THE UNITED STATES ADVISORY EXPERIENCE:

EARLY COMMITMENTS, 1954-1965

Study Module for Online Course, Fall 1999

 

Module prepared Summer 1999 by Dr. Ernest Bolt and Amanda Garrett, University of Richmond graduate student in History. This online module is part of a course development project of the Associated Colleges of the South. The course at Centenary College is English 315: The American Experience in Vietnam. At the University of Richmond, it is History 398: The Vietnam Experience. At Rollins College, the course is Political Science 393: The Vietnam Experience.

Students at all three sites of this ACS-sponsored course should utilize all parts of this module during Week 2 of the course, 6 and 8 September.

 

ASSIGNMENT

Before the day of class discussion on The Advisory Experience, all students must complete the reading assignments and examine all online materials for this module. Write responses to the Study Questions for Readings and bring those responses to class the day for discussion of this topic.

 

ADVISING THE VIET MINH

Professor Bolt's Essay on the Viet Minh-Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Collaboration of 1945. It contains suggestions for further reading, related links, and introduces students to the 1995 and 1997 "reunions" and oral history project of Viet Minh and OSS veterans, still underway.

 

ADVISING THE FRENCH

Establishing a Common Background: Herring, America's Longest War, pp. 3-45

Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG)

 

ADVISING THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG)

Military Assistance Command, Vietnam

Who was Bao Dai?

This link takes one to a sample entry from the Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. This three-volume encyclopedia, edited by Spencer C. Tucker, contains more than 900 entries, 150 primary source documents, 150 photographs, and 22 maps by over 138 contributors.

Eisenhower Explains the Domino Theory, April 7, 1945

Who was Ngo Dinh Diem?

Who was Edward Geary Lansdale?

Advising Vietnamese Rangers, 1962-1963: The Story of Colonel Charles Nulsen

Related Links

Let the Tigers Fight

This link takes one to an article written by Bartholomew King which appears in the October 1999 issue of Vietnam Magazine. The introduction reads, "With the arrogant, take-charge attitude of many American advisors, too often the South Vietnamese opted to 'sit on a mountain to watch tigers fight.'"

MACV Adviser, 1965

This page provides a brief summary of a typical MACV adviser, coupled with a photo of a MACV Adviser in Field Dress.

Co Van Project

The Co Van Project, began in 1987 by the Counterparts Association, The Vietnam Center, and The Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University, houses materials related to the advisors' role during the Vietnam War. Descriptions of the individuals who donated items as well as inventories of each collection are available.

 

COUNTERINSURGENCY

Green Berets

Class Discussion on Robin Moore, The Green Berets (1965) [O'Nan, 17-40]

Robin Moore's Homepage

This site includes a biographical sketch of Moore and announcement of a new edition (1998) of The Green Berets. A feature of the new edition is a chapter about General Henry Hugh Shelton, currently Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- the first Green Beret in that position.

The Ballad of the Green Berets

Click on the above link to hear The Ballad of the Green Berets. This song, (words and music written by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler and Robin Moore), was the # 21 song of the 1960-1969 rock era and was # 1 for 5 weeks in 1966.

John Wayne and the Green Berets

A Film Review

John Wayne's Visit to Fort Bragg, 1966

 

JOHN PAUL VANN

All students in the Vietnam Experience course should consult the Related Links for a general understanding of John Paul Vann's importance as a key adviser in Vietnam. University of Richmond students are expected, also, to examine Who was John Paul Vann? and complete the reading associated with that page.

Related Links

Arlington National Cemetary, John Paul Vann, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

This site features an extensive biographical sketch of John Paul Vann coupled with excerpts from Neil Sheehan's book, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.

Booknotes: Neil Sheehan

This site features a September 1988 interview of Neil Sheehan broadcast on C-SPAN. During this interview, Mr. Sheehan discussed his book, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America In Vietnam. Reaction to this interview was such that C-SPAN created its renown series, Booknotes. To view the video clips, one needs to download and install the free Real Player from Progressive Networks.

Conversations with Neil Sheehan

This is a 1988 interview held by Sheehan with Dr. Harry Kreisler, Executive Director of Berkeley's Institute of International Studies. It is part of their Conversations with History Series. To view the video clips, one needs to download and install the free Real Player from Progressive Networks.

Essays on A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America In Vietnam

This site features essays by Dr. Peter Rollins and Dr. Daniel Ellsberg. They comment on HBO's film version of Neil Sheenan's book.

Who was John Paul Vann?

 

JOHN F. KENNEDY AND HIS ADVISERS

Kennedy's Major Advisers in Washington and Vietnam, 1961-1963

JFK Chronology

Kennedy and Vietnam: The First Escalation, 1961-1963

Strategic Hamlet Program

This link takes one to a sample entry from the Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. This three-volume encyclopedia, edited by Spencer C. Tucker, contains more than 900 entries, 150 primary source documents, 150 photographs, and 22 maps by over 138 contributors.

FROM ADVISERS TO COMBAT FORCES

Tonkin Gulf Chronology

New Light on Gulf of Tonkin Incident

This article was featured in the August 1997 issue of Vietnam Magazine. The author, Captain Ronnie E. Ford, U.S. Army, discusses new evidence and claims that the Tonkin Gulf incident was deliberately provoked to gain popular support for the conflict in Vietnam.

Tonkin Gulf Incident

This site features a brief, yet informative summary of the Tonkin Gulf Incident authored by Dr. Edwin Moise of Clemson University. For a review of the book, see Captain Ronnie F. Ford's review in Vietnam magazine, August 1998, pp. 50, 52.

President's Message to Congress, August 5, 1964

This speech by President Johnson reviewed the Tonkin Gulf Incident and requested that Congress approve a resolution of support.

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution, August 7, 1964

 

STUDY QUESTIONS ON THE ADVISORY EXPERIENCE

Click on the above heading to go to Study Questions for this module. The readings for this topic are listed below.

William Duiker, 95-164

George Herring, 47-119

Robin Moore, from The Green Berets, in O'Nan, 17-40

Preparing for Class Discussion    (Questions Prepared by Professors Alexander and Bolt and Amanda Garrett, graduate student)

 

DISCUSSION INSTRUCTIONS ON THE U.S. ADVISORY EXPERIENCE

 

GLOSSARY

Click on the above link to go to a list of terms and abbreviations commonly used in the course readings.
Students are expected to contribute other entries as our study continues.

 

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