Synopses & Reviews
Designed to encourage critical thinking about history, the Major Problems in American History series introduces students to both primary sources and analytical essays on important topics in U.S. history. Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War incorporates a spate of new research and a number of recently declassified documents concerning the Vietnam War.
About the Author
Robert J. McMahon received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1977 and was professor of History at the University of Florida before moving to Ohio State University. He specializes in United States diplomatic history. He is the author of Colonialism and Cold War: The United States and the Struggle for Indonesian Independence (1981) and The Cold War on the Periphery: The United States, India, and Pakistan (1994). He is also the co-editor of the Problems in American Civilization book The Origins of the Cold War, which entered its fourth edition in 1999.Thomas G. Paterson, professor emeritus of history at the University of Connecticut, graduated from the University of New Hampshire (B.A., 1963) and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D., 1968). He is the author of Soviet-American Confrontation (1973), Meeting the Communist Threat (1988), On Every Front (1992), Contesting Castro (1994), America Ascendant (with J. Garry Clifford, 1995), and A People and a Nation (with Mary Beth Norton et al., 2001). Tom is also the editor of Cold War Critics (1971), Kennedy's Quest for Victory (1989), Imperial Surge (with Stephen G. Rabe, 1992), The Origins of the Cold War (with Robert McMahon, 1999), Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations (with Michael J. Hogan, 2004), and Major Problems in American Foreign Relations (with Dennis Merrill, 2010). With Bruce Jentleson, he served as senior editor for the Encyclopedia of American Foreign Relations (1997). A microfilm edition of The United States and Castro's Cuba, 1950s?1970s: The Paterson Collection appeared in 1999. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of American History and Diplomatic History. A recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, he has directed National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars for College Teachers. In 2000 the New England History Teachers Association recognized his excellence in teaching and mentoring with the Kidger Award. Besides visits to many American campuses, Tom has lectured in Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Venezuela. He is a past president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, which in 2008 honored him with the Laura and Norman Graebner Award for "lifetime achievement" in scholarship, service, and teaching. A native of Oregon, Tom is now informally associated with Southern Oregon University.
Table of Contents
1. Vietnam and America: An Introduction ESSAYS Michael H. Hunt, The Wages of War Michael Lind, The Necessary War Robert Mann, A Grand Delusion 2. The Development of Vietnamese Nationalism DOCUMENTS 1. Phan Boi Chau's Prison Reflections, 1914 2. Ho Chi Minh Deplores "Imperialist Crimes," 1920 3. Ho's Appeal at the Founding of the Communist Party of Indochina, 1930 4. Vietnamese Writer Recalls the 1944-1945 Famine, 1956 5. The Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, 1945 ESSAYS David G. Marr, The Colonial Impact Mark Philip Bradley, Vietnamese Nationalists and the United States 3. The Roots of the American Commitment DOCUMENTS 1. George C. Marshall on the Indochina Dispute, 1947 2. Statement of U.S. Policy Toward Indochina, 1948 3. The United States Praises the Elysee Agreements, 1949 4. The State Department Recommends Military Aid to the French, 1950 5. National Security Council Paper No. 64, 1950 6. Dean Acheson Urges Aid for Indochina, 1950 7. Answers to Questions Put by the Press Regarding U.S. Intervention in Indochina, July 25, 1950 ESSAYS Patrick J. Hearden, An Economic Perspective on U.S. Involvement Robert J. McMahon, A Strategic Perspective on U.S. Involvement 4. