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With Friends lượt thích These: The United h3qvn.coms & its Allies

East Auditorium, George C. Marshall Conference Center Washington, D.C. September 30, 2010

Chair: Erin Mahan, Chief Historian, Office of the Secretary of Defense Edward Miller, Dartmouth College, “Vanguard of the “Personalist Revolution”: Ngô Đình Diệm, Ngô Đình Nhu and the Rise of the phải Lao Party” Effie Pedaliu, University of the West of England-Bristol, “When ‘More Flags’ Meant ‘No European Flags’: The U.S., Its European Allies và the Vietnam War, 1964–74” Andrew Wiest, The University of Southern Mississippi, “Anatomy of a Flawed Alliance: The Nature of the U.S. Alliance with the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces during the Vietnam War” Commentator: Fred Logevall, Cornell University

AMBASSADOR BRYNN: Dr. Carland, when he – he’s going to lớn come up and offer some words of discipline. (Laughter.)

DR. CARLAND: Actually, I’m going to call Erin Mahan’s panel to lớn the fore & they’re going khổng lồ be very disciplined.

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While the panel is assembling, I hotline your attention khổng lồ the title of the panel, “With Friends like These,” which was suggested by Professor Logevall. So I want you to know he gets credit or blame.

Thank you. It was quite a treat to lớn hear Deputy Negroponte talk about the four decades plus of his career & how Vietnam started part of his career and influenced him as time went on. For the rest of the day, we’re going to be listening to và hearing from scholars who have done – who are doing new research, groundbreaking research, on the way we look at & understand the role of the United h3qvn.coms and the of its policy in the Vietnam War.

The chairman of this panel is Dr. Erin Mahan. She’s Chief Historian at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She is also author of Kennedy, de Gaulle, và Western Europe. Earlier, she was at this office. She was chief of the Division of Arms Control, Asia, and Africa, where she edited several volumes in the Foreign Relations series. Thus, Erin is an old friend và one we welcome back with affection.

Now, I will return – turn it over to lớn you to introduce and exercise discipline. (Laughter.)

DR. MAHAN: If only I had been able to lớn exercise that discipline when I was the division chief for John & others và had those FRUS volumes out a few years before now. But that said, it is indeed a pleasure to lớn return khổng lồ the Department. & as John pointed out, I did work closely on the last three Vietnam volumes before my departure in 2008.

But as I sat in the audience yesterday & today, I am reminded that there are really two valuable vantage points that help us understand the major events of the Vietnam War và the policy decisions that helped shape them. One can be provided by those who were deeply involved and close up, Dr. Kissinger in the making of Vietnam War policy, and those young, on-the-scene Vietnam roommates, John Negroponte and Richard Holbrooke.

The other valuable vantage point, though, is provided by those who have the advantage và the benefit of distance & time, the historians. And we’re fortunate this morning khổng lồ have three distinguished historians who write from the wider international context by using multinational archival sources.

Our first speaker, Edward Miller, is a professor of at DartmouthCollege. He is currently completing a book on the early years of the United h3qvn.coms alliance with South Vietnam. This book is based on extensive research in archival collections in the United h3qvn.coms, but also in France & Vietnam. His work has previously appeared in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies và the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. He received his Ph.D. In in 2004 from Harvard University, and he will speak to lớn us this morning about “A House Divided: Nhu and the Can Lao buổi tiệc ngọt and the Internal Politics of the Diem Regime, 1954 to 1960.”

Dr. Miller.

PROF. MILLER: Thanks, Erin. I’ll lend my voice lớn the chorus of thanks lớn John Carland & the Historian’s Office for organizing this conference. It’s a particular honor to lớn begin the pointy-headed portion of the conference this morning.

My topic today is one of the most famous và infamous political parties in modern Vietnamese The official name of this buổi tiệc ngọt was the Can Lao Nhan vi Cach mang Dang. The official English translation was The Revolutionary Personalist Labor Party. But to both Vietnamese và non-Vietnamese, it was known simply as the Can Lao Party. The Can Lao was a key part of the security apparatus of the Ngo Dinh Diem government in South Vietnam between 1954 và 1963. Eligibility to join the buổi tiệc ngọt was based on loyalty to Diem and to the Ngo family. The existence of the Can Lao was officially acknowledged, but most of its members kept their affiliation secret, in large part because Can Lao members served as informants for the regime throughout the Vietnamese, army, and other institutions. The các buổi tiệc nhỏ also had other functions. It promoted the official ideology of the Diem government, known as personalism, controlled a network of business interests. It carried out a variety of covert political and intelligence missions.

Now, all of this has long been known và acknowledged in the scholarship on the Vietnam War & on the Diem period. However, khổng lồ date, historians have not made much of an effort to lớn actually investigate the các buổi party and to kind of peel back the layers of secrecy in which it was shrouded. So this paper is a preliminary attempt to vì chưng that. In trying to vì chưng this, I’ve made use some American materials, including some documents in the FRUS volumes. Especially the Vietnam Volume for 1958-1960 has a lot of interesting documents, revealing documents, about the Can Lao và its organization. In addition, there are some very valuable recently declassified materials. Thomas Ahern, a CIA historian, published a study of the agency’s relationship with the Ngo brothers. It’s called CIA và the House of Ngo. That is available for không lấy phí download on the CIA’s FOIA website. It was declassified about a year ago. So I’ve drawn on that.

But as Erin indicated, I’ve also drawn on other non-American sources. There are a lot of French sources in the French military & diplomatic archives on the Can Lao. The French actually maintained a very good intelligence network in South Vietnam after 1954. I’ve also made use of a lot of Vietnamese materials, including the memoirs of former members of the Can Lao. Và as Erin said, this is extracted from a larger book project that I’m working on in the entire of the Diem government.

As far as what I’m going khổng lồ talk about today, I’m going to lớn really briefly talk about the origins of the buổi tiệc nhỏ in the late ’40s & early ’50s, và then I’m going to lớn focus on the period from 1954 to 1960, what you might think of as the formative years of the Can Lao.

Does everyone have the handout? There is – I printed out – okay, great.

