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The Vietnam War

An International History in Documents

Mark Atwood Lawrence

Publication Date - 28 February 2014

ISBN: 9780199924400

240 pages
6 x 9 inches

In Stock

The first and only sourcebook on the Vietnam War that takes a broadly international perspective


The Vietnam War: An International History in Documents places America's most controversial conflict in a broad, international context that reflects the experiences of North and South Vietnam, China, and European nations, as well as the United States. Featuring newly available material, this brief collection of primary-source documents includes several never-before published and freshly translated diplomatic documents, social and cultural commentaries, memoirs, cartoons, posters, and photos. Mark Atwood Lawrence enables students to compare and contrast different vantage points on the war and to appreciate the conflict in all of its complexity.

About the Author(s)

Mark Atwood Lawrence is Associate Professor of History and Distinguished Fellow at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of The Vietnam War: A Concise International History (OUP, 2008) and Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam (2005). He is also coeditor of The First Indochina War: Colonial Conflict and Cold War Crisis (2007).


"This is simply the best collection of documents pertaining to the long and difficult struggle for Vietnam. Mark Atwood Lawrence is one of our leading scholars of the international history of the war, and he shows it here, compiling a superb and wide-ranging sourcebook that provides crucial insight into the aims and policies of all sides in the conflict."--Fredrik Logevall, author of Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam

"A superb collection of documents representing a variety of national and individual perspectives on the war in Vietnam. Highly recommended for classroom use."--George C. Herring, author of America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975

"From the writings of war leaders in Washington, Hanoi, and Saigon, to the voices of men and women affected by the fighting on the ground, and to noteworthy images of the conflict that traversed the globe, Lawrence has captured the Vietnam War era through this indispensable volume."--Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, author of Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam

"This splendid new documentary collection makes an ideal contribution to any course on the Vietnam War. It utilizes fresh documents from a range of perspectives to introduce students and general readers alike to the complexities of the Vietnam War."--Robert McMahon, author of The Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War II

Table of Contents

    Two maps of Vietnam

    I. Vietnamese Nationalism and Communism (to 1945)

    1. Excerpt from "History of the Loss of Vietnam" [Viet Nam Vong Quoc Su] by Phan Boi Chau, 1905
    2. Excerpt from Lettres du Tonkin et de Madagascar by Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey, 1921, including reflections on native population and goals of French colonialism
    3. "A Song of National Restoration" by anonymous, in Colonialism Experienced: Vietnamese Writings on Colonialism, 1900-1931, ed. Truong Buu Lam
    4. Vietnamese appeal for self-determination at Versailles, June 1919
    5. Ho Chi Minh speech at the founding of the Indochinese Communist Party, February 18, 1930

    II. From Colonial War to Cold War Crisis (1945-1954)

    1. Ho Chi Minh's declaration of independence, September 2, 1945
    2. Telegram from Secretary of State George C. Marshall to U.S. embassy in Paris saying U.S. sees no easy answers to war in Indochina, February 3, 1947
    3. Telegram from French High Commissioner Léon Pignon to Ministry of Overseas France on meaning of communist victory in China and Chinese recognition of DRV, January 24, 1950
    4. Political cartoon from Rochester Times-Union, "Neighbors Now," depicting Stalin menacing Southeast Asia, January 1950
    5. CIA study, "Consequences to the US of Communist Domination of Southeast Asia," October 13, 1950
    6. Excerpt of report by Ho Chi Minh to the 2nd Congress of the Vietnam Workers Party, February 1951, especially section on forthcoming tasks such as land reform, creating the "new man," and building up the army
    7. Excerpt, Ngo Van Chieu, Diary of a Viet Minh Fighter [Journal d'un combatant viet-minh], 1955.

