The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict - Vol. 1

The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict - Vol. 1

The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict - Vol. 1

The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict - Vol. 1

Excerpt

This volume, the first of a planned series on the United States Navy and the Vietnam conflict, has a two-fold purpose. First of all, it is intended to provide historical background for the period up to 1959 that will assist readers in understanding naval roles in that conflict, how these roles evolved, their relationships to other forms of power and influence employed in the prolonged and complex struggle, strategic considerations, and the impact of naval power on the course of history associated with the conflict. Secondly, it is intended to trace the story of Vietnam-related actions of the United States Navy through the initial period of American military aid and the first five years that followed the French-Viet Minh War.

In order to gain insights regarding the strategic importance of Vietnam, geographic considerations that affected naval operations along its coast and on inland waters, and some of the local conditions and external relationships that would complicate the conflict, this volume starts with the early history of the area which became Vietnam. In devoting special attention to the maritime influence on that history, an attempt is made to highlight events which will provide perspective for the later period. One example is early operations on inland waters, which were precursors of later naval events. The first two chapters carry the historical background through World War II when the occupation by Japan and the sudden ending of the war provided the Communists a favorable opportunity to establish themselves in a position of power in Vietnam.

Before taking up the story of the subsequent Vietnam conflict, background is laid for understanding the changing United States Navy during the post-World War II period, particularly in regard to its capabilities, employment, direction, and support. This is the primary purpose of the third chapter. Limited coverage is given also to the worldwide toles of the Navy as they evolved in response to the global struggle that followed World War II. Not only were the decisions as to American involvement in the Vietnam conflict strongly influenced by events elsewhere, but the local application of United States naval power in Southeast Asia was only one of many interrelated demands on the Fleet, in the Far East, and elsewhere.

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