Study notes on the conflict in indo-china (Aust syllabus)

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Conflict in Indo-China



1. Medical photographs of Napalm Burns

2. My Lai Massacre - over one hundred unarmed Vietnamese civilians

à Official army photographer - hidden camera

3. Secret Bombing of Cambodia - America uninformed

à Richard Nixon's November 1969 speech conceals illegal 8 month long bombing of neutral Cambodia

4. Deep revulsion felt by majority of Western intellectuals @ atrocities + manipulation of public opinion

= highly critical of US motives + strategy

5. Australia's role in Vietnam à refer to Terry Burstall

6. Internal politics of NVA/ NV Ã refer to Bui Tin


Right Wing Interpretations

1. Conservative

2. See as war waged in defence of democratic values

à US intervened to prevent communist oppression - authoritarian government

3. Blame war on North aggression

4. Argue war must be seen in context of communist attempt at global domination

à part of the cold war

5. Blame media and anti-war movements for US defeat

6. See Pol Pot's excessive brutality as an expression of communist ideology

à Argue continued US intervention could have prevented such genocide

7. some concede US miliary strategies:

1. terrible consequences for civilian populations

2. counter productive to gaining support

à à general implication that ends justified the means

Historians: 1. General William Westmoreland

2. W. W. Rostow

3. Michael Lind Vietnam: The Necessary War (1999)

Left Wing Interpretations


à NVA conducting a genuine national liberation struggle against US imperialism

à Gabriel Kolko Anatomy of a war


à War = tragic mistake of US policy

à Stanley Karnow Vietnam: A history

3. Civil war - US no right to intervene

4. Not defending democracy - forcing despotic, unpopular dictatorship on SV

5. suffering caused by US tactics = unjustifiable

à Allied civilians all too frequently treated as the enemy

à Ben Tre

6. Ease with which communist won after US...