About the origins of the Can Lao, it’s sometimes suggested that the Can Lao was the creation of the CIA or some other U.S. Government agency. This simply isn’t true. The Can Lao emerged out of the political activities of Ngo Dinh Nhu during the late ’40s và early 1950s. During this time, Diem was not in Vietnam. He was in exile, self-imposed exile in the U.S. & Europe. Nhu, however, his younger brother, remained behind in Vietnam and undertook various activities on his behalf. One activity that Nhu was engaged in was the establishment of a group in the highlands town of domain authority Lat in southern Vietnam around 1949. This group basically started off as a philosophy seminar, and the large picture on one side of the handout is a picture of that group. In that picture, you’ll see Ngo Dinh Nhu. You’ll also see a French priest by the name of Father Ferdinand Parrell. Parrell và Nhu were both very interested in the philosophical doctrine of personalism that was associated with, among other people, a French philosopher by the name of Emmanuel Mounier. And personalism would subsequently become the official doctrine not only of the Can Lao các buổi tiệc nhỏ but also the Diem government.

Now, those of you who know something about the of the Diem government know that personalism was known as something very abstruse, very hard khổng lồ understand. But that doesn"t mean it was meaningless or gibberish. I think that personalism did mean something to Diem & to Nhu và to members of their close circle, và therefore it’s significant.

On the one hand, personalism was very anti-communist. It was very critical of Marxist collectivism. But it was also very critical of liberalism, especially liberal individualism. And so Mounier’s efforts in constructing this doctrine of personalism was basically an attempt to lớn split the difference, khổng lồ try to find some sort of middle ground, a communitarian ideal. The problem was translating that notion of a middle ground or a third way into a positive program of action. This was the thing that the Diem government consistently had trouble doing. Nevertheless, personalism is important for understanding, I think, especially the thinking of Ngo Dinh Nhu during this early period.

In addition to this philosophizing, Nhu was also very busy in the early ’50s networking. He and Father Parrell eventually expanded this seminar into an Indochina-wide operation. They held a series of larger events, public events in Hanoi và Saigon and other cities, & these events attracted the attention of a lot of prominent Vietnamese anticommunists. Và Nhu subsequently forged relationships with many of these anticommunists & was able khổng lồ recruit several of them into the Can Lao.

The organization that became the Can Lao wasn’t actually formed until 1953. & at the time it first emerged, it was really just a loose coalition. There were intellectuals, political activists, a few military officers in the Vietnamese National Army. There were a lot of Catholics in the Can Lao at this time, but there were actually a lot of prominent non-Catholics as well. & one of the interesting things about the Can Lao is it becomes relatively more Catholic after 1954.

This was the situation, then, in the spring of 1954 when the CIA became involved in the Can Lao for the first time. The CIA’s Saigon station had been in liên hệ with Ngo Dinh Nhu since 1951, but at first the station viewed Nhu mainly as just a source of information about the Saigon political scene. It’s only in the spring of 1954, just before Ngo Dinh Diem takes power as the leader of what becomes South Vietnam, that the station proposes to upgrade its relationship with Nhu. The key figure here was an individual station officer by the name of Paul Harwood, who was the head of the covert kích hoạt branch. Harwood found out about the Can Lao from Nhu và he proposed khổng lồ help him turn it into a covert political action operation. & this began a long period of CIA involvement with the Can Lao & affiliated organizations that really lasted, off và on, until the early 1960s.

One of the reasons that the CIA decided khổng lồ get involved in the Can Lao is that at this moment, Nhu was preparing lớn reorganize the các buổi tiệc nhỏ to make it more structured và into a more powerful political tool. Và what he did is he created three new organizations associated with the Can Lao. So I want khổng lồ just briefly talk about those organizations và their leadership.

The first of these, some of you may be familiar with, was something called the National Revolutionary Movement. The NRM was an overt political organization; that is, it operated openly. It was a mass mobilization organization. It was supposed khổng lồ be the vehicle that the regime could use khổng lồ enlist ordinary Vietnamese to support it. The NRM used various propaganda & psychological techniques to vì chưng this, organized a lot of pro-regime rallies, speeches, indoctrination sessions. & it eventually built a network all the way into the countryside down to lớn the village level. The NRM played a key role in something called the Denounce Communism Campaign, which was a major mass mobilization campaign launched in 1955.

Now, ostensibly, the NRM was an independent political party, but in reality, it was controlled by high-ranking Can Lao members and it was really a Can Lao front organization. The key figure in the NRM in these years was a fellow by the name of Tran Chanh Thanh. Và if you look on the reverse of the handout, you’ll see a picture of him there. Tin was both the chairman of the National Revolutionary Movement & the Diem regime’s minister of information. So he was basically the regime’s đứng top propagandist during its early years. Like the Ngo brothers, he was from Central Vietnam. Interestingly enough, he was not a Catholic. Another interesting thing about Tin is that he was a former Viet Minh official. He had joined the Viet Minh in 1945. He actually served for a few years as an official in Ho chi Minh’s government before becoming disillusioned. He eventually finds himself in Saigon in the early ’50s and that’s where he hooks up with Nhu và becomes a founding thành viên of the Can Lao.

During 1955, ’56, Tin builds this extensive propaganda system in South Vietnam, & in the process he becomes very powerful. A lot of reports in Vietnam – South Vietnam in 1955 have Tin as the most powerful figure in South Vietnam who is not a member of the Ngo family. So for a moment, anyways, he becomes quite influential.

The second Can Lao-affiliated organization that Nhu set up in the first year Diem was in office was something called the North-South Interregional Headquarters. The Vietnamese name for this was Lien Ky Bo phái nam Bac Viet, which was simply shortened to Lien Ky. LienKy was very different from the National Revolutionary Movement. For one thing, it was much smaller. It was a secret organization. It consisted only of Can Lao members, and it was given a number of responsibilities that had to do with the internal operations of the party. The most important of these responsibilities was fundraising. Starting in 1955, the Lien Ky begins khổng lồ build a Can Lao-controlled business network, and this would eventually grow into a pretty substantial business empire, to lớn the point that the Can Lao became involved in many, if not most, of the major businesses và industries in South Vietnam.

The man chosen by Nhu khổng lồ run the Lien Ky was Huynh Van Lang. A picture of him also appears on the handout. He was very young. He was only about 26 years old in 1955 but he had a few qualities that recommended him lớn Nhu. He was a Catholic. He was from the Mekong Delta. He had an advanced degree in economics. He was just back from foreign study abroad, so that appealed khổng lồ Nhu. He was not previously a member of the Can Lao. However, he had participated in the da Lat seminar. If you turn back khổng lồ that picture of the seminar, you look all the way on the left side of the picture, that individual there is a young Huynh Van Lang. So he actually knew something about personalism, which Nhu found appealing.

