Vietnam
The
Consensus
Unravels
America’s Longest War
1950-1975
why?
why?
despite the
expenditure of more
than $150 billion,
why?
why?
despite the application of its
great technical expertise,
why?
why?
despite the employment of
a huge military arsenal,
why?
Why did the world’s most
powerful nation fail to
achieve its objectives and
suffer its first defeat in
war, a humiliating ...
George C. Herring
Author, America’s Longest War
~58,000 / millions
Ho Chi Minh
Vietminh + OSS
“Your
statesmen make
eloquent
speeches about
helping those
with selfdetermination.
WE are selfdetermined.
Why not help
us?
Am I any
different
from...even
your George
Washington?”
September, 1945
INDEPENDENCE
“We hold these
truths to be
self-evident.
That all men
are created
equal.”
Harry S Truman
The United States could
not “afford to assume
that Ho is anything but
Moscow-directed.”
US State Department, 1947
“Fall” of China
1949
“domino theory”
Bao Dai
(SOUTH)
$50 million >

1950-51
$152

million > French

1952
“New Look”
$385

million > French

1953
Dienbienphu
1954
“No
More
Koreas”
Geneva Accords
1954
th
17

parallel
Elections
1956
CIA
Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngo Dinh Diem

98%
patronage
abolished elections
shut down
dissenters
A 2-part Civil War
Ho
vs.
Diem
Ho
vs.
NLF

vs.

Diem
NLF
NLF:National Liberation
Front > Vietcong (VC)
Understanding Vietnam
vs.
Consensus Assumptions
JFK
“Project Beef-up”
16,000 “Advisers”
489 killed
Strategic Hamlet program
LBJ
Tonkin Gulf Resolution
416-0 (House)
88-2 (Senate)
“take all necessary measures
to repel any armed attack
against the forces of the
United States and to prevent
further aggr...
Tet Offensive
January, 1968
“I feel like a hitchhiker
caught in a hailstorm
on a Texas highway.

I can’t run, I can’t hide,
and I can’t make it stop.”
Nixon
“Vietnamization”
The
Consensus
Unravels
“The United States’
involvement in Vietnam was
not primarily the result
of errors of judgment of
the personality quirks of...
“It was the logical, if not
inevitable, outgrowth of a
world view and a policy;
the policy of containment
which Americans ...
George C. Herring
May, 1979
We must act to stop
Communism and we have the
right to do this,
everywhere.
DEFEAT
April 29,1975
We have faith in our
leaders and our [superior]
political institutions.
LBJ
End of the Great Society
America can solve or is
already solving all of its
problems.
Vietnamese “boat people”
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels
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Vietnam: The Consensus Unravels

  1. 1. Vietnam The Consensus Unravels
  2. 2. America’s Longest War 1950-1975
  3. 3. why?
  4. 4. why? despite the expenditure of more than $150 billion,
  5. 5. why?
  6. 6. why? despite the application of its great technical expertise,
  7. 7. why?
  8. 8. why? despite the employment of a huge military arsenal,
  9. 9. why?
  10. 10. Why did the world’s most powerful nation fail to achieve its objectives and suffer its first defeat in war, a humiliating and deeply frustrating experience for a people accustomed to success?”
  11. 11. George C. Herring Author, America’s Longest War
  12. 12. ~58,000 / millions
  13. 13. Ho Chi Minh
  14. 14. Vietminh + OSS
  15. 15. “Your statesmen make eloquent speeches about helping those with selfdetermination. WE are selfdetermined.
  16. 16. Why not help us? Am I any different from...even your George Washington?”
  17. 17. September, 1945 INDEPENDENCE
  18. 18. “We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal.”
  19. 19. Harry S Truman
  20. 20. The United States could not “afford to assume that Ho is anything but Moscow-directed.” US State Department, 1947
  21. 21. “Fall” of China 1949
  22. 22. “domino theory”
  23. 23. Bao Dai (SOUTH)
  24. 24. $50 million > 1950-51
  25. 25. $152 million > French 1952
  26. 26. “New Look”
  27. 27. $385 million > French 1953
  28. 28. Dienbienphu 1954
  29. 29. “No More Koreas”
  30. 30. Geneva Accords 1954
  31. 31. th 17 parallel
  32. 32. Elections 1956
  33. 33. CIA
  34. 34. Ngo Dinh Diem
  35. 35. Ngo Dinh Diem 98%
  36. 36. patronage
  37. 37. abolished elections
  38. 38. shut down
  39. 39. dissenters
  40. 40. A 2-part Civil War
  41. 41. Ho vs. Diem
  42. 42. Ho vs. NLF vs. Diem
  43. 43. NLF
  44. 44. NLF:National Liberation Front > Vietcong (VC)
  45. 45. Understanding Vietnam
  46. 46. vs.
  47. 47. Consensus Assumptions
  48. 48. JFK
  49. 49. “Project Beef-up”
  50. 50. 16,000 “Advisers” 489 killed
  51. 51. Strategic Hamlet program
  52. 52. LBJ
  53. 53. Tonkin Gulf Resolution 416-0 (House) 88-2 (Senate)
  54. 54. “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.”
  55. 55. Tet Offensive January, 1968
  56. 56. “I feel like a hitchhiker caught in a hailstorm on a Texas highway. I can’t run, I can’t hide, and I can’t make it stop.”
  57. 57. Nixon
  58. 58. “Vietnamization”
  59. 59. The Consensus Unravels
  60. 60. “The United States’ involvement in Vietnam was not primarily the result of errors of judgment of the personality quirks of the policymakers, although these things existed in abundance.
  61. 61. “It was the logical, if not inevitable, outgrowth of a world view and a policy; the policy of containment which Americans in and out of government accepted without serious question for more than two decades.”
  62. 62. George C. Herring May, 1979
  63. 63. We must act to stop Communism and we have the right to do this, everywhere.
  64. 64. DEFEAT April 29,1975
  65. 65. We have faith in our leaders and our [superior] political institutions.
  66. 66. LBJ End of the Great Society
  67. 67. America can solve or is already solving all of its problems.
  68. 68. Vietnamese “boat people”

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