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Vietnam : A Television History
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61.

Interview With Leslie H. Gelb, 1982 [electronic resource]

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Leslie Gelb served in the Defense Department in the late 1960s and later worked as a correspondent for the New York Times. He describes tensions within the Defense Department and recalls Robert McNamara's 1967 testimony that the bombing of North Vietnam was not working as a turning point. He discusses how America's lack of knowledge about Vietnam and its people shaped diplomacy. Finally, he describes inaccurate calculations on the part of General Westmoreland and how the Pentagon measured military success.
Online
1983
62.

Interview With McGeorge Bundy [electronic resource]

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McGeorge Bundy, brother of William Bundy, served as National Security Advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson from 1961 to 1966. Here he discusses the Vietnam war under both Presidents, specifically addressing the Tonkin Gulf Incident, and the attack on Pleiku Airbase while he was in Vietnam. He also recounts events around the 1965 decision to increase American troops in Vietnam, and a 1968 meeting of the "Wise Men" where Johnson called in former administration officials for their advice on troop levels and bombing strategies.
Online
1983
63.

Interview With Maxwell D. (Maxwell Davenport) Taylor, 1979 [electronic resource]

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Maxwell D. (Maxwell Davenport) Taylor, a United States Army General and diplomat, discusses briefly his Korean War experience and how that helped him in Vietnam. Taylor explains that when he first retired in 1959 he never thought the United States would become involved in Vietnam. Taylor recalls the Geneva Agreements in 1954 and that he disagreed with Eisenhower's decision about Dien Bien Phu. Taylor also discusses his impressions of Diem and how Taylor alleges the United States pulled the rug out from Diem, which created chaos that Taylor inherited when he became ambassador. Taylor recalls the Tonkin Gulf and the lessons of Vietnam.
Online
1983
64.

Interview With Melvin R. Laird, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1972, and domestic advisor to President Nixon from 1973 to 1974, Melvin Laird is best known for coining the term "Vietnamization." Laird discusses the pressure he felt for troop withdrawal under President Nixon and the idea that it was time for South Vietnam to be handed the tools to defend their country and let the Americans withdraw. Laird also talks about the Cambodian bombing in 1969 and the fact that while he agreed with the act of bombing, he disagreed with the plan to keep it secret. He also talks about his disagreements with Henry Kissinger and the tension he felt while working with him.
Online
1983
65.

Interview With Morton H. Halperin, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Morton Halperin was an American foreign policy expert who served in the Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton administrations. In 1967 he defended the bombing of North Vietnam in order to prove to its people that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam could not protect them. Under Nixon, Halperin was suspected of leaking the Pentagon Papers and his phones were tapped. He describes his reservations about being asked to draw up an option for escalation of the war. Halperin also discusses options for winding down the war that he hoped would result in the return of American prisoners of war. He reflects on intelligence operations in the US against the anti-war movement, describing it as effective but clearly illegal. He argues that the very existence of the South Vietnamese depended upon the belief by [...]
Online
1983
66.

Interview With Michael J. (Mike) Connors, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Mike Connors flew B-52 bombers in Operation Linebacker in 1972. He describes preparation for the Operation, and the experience of bombing Hanoi while the North Vietnamese launched surface-to-air missiles at him and Naval radio reported enemy plane sightings on the radar. He comments on changes in bombing strategies during Linebacker in contrast with earlier missions during the war, and describes the view from the air.
Online
1983
67.

Interview With Mrs. Ngo Ba Thanh, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Ngo Ba Thanh was a consultant in international comparative law who spent years in jail in South Vietnam for her pro-Viet Cong views. She describes going to meetings at the British Ambassador's residence as president of the International Women Association. The only Vietnamese woman attending these diplomatic dinners, she talks of diplomats, dignitaries and military officials being impressed by her forthright views on politics and the war. Nevertheless her outspoken views, especially those warning General William Westmoreland that the US would not succeed in Vietnam, resulted in her detention for over 2 years.
Online
1983
68.

Interview With Nguyen Cao Ky, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Nguyen Cao Ky served as Prime Minister of South Vietnam from 1965 until 1967 and then Vice President unti 1971. Nguyen Cao Ky recalls wanting to move the war north as a way to stop the Communists from infilitrating South Vietnam. As much as Nguyen Cao Ky wanted to see a unified Vietnam, he knew that was not possible and that the higher priority was to stop the spread of communism. Nguyen Cao Ky also talks about the Buddhist unrest in 1964 and his arrangement for the departure of Nguyen Khnah.
Online
1983
69.

Interview With Myron Harrington, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Colonel Myron Harrington was a Marine captain at the Battle of Hue during the Tet Offensive, ostensibly an Allied victory that resulted in the destruction of the town and the killing of its residents--and marked the beginning of the loss of the American public's support of the war. Harrington is credited with the quotation "Did we have to destroy the town in order to save it?" He recounts the battle in great detail, from the preparations to what exactly he saw, saying it is impossible to divorce oneself from the "horrors."
Online
1983
70.

Interview With Nguyen Khanh, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Nguyen Khanh is the former Chief of State and Prime Minister of South Vietnam. In this interview, Nguyen Khanh recalls the events of November 1960 when he helped save Ngo Dinh Diem. He explains that there had been an attack on Independence Palace and Nguyen Khanh had believed it was a coup. He also talks about the operations that took place against the north in 1964, and his feelings about bringing American combat troops into Vietnam.
Online
1983
71.