Lang is actually still alive. I interviewed him and – a couple of years ago. He explained to lớn me how he built this Lien Ky business network. I’m not going lớn bore you with the gory details here, but basically, he had a job – he had a day job as the head of the Office of Foreign Exchange, & he was able to funnel some of the money that his office collected as fines for illegal currency transactions. He was able lớn funnel some of this into the Lien Ky operations. & in the process, he was able to lớn build up this network of businesses.

The last organization that Nhu set up in the mid-1950s under Can Lao auspices was the rather innocuously named Bureau of Political & Social Research. This organization was phối up as an official South Vietnamese Government agency, so it actually – again, it was not technically secret. It was an mở cửa agency. Unlike other parts of the Can Lao, this agency was almost always referred lớn by its French name, & specifically by its French acronym, S-E-P-E S, pronounced “say-pay.” The official mission of SEPES was vetting applicants for government jobs. But in reality, SEPES had a much broader brief; it undertook a wide range of covert missions. It conducted espionage & intelligence on North Vietnam, counterintelligence against communist operatives in South Vietnam, surveillance of the Vietnamese, bureaucracy, & army, mostly conducted by SEPES. There was the vetting of new members of the Can Lao, training and indoctrination, also various kinds of fundraising – for example, the selling of import and export licenses. And finally, SEPES also was involved in the arrest – investigation, arrest, detention of suspected enemies of the regime, including a network of special prisons.

The head of SEPES was an individual by the name of Dr. Tran Kim Tuyen. He was widely known simply as Dr. Tuyen. He was a Catholic from North Vietnam. He was a former seminarian. He had also studied medicine. He never actually practiced as a doctor, but because he had studied medicine, everybody referred to lớn him as Dr. Tuyen. Physically, he was very small in stature. The picture on the handout perhaps doesn’t quite vị justice khổng lồ him. Apparently, he weighed less than a hundred pounds. But he cast a large shadow over the South Vietnamese landscape. He was a very influential figure for a time. During the first Indochina War, he became involved in anticommunist intrigues in Catholic areas in North Vietnam. This was how he first met the Ngo brothers. He was subsequently recruited by them in 1954 and then appointed to lớn head SEPES in 1955.

So that, in a nutshell, are three of the key Can Lao organizations phối up by Nhu. I want to lớn make just two observations about them. First of all, it’s important to lớn recognize that these three organizations only operated in the southern part of South Vietnam, that is the old Cochinchina, basically the area around Saigon and the Mekong Delta. This is because the Central Vietnam branch of the Can Lao was under Ngo Dinh Can, another of the Ngo brothers, & more on that in a moment.

The other point to make here is that the CIA had relationships with all three of these organizations. Starting with Paul Harwood & continuing under his successors, the CIA provided funding and training to Tin và the National Revolutionary Movement. They also provided tư vấn to Tran Kim Tuyen và SEPES in part because they wanted to lớn collaborate on intelligence collection with SEPES. CIA also had a relationship with Huynh Van Lang. It appears that this didn’t involve actual material support, but they definitely knew who he was & were in tương tác with him.

So the CIA is definitely involved in the Can Lao. Despite this, the CIA does not get what it wants out of Can Lao. Và the by Thomas Ahern that I mentioned earlier really makes this quite clear. And the question that this raises, of course, is why? Why doesn’t this work out the way the CIA wants it to? The agency concluded that Nhu just had different priorities, that he wasn’t really interested in collaborating with them. My own view is I don’t think this is quite right. I think that, actually, U.S. Officials và Ngo Dinh Nhu were actually not that far apart on their goals for the Can Lao. I think they both agreed that making the Can Lao into a covert political kích hoạt organization was a desirable goal. Building mass support for the regime, that was a good thing as far as Nhu was concerned. In 1958 – this is actually from a document in the first volume – Elbridge Dubrow, the American ambassador lớn South Vietnam, said that he, quote, “has no objection lớn having the Can Lao help run the country & coordinate discipline & developments.”

So the problem here is not that the Americans are trying lớn promote democratic ideals và Nhu is authoritarian. I think the problems had to bởi with certain features of the Can Lao and the way in which Nhu set up the party. & very briefly speaking, I think there were two general types of problems with the Can Lao. One was ideological; the other phối of problems was organizational. Regarding the ideological problems, there’s no evidence that this doctrine of personalism ever had abroad appeal in South Vietnam. And as a matter of fact, there’s not really any evidence that anybody outside of Diem và Nhu và a few other – a small handful of regime supporters could actually understand what Nhu meant by personalism.

I haven’t found many actual Can Lao documents in the Saigon archives but, however, one that I did find from 1960 was a training document on sort of the basics of personalism. & it seemed to lớn suggest that it was important for the membership to get a refresher course on this because no one in the organization really understood what its official philosophy was. So ideologically, I think, this was a problem for the Can Lao.

In addition to these ideological problems, there were also organizational issues. From the outset, the Can Lao was beset by factionalism. Different parts of the các buổi party were in fierce & bitter competition with each other. This factionalism was not an accidental phenomenon. It was, rather, a function of the way in which Nhu mix up the party. It’s sometimes suggested that the Can Lao was organized according khổng lồ Leninist principles. The idea here is that Nhu, despite the fact he was an anticommunist, actually borrowed Leninist organizing strategies. I don’t think this is correct. In a Leninist party, you have ultimately a very centralized organization. The Can Lao never had a politburo or a central committee. In many ways, Nhu did the opposite. He phối up these different organizations in ways that were basically guaranteed to pit them against each other.

So these three organizations that I mentioned had very contentious relationships almost from the beginning. For example, starting in about 1956, Jun Jiang Tin finds himself on the receiving kết thúc of a smear campaign, which is ultimately traced back to Dr. Tuyen & SEPES. He gets criticized in newspapers controlled by Tuyen. This touches off a fight that basically lasts until 1960. As a result of this, Tin is ousted as head of the National Revolutionary Movement. He manages to stay on as Information minister until 1960, but at that point he’s finally outmaneuvered by Tuyen và he is sent to his new job as South Vietnamese ambassador lớn Tunisia, considerably less glamorous than his former position.

Huynh Van Lang also has found himself in a fight with Dr. Tuyen. In 1958, Nhu told Lang he was dissolving the Lien Ky. Lang does some digging và he discovers that Nhu is responding to lớn some complaints lodged against him by Dr. Tuyen. So there was a lot contention here within these organizations set up by Nhu.

