Discussion in 'Vietnam' started by von Poop, Oct 5, 2017.
"The Ten Thousand Day War" documentary was shown on Channel 4 in the 80s.
True, although I had another set of lessons in mind: those based around the idea that promises of permanence and support only last as long as the next dip or bump in the U.S. electoral cycle.
Pulling the rug out from under the South Vietnamese told the world that you can defeat the mighty American war machine with patience and that no matter what assurances you receive the man giving them--no matter how senior--might soon be replaced with a figure who thinks differently.
Inspiration to all the wrong people.
The empire projected an illusion of permanence that was based upon institutional continuity. When the foreigners in your country not only bring modern medicine and food, but also establish professorships to study your language history and culture, build sewerage systems and rail networks and take your brightest children to study at the best univeristies in the world, then when they say that they have long-term plans they are more likely to be believed.
I don't say this with any kind of imperial idealism, but merely to point out that visiting policemen have a much harder sell to make.
He did indeed.
Nguyễn Ngọc Loan - Wikipedia
Read this recently and it deserves a place amongst any readers library of Vietnam Titles. A superb biography of Edward Lansdale, the man who Graham Greene supposedly based his novel The Quiet American on.
This was on BBC Radio 4 yesterday (on 27th January 2018): Back to Vietnam, Archive on 4 - BBC Radio 4
Back to Vietnam
Archive on 4
"Julian Pettifer, the BBC's 'man in Saigon' during the Vietnam War, reflects on the Tet Offensive of 1968 as a turning point in world history.
On the evening of 30th January 1968, Julian dined with his cameraman Ernie Christie in a hotel in Saigon, while reporting the Vietnam War. There were few journalists there at the time because the Communists had agreed to a truce during Tet, the Vietnamese festival of New Year, and many of the international press corps had left the city.
It was Ernie's telephone call, in the darkness of the early hours of the 31st January, which alerted Julian to the Tet Offensive. Ernie was staying in a hotel close to the Presidential Palace and he called Julian to tell him there was heavy fighting in the streets nearby. As Julian says, "In Saigon we were used to the lullaby of distant gunfire, but this was something much more immediate - the unmistakable thump of a heavy machine gun, far too close for comfort."
Julian and Ernie took up a position in the driveway of an elegant house and shot close-up footage which at the time would only be seen in the movies. For several hours they remained in this position, trapped in the driveway by gunfire, with the mutilated body of a red-headed, bespectacled American military policemen hanging out of a Jeep beside them. Julian says that the face of that man still haunts him to this day.
It was not until that evening that they begin to learn the scale of the Tet Offensive - thousands of Communist troops had infiltrated Saigon, attacking dozens of targets including the American Embassy. Almost every provincial town and major US base in South Vietnam had also been assaulted.
Julian's reporting of Tet got to the heart of the conflict. He interviewed American GIs and Vietnamese civilians caught up in the war, bringing a human side to the tragedy that was unfolding. His style was serious, yet honest and down-to-earth and ground-breaking, the "soldier's-eye view" reportage he produced of the Tet Offensive won him a BAFTA and later an OBE for his services to broadcasting.
Tet turned out to be the turning point in the Vietnam conflict, coming completely out of the blue, it caught the American military and the world at large off-guard. Against the armed might of the USA and its allies, the Communists suffered a tactical defeat, but in the long term they won an extraordinary strategic and propaganda victory. It was those images, nightly on television, that finally turned the US public against the war and convinced them that it could not be won.
Fifty years on, Julian returns to his archive to recount his personal experiences, drawn from the heart of the Vietnam war. He recounts how during his time reporting in Vietnam, the Joint US Public Affairs Office threatened to take away his accreditation because they believed his reports to be 'Anti-American' and unbalanced.
Julian explores how Tet was the spark which ignited a series of explosive events that made it a turning point, not only in the Vietnam war, but in modern history. The anti-Vietnam war movement, which spread worldwide, gave powerful moral support to other causes that challenged the establishment. The Civil Rights Movement in the US, and women's rights and student rights movements almost everywhere, took inspiration and courage from the growing opposition to the war.
Contributors include: Martin Bell; Don North, formerly of ABC News; Lien-Hang Nguyen, Professor of History at Columbia University; Andrew Preston, Professor of American History at Cambridge University; Tariq Ali; Sheila Rowbotham.
Produced by Melissa FitzGerald.
A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4."
The Vietnam War by Ken Burns is now available on Netflix and for those in the UK (and possibly elsewhere) it's a chance to see the full 18 hours instead of the 10 hours shown on the BBC.
I still recall watching "Last Days in Vietnam" during August of 2015. I could not watch the conclusion wherein the remaining people on the rooftop who were waiting for a helicopter were never rescued.
Last week was the 50th anniversary of the Tet offensive by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. The US intelligence community has started to release documents. I spotted this short discussion by three in-house historians: As part of the Tet Offensive document declassification effort, Intel.gov recently sat down with three Intelligence Community historians—all members of the IC Senior Historians’ Panel—to discuss the Tet Offensive, the IC’s role in the Vietnam War, and the impact of the Tet Offensive on both U.S. public support for the war and on the IC itself. The Tet Offensive has often been called an intelligence failure, but this discussion reveals that there’s more nuance and complexity to the story than that statement allows. Declassified documents, to be released in three tranches in 2018-19, will shed further light on the IC’s role in this critical conflict. This video is part of a longer discussion around Vietnam and Tet, which will be released in its entirety in the coming weeks.
For this talk see: Watch: IC Historians Talk Tet - Intel Gov and for documents released so far: Tet Declassified - Intel Gov
For those who prefer some summer reading British military historian, Dr. Christopher Tripodi has a blog article on what he is reading on the Vietnam War: DSD Summer Reading #6
I've been watching this series on Netflix every night for a week. An excellent program with great writing, narration and context of the times. A great history lesson for all.
I'm reading Peace is Not at Hand, by Robert Thompson. A good appraisal of the politics around the Viet Nam War. Thompson was a Longcloth Chindit in 1943, having previously escaped the Japanese from Hong Kong the year before. He went on to have an expert career in advising on counter-insurgency to such people as President Nixon.
I forgot to mention that the series is available online (in thirteen episodes):
I finally watched the 10th and final episode of the Ken Burns series tonight. An absolutely excellent film and a sobering reminder. So much of what is occurring today is easy to trace back to roots in those turbulent times.
Ironically, I learned for the first time that for every American draft dodger who came to Canada to escape the war there was a young Canadian who traveled to the U.S. to volunteer. Estimated at 30,000.
Separate names with a comma.