The Origins of the Vietnam War / Edition 1

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Why did the US make a commitment to an independent South Vietnam? Could a major war have been averted? Fredrik Logevall provides a concise, comprehensive and accessible introduction to the origins of the Vietnam War from the end of the Indochina War in 1954 to the eruption of full-scale war in 1965, and places events against their full international background.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780582319189
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/15/2001
  • Series: Seminar Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 174
  • Sales rank: 910,112
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Series vii
Note on Referencing System viii
Acknowledgements ix
List of Abbreviations x
Maps xi
Chronology xiii
1. Introduction: The Problem 1
Part 1 The Background 5
2. The Franco-Vietminh War 7
The Coming of the French 7
Ho Chi Minh 10
The Franco-Vietminh War 16
Dien Bien Phu 19
Part 2 The Origins Of The Vietnam War 23
3. The Diem Experiment 25
The Geneva Conference 25
A Yogi-like Mystic 29
Frictions in the West 30
American Realism? 32
Turmoil in the South, Consolidation in the North 33
4. The Crisis Deepens 39
A New Team in Washington 39
The Fall 1961 Decisions 43
The Credibility Imperative 45
Fleeting Gains: 1962 47
Summer of Discontent 49
Give Peace a Chance? 51
No Nhus is Good News 54
5. The Coming Of Major War 58
LBJ's World 58
A Bleak Picture 60
Reassessment in Hanoi--and in Allied Capitals 61
Seeking 'More Flags' 64
Tonkin Gulf 65
Choice and Decision 68
An Opening for Diplomacy? 72
Escalation 75
The Johns Hopkins Speech 77
Forty-four Battalions 79
Part 3 Assessment 83
6. An Avoidable War? 85
Part 4 Documents 93
Who's Who 133
Bibliography 137
Index 146
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Foundation Read

    Because, at the time of writing this review, I am a full time student and I am not only unable to catch up on Robert Caro's Lyndon Johnson books but I am also unable to read any larger books on the Vietnam War which have become of interest thanks to Robert Caro.

    I personally was interested in a foundational read of the subject that would not take too much time to read. Although the book is small, it is very dense and it took an extra couple of days for me to get through.

    What I like about this book is that first of all, it has a couple of maps, a chronology record, and, in the back of the book, documents that were discussed by both allies and enemies, along with an introduction to the characters involved (this should have been placed in the front of the book).

    The core portion of the book explains very well the how and why of the Vietnam War starting with the French and transitioning over to how the United States became involved even though several warnings were issued by France, England, Canada, etc. regarding why the United States would not win the war and should not have become involved.

    The author contends that initially, the United States went to war, especially during the Eisenhower Administration, because, although the country of Vietnam has no significant impact on the overall function of the United States (except for exploiting the country for resources [mentioned in the documents section]), they were concerned with the fact that communism would be systemic (domino theory) if tolerated throughout the region and that the United States has a duty to suppress/eliminate communism.

    It transitions over to the Kennedy Administration and we see how Kennedy was very reluctant to send more soldiers into Vietnam because of pressure of the thought that communist cold war allies (Russia and China) would intervene if the situation were to get out of hand. But he eventually increased the amount of aid and sent more 'advisors' to Vietnam. At the same time, he also could not necessarily withdraw troops/advisors because of the fear of political damage to his administrations reputation.

    From there it switches over to the Johnson Administration which is the majority of the book. Johnson ramped up the solider count, increased aid to the region, because in a basic sense, it was the politically feasible thing to do. And additionally, the United States could not back out of the war because of the fear of damaging the United States 'prestige.'

    It should be noted that the book stops at 1965 but it, in my opinion, describes the overall situation very well.

    I recommend this book to anyone looking for an overall view of the Vietnam War.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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