By Orrin Schwab

The Vietnam warfare was once in lots of methods outlined by way of a civil-military divide, an underlying conflict among army and civilian management over the conflict's nature, function and effects. This booklet explores the explanations for that clash—and the result of it.The relationships among the U.S. army, its supporters, and its competitors in the course of the Vietnam warfare have been either extreme and intricate. Schwab exhibits how the facility of the army to prosecute the struggle was once advanced by means of those relationships, and via quite a few nonmilitary concerns that grew from them. leader between those was once the military's dating to a civilian country that interpreted strategic worth, dangers, morality, political bills, and armed forces and political effects in keeping with a special calculus. moment was once a media that introduced the war—and these protesting it—into residing rooms around the land.As Schwab demonstrates, Vietnam introduced jointly management teams, each one with very diverse operational and strategic views at the Indochina sector. Senior army officials preferred conceptualizing the battle as a standard army clash that required traditional skill to victory. Political leaders and critics of the conflict understood it as an basically political clash, with linked political dangers and prices. because the battle advanced, Schwab argues, the divergence in views, ideologies, and political pursuits created a wide, and finally unbridgeable divide among army and civilian leaders. in spite of everything, this conflict of cultures outlined the Vietnam warfare and its legacy for the military and for American society as a complete.

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Extra info for A Clash of Cultures: Civil-Military Relations during the Vietnam War (In War and in Peace: U.S. Civil-Military Relations)

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No matter what amount of force the military was authorized to use in Vietnam, everything it did was under civilian control. Ultimately, in the postwar military literature on the war, civilian constraints on military action became the sine qua non for explaining military defeat in South Vietnam. Yet, the victimization of the military as decision makers belies the historical context of the armed forces in the conduct of the Cold War.

Throughout the first half of 1964, Vietnam was growing to be a political albatross for Lyndon Johnson. He despised the thought of going into the country with a major commitment, yet he saw no political and strategic alternative but to find some way to support the South Vietnamese government. S. commitment to South Vietnam, and to increase the range of military options they could use against Ho Chi Minh and his communist regime, the Johnson administration needed a critical event such as the Gulf of Tonkin.

S. defense posture and that such an event should be avoided by all means necessary. The strategic necessity for intervention was a bedrock principle for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There was no greater need, from the military’s perspective, than to protect the integrity of the containment system. Abandoning South Vietnam to its fate was unthinkable for both civilians and military officers. For the JCS, however, the impact of defeat in Indochina was of such grave consequence that virtually any means was considered acceptable to preserving the country’s base in Indochina and Southeast Asia.

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