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vietnam: Deepening the Commitment DOCUMENTS 1. President Dwight D. Eisenhower Appeals for British Help, 1954 2. Eisenhower Explains the Domino Theory, 1954 3. Vo Nguyen Giap on Dienbienphu (1954), 1964 4. Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference on Indochina, 1954 5. National Security Council Discussion of the Sect Crisis, 1955 6. South Vietnamese Statement on Reunification, 1955 7. Elbridge Durbrow Assesses the Diem Regime, 1957 8. National Security Council Discussion of Diem's Growing Problems, 1960 ESSAYS David L. Anderson, The Tragedy of U.S. Intervention Ronald H. Spector, The Failure of Vietnamization 5. John F. Kennedy and Vietnam: Incremental Escalation DOCUMENTS 1. Maxwell Taylor Recommends the Dispatch of U.S. Forces, 1961 2. Dean Rusk and Robert S. McNamara's Alternative Plan, 1961 3. An Early U.S. Army Adviser Remembers His Experiences (1962-1963), 1981 4. Mike Mansfield Questions American Policy, 1962 5. John F. Kennedy Criticizes the South Vietnamese Government, 1963 6. Kennedy Reaffirms the Domino Theory, 1963 7. Henry Cabot Lodge Discusses Coup Prospects, 1963 8. McGeorge Bundy Expresses Reservations, 1963 8. Diem's Final Appeal for U.S. Help, 1963 ESSAYS Michael H. Hunt, The Perils of Interventionism David Kaiser, Kennedy's Prudent and Cautious Policy 6. Lyndon B. Johnson's Decisions for War DOCUMENTS 1. Reassessment of U.S. Policy in South Vietnam, 1964 2. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Russell Ruminate about the U.S. Dilemma in Vietnam, 1964 3. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution, 1964 4. Lyndon B. Johnson Explains Why Americans Fight in Vietnam, 1965 5. Robert S. McNamara Recommends Escalation, 1965 6. George Ball Dissents, 1965 7. Johnson Recalls His Decision to Commit Troops (1965), 1971 8. Philip Caputo Remembers His Idealism (1965), 1977 ESSAYS Robert Dallek, Fear, Ambition, and Politics Fredrik Logevall, Choosing War 7. U.S. Military Strategy DOCUMENTS 1. Robert S. McNamara Urges Additional Troop Deployments, 1965 2. George F. Kennan Criticizes the American Military Commitment, 1966 3. William C. Westmoreland Reviews Military Operations in South Vietnam, 1966 4. The Central Intelligence Agency's Assessment of the Bombing Campaign, 1967 5. McNamara on the Improved Military Outlook, 1967 6. Westmoreland Reflects on a War of Attrition, 1977 ESSAYS Harry G. Summers, Jr., A Critical Appraisal of American Strategy George C. Herring, A Different Kind of War 8. Americans in Combat DOCUMENTS 1. "Dear Mom," 1966 2. Infantryman Salvador Gonzalez's Letter Home, 1969 3. A Soldier's Perspective on Combat in Vietnam, 1977 4. Herbert Carter Testifies about the My Lai Massacre, 1969 5. Varnado Simpson Testifies about the My Lai Massacre, 1969 6. Colin Powell Remembers His Two Tours of Duty in Vietnam, 1995 7. Robert D. Heinl, Jr., Details Disarray Within U.S. Armed Forces, 1971 8. Robert Conner Reflects on His Vietnam Experience, 1993 ESSAYS Christian Appy, A Working Class War Gerard J. deGroot, A Grunt's Life 9. The Enemy: North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front DOCUMENTS 1. Ho Chi Minh's Appeal After the Geneva Agreements, 1954 2. Truong Nhu Tang on the Origins of the National Liberation Front (1957-1959), 1985 3. Manifesto of the National Liberation Front, 1960 4. A Vietcong Recruit Explains Why He Joined the Revolution (1961), 1986 5. A South Vietnamese Peasant Girl Became a Vietcong Supporter (1961), 1989 6. Vo Nguyen Giap on People's War, 1961 7. Nguyen Chi Thanh on Communist Strategy, 1963 8. Mao Zedong Exhorts His North Vietnamese Allies, 1965 9. Ho Vows to "Fight Until Complete Victory," 1966 ESSAYS