Vietnam- Debating America's lsot war

  • Created by: Heather
  • Created on: 22-01-18 04:37
What are the 2 schools of thoughts?
Orthodoxy v Revisionism
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Who provided a definition fo each?
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How did he describe the Orthodox approach in who to blame for th eVietname war?
'those who are critical of American's intervention and view Vietnam as a bad war'
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What does he also question about the US achieving its aim of establishing what?
Questions whether the US could have ever acheived its aim of establishing a strong anti-communist South Vietnam
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Who accuses American of invincible arrogance?
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Who said Containment was misapplied in Vietnam?
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What reasons did Herring give for Americans profoundly misreadin the nature of the struggle in vietnam?
Obsessed with determination to stop advance of communism, abysmally ignorant of the VIetnamese people and their history,
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Who says the war wasn't _____ or ____?
-Kaiser and Hunt, -War wasn't necessary nor winnable
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Therefore what does the Orthodox view oveall say about the war?
The war was bad to get involved in- It was flawed,
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How does Catton describe revisionism?
'Those who tend to view the US intervention as a legitimate enterprise and believe the war could have been won, especially with changes in tactics and strategy,
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who says America was morally justifiable?
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Who argues that American tried to fight a conventional war in unconvential circumstances?
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While he argues the US were winning war by 1971, why does he argue they were unable to finish the job?
Due to a lack of congress and public support
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Therefore, how do revisionist views see the war?
See it as necessary- First lost victory. HEarts and minds- America won that incident but lost confidence of South Vietnamese people
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What did legitimists argue such as who?
-Lind, -America right to get in, but also right to get out- War couldn't really be won
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FOr background, who was Vietnam occupied by/ run by?
French Indochina
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Wht movements did this lead to in Vietnam?
Vietnamese nationalsit movement with communist learnings
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Who in particular became invovled in the Communist party?
Revolutionary youth league
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Who was educated in PAris and became the founding member of French communist party?
Ho Chi Minh
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In terms of VIetnam what were his views?
A vietnamese nationalist- Committed to Vietnamese independence which WW2 provided him with an opportunity to further himself
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During WW2 who ruled Vietnam?
France and Japan
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In May 1941, what independence group was established?
LEague for the Independence of Vietnam
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Who takes complete control in 1945 and how?
Tokyo- Establoishes pupper government.
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However what does Japan realise soon?
Realises that an independent Vietnam government will soon be necessary
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When did Ho Chi Minh plan a revolution?
August Revolution
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When did Ho Chi Minh declare an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV)?
2n Sep 1945
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While there is a new indpendent Vietnamese Government, is it for the whol of the country?
No- North- Communist agenda vs Capitalism South
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What was the communist agenda?
LAnd reforms (seizure of land from wealthy landowners), political oppression
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What was the capitalist agenda?
Tax against communist and religious groups- Consolidation of power
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What do they agre will happen in the future?
They delayed elections, but they never happens
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In the late 50s, is the US continuing to support South Vietnamese Government?
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When was the first Indochina War?
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Who re-asserts ther imperial authority?
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What parts did France control and what parts did Vietminh control?
France controlled the vast majority fo towns and cities, -Vietminh dominated the countryside
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Why was France at a disadvatnage?
Made efective use of tactics whereas French relied in heavy machinery which was ill suited to the terrain or winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people
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When was there ea stalemate?
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What did the US decide to do?
US wanted to avoid communism taking hold in Vietname so helped fun France
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By the enf of 1952, how much are the US paying for France's war effort?
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Who were defeated at Dien Bien Phu and whn?
France, -1954
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What did this ceasefire agreement do to Vietnam?
Ceasefire agreement partitioning vietnam along 17th parallel
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When did they plan to reunite?
In 1956 after elections but didnt
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For American interest growing, in September 1954 John Dulles helped created what Treaty which justified what?
The Southeast Asia Treaty ORganisation (SEATO)- Used to justify US continued intervention in region
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Who was part of the SEATO security area?
Vietnam, Lao and Cambodia
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How did the US aid Vietnam?
