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tv   Donald Ritchie on the 1966 Vietnam Hearings General Maxwell Taylor  CSPAN3  February 27, 2016 8:00am-8:11am EST

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it includes general taylor's opening statements and many comments from senators. ut first donald ritchie discusses the significants of the hearing. > you brought a book with you called "vietnam hearings." what is this book? >> it was printed in 1966. it's now 50 years old and it was a book i used when i was course on american history in the 19. i was at the university of this book d we used because these -- it was excerpts senator hearings from fullbright convened in the early
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1966 and it was both the proponents, the supporters of like dean and general maxwell taylor and gavin. cannon and general and we could teach this by showing the students both sides of the argument. were being they interrogated by senators who are on both sides of the argument. got to look at what the issues were and get some idea of defense was and what the opposition was to the war in vietnam. really useable wasn't at came out that that's sly partisan and why the hearings were so important because they presented oth sides of the issues and it enabled the american people to hear from people who thought the great idea to people thought the war was a terrible -- for people who thought the war could be one and
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the war couldught not be won and from people who kphopl moonist conspiracy. since seasons we never had a to war and going declaration of going to war hese hearings in january and february of 1966 were essentially the first debate over whether or not we should be in vietnam. >> in a few minutes we'll hear the testimony of general maxwell taylor. what was the situation at that time in vietnam. there and ips were who was general maxwell taylor? january 1, '96 there were 125,000 american troops in 1966. than there were a year earlier. a year earlier there were 30,000
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troops. before that there had been 16,000 advisors. increase.as a gradual president johnson did not want sending ear he was large numbers sew sent troops in announcing 50,000 troops or 75,000 troops there the idea this would be enough and cap and he would limit the war. military on the ground needed more and he would send more. had been involved in policy from the beginning. president kennedy sent taylor to vietnam in 1961 to look at the it wason and taylor said a dire situation and that he didn't believe the government and defend itself americans would have to get involved. more americans sending naval support and more air support. did not, however, elieve that u.s. combat troops
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should ever be to vietnam. became ambassador to vietnam in 1964. previous ambassador had left to come home to run for president. was sent.ylor while he was there he sent regular telegrams to the date and the president saying it would be a big mistake troops. ground when president johnson decided o do that, it in a sense went against the recommendation that general taylor had. he as a loyal soldier and supports in his testimony supports what the johnson doing.tration is e gives them rationale for it the viet about what cong kopbg /* kong were doing. the moral out situation and not giving a
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the st's perspective on war. we know because his telegrams record and telephone conversations we know that he had great reservations about taoupz.ground the united states should draw the line and only naval and air support. >> you mentioned senator fullbright. who were some of the other senators on the committee? important a very committee. in addition to senator ullbright, you have senator john sparkman. mcgovern up and senator and wayne morris. he is passionately opposed to vietnam war and then kickenlooper and george akin who s republican who is a skeptic
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but not a hard line skeptic. you had the whole range of support the administration and people who oppose the administration and go with e willing to the president and trust the president and give him a foreign policy and people who feel he led the country off the side of the have never should done this and congress should have never given up their rights declare war. you have those senators asking questions of all the witnesses, witnesses who are in favor f the war and opponents of the war. they're being grilled by both sides. is a ferocious brings up a lot of sparks. >> is there anyway to know at that time what the american in general thought about the war. polls gallop polls and following what public opinion
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was and president johnson felt pretty convinced the american was with him. when he started sending troops he had about 60-65% support. 60%had won the presidency by vote. everybody came on board in this case. but of course he had won the get dency promising not to involved in the war and not to send troops in. that the public opinion showed that the public vietnam to south fall to communism, the public ambiguous.ore they didn't want to send their sons to fight in vietnam. desire to have another korean war in vietnam. there was principal stand up ca needed to and small countries that were threatened and we needed to there was also the sense, why are we the only one fighting
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other western he democracies and why do we have to pay for this all the time. johnson urse president by not calling up the deserves had to double the draft. suddenly that meant that people my age at the time, people in twenties were vulnerable to being drafted. deferments.ts of f you were in college you were deferred. if were you a dropout or a high school student could you get drafted. harder and t got harder to evade the draft. people were going -- leaving the to canada and ng sweden to evade the draft. radicalized and that cized a generation came of age in 1960's. was a an issue which peripheral issue, they barely on the re vietnam was map and made it personal.
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there are a loft studies about that happened and how public opinion which johnson thought in his corner split very much and split up by 1968 o the point where johnson felt he could not run for re-election. >> so we're just about to see maxwell taylor. how was he received by the committee. committee respected him greatly. gravitas.ot of e worked for johnson and kennedy and been our ambassador there. they gave him a lot of leeway. a great deal of respect for anybody in a military uniform. and even if they disagreed with him. bought a l taylor attitude of american towards this war. and people deferred to that. generation of senators were
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the generation who fought world and they saw this as a continuation n fact, the administration kept talking all these h and things that were world war ii analogies trying to make vietnam sort of a mini second world essentially. that was an appealing argument to a large part of the united states who had fought in second world war and who believed this was the mission of the united states. divided parents and children very much so. robert's own children them.ed as our ivileged to witness general maxwell taylor. ne of the ablest military leaders in many years. his record of distinguished back e to the nation goes nearly

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