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.

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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.

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Meet the Author

Robert J. McMahon is professor of History at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1977. 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 Paterson is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Connecticut and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968. In addition to being the General Editor of Houghton Mifflin's Major Problems series, he is co-author of Major Problems in American Foreign Relations, 5/e, (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) and A People and A Nation, 6/e (Houghton Mifflin, 2001). In addition to authoring several books and editing collections of essays on the history of U.S. Foreign Relations, he served as senior editor of the four-volume Encyclopedia of American Foreign Relations (1997). He is part president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

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Table of Contents

  • 1. Vietnam and America: An Introduction
    Michael H. Hunt, The Wages of War
    Michael Lind, The Necessary War
    Robert Mann, A Grand Delusion
    • 2. The Development of Vietnamese Nationalism
      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 Elysée 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
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