Mostly economic aid, but some military advisers (never more than 740 advisers)
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However the ocnsistent threat of attack by North and threat of communism made the US question what?
How far the US wasgoing to goto curb communism
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What was the point of no return for the US based on presidency?
Contours of American presidency already established- Don't have to hold back
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What is another point based on containment?
US committed to containment
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What did JFK do with hi sadvisers?
He increased the number of US advisers
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What is questionnable after these actions?
Could America get out? Who was responsible for th US getting so invovled?
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For escalation by JFK, how much did he increase his advisors by in 1961?
From 700 to 2000
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By the time of his death how may did he have?
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What programme did he introduce to stop communist insurgents?
Strategic Hamlet programme- Isolated vialges to stop peasants being infiltrated by communist insurgents
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Was this succesfuo?
No and heavily criticised
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What authorised CIA coup occured to kill who and why?
Diem- He was President of the SOuth. HE was a Catholic in a Buddhist country, which led to many disincluded Buddhists who began to look to Communism
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What presence did he increase in SOuth Vietnam?
Miltiary presence
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For controversies around JFK's role, what did it arguably give LBJ?
A 'blank cheque'?
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What are some other controversies?
-American picking a fight v misunderstand? -Did COngress release this escalation would occur?
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For escalation of JFK, when was the Tonkin Gulf incident?
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What did the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution allow President Johnson to do?
TO send American troops to Vietnam without declaring war
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What did the President claim to do this?
Claimes warship attached by North Vietnamese war ship, but actually didn't happen, but began mobilisation
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What was the pResident authorised to do after this incident?
Authorised to 'take all necessary measures'
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in 1965, was does the US do North of the 17th parallel called the 'ROlling tThunder'?
They bomb 64 targets,
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By March 1965 how many troops were sent?
Nearly 200,000
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However, in JUky they decided a much larger military commitment was the only means of saving South Vietnam. By the end of 1967, how many American personnel were in Vietnam?
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What Offensive occurs in 1968?
Tet offensive- Aroudn 85,000 North Vietnamese and VIet Cong attack SOuth Vietnam
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What Massacre does this lead to by American sodliers?
My Lai Massacre- Murder and gang **** by American soldiers
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In 1969, what policy foes NIxon begin which does hwat?
'Vietnamisation'-FOcusing efforts on training SOuth Vietnamese forces to take American roles
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However, what happens that means the war effort can't be sustained by US?
Public opinion sways
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When was the war ended with the signing of what?
1973 Paris Peace Accords,
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What happens in Vietnam?
In 1975, North Vietnam invades and annexes the SOuth, reunifiying th ecountry
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For apportioning blame, what is one explanation syaing no one was to blame?
A quagmire that American fell into- Mostly for th right reaosns but once in impossible to get out
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Who supports this theory and describes the tragedy as what?
-Schlesinger Jr, 'a tragedy without villains'
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Would JFK have escalated as LBj did?
Unknown, but he did refuse to send large numbers of troops to Laos in 1962
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Did JFk plan to pull out after 64 election?
In 1963 he said 'It is their war. Thye are the ones who have to win it or lose it'
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Are these the only two to blame?
No- Truman then Eisenhower- Got US invovledi in tangle which it couldn't remove itself from
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What debate is there aroun Kennedy and escalation?
Whether Kennedy sought an laternative to escalation if he wasn't assassinated and won the next eelction
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What did Johnson claim abotu his predeccessors?
His hands were tied
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However, why do they argue Kennedy would have viewed this situation differently?
As we was more of a foreign policy president, able to stand up more,
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By 1962, what had Kennedy realised?
Victory was unlikely
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What do they argue he opted for and an example to show this?
A middle course- Not mass escalation nor abandoning- Evidence in Laos, neighbouring country.
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What do many say Kennedy was planning if he won a second time?
he would withdraw US advisers completely, although evidence for other side
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For public opinion, how many thought Johnson's decisions were right, rong and uncertain?
60%, 25% wrong, rest ucnertain
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As the war went on did views change?
Yes much less enthusiasm, hesitancy contrasted with american attitudes in other wars
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Who was the leading opposition to war?
