The First Vietnam Crisis: Chinese Communist Strategy and United States Involvement, 1953-1954

The First Vietnam Crisis: Chinese Communist Strategy and United States Involvement, 1953-1954

The First Vietnam Crisis: Chinese Communist Strategy and United States Involvement, 1953-1954

The First Vietnam Crisis: Chinese Communist Strategy and United States Involvement, 1953-1954

Excerpt

Today's dilemma is the outgrowth of yesterday's unresolved problem. The present guerrilla war in South Vietnam has brought about the second confrontation of the United States and Communist China over the tumultuous Indochina region since the end of the Korean War. In the fifteen years since both sides made Vietnam a matter of high national priority, positions have hardened, commitments have deepened, and the danger of a major war has increased. But the elements of the dilemma and the reasons for its existence have not basically changed. This book, which attempts to recount and analyze the crisis of 1953-1954 by focusing primarily on perceptions and policies in Washington and Peking, is written in the belief that the Indochina war cannot stand solely as an historical incident; it lives also as a reference for today.

Like France before it, the United States has been forced into a greater commitment than had originally been foreseen or desired. Even if Peking and Hanoi should refrain from massive, direct involvement, the prospects in South Vietnam are for continued long-term war of attrition, with costs that will dwarf those incurred by France and the United States between 1946 and 1954. It is here that the West's position is the more vulnerable one. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the present Defense Minister of North Vietnam and guerrilla warfare commander of the Vietnamese Communists (Vietminh) from . . .

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