundly condemned for asserting Asian characteristics (Dumbrell, p.21). And yet the DRV did this too; North Vietnam was a communist project and its designs on the South a self-justified product of ideology as well as of nationalism. North Vietnam saw its cause as noble rather than narrowly national. Revisionists suggest we grant the same latitude to pro-war Americans.
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Given how little communism did spread – especially when we remember how far assumptions of a ‘red east’ coloured Western assessments in the 1950s – it is at least plausible to claim that the American line in Vietnam may have had something to do with this. After all, its line through Berlin and Western Europe after 1945 certainly played a part in establishing what became a stable sphere-of-influence Cold War in the continent where most expected World War III to begin. The extension of this logic to Southeast Asia is explicable even if it was executed fitfully.