On top of this, there was another major rivalry for control of the Can Lao, which took place within the Ngo family. & here, the antagonists were Ngo Dinh Nhu on the one hand & the other brother I mentioned earlier, Ngo Dinh Can. Since 1954, as I mentioned, the party had had this geographical division of power. Nhu ran the south và and Ngo Dinh Can was supreme in the center. At first, Can was okay with just running Central Vietnam, but about 1957 he starts muscling in on Nhu’s territory. He sends his loyalists as province chiefs to take over provinces in the Mekong Delta. He also expanded his covert apparatus in the south. He sends his own agents khổng lồ Saigon và they start actually competing & clashing with some of Nhu’s men. Several members of Huynh Van Lang group are arrested, jailed for several months for a pro-Ngo Dinh Can province chief, and Jun Kim Tuyen and SEPES actually have khổng lồ pull back their organization, their operations lớn kind of make room for Can.

Now, in the long run, this bid by Can to take sole control of the Can Lao did not succeed. In about 1960, Can’s influence falls off very precipitously và Nhu makes a big comeback. Và this is very important for the subsequent of the Diem regime because Nhu is very influential, really a dominant figure in the regime from 1960 on. I’m not going to lớn go into the reasons for this comeback. If we want to explore it in the q-and-a, we can certainly vì that. But suffice it lớn say that the long-term effects of this are very significant for the Diem regime. These rivalries among the Ngo brothers will continue to lớn affect the regime all the way down lớn its downfall in 1963.

By way of conclusion, let me just make three points here. The first point is that, as I indicated, the Can Lao was a profoundly factionalized organization. & this has big implications for how we understand South Vietnamese politics during the Diem period. Contrary to lớn the popular view, the Can Lao was not this super-centralized Leninist party. There was these divisions among Can Lao organizations mix up by Nhu. & then on đứng đầu of that, there was this rivalry between Nhu & Can.

The second point here is that the dealings of the Central Intelligence Agency with the Can Lao need to lớn be understood in light of this factionalism. The CIA was definitely aware of these contests within the Can Lao, but they seem to have been very slow khổng lồ understand how these rivalries were affecting and undermining their ambitions for the party.

The last và in some ways the most important point has to vì with the long-term implications for the of the Diem regime from these findings about the Can Lao. In this paper, I don’t discuss 1963 & the events leading khổng lồ the downfall of the Diem regime, but I will here give you just one interesting factoid about that period. In 1963, as I’m sure you all know, there was a big crisis in South Vietnam & there was a great giảm giá of coup plotting going on against the Diem regime. There were three coup plots in progress in the fall of ’63 that were deemed lớn be particularly substantial or serious. The first plot, of course, is the one that succeeded. This was led by top generals in the South Vietnamese army. The ringleaders of this plot were generals like Tan Van Don & Tran Van Minh. They were not Can Lao members. However, in order for their plot lớn succeed, they had to recruit military officers who were members of the Can Lao. And the most important of these was a general by the name of Ton That Dinh, who was the commander of the Saigon region. So that first plot did have an important Can Lao element lớn it.

The other two plots that were in progress in the fall of 1963, one was led by Huynh Van Lang, the former chief of the Lien Ky. Và the other was headed by none other than Dr. Tuyen, who by 1963 was completely on the outs with Nhu. So I think what this suggests is that the Can Lao is really important in the of the Diem regime, but it’s important in a way – in a political way which I don’t think we’ve quite understood yet, & hopefully, we’ll learn more about as more research is done on this subject.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

DR. MAHAN: Professor Miller has clearly shown his grasp of the intricacies of the Vietnamese – South Vietnamese bureaucracy, and I know I look forward khổng lồ his forthcoming book.

Our second speaker is also a prolific writer. Effie Pedaliu is a senior lecturer in international at the University of West England at Bristol. She received her Ph.D. From the London School of Economics and –

(Audio cuts off.)

DR. MAHAN: (In progress.) Her long list of publications is in the biographical insert, so I won’t repeat them all here, but she’s written on a variety of subjects from British & – the British reconstruction of post-fascist Italian armed forces all the way to human rights and foreign policy issues with Wilson and the Greek dictators. Và today she will address the divergences between the United h3qvn.coms và its NATO allies over what was at stake in Vietnam.

PROF. PEDALIU: Hi. I, too, would like to thank John Carland và everyone at the Office of the Historian for organizing this intellectually – actually another one of these intellectually scintillating conferences, và thank you for the kind invitation. Usually, I talk through my papers. Today, I shall read it. Hopefully, that way I can keep lớn the time. This is a severely pruned down version of the original one, so I still hope it retains some coherence.

The Vietnam War, it influenced not only the United h3qvn.coms, but also the domestic stability, security, & wellbeing of its NATO allies in Europe. It was at the height of the Gaullist challenge that President Johnson tried khổng lồ internationalize the conflict in Vietnam with the More Flags Initiative. According to Fred Logevall, More Flags had been intended khổng lồ strengthen America’s hand both internationally và domestically, & thereby legitimize the American intervention lớn prop up the wobbly regime in Saigon. Secretary of Dean Rusk took the campaign for More Flags to lớn the North Atlantic Council in The Hague in May 1964. He found all his NATO allies rather circumspect on venturing beyond economic support to South Vietnam.

The adoption of semantical strategies of containment had committed the United h3qvn.coms to a zero-sum trò chơi around the world that could not advance – allow the advance of communism anywhere. In this respect, Vietnam was not that much different than Greece had been in 1947. Unlike Greece, the United h3qvn.coms ended up committing troops to lớn Vietnam & thus making it a demo of its credibility as an ally. However, khổng lồ put things in perspective, the United h3qvn.coms was not the only country that was concerned about the situation in Southeast Asia. Britain was involved there, trying to stem back the Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia. And initially, the British judged that the two situations did not differ that much.

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It is true that the Europeans had initially encouraged American involvement in Vietnam as a means of mitigating the volatility of decolonization và containing any Soviet or Chinese advances. However, the Europeans, at this point in time, they did not wish lớn see the expansion of the Americanization of the war, nor did they wish to contribute militarily. The European allies were appalled by de Gaulle’s behavior in using American discomfort in Vietnam lớn score points in NATO, but they, too, believed that no Western nguồn could win this war.

Also, long-running, preexisting European dissatisfaction with the consultation deficit existing within NATO merged with concerns over Vietnam. For the European ex-colonial powers, attitudes towards Vietnam were also shaped by – was shaped by a complex phối of issues, including, lớn some degree, bitterness over American past attitudes & behavior. These governments were now pressed by the Third Worldism of the vociferous European left & the disenchantment of the average European citizen over the of newly decolonized countries. This made it impossible to commit conscripts lớn fight a war that was not considered intrinsic lớn their own national security.

