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Vietnam : A Television History
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21.

Interview With Everett Alvarez, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Everett Alvarez Jr.'s plane was shot down during Operation Pierce Arrow, America's 1964 response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. He was captured by the North Vietnamese and held as a prisoner of war for a eight and a half years. Here Alvarez describes being shot down, captured, and eventually transported to the "Hanoi Hilton" where he endured isolation and torture. He describes incidents during his captivity and how it affected his personal life. Finally, he discusses his feelings about anti-Vietnam war protests in the United States, about the end of the war, and his experience as a POW.
Online
1983
22.

Interview With Frank (Fred) Hickey, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Fred Hickey, a helicoptor pilot, arrived in Vietnam in 1970. He describes his unit's typical missions and relatively high morale among aviation units. He recalls his frustration over restricted zones where he was unable to respond to enemy fire. He describes an incident of fragging and also recounts a personal experience with racial tension among the soldiers.
Online
1983
23.

Interview With Eugene J. McCarthy, 1982 [electronic resource]

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Minnesota Senator and five-time presidential candidate, Eugene McCarthy was a staunch opponent to the Vietnam War. In this interview, McCarthy recalls the gradual involvement in Vietnam and the steps each president took to increase funding and eventually send in troops. He talks about the administration getting deeper and deeper into military involvement, and whether or not they truly understood how much military involvement was required. McCarthy believes the information reaching officials such as Robert McNamara was often incorrect. McCarthy also recounts the effect the war had on his presidential campaign.
Online
1983
24.

Interview With Everett Bumgardner [electronic resource]

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Part 1: Everett Bumgardner, a US Information Agency employee recalls meeting Ngo Dinh Diem and Diem's reaction to the United States and American attitudes to Vietnamese customs and traditions. He describes Americans entering Vietnam and not fully understanding the culture and not having the background or experience to make professional judgments. Bumgardner explains in detail the dynamic between the Americans and Ngo Dinh Diem and the Agroville Program. -- Part 2: US Information Agency employee Bumgardner describes the conditions in the Vietnamese countryside and aspects of the day-to-day life of villagers, including the lack of power held by landlords and the invasion by guerrillas. He discusses how family members left the village to fight, how this changed the dynamic of the villag [...]
Online
1983
25.

Interview With Frank M. White, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Vietnam veteran and former foreign correspondent, Frank White discusses his opinions of General Gracey. He mentions that he was gentlemanly and very gracious. He did not empathize with any particular American group, but rather viewed the Americans as another distraction. White also recounts the attitude of the French when the Vietnamese began to protest the British and American forces and the bloodshed that occurred during the Vietnamese fight for independence. He recalls that once the fighting began, and Marshal Leclerc arrived with his staff, hostility increased and continued until the end. White talks about his meetings with Ho Chi Minh, the torture that he witnessed in South Vietnam and American Policy during the Vietnam War.
Online
1983
26.

Interview With Francois Ponchaud, 1982 [electronic resource]

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François Ponchaud was a Catholic priest who worked in Cambodia from 1965 - 1975. He recalls the mob scene in Phnom Penh when Sihanouk was overthrown by Lon Nol, and the massacre of the demonstrators that led to widespread anti-Lon Nol sentiments. Mr. Ponchaud describes the day, five years later, when the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh. Although he did not witness any executions then, he was horrified by the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh without regard to physical condition.
Online
1983
27.

Interview With Frederick Nolting, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Frederick Nolting was Ambassador to South Vietnam from 1961 -- 1963. Appointed by President Kennedy, he became closely associated with Ngo Dinh Diem. As the United States sought to distance itself from Diem, Nolting was replaced by Henry Cabot Lodge. Mr. Nolting describes the early days of his assignment, including the visit from Vice-President Johnson and the Taylor-Rostow mission. He defends Diem from some of the criticisms that were made of him, and offers opinions of Ngo Dinh Nhu and his wife, Madame Nhu. Mr. Nolting then recalls the debates in the United States regarding Diem, and his own view that the support for Diem should continue.
Online
1983
28.

Interview With George Christian, 1981 [electronic resource]

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George Christian was the White House Press Secretary under President Johnson. Here he discusses the 1968 presidential election, specifically, Johnson's decision not to run, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and the transition to the Nixon administration. He also discusses Johnson's plans for peace in Vietnam, his administration's internal struggles around ending the war, and the Nixon campaign's interference with the peace negotiations.
Online
1983
29.

Interview With Frank Snepp, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Frank Snepp was the former chief analyst of North Vietnamese strategy for the CIA in Saigon. Snepp recalls the decision of the American forces to pull out of Vietnam. He discusses that Nguyen Van Thieu's cousin, Hoang Duc Nha was the sole member of the South Vietnamese government who did not believe that the Americans would continue to send support and tried to warn Nguyen Van Thieu not to rely on the Americans. He also recalls the corruption within the South Vietnamese government and how the CIA was told not to report any corruption within South Vietnam. Snepp further discusses the evacuation from Vietnam and how it was organized.
Online
1983
30.

Interview With Frederick G. Dutton, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Fred Dutton was Special Assistant to US President John F. Kennedy at the time President Kennedy considered committing resources to Vietnam. He characterizes Kennedy as a cautious man, but one who for strategic reasons wanted to stem the spread of communism in Asia. However, Dutton says this was far down Kennedy's list of priorities, well below domestic issues. Dutton is critical of those who would take Vietnam out of the context of all other issues faced by the President, such as the need to appear strong following the Bay of Pigs. He also discusses the thinking behind the President's appointing Averell Harriman to coordinate Southeast Asia policy at the State Department.
Online
1983
31.