Interview With Paul C. Warnke, 1982 [electronic resource]

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Secretary of Defense for International Affairs under LBJ, Paul C. Warnke recalls the bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese. He states that one of the misjudgments that the United States made was that victory was more important to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese than to the Americans. Warnke recalls that even though the bombing was not working, there were no other solutions, so there was a reluctance in the administration to halt the bombing. He states that the turning point came when McNamara realized that the North Vietnamese wanted unification and saw the US as aliens. Warnke talks about his changing views regarding the war and that the US was in a tough situation since they were the ones invading a country, not trying to drive out invaders.
Online
1983
72.

Interview With Peter Paul Mahoney [electronic resource]

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Vietnam veteran Peter Paul Mahoney joined the army in 1968 following the Tet Offensive. At 19 Mahoney graduated as a Second Lieutenant and soon went to Vietnam. Having had a religious upbringing Mahoney recalls mixed feelings about his identity as soldier and the military's rampant racism towards Vietnamese, such as referring to them as "gooks" and dehumanizing them. Mahoney also recounts his first impressions of Vietnam, and then how his idealistic view of the war crashed. He talks about training people in Vietnam to fight and living life after the war as a veteran.
Online
1983
73.

Interview With Paul N. McCloskey, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Former Republican politician from California, Paul (Pete) McCloskey, talks about the 1973 vote that ended US involvement in the Vietnam War. McCloskey believes that it was the gradual increase in the number of certain Congressmen, who had been elected on the platform of opposing excessive presidential power, that changed the course of American policy in Vietnam. He also recalls that when he was elected in 1967, his constituency was still in favor of the war, but that in 1969, after the Tet Offensive, public opinion began to turn. McCloskey also relates how, during the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement, Kissinger wanted to make sure that a decent interval would elapse before Saigon fell, in order for it to appear the US had lived up to its obligation.
Online
1983
74.

Interview With Paul M. Kattenburg, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Paul M. Kattenburg spent five months in 1952 at the US Embassy in Saigon, and from 1954 to 1963 worked in the Research and Analysis Division of the State Department. He notes that at the time there was a scarcity of Vietnam experts available due to the relative isolation of the region and the lingering effects of McCarthyism. Kattenberg also describes Saigon scene in 1952 and his impression of Bao Dai's government. Kattenberg states that the continued support Ngo Dinh Diem was decided by the US Ambassador to Vietnam Frederick Reinhardt. During this period the United States was not yet fully involved in Vietnam and considered to be subordinate to the French.
Online
1983
75.

Interview With Phillip Key, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Vietnam Veteran Brother Phillip Key discusses being drafted and serving twenty-one months in Vietnam. Key recalls his first impressions of landing in Vietnam, and mentions the distinct smell, the fear, and the changes he saw his platoon go through as the plane landed amidst attack. Key describes a normal day and the juxtaposition of being black in Vietnam and the civil rights movement at home. He talks about forming a black identity while in Vietnam and beginning to question why he was there, forming stronger feelings that the war was unjust. Key also remembers the widespread availability of drugs in Vietnam and the infighting that occurred within the units.
Online
1983
76.

Interview With Philip Geoffrey Malins, 1982 [electronic resource]

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British General Philip Geoffrey Malins recounts his arrival in Saigon in 1945, describing the situation as "peaceful." Malins recalls being able to drive around the outskirts of Saigon without much trouble, and how that situation soon began to deteriorate. Malins also talks about his superior General Gracey as a humane, loyal person who served as a father figure to Malins. Malins continues talking about his job and the responsibility he had to ensure there was enough food for his people and the French civil population during the postwar famine in Vietam. Malins arranged for an open market that would allow anyone to buy food. He describes the policy surrounding the market and how it affected the troops as well as the civilians.
Online
1983
77.

Interview With Pierre Brochand [electronic resource]

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French Diplomat Pierre Brochand served in Saigon and describes the last days of the American presence there. He discusses the failed opposition movement in South Vietnam, and recalls chaotic scenes during the fall of Saigon and the American evacuation.
Online
1983
78.

Interview With Ralph C. Thomas III, 1981 [electronic resource]

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Ralph Thomas discusses his experience as an African-American soldier serving in Vietnam. Against a backdrop of racial polarization among American troops, he describes an emerging Black consciousness and a strong camaraderie among Black soldiers that crossed rank. He also describes the daily lives of soldiers. Finally, he recalls how Black soldiers came to identify with the Vietnamese people, becoming increasingly politicized against the War.
Online
1983
79.

Interview With R.W. Komer, 1982 [electronic resource]

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Robert Komer was in charge of the pacification project in 1966. He recalls the Vietnam War as a war without fronts, in which it was impossible tell who was winning or losing. Komer relates examples of how he was under great pressure to make calculations about the war. He describes the conflicts between civilians and military personnel, and the difficulty of getting materials in and out of Saigon. Komer explains that there were in fact two wars going on in Vietnam: the longstanding civil war and a big-unit war that involved the United States. Komer talks about working with Vietnamese refugees and the question of the success of programs enacted by the United States. He also goes on to explain the pacification process that occurred after the 1968 Tet Offensive and his belief that in the [...]
Online
1983
80.

Interview With Ray S. Cline, 1982 [electronic resource]

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Ray Cline served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which would later become the CIA. He recounts the confusing information relayed to Washington after the Tonkin Gulf Incidents and casts doubt on the accuracy of some of the reporting. He discusses intelligence gathering and the Presidency and recalls the CIA's advice to Johnson regarding the commitment of troops in Vietnam.
Online
1983