american experience vietnam

We were equally responsible. NARRATOR: Three months before President Kennedy's death, Martin Luther King, Jr. had focused national concern on civil rights with an impassioned call for racial harmony. NARRATOR: In a single Washington demonstration, a quarter of a million Americans denounced the war. THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GENERAL J. LAWTON COLLINS: Well, when I arrived in Saigon, it was chaotic. MILITARY POLICEMAN: We've got another, two more alert forces that are trying to push him out this way but he's got -- he's heavily fortified. And...which I told him we were already ready, all ready for that, as a matter of fact, by the first time I had recommended it, and I personally made the plan myself when I was commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet eight years before. The original thirteen-part program was later edited to eleven parts and rebroadcast in spring 1997. We know that none of these conclusions is true. We will endure all sacrifice for ten years, 20 years or longer, until complete victory. VISNEWS LIBRARY HARRY MCPHERSON: I had cut off the peroration, the ending of that speech, which was a kind of McPherson effort to write Churchillian. I am an anti-Communist from the point of view of doctrine. As President Johnson said Saturday, there've been many disappointments over the past week; that is one.

In Washington, President Nixon searched for a response that would not require American combat troops. Our conclusion, just from the way in which things were evolving at that time, was that they were being carried on by Henry Kissinger. The answer for "little wars" -- guerrilla wars like South Vietnam's -- was counterinsurgency. His drawings, published in the newspaper, showed he was still concerned with Vietnam, which he had not seen for ten years. NIHON DENPA NEWS, LTD. America stepped up the bombing. But loyalty to the Saigon government was difficult to measure. RAYE FARR The President has asked me to extend the New Year's greeting to all the people of Vietnam and to express his conviction that the Year of the Snake can be one in which security and prosperity grow in Vietnam. And I'd like to turn in my Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. Because I always felt never follow them cause that's when you're gonna go. NARRATOR: Paid with American aid, armed with American weapons, South Vietnamese soldiers on patrol in 1969. Read personal essays from some of the writres connected with the Vietnam War. The resistance forces in the South were still very weak and badly equipped. And, they forcibly registered all families whose sons, husbands and other relatives had regrouped in the North.

The Soviets and Chinese had several motives, among them, fear; if Mendes-France failed, France might keep fighting and America might intervene. And this simultaneous landing, of this much force, enabled us to get complete surprise, and as a result of the surprise achieved, the VC -- many of whom were in the town, some in the area just adjacent thereto -- were caught totally by surprise -- many without weapons -- running to tunnels and hiding places which they had developed over the years. NARRATOR: At the U.N., Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev encouraged wars of national liberation. In 1967, a demonstration at the University of Wisconsin was the first violent campus protest of the antiwar movement. The bombing was to begin the next day coordinated with the Saigon government. Many of the South Vietnamese women suffer from at least one type of VD.

If you think of the 1968 Democratic convention and the fighting on Michigan Avenue in Chicago between hundreds and hundreds, perhaps thousands of demonstrators, it was a story of inescapable news value. Meanwhile, millions of American military men and women served honorably on the ground in a war that spanned a decade.

As part of Operation Hastings, Marines of H (Hotel) Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, take to the water asm they move to join up with other elements of their battalion in Dong Ha. GENERAL J. LAWTON COLLINS: Well I put a stop to that right off the bat, I can assure you. And I think that withdrawal would be totally unrealistic and would be a catastrophe. BRADLEY BORUM NARRATOR: In early April, Johnson also changed the mission of troops. Is he all right? NARRATOR: In early April, Johnson tried to keep the troop deployments a secret. TRAN NHAT BANG: The northern brothers came here to fight because of their sense of solidarity and responsibility toward us. Take him in also.

And, very much as the Southerners following our Civil War objected to the carpet-baggers that came from the North and took over a good many of the political posts in the South, so also the South Vietnamese strongly objected to the Diem adherents who came south.

Nixon turned against his critics. And he walked out of the room leaving me and Clifford. The talking and fighting went on for the next five years. NARRATOR: In late July, the U.S.S. NARRATOR: Over four days and nights, sporadic battles in the streets were echoed by angry debates on the war inside the convention hall. Assistant Editors NARRATOR: There was no major address before Congress. HEARST METROTONE NEWS $7.97. Like a traditional Vietnamese mandarin, he drew his small circle closer around him, relying on his family, especially his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and Nhu's wife. COLONEL EDWARD LANSDALE: Diem was laughing at me. They had given the Allies information about Japanese troop movements, so the Americans turned to the Vietminh and its leader, Ho Chi Minh.

HO MINH SAC (tunnel builder/manager): We spent more than two years building the whole complex. Pro-war activists stage a demonstration on the streets of New York City in early April 1967. PRESIDENT JOHNSON: We buried Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy, but we did not bury their dreams or their visions. FRENCH EMBASSY, SPI NARRATOR: Communist forces entered the city from six different directions. GENERAL WILLIAM WESTMORELAND, July 1965: Many Americans had also gone there from the Rex Hotel.

I arrived in Saigon to find that my brother couldn't count on his government workers, because everybody was panicky, completely convinced that the end was upon them. It was a great trump card. All Rights Reserved. We learned how to deal with the numbers. We captured the operations officer of the 22nd NVA Regiment. You know, you go out and you fly your mission everyday, and you take, you know, very precarious chances, but at, you know, you come back home, you have a comfortable hootch. COL. RAY SNYDER: I told the squad leaders to approach it on simply a case-by-case basis and use their own judgment, that we were not getting a heavy volume of fire, that they should be able to pinpoint, at least to some extent, the source of the fire. And because there was so much shelling, they believed whatever the Khmer Rouge told them. Finally, they made contact and General Minh -- called "Big" Minh -- dispatched a convoy to get them. The country hasn't made that decision.

MAJ. DANG VAN SON (South Vietnamese Phoenix operative): In Cantho province, we organized a unit of Thien Nga -- wild geese -- composed of young, beautiful high school girls. He'd carry a rifle and a few rounds of ammunition and a little plastic bag or a leaf filled with some rice, and that's all that man needed -- or woman. The terrible sight of General Luan raising his revolver to the head of a captured Vietcong and killing him.

But by now, Vietnam was draining America's overall military force. There were a lot of female guerrillas. And they're going to do everything they can to protect it. They must be, they must be VC. There were more -- many more -- than on other New Years. They seemed to accept it with a very special kind of strength. ROGER HILSMAN: My idea was that the role of the special forces were to train Vietnamese to behave as guerrillas, harassing the supply lines down through the mountains of the Vietcong. It's a complete metamorphosis when he was riding that buffalo in the paddy field and became a fighting soldier against the government.

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