William Duiker, Hanoi's Strategy in the South Qiang Zhai, China's Crucial Role 10. The Tet Offensive DOCUMENTS 1. Robert McNamara and Dean Rusk Assess the Tet Offensive, 1968 2. Robert F. Kennedy Calls Vietnam an Unwinnable War, 1968 3. Walter Cronkite Criticizes a Policy "Mired in Stalemate," 1968 4. Earle G. Wheeler's Report on Military Prospects After Tet, 1968 5. A Communist Party Evaluation, 1968 6. A U.S. Air Force Nurse Remembers the Tet Offensive (1968), 1987 7. Robert Komer Recalls Tet's Impact (1968), 1987 8. Clark M. Clifford Remembers His Post-Tet Questions (1968), 1969 9. Johnson Calls for Negotiations, 1968 ESSAYS Robert Buzzanco, A Crippling Defeat for the United States William Hammond, Tet and the Media 11. The Ally: South Vietnam 1. Ngo Dinh Diem Requests Additional U.S. Aid, 1957 2. Tran Van Don on the Need for Reforms After the Coup Against Diem (1963), 1978 3. Nguyen Cao Ky on the Battle for Hearts and Minds, 1976 4. Nguyen Van Thieu's Address to the National Assembly, 1969 5. An American Serviceman's View of the South Vietnamese Army, 1987 ESSAYS Gabriel Kolko, A Doomed Dependency Bui Diem, A Viable State 12. Richard M. Nixon's Strategy for Withdrawal DOCUMENTS 1. Henry A. Kissinger Reflects on the Nixon Administration's Dilemma in Vietnam (1969), 1979 2. National Security Study Memorandum No.1, 1969 3. A Guerrilla Leader Remembers 1969 as the "Worst Year" (1969), 1986 4. Richard M. Nixon on Vietnamization, 1969 5. Nixon Explains the Cambodian Incursion, 1970 6. Henry A. Kissinger Reveals the U.S. Negotiating Position, 1972 7. Negotiating Position of the Provisional Revolutionary Government, 1972 ESSAYS Melvin Small, Nixon's Flawed Search for Peace Lewis Sorley, A Better War 13. The Antiwar Movement and Public Opinion DOCUMENTS 1. SDS States Opposition to the War, 1965 2. Carl Oglesby Denounces the "Liberals' War," 1965 3. Martin Luther King, Jr., Declares His Opposition to the War, 1967 4. Women's Statement of Conscience, 1967 5. Proclamation of the Antidraft Resistance, 1967 6. James Fallows Reflects on the Draft's Inequities (1969), 1975 7. A Veteran Remembers His Bitter Homecoming, 1981 8. Todd Gitlin Recalls the New Left's Revolutionary Romanticism, 1987 9. A Vietnam Veteran Opposes the War, 1971 ESSAYS Charles DeBenedetti and Charles Chatfield, The Antiwar Movement and American Society Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Women and Antiwar Activism Adam Garfinkle, Movement Myths 14. The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 and the Fall of South Vietnam DOCUMENTS 1. Richard M. Nixon Reassures Nguyen Van Thieu, 1973 2. The Paris Peace Accords, 1973 3. Henry A. Kissinger Appeals to Congress for Emergency Aid, 1975 4. James R. Schlesinger, Jr., Recalls the Collapse of South Vietnam (1975), 1987 5. A South Vietnamese Pilot Reflects on His Country's Defeat (1975), 1990 6. A South Vietnamese Civilian Remembers His Last Days in Saigon (1975), 1990 7. A North Vietnamese Commander Celebrates the "Great Spring Victory" (1975), 1977 8. Nixon Blames Congress for the Fall of South Vietnam (1975), 1978 ESSAYS Larry Berman, The Betrayal of South Vietnam Robert K. Brigham, The North Vietnamese-NLF Triumph 15. Legacies and Memories of a War DOCUMENTS 1. Gerald R. Ford on the Lessons of Vietnam, 1975 2. Jimmy Carter Sees a "Profound Moral Crisis," 1977 3. Richard M. Nixon Reads Vietnam's Lessons, 1985 4. Ronald Reagan Calls Vietnam a Noble and Just Cause, 1988 5. Bill Clinton Announces the Normalization of Diplomatic Relations with Vietnam, 1995 6. An American Veteran Helps to Dedicate the Vietnam War Memorial (1982), 1985 7. An African-American Draftee Reflects on the War's Impact, 1984 8. A Former Army Nurse Considers the War's Impact, 1987 ESSAYS Paul Kennedy, The Impact of Vietnam on America's World Role Marilyn B. Young, The War's Tragic Legacy Arnold R. Isaacs, Competing Memories