Interview With George Cantero, 1981 [electronic resource]

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George Cantero served as a medic in Vietnam. He describes a high level of drug use by American soldiers. He also describes declining morale among the troops as a result of military policies and de-escalation, recounting the "fragging" or attack of a superior officer as one example. Finally, he discusses the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam and his own return to the United States.
Online
1983
32.

Interview With George W. Ball, 1981 [electronic resource]

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George W. Ball served in the State Department under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and later as Ambassador to the United Nations. He describes the early Johnson Administration as a period of "drift" when the US was becoming increasingly involved in Vietnam, a trend Ball opposed in numerous memos and meetings. Ball discusses his role as the voice of dissent within the Johnson administration, arguing that they learn from mistakes previously committed by the French in Vietnam. He recalls Johnson as a sympathetic and intelligent man who wanted to end the war but could not afford to lose it.
Online
1983
33.

Interview With Henry Kissinger, 1982 [electronic resource]

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Henry Kissinger's involvement with Vietnam started before he was Nixon's National Security Advisor. While at Harvard, Kissinger was a consultant on foreign policy to both the White House and State Department and in a 1973 peace agreement, Kissinger helped mediate between Washington and Hanoi. In this interview Kissinger recalls the period before he joined the Nixon White House and how he did not question the United States involvement in Vietnam. In 1965, Kissinger travelled to Vietnam and saw that the war was not winnable in the way it was currently being conducted. Moreover, he had doubts as to whether or not South Vietnam could stand on their own once the United States left. He also describes his impression of Le Duc Tho as someone whose goal was to break the morale and spirit of t [...]
Online
1983
34.

Interview With Henry H. Fowler, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Henry H. Fowler was Secretary of the Treasury under President Johnson from 1965 to 1968. He is asked about the economic consequences of a request to send 206,000 troops to Vietnam in early 1968. He argued at the time that fulfilling such a request would cause significant economic problems. He describes President Johnson as believing bringing peace to Southeast Asia was worth the high fiscal cost--and less expensive than allowing communists to dominate that part of the world. Fowler details the machinations of finding money for the war, both in the Congressional appropriations process and in partnering with other countries on issues such as the price of gold. Fowler describes the tensions the president felt in trying to pay for the war at the same time he wanted to fully fund his Grea [...]
Online
1983
35.

Interview With Henry Cabot Lodge, 1979 [electronic resource]

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Henry Cabot Lodge was a United States Senator from Massachusetts, and Ambassador to South Vietnam from 1963 -1964. He viewed South Vietnam's president Ngo Dinh Diem as an ineffective leader, and tacitly supported the coup that overthrew him. Mr. Lodge discusses the circumstances of his appointment as Ambassador, and his impressions of Vietnam prior to going. He recounts the advice and instruction he received from other advisers, especially regarding Diem, and details his role in the events surrounding the coup. He describes Diem's personality and his own view of the war after the coup.
Online
1983
36.

Interview With Herbert Bluechel, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Herbert Bluechel served in Vietnam in the mid-1940s. He recalls British General Gracey's entry into Saigon and describes a meeting between French General Philippe Leclerc and O.S.S. officer Peter Dewey; Dewey would be the first American casualty in Vietnam, prior to the official start of the war. He recounts the events surrounding Dewey's death in detail. Finally, he discusses the mood of the country and Vietnamese attitudes towards the French, the British, and the Americans.
Online
1983
37.

Interview With Harry McPherson, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Harry McPherson served as Special Counsel to LBJ from 1965 to 1969 and was Johnson's chief speechwriter from 1966 to 1969. McPherson begins the interview by recalling the conflicted mood at the White House following the Tet Offensive. The optimism found in military cables and official information clashed with televised images showing the nation that the war was resulting in massive loss of human life and that a prisoner could be shot at point-blank range. He also talks about the concerns LBJ had that the Vietnam War might escalate into a world war and that the goal was not to destroy North Vietnam but rather to keep them contained and not overthrow the government in South Vietnam. He ends the interview with a personal sketch of President Johnson, a complex and tragic figure.
Online
1983
38.

Interview With J. Lawton Collins, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Joseph Lawton Collins, a United States Army General, was the United States Ambassador to Vietnam during early US involvement in Vietnam. Collins recalls why President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles felt that American presence was necessary in Vietnam and how it figured into the United States stance against communism. Collins also describes his arrival in Vietnam and the difficulties in dealing with Diem and Diem's lack of action. Collins confirmed that Diem's brother and sister-in-law were the real government power, that Diem lacked any administrative ability, and that the American aid Diem was receiving was crucial for the survival of that government.
Online
1983
39.

Interview With Hoang Duc Nha [electronic resource]

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Hoang Duc Nha was an American-educated Minister of Information for South Vietnam--and cousin and Special Adviser to President Thieu--until 1974. He lived for three years in the United States in the early 1960s before returning to Vietnam at his mother's request in 1965. He describes finding a dramatically changed country, with a changed government and a large American presence. He offers his impressions of different American leaders, including Presidents Johnson and Nixon. He also recounts many stories surrounding the negotiation of the Paris Peace Accord.
Online
1983
40.

Interview With Jack Hill, 1982 [electronic resource]

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Jack Hill served in the Marines in Vietnam. He describes his first experiences in the country and his work as a point man, watching for booby traps. He describes three days of fighting in the village of Thuy Bo in which his unit took suffered many losses. He responds to allegations that his unit massacred the village of Thuy Bo, explaining that they were ordered to search and destroy.
Online
1983