By Richard F. Newcomb
A Pictorial background of the Vietnam battle.
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Extra resources for A Pictorial History of the Vietnam War
The United States would provide arms and training, implemented mainly by the Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. Lyndon Johnson flew into Saigon May 13 with typical Texas ebullience, addressed South Vietnam's national assembly, talked privately with Diem on eco- 40 5, President Kennedy told a — KENNEDY TAKES OVER 1961 nomic matters and social and government reforms, and somehow gave the impression that Diem was a combination George Washington and Winston Churchill of Southeast Asia. Actually Diem was becoming more rigid, more remote from his people, and more fearful of American influence.
Laos 3 Kennedy Takes Over 1961 1961 The year and might be a good one for the American military, it was. John F. Kennedy knew something about war in the Pacific (everyone knew his exploits in PT 109); he knew a good deal about Southeast Asia (he'd visited there twice in recent years); and he had some pretty firm ideas on what America's role in any 1960s warfare should be. Even before his inauguration, Kennedy had asked each of the armed services to give thought to what role it might play in counterinsurgency, specifically guerrilla warfare.
Millions of Vietnamese were uprooted from their homes by the Great Migration, and the French were slow and troublesome in surrendering power in Indochina. In addition, "land reform" became the battle cry in both North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh used the ritual Communist methods in the north, seizing land and "reeducating" the peasants to work for the state. In South Vietnam, Diem seized the land by autocratic methods to benefit the mandarin ruling class. " But both Ho and Diem had to pull back within a few years the "land reform" terror was too costly and obscured the real goal pacification of the countryside and the building of national strength.