Students for democratic society (SDS)- Drew in around 25,000 young people
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For Kennedy's exceptionalism, what is the argument abotu his awareness of the COld War?
He wasn't completley indoctrianted in the Cold War- Aware it was unwinnable and withdrawing would be a better option for the US long term
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Therefore what kind of leade was he for the Cold War?
JFK a pragmatic Cold War
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What did Dallek say about the new Vietnamese government?
'Jennedy was immediately dismissive of the new [vietnamese] government and its prospects for survival'
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Whay does Dallek beleive would have happened if he won second term?
He would have gradually phased out US presence in Vietnam
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Who also argues JFK had tentative plans for withdrawals but suggests what?
Freedman, -Any plans were tentative at best and subject to revision
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Who compared the two presidents and suggested Kennedy was mroe favourable as CW president and why?
Logevall- JFK a strong foreign policy president, LBJ weak and indecisive- Favourable to Kennedy- Suggests he was a strong foreign policy president unlike Johnson
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Who provides a balanced view on LBJ?
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While he says LBj inherited a 'rapidly detoriating situation', what does he concede?
he chose to transform it itno 'an open-ended commitment' to preserve non-communist South Vietnam
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In terms of Kennedy's legacy, what did he leave in terms of military presence?
A sizeable although limited US military presence
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Was there a risk of losing?
Risk of losing South vietnam to communism
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What was another problem in South Vietnam?
Communist insurgency- Ill equippied to counter it,
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What policy did he leave?
A test of US resolve to 'contain' spread of communism
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For personality of Kennedy, what are hi characterisitics?
Northern, young and charismatic
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Were their initial doubts over his experience in foreing policy?
At the beginning yes- Very young - COuld he stand with experienced leaders
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Where did he show resolve and prove he was an effective COld War PResident?
OVer Berlin and the Cuban Missle Crisis 1962
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What was he like in making decisions?
A skilled and shrewd decision maker and diplomat, -Prepared to rule over msot trusted adviser
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For personality of LBJ, what are his characterisitics?
Southerner, rough around the egdes, forceful personality
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Was he a forieng policy president?
No- Relied heavily on advisers- Less personal interest and a mass of contradicitions
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How did Press secretary Moyers describe syaing no to Johnson?
'Telling Lyndon Johnson no is like standing at the water's edge and shouting at the tde to go back'
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In defence of LBJ, what shows Kennedy was not going to pull of of Vietnam and an example?
News cofnerence July 1963 'We are not going to withdraw from this effort... mean a collapse not only of SOuth Vietnam, but of Southeast Asia'
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What is the problem with saying what Kennedy might have don?
It is largely conjecture
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What did Kennedy for definite leave Johnson with?
A dilemma- Kennedy refused to negotiate,
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Did Johnson change his advisers from Kennedy's presidency?
No they were kept the same
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What were their views in terms of hwo they persuaded Kennedy?
Remained the same- Continuity rather than change and wanted him to escalate
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Although what is one argument against their encouragment of Johnson to escalate?
Did johnson bully advisers into telling him what he wanted to hear?
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Who were some who were opposed to escalation?
Some Democratic senators such as Fulbright and Undersecretary George Ball
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When did Ball create his memorandum which suggested what?
July 1965, -'A compromis solution in South Vietnam'
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What did Bundy say about how Johnson woudl take thus?
'My hunch is that you will want to listen hard to George Ball and then reject his proposal'
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Did Johnson have a choice? Who says he didnt?
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What did Lind claim about who had a choice?
Neither JFk or LBJ had a choice
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What does Moyar say about Johnson's reasons and strategy?
Johnson escalaed for the right reasons but pursued wrong strategy
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For other pressures that were occuring at the time, why was there a fear of losing VIetnam based on past events?
Truman had lost China to COmmunism
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What area was LBJ more interested in?
Domestic policy- Aspirations of a 'Great Society'
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Who made a link between the Vietnam War and his 'Great Society'?
Berman-'losing Vietnam in the summer of 1965 would wreck his plans for a truely Great Society'
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What would happen if Johnson would lose?
His credibility would be shot and unable to act with his doemstic reforms- Chose to compromise,
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What was another pressure based on a war going on at the time?