    III. Between Two Storms (1954-1961)

    1. Dwight Eisenhower "domino theory" press conference, April 7, 1954
    2. Memorandum of conversation among Vyacheslav Molotov, Zhou Enlai, and Pham Van Dong, from Molotov's journal, July 17, 1954
    3. Declaration by the government of Ngo Dinh Diem opposing elections to unify Vietnam, August 9, 1955
    4. Le Duan, "The Path of Revolution in the South" [Duong Loi Cach Mang Mien Nam], circa 1956, trans. Robert K. Brigham
    5. Ngo Dinh Diem speech to National Press Club, Washington, D.C., May 1957
    6. Excerpt from No Other Road to Take: Memoir of Mrs. Nguyen Thi Dinh, 1976, trans. Mai Van Elliott

    IV. Americanization (1961-1965)

    1. Walt Rostow speech, "Guerrilla Warfare in the Underdeveloped Areas," August 7, 1961
    2. Excerpt of resolution of the 9th Congress of the Vietnam Workers Party, December 1963, especially sections expressing uncertainty about U.S. intentions after Diem coup
    3. Memo by David Nes for Henry Cabot Lodge, "Where We Stand in Vietnam," February 17, 1964
    4. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, August 7, 1964
    5. Vietnam Workers Party Politburo resolution, January 2, 1965, urging that nation prepare for bigger war against U.S. forces but not give up on negotiated solution
    6. Memo by McGeorge Bundy for President Johnson, January 27, 1965, stating that the moment of decision had arrived
    7. Memorandum for President Johnson by Vice President Hubert Humphrey, February 17, 1965, emphasizing political dangers of escalation

    V. Waging War (1965-1968)

    1. Lyndon Johnson speech at Johns Hopkins University, April 7, 1965
    2. Pham Van Dong speech with "four points," April 8, 1965
    3. Minutes of LBJ meetings with advisers, July 21-22, 1965, discussing big new troop commitments
    4. Le Duan, "Letters to the South" [Thu Vao Nam], 1965, trans. Robert K. Brigham
    5. North Vietnam propaganda poster, "Firmly Defend the Frontiers of the Fatherland," from Vietnam Posters, ed. David Heather and Sherry Buchanan
    6. Excerpt of oral history by Douglas Anderson, corpsman, 3rd battalion, 1st Marines, in Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Thirty-Three American Soldiers Who Fought It, ed. Al Santoli
    7. Political cartoon, "Obstacle Course," Sunday Telegraph (London), June 3, 1966
    8. Martin Luther King speech,"A Time to Break Silence," Riverside Church, New York, April 4, 1967

    VI. The Tet Offensive (1968)

    1. General Westmoreland speech to the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., November 21, 1967
    2. Resolution 14 of the Vietnam Workers Party, January 1968, laying out general strategy for the Tet Offensive
    3. Associate Press photo of U.S. Marines with dead bodies on embassy grounds, January 31, 1968
    4. "Bloody Path to Peace," New York Times editorial, February 1, 1968
    5. Notes of president's meeting with senior advisers, March 4, 1968 (meeting in which Clark Clifford called attention to drain on U.S. economy)
    6. Abbie Hoffman testimony about 1968 Democratic Convention from "Chicago Seven" trial, December 1969
    7. Minutes of conversation between Mao Zedong and Pham Van Dong, November 17, 1968

    VII. Fighting and Negotiating (1968-1973)

    1. COSVN Resolution no. 9, July 1969, acknowledging failures of previous months but noting that time was on communists' side and calling for sustained effort
    2. Richard Nixon's "Silent Majority" speech, November 3, 1969
    3. Ronald L. Haeberle photo from My Lai, shot in 1968 but published in late 1969 and later used in "And Babies?" antiwar poster
    4. Notes of conversation between Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong, September 17, 1970
    5. John F. Kerry testimony before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 22, 1971
    6. Resolution of the Twentieth Plenum of the Vietnamese Workers Party Central Committee, February 11, 1972
    7. Excerpt of transcript of conversation between Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, August 3, 1972

    VIII. Legacies of War (1973-2011)

    1. Letter from President Nguyen Van Thieu to Gerald Ford, September 19, 1974, requesting U.S. support promised by Nixon
    2. Gerald Ford speech, Tulane University, April 23, 1975
    3. Hubert Van Es photo (UPI) of helicopter atop building in U.S. embassy compound, April 29, 1975
    4. Recollections of Duyen Nguyen, "If I Die, Will Anybody Know?" in Voices of Vietnamese Boat People: Nineteen Narratives of Escape and Survival, ed. Mary Terrell Cargill and Jade Quang Huynh
    4. Excerpt of Ronald Reagan's "noble cause" speech, August 18, 1980
    5. Speech by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, "The Uses of Military Power" (Weinberger Doctrine), November 28, 1984
    6. Excerpt from Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War (1996)
    7. Jack Ohman cartoon, "The Way Out of Afghanistan," Oregonian, June 2011

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