The NATO Europeans saw the central front as essential, & they were not prepared lớn compromise the transatlantic bargain struck at the height of the Korean War that Western Europe remained the key area for the defense of the không tính tiền world. To lớn them, the strategic concept of the domino effect seemed unlikely. France had left the Maghreb and North Africa had not gone communist. By 1965, Indonesia had dealt with its internal challenges with efficient brutality.

The Europeans also did not perceive china as a threat. However, there was palpable concern in European capitals that the Americanization of the war could spark off a Korean-style Chinese intervention. Manlio Brosio, the Secretary General of NATO, thought it likely that NATO would be gravely affected if Vietnam were to lead lớn a substantial reduction of American forces in Europe. This was a major security concern. For example, the Low & Nordic countries were worried that any decrease in American troops would speed up the Soviet naval buildup in the North Sea. The NATO allies were to see their fears of a drawdown of American troops materialize. By 1972, there were 21 percent fewer American troops there than there had been in 1964.

Most Europeans laid the blame for the drift towards the Americanization of the Vietnam War down khổng lồ Flexible Response, which they saw as an open-ended policy that diverted America away from the primary battleground in its flanks. Thus Denmark và Norway opposed the multilateral nuclear force on the grounds that it had the potential to upset the Nordic balance. The European NATO allies felt that the – sorry – the dependability of the United h3qvn.coms was becoming less certain. The death of the MLF in December 1964 came just too late lớn make good lớn the damage it had done to allied unity.

Less than a month after the announcement of the More Flags program in late May 1964, President Johnson made his – one of his first allusions lớn bridge-building with the Soviet Union. European capitals saw it as a sign that the United h3qvn.coms was diverting its attention away from Europe & also a second détente at the worst possible terms. The Europeans did not want a direct dialogue between the superpowers with allies excluded. Moreover, by December 1964, they were convinced, according to lớn British Foreign Office, that South Vietnam was further than ever from victory, or in Konrad Adenauer’s words, Vietnam was a disaster. The Johnson Administration was not prepared to lớn change its time scale, nor willing to take European advice.

By 1967, Vietnam had become a taboo in NATO meetings. The unleashing of Rolling Thunder was felt deeply in Europe, too. But still, all European governments, apart from France, stood by the United h3qvn.coms diplomatically, despite the huge political costs. European public opinion began khổng lồ turn firmly against the war. The Europeans saw just one solution lớn the impasse: the over of the war through a compromised peace. However, rumors that the collapse of Marigold, then Sunflower, had been intentional led many European leaders, fairly or unfairly, to lớn doubt the honesty of American actions. The events of the Prague Spring in August 1968 were seen by the European allies as an affirmation that the danger to world peace lay in Europe và not Southeast Asia.

By 1967, a tumult of street protests signified a perceptible shift in European electoral politics. Traditional systems of government came under pressure from radical parties & demands for more inclusive politics. These pressures stretched from the north, in the Low & Nordic countries, khổng lồ the south in Italy & Greece. In Greece, the democratic quarter was lớn collapse from the insecurities détente had sown in rightwing & paramilitary circles. In Italy, the war impacted on the cohesion of the faction-rivened party, the ruling party, Democracia Christiana & compounded the general political instability the country was experiencing.

In Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, và Norway, Vietnam intersected with the profound change in how politics was practiced. In Great Britain, Sir Michael Palliser wrote – an assistant, diplomat, và Wilson’s private secretary – wrote in 1965, that the feeling against the War in Vietnam was so strong that Labor regarded it as the most immoral act since the Holocaust. So NATO itself came under the microscope of European public opinion. Those against the war came lớn question not only their government’s silence over Vietnam but also that of NATO’s, và also its toleration of dictatorships within its ranks. In Denmark, this manifested itself in pressure khổng lồ hold a referendum in 1969 over the country’s continued membership of NATO. In The Netherlands, a faction of the Labor party directly questioned the validity of the country’s continued membership.

The Americans realized the damage Vietnam was causing to lớn the alliance. & both Johnson – the Johnson và Nixon administrations, took active steps to repair it. Johnson was to prove himself, as Tom Schwartz has shown beyond any doubt, to lớn be a consummate diplomat when it came khổng lồ the protection of NATO. By ignoring de Gaulle’s provocation in 1966, he showed up the French leader lớn his fellow Europeans as the odd man out. And by introducing the Nuclear Planning Group, he was able to repair some of the damage caused in transatlantic relations. Johnson defended NATO against his American – its American detractors and the Mansfield resolution. He too, like Kennedy before him, refused khổng lồ make Vietnam the litmus kiểm tra of the loyalty of America’s allies và did not allow the equilibrium reached with the Harmel Report of a détente và the alliance’s future lớn be derailed by Vietnam.

NATO suffered during the years of Vietnam, but it did not unravel because the European Economic Community countries all fell behind the Dutch Socialist Foreign Minister Max van der Stoel, who said that the search for European-based defense arrangements should not seek to replace NATO, which would be absolutely irresponsible.

America felt lonely about Vietnam, according khổng lồ a British Foreign Office report. The reality was, however, that American great leaders offered up support publicly, despite the political cost to lớn them & their parties, a position which they were able lớn maintain until 1971, when the Norwegian Labor tiệc nhỏ became the first one to break ranks.

All European NATO members tried to mitigate the lack of military tư vấn by offering economic and development aid lớn South Vietnam. Britain offered up the Thompson mission from 1961 to lớn 1965 và counterinsurgency, military, & police training in British jungle schools, infrastructural assistance, và support. Germany offered direct financial support which, according lớn the British, was impressive – medical support, loans, & technical assistance. The Netherlands offered training facilities in Holland, and experts. Greece offered military medical teams, pharmaceutical & surgical equipment. Belgium và Turkey offered medicines. Denmark provided technical assistance, medical supplies, and training for South Vietnamese nurses. De Gaulle had clearly exaggerated when he claimed that Europe was paying for the war in Vietnam, but as Zimmerman has shown, the Europeans shouldered some of the costs of the war, especially in terms of monetary implications and currency instability that developed as the Bretton Woods system collapsed under the Nixon Administration.

Brosio và his successor, Luns, ensured that the issue of Vietnam was not discussed by the allies unless the United h3qvn.coms wanted it, & also that no NATO communiqué was allowed khổng lồ reflect the tensions within NATO over the war. Perhaps all this support was not spontaneous enough và in sufficient quantities for the United h3qvn.coms to lớn make the public h3qvn.comment it needed lớn appease its own public opinion. Johnson’s fear that the United h3qvn.coms would be portrayed as a colonialist nguồn if European NATO allies did not offer visible tư vấn had been ill-judged.

