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New PDF release: Air War Over North Vietnam: The Vietnamese People's Air

By Istvan Toperczer, Don Greer, Ernesto Cumpian, David W. Smith

ISBN-10: 0897473906

ISBN-13: 9780897473903

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Read or Download Air War Over North Vietnam: The Vietnamese People's Air Force: 1949-1977 - Vietnam Studies Group Series (6075) PDF

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Extra resources for Air War Over North Vietnam: The Vietnamese People's Air Force: 1949-1977 - Vietnam Studies Group Series (6075)

Example text

That is usually why we study it in the first place: the outcome is important, or at least seems important to us, and we want to explain why it happened. We work backwards from effects to causes in search of understanding. But the decisionmakers who helped produce the outcome of interest worked forward, in a fog of highly imperfect understanding, burdened with many misperceptions, hoping for the best, and bracing themselves for the worst. The reliance on declassified documents provides something of a level playing field on which the scholars and decisionmakers can have a useful discussion, a place to begin to develop a more comprehensive point of view that incorporates the chronological precision and analytical acuity that is possible when looking backward, yet also includes the dynamism, creativity, uncertainty, and tension that emerge in the memories of former officials of moving forward into the unknown, of endeavoring to make history, without the benefit of knowing the outcome.

Participants in all three groups—former officials, scholarly skeptics, and scholarly radicals—are listed in alphabetical order within each of the categories. ’’ The discussion was foremost about responsibility: their own and that of the people for whom they worked. S. ’’ It was about three men in their seventies and eighties staring into the historical abyss in an effort to understand the catastrophe that had consumed so much blood and treasure, so much liberal optimism, and so much of their own personal lives.

We now know that JFK was willing to absorb whatever political consequences might follow from his effort to avoid a war over missiles in Cuba that he was not confident he could control once he initiated it. JFK’s bottom line was: it’s too dangerous, therefore no war. LBJ, on the other hand, seems unwilling to countenance the appearance of military defeat. His metaphor, ‘‘crumple,’’ speaks volumes about his approach to the crisis. LBJ’s bottom line was: it’s too important, therefore no defeat. We knew, in initiating this research, that we would have to educate ourselves in the history of what actually happened with regard to the war in Vietnam—a history that is now varied, rich with details derived not only from public pronouncements, but also from declassified documents, audiotapes made by both JFK and LBJ, and oral testimony by former officials.

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Air War Over North Vietnam: The Vietnamese People's Air Force: 1949-1977 - Vietnam Studies Group Series (6075) by Istvan Toperczer, Don Greer, Ernesto Cumpian, David W. Smith


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