The Cold War- Vietnam a proxy war in this,
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Who were helping North Vietnam?
Soviet union and CHina,
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Who created this link between th COld War and Vietnam and said what?
Lind-'In circumstances of the COld War.. the United States were justified in waging a limited war to defend South Vietnam and its neighbours
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What was another pressure in this war based on France? Who argues this was a pressue?
-Prados, -Campaign to help France who were strugglign against guerilla tactics- Needed US support,
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For another pressure, what is the domino theory?
Idea that if a nation like South Vietnam were to fall into hands of the communist, this would lead to more and more countires in the area to become communist oo
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Was this a widely supported theory?
Yes- suported by Kennedy, Eisenhower and Johnson to support involvement
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What US tactic did it lead to which meant what?
Containment0 Protecting borders with communist states by means of military engagements, to stop spread of communism
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However, what is needed for communism to fucntion best?
The whole world needs to have a communist system- It is an internationally focused political movement
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Wha does a irect border with a communist country make it easier for?
Easier for communist ideology to be distributed, as well as military support for local communist groups
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For agumnets against, did the US actually beieve this theory?
The CIA published a secret memo expressing their doubts about this theory
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What is another argument against based on western paranoia?
Just an idea shaped by extreme fear of communism
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What was escalation theory?
USa vs communism- COld ar highlighted contrasting ideology,
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What did US public opinion think of vietnam?
US public opinion didn't want Vietnam
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Waht did HEss write about public opinion on the Vietnam war?
"escalation and indecision in a war ought halfway around the globe had come to divide the country"
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For the cause of America's defeat, who suggested what about public support?
Priest, -IDea of declining public support contributing to US defeat- A recieved wisdom
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Waht is another cause based on a credibility gap?
Emerged aftet Tet offensive of 1968- Positive spin by GOvernent no longer accepted
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What was the role of the media?
Important in reflecting the strategies US put in place- Reached many Americans who rely on broadcasts abotu Vietnam
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What did Johnson say about Vietnam and losign public opinion on the Walter Cronkite broadcast 1968?
'If i've lsot Cronkite, I've lost America
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For debates, what is debated about the media?
Did it lead or reflect publi opinon?- Was the war winnable and the media prevented victory? Did it present a good war as unnecessary?
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How is the media invovled in the revisionist critique of the ORthodox view?
Scapegoating the media- Part of revisionist critque of the Orthodox view that war was both uncessary and unwinnable
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Why was TV particularly important?
Allowed media to shift emphasis from fact toe emotion- Favoured stories of bruality,
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Why were these reports often racist?
COuldn't speak to locals
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What was the media's role in creating what that made foreign policy people wary of taking policy overseas?
Vietnam syndrome'
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After the Vietnam incident, whenever there was an overseas policy, what happened to the media?
Carful control of media when they do- Media conferences organised
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What were the origins of the anti-war movement?
-American Friends Service Committte (AfSC), -Women Stike ofr PEace (WSP), -Committe for Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE)
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Who led the movement most with the influence of what new politics?
Students, -New LEft
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When did these protests start?
They pre-dated Tet but msot started around then
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What Committe was established in 1965 to end the war?
Natioanl Co-ordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam
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What links did it have to other protest movements?
Civil rights, bloack power, womens organisations, anti war veterans,
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What did these protests increase in?
Militancy and visibility
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Give an exampel of a protest?
march of the Pentagon, 1967- 100,000 people attracted to Washington DC- 60 arested, 47 injured,
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Was this a popular movement?
No-always a fringe movement. Unpopular with most Americans, and militancy condemned
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For opinion polls after the event, what was the American viw?
Declien in how many Americans believe intervetion was a good thing- 61% said it was a bad idea, 28% said no
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What did polls tell us abotu who was was more supportive?
Men rathet than woman supportive, as well as whites
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Card 2


Who provided a definition fo each?



Card 3


How did he describe the Orthodox approach in who to blame for th eVietname war?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What does he also question about the US achieving its aim of establishing what?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Who accuses American of invincible arrogance?


Preview of the front of card 5
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