How could the reintroduction of erstwhile colonial powers in a recently decolonized region have helped to offer an aura for legitimacy or moral crusade to the activities of a self-professed anti-colonialist nguồn – superpower? Even if it could have helped marginally with the United h3qvn.coms domestic public opinion, the negative effects in Europe would have been so detrimental as to counteract any benefit. Europe could not help at this time, và the United h3qvn.coms would have not found itself in a more comfortable place if it had. The problem had been South Vietnam and its government. Had the European NATO allies said khổng lồ the United h3qvn.coms, in Vietnam, the United h3qvn.coms had lived up to its commitments, but there was no limit – but there was a limit to lớn what could be done if the other partner lớn a commitment was unable to bởi vì its share and turned out lớn be not viable.

Instead of a conclusion, because I don’t have the time, I would like to wind up this presentation with Dean Rusk’s word, which – who, in my opinion, really described relations, the transatlantic relation at this time, at the time of Vietnam, in an acute – an astute manner. He said, “The mood of isolationism in the United h3qvn.coms and Europe were feeding off each other. People in the United h3qvn.coms were turning away from Europe because Europe was not helping in Vietnam. People in Europe were turning away from the United h3qvn.coms because they did not want to lớn get involved there.”

Thank you. (Applause.)

DR. MAHAN: These papers are so interesting, I hate lớn keep putting this slip of paper saying, “Please conclude, five minutes,” but I guess that the DoD tradition. Thank you, Dr. Pedaliu, for your insightful paper, which shows us that the impact of the Vietnam War was truly global.

And our third & last paper should serve as a good complement lớn Ambassador Tran and Dr. Ha’s presentations yesterday on North Viet – the North Vietnamese war effort. Dr. Wiest has written a groundbreaking study on the South Vietnamese military and the U.S. Alliance with the Republic of Vietnam. He’s a distinguished professor in the humanities & a professor of at the University of Southern Mississippi. He’s also the founding director of the Center for the Study of War and Society.

In about – since 1992, Dr. Wiest has also been active in international education & has developed an award-winning Vietnam study abroad program. He will speak today about the South Vietnamese military effort và the U.S. Alliance with the Republic of Vietnam.

Dr. Wiest.

PROF. WIEST: like – excuse me – like everybody else, I want to lớn thank Dr. Carland and the Historian’s Office here. I get 15 minutes khổng lồ talk about 10 years of research & a really fat book và all its conclusions. I guess there’s no solution but khổng lồ get after it, as we lượt thích to say. I’ll apologize in advance, too, for my Mississippi accent. If you need a translator, I guess the translator things will still work. (Laughter.)

I came to lớn the study of the Vietnam War as an outsider. I was trained as a historian of World War One & did a lot of my original research in World War One & came lớn the study of Vietnam very accidentally by becoming close to several veterans và taking those veterans khổng lồ Vietnam on a study abroad course. & while I was there in Vietnam in the year 2000, I ran into and came lớn know several Vietnamese and got entranced by their side of their war. I specifically got entranced by the South Vietnamese side of the war. & when I came home, I began khổng lồ think about it, began lớn research on it, & found out that that side of the war is all too often ignored. Very little is often written about it. And again, just as a historical outsider, it seemed to me that that didn’t make much sense. It seemed to lớn me, again as an outsider, that this was their war khổng lồ win or to lớn lose, that American forces were not going to lớn be able to lớn make strategic sustainability. That was up khổng lồ South Vietnam to vì chưng that. So it struck me that instead of ignoring it or blaming South Vietnam, perhaps we ought lớn examine it a little more closely, especially its military.

I discovered that the one major school of thought that existed really, và then we’re beginning lớn – a number of historians are beginning to change this, but the existing school of thought pretty much said that South Vietnam & its military were so fatally flawed and weak that there was never any hope, & why bother to study them at all? & certainly, when you look at the South Vietnamese Government and the military, you discover a lot of the basics. They were ham-fisted, they were often incompetent, they were often saddled with graft, & they struggled lớn create any kind of sense of a true nationalism.

The ARVN itself, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, was very often poorly led & prone to lớn very bad mistakes, if you follow some of its battle histories. All these things are certainly well-known. But even as an outsider beginning to lớn familiarize myself with this topic, I noticed pretty quickly that just on the surface of it, perhaps that initial idea that the South Vietnamese & government and its military were so badly flawed that there’s no reason to lớn look at it was perhaps wrong. South Vietnam fought for every day of its existence from 1954 to lớn 1975, never had a day at peace. That’s an awful long war. The South Vietnamese suffered about 200,000 military deaths and a much greater number of that, civilian deaths. The war was long & arduous, in fact more long và arduous than any war we’ve ever faced. After the war was over, 1.5 million South Vietnamese fled. Hundreds of thousands spent time in prison camps. Just as an outside observer, it struck me that this is simply not the story of a nation that didn’t bother to lớn fight. These guys fought and seemingly fought hard.

So then, okay, I was brought lớn another question. Why didn’t they win? If they fought hard, why didn’t they win? After all, they had us, the world’s leading superpower, on their side. That seems khổng lồ be a pretty good combination. So in – what I wanted khổng lồ look at was the alliance between us & them and see why this alliance that seems very powerful on its surface failed to achieve victory. And the reasons for that failure, if you delve into them deeply, are really complex và have an awful lot to vì chưng with our actions and their actions. It was an alliance failure; it wasn’t simply a South Vietnamese failure.

To get into it more deeply, to lớn begin to make some conclusions about it, I’ll start off with some generalizations. First off, the South Vietnamese military leadership & the leadership of the was too tied to a colonial past, it was too corrupt, and too incompetent to lớn deserve the sacrifice – first khổng lồ get the sacrifice, và then lớn be deserving of the ongoing sacrifice of its own people. That’s a bad thẻ to play.

Second, our aid to this flawed system, while it was well-intentioned, was – we had the effect of establishing a South Vietnamese military that was too American in nature, a South Vietnamese military that had little connection lớn South Vietnamese or Vietnamese social realities. We helped create an ARVN around standard infantry divisions that relied on lavish logistic support, the primacy of firepower và technology lớn achieve victory, all the things the American military relies to lớn achieve victory. & these are simply not sustainable in a South Vietnamese system. If we’re there, they’re sustainable; if we’re not, well, then the situation’s a little different.

