Presenter Information

Simon Mai, Whitworth University

Start Date

10-4-2021 10:45 AM

End Date

10-4-2021 12:00 PM

Disciplines

Asian History | Military History | United States History

Subjects

Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Civilian relief, Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Campaigns, United States -- Military policy -- History, Strategy, War and society -- Vietnam -- History -- 20th century

Description

Abstract: Throughout the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam from 1964 – 1968, one key strategy focused on pacification – the winning of the allegiance of South Vietnamese civilians to the Saigon-based Government of Vietnam (GVN). This paper will argue that American/GVN implementation of pacification programs at the provincial and village level revealed three fundamental factors that proved fatal and counterproductive. These factors were the political and social entrenchment of the Viet Cong or National Liberation Front (NLF), the provincial cronyism and corruption of GVN, and the indiscriminate application of American firepower in support of General William Westmoreland’s strategy of attrition. These elements help explain why American led efforts – both military and civilian – at pacification failed to convince the South Vietnamese populace to support the GVN. This paper utilizes secondary sources focusing on the effectiveness of pacification in specific GVN provinces and associated villages as examined in the works of Eric Bergerud, David W.P Elliot and Jeffrey Race. Personal accounts of American/GVN soldiers and administrators engaged in pacification such as Lieutenant Colonel William R. Corson and Lieutenant Duong Van Nguyen will additionally be discussed.

PART OF SESSION 6A. GUERILLA WARFARE:

Comment: Lauren MacDonald, Idaho State University
Chair: Jeff Kyong-McClain, University of Idaho

Ryan Hill, University of Idaho, undergraduate student
“The Cause and Effect of Paramilitary Groups”

Simon Mai, Whitworth University, undergraduate student
“Pacification Gone Awry: The U.S Failure to Underpin Hearts and Minds in South Vietnam, 1966–1968”

Peter K. Moran, Eastern Washington University, graduate student
“A Spokane Monument: Warfare in the Samoan Islands, 1899”

Rights

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Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/35248

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Apr 10th, 10:45 AM Apr 10th, 12:00 PM

Pacification Gone Awry: The U.S Failure to Underpin Hearts and Minds in South Vietnam, 1966–1968

Abstract: Throughout the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam from 1964 – 1968, one key strategy focused on pacification – the winning of the allegiance of South Vietnamese civilians to the Saigon-based Government of Vietnam (GVN). This paper will argue that American/GVN implementation of pacification programs at the provincial and village level revealed three fundamental factors that proved fatal and counterproductive. These factors were the political and social entrenchment of the Viet Cong or National Liberation Front (NLF), the provincial cronyism and corruption of GVN, and the indiscriminate application of American firepower in support of General William Westmoreland’s strategy of attrition. These elements help explain why American led efforts – both military and civilian – at pacification failed to convince the South Vietnamese populace to support the GVN. This paper utilizes secondary sources focusing on the effectiveness of pacification in specific GVN provinces and associated villages as examined in the works of Eric Bergerud, David W.P Elliot and Jeffrey Race. Personal accounts of American/GVN soldiers and administrators engaged in pacification such as Lieutenant Colonel William R. Corson and Lieutenant Duong Van Nguyen will additionally be discussed.

PART OF SESSION 6A. GUERILLA WARFARE:

Comment: Lauren MacDonald, Idaho State University
Chair: Jeff Kyong-McClain, University of Idaho

Ryan Hill, University of Idaho, undergraduate student
“The Cause and Effect of Paramilitary Groups”

Simon Mai, Whitworth University, undergraduate student
“Pacification Gone Awry: The U.S Failure to Underpin Hearts and Minds in South Vietnam, 1966–1968”

Peter K. Moran, Eastern Washington University, graduate student
“A Spokane Monument: Warfare in the Samoan Islands, 1899”