Our intervention in the war in1965, instead of fixing that problem, made it worse. Essentially, what happened was that the U.S. Forces came in, and Ambassador Negroponte pointed this out this morning, instead of working with the ARVN & help khổng lồ make them sustainable, we shoved them lớn one side & said we’ll win the war for you. Instead of making an ARVN capable of surviving, we just pushed them aside and was going to vì chưng the war for them. What this did was it marginalized the need for reform in the South Vietnamese Government và the South Vietnamese military. Reform for them was going to be painful và would take a long time. It turned out they didn’t think they needed to. We would come along & save them, no matter how bad they wound up becoming.

So the policy of the Americans before 1968 actually had – what we created was an ARVN that really didn’t see the need for reform và was built to lớn fight alongside American forces, not lớn fight or survive on its own. It was only after 1968, when the U.S. Was a little more concerned about exiting the conflict than creating an ARVN that was meant to survive, that we did put some effort into that. But in my argument, it was too little, too late.

General Ngo quang đãng Truong, perhaps the best commander – field commander in the ARVN, who commanded the ARVN 1st Division for most of my research, had the following quote: “Entering the war with a posture and disposition of a fire brigade, the Americans rushed around lớn save the Vietnamese house from destruction but took too little interest in caring for the victims. Only after they realized that the victims, too, should be made firefighters lớn save their own houses did the Americans really phối about caring for them. Valuable time was lost. Và by the time the victims could get on their own feet and began to lớn move forward a couple steps after recovery, the fire brigade was recalled to lớn the home station. It was too little, too late.”

My research also focuses on – well, it focuses basically on the lives of two very important, I think, Vietnamese officers, a gentleman named Pham Van Dinh và another gentleman named Tran Ngoc Hue. They both served, beginning as – in 1961 for one và 1963 for the other, as platoon leaders. Và by the end of the war, one was a regimental commander và the other one was a battalion commander. They both served in I Corps at the northern part of South Vietnam. So looking at their lives, I’m able lớn see the tactical flow of the American alliance at the combat level for pretty much the entire war, making some more detailed conclusions by looking at their lives.

First off, from the very beginning, both men, lượt thích many of their American advisors, thought that we and they were fighting the wrong war. They both favored much more of a counterinsurgency type war, that they were left by cold by idea of search-and-destroy, that they would move through an area, defeat or run off whatever forces happened khổng lồ be there and then leave, and then leave the Viet Cong infrastructure in place to continue ruling that area.

In 1967, Pham Van Dinh, the elder of my two soldiers that I focus on, was made part of a very interesting experiment. His – he was a battalion commander at the time. His battalion was made organic khổng lồ a South Vietnamese district, Huong Dien District, just north of the thành phố of Hue. That meant it slept with the people, it worked with the people, it became part of the people, it helped with the harvest. It was made organic to the area. Within six months, và this area was “overrun” – quote, unquote – by Viet Cong. Within six months, the entire area had been pacified. In living with the people, they were able khổng lồ identify & eradicate the VC infrastructure. And to put it bluntly, Viet Cong main force units avoided the area. They didn’t want to lớn tangle with a resident ARVN battalion.

So an area that had been Viet Cong-dominated goes to being pacified, & really pacified, not the fake pacified that we’re often familiar with HES reports, within six months. But after that six months was over, the battalion was removed. It had taken too many boots away from search-and-destroy. It was put back in a search-and-destroy mode. And then one year later, this battalion is going to have khổng lồ go back lớn Huong Dien District with American Airborne and fight of the most bitter battles of the entire war because this area once again goes into becoming hardcore VC.

Some other things that my research was able to point out: First off, I would argue that much of our tactical of the Vietnam War is simply wrong. If you look at most of the great stories about great battles, whether they be from the Ia Drang Valley on one kết thúc or even after we leave on the other, you see American forces doing big things. & what’s usually missing from the picture are the ARVN. They were there before we got there, they fought in every major battle while we were there, & they fought in the ones after we left, too. Và usually, you can’t find them in any book. Và I’ll just use two examples, two examples that – of battles that my commanders fought in and that they were central to.

If you pick up any book on the Tet Offensive in 1968 – & by the way, I advise you khổng lồ pick up Jim Willbanks’s book on the Tet Offensive in 1968. It doesn’t have this problem. Most other books do. You see the American forces specifically in HueCity, the city that almost all the way fell to NVA và VC action. & you see a few brave American Marines, và there were a few brave American Marines – all this stuff is true – defending the MACV compound & then beginning a very slow, long struggle khổng lồ retake the đô thị in house-to-house fighting. Và that’s what you see, brave American Marines doing what Marines have done through And they’ve done that – that they certainly do this. The Marines không tính phí the thành phố of Hue south of the PerfumeRiver & losing 147 killed in the process.

But what’s missing is the ARVN. The ARVN was there fighting. Both of my guys were there fighting. Tran Ngoc Hue led the Hoc Bao Company, a rapid reaction force that did the most khổng lồ defend the city. And then Tran Ngoc Hue led the Second Battalion of the Third Regiment, which did much of the fighting to lớn retake the city. It was the ARVN that re-took most of the city, especially the citadel. & just some small numbers for you: ARVN forces lost 357 dead & inflicted 2,642 battle deaths on the NVA. Và these are American numbers, so probably not cooked South Vietnamese numbers. So the fighting in Tet in the đô thị of Hue isn’t simply an American battle, which most books portray it as.

Another of the most – my most famous incident of this – excuse me, my favorite, not most famous – incident of this in my book is Hamburger Hill, which has kind of gone down as – in utter legend & even film in American & the typical view of the battle is that the Third Battalion of the 187th under its hard-charging commander, Tiger Honeycutt, fought up this forlorn hillside for 10 days against really stiff NVA resistance, và right as it was about to thua trận its last man, it broke through the final bunkers and took the đứng đầu of the hill. & yay, the movie can over with a celebration. The truth of the matter is a little different. It was actually the Second Battalion of the Third ARVN Division under Pham Van Dinh that reached the top of the hill first. They advanced before the American units, they got there before the American units, they radioed that they were up there, và the Americans ordered them off. Và they said if you don’t leave, we’re going lớn shell you; this is an American battle to win, this is not your battle to lớn win.

And it took me a long time to lớn actually prove that, to lớn find the exact documents for that, but that is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Lớn me, this incident points out a number of things about the American-ARVN alliance, especially its fragility. What had they done? Exactly what we asked them to, fight well in a battle. Show initiative. Achieve something meaningful. & when they did that, our national or military psyche was so fragile that we had to lớn tell them that, no. And by the way, the ARVN noticed very much, too, that they got no coverage after Tet, perhaps their biggest victory ever in their & all they see in the American coverage of this is the American coverage of Tet, nothing about South Vietnamese victories. So I would argue we have to lớn put the ARVN in the battlefield histories lớn get the battles right.

Wow, five minutes. I like that. (Laughter.) I can talk real fast, as you can already see.

My argument, then, would be that what we have here at this stage in the war is the exact ARVN we were trying lớn create, an ARVN that fought well alongside us, an ARVN that used American firepower và American logistics to lớn achieve its victories & achieve victories that we often don’t write about. Of course, what happens then is we tend khổng lồ – our histories of the war tend to get even thinner because we tend to back out after ’69. American consciousness about the war tends lớn fall. But South Vietnamese consciousness about the war tends khổng lồ really rise because they’re now in trouble. Their two biggest battles, Operation Lam Son 719, the invasion of Laos, & the Easter Offensive are post- most American consciousness of this war.

And I think they’re very instructive khổng lồ Operation Lam Son 719, the invasion of Laos in 1971 is the first ARVN main force operation outside South Vietnamese borders. It’s 17,000 ARVN soldiers against 60,000 NVA defenders. Turns out the NVA didn’t run away like they had in Cambodia the year before and like our planners hoped. They stood & fought. Và the South Vietnamese are cut khổng lồ ribbons. Half of them are – half of the 17,000 that are put into this are killed. And what you see is South Vietnamese junior officers, South Vietnamese enlisted men, fighting very well and very hard. Tran Ngoc Hue was a battalion commander in his own right at this time, commanding the Second Battalion of the Second Regiment. Và the story of his battalion is kind of – well, it’s a little more than typical. His battalion was inserted at Tchepone, all the way into Laos as far as we went, & had lớn fight its way back out. It was surrounded six times & 26 people survived. These men fought hard. The individual fighting man in South Vietnam was pretty good, as were some – many of the low-level leaders. But if you look at the đứng top levels, everything fell apart. In fits of petulance, people complaining & screaming at each other, the top-level command fell apart.

On the ground, the ARVN didn’t have its usual links to American firepower because the American advisors didn’t go with them, so even that went awry. So in – what bởi vì we see in Lam Son 719? An ARVN that’s capable of fighting but an ARVN that is monumentally poorly led still. And you see the same thing again in 1972 with the America – excuse me, the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive. I have – this is when something very important happens to lớn Pham Van Dinh. He is defending Camp Carroll along the DMZ & his battered remnants of his regiment are ensconced on Camp Carroll and they’re surrounded by three NVA divisions. He radios back to his commander, his corps commander, General Lam, & says, “Okay, I’m stuck here. What vì chưng I do?” and Lam says, “Well, you fight to lớn the end. & by the way, I have to hang up now because I’m late for my afternoon tennis match.”

Dinh had, I think kind of rightfully for South Vietnamese officers, thought there were two chances of victory: A) the U.S. Would provide them a shield, a military shield, and behind that shield the South Vietnamese Government had to lớn reform and make itself capable of survival. What he saw in 1972 was the shield was gone. American ground forces didn’t play a role in this. Và he saw that the South Vietnamese Government in the person of General Lam wasn’t worth his sacrifice. He saw that the war was going to end in a different way than he’d hoped, and he surrenders và actually defects lớn the North Vietnamese military.

In essence, what does the Easter Offensive then prove? I think it actually goes on và proves, then, another counterpoint. The South Vietnamese, with American aid, lavish American firepower, lavish American tư vấn with its advisors – I’m sorry, they paved the North Vietnamese offensive. The North Vietnamese offensive peters out at An Loc, peters out at HueCity, & then the ARVN move back, taking back most of the land. ARVN is going lớn suffer about 8,000 dead. The NVA are going lớn suffer, like, 40,000 dead. In essence, what does this show? It shows that the American alliance with the South Vietnamese was actually working as we defined it. With South Vietnamese manpower và American firepower, we were tactically effective. Tactically effective, not strategically.

And of course, what happens is the very next year, American firepower is gone. And the year after that, American monetary support is gone. And the South Vietnamese military is left in a situation it was never designed khổng lồ be in, a situation of being on its own. It was always meant to lớn be an alliance military fighting with us in a situation in which the enemy was, hopefully, defeated & gone. The enemy is still there. The alliance partner’s gone. And the South Vietnamese military is simply, in my view, not Vietnamese enough to lớn survive much longer.

So in conclusion, really quickly, I think that – what can we learn from just looking at these two guys’ lives và taking thoughts from them? First off, the South Vietnamese military is not just a parody. It perhaps is deserving of some kind of historical inquiry. A second thing I think that’s perhaps worth noting is that this South Vietnamese military finds itself at a really uncomfortable confluence of events. It serves a South Vietnamese Government that’s bad và that doesn’t see the need khổng lồ change. It’s also serving an American definition of a war, & America leaves that war & leaves the South Vietnamese military in a very difficult place.

So is this the conclusion of about the ARVN? No, I think it’s the introduction. A lot more historical work needs to be done on the ARVN. Và despite bringing up these questions, perhaps that work will get started & other people will take it forward.

Thank you. (Applause.) start here:

DR. MAHAN: Although I’m tempted lớn exercise the chair’s prerogative to lớn make a few comments, I shall refrain because we have as our commentator of the panel a scholar who’s far more knowledgeable và preeminent than I, and a very humble man & who’s shown me – I’ve observed over the years the historians who submit the shortest bios are usually the most accomplished in their field. So bởi not reflect – his bio does not reflect everything he has done. He’s the author of numerous books and articles on the struggle for Vietnam, & he’s currently completing a work on the study of the First Indochina War and the roots of U.S. Involvement. I welcome Fred Logevall, who is a friend & will give you a superb summary and tie these papers together.

PROF. LOGEVALL: A superb commentary is what I now have to give. I’m grateful khổng lồ be here. I want to also extend my thanks to lớn organizers.

You know, I’m always conscious when I’ve attended a conference or I am attending a conference on the Vietnam War, và I’ve attended a few, that I have a kind of contradictory impulse during the conference. On the one hand, I’m reminded of what the Victorian era novelist Lytton Strachey said about the of Victorian England. He said, “That can never be written. We know too much about it.” (Laughter.) và I have that feeling when I’m here, but I also have the contradictory feeling, which is, man, there is so much more that we need to learn about this conflict. There’s so much new research that needs to lớn be done.

And I’ve just finished – as Erin was saying, I’ve just finished writing a of the French war và then the transition from the