FYI: Special Forces in Vietnam

Course member Philip F sent some links you might enjoy looking at, relating to our study of the Vietnam War this week:

The Navy Seals in their original format were part of the UDT teams (nicknamed “Frogmen” which the Seal members still call each other, often) that came ashore on Normandy Beach early on and then were used to some extent in Korea. However, their modern day predecessors were established by President Kennedy during Vietnam. Most people are not aware of their participation then, but are more focused on the role of the Green Berets. Some interesting links and books are listed below:

In Vietnam, One Navy Seal received the Medal of Honor for saving another Navy Seal who also happened to receive the Medal of Honor, which was very unusual:

Three books of interest:
First Seals by Patrick K. O’Donnell (2014);
The U.S. Navy Seals, From Vietnam to Finding Bin Laden by David Jordan (2011)
Trident K-9 Warriors by Mike Ritland (2013) about Special forces dogs

Hopefully some of the above you will find both interesting and useful.

Follow-Ups from April 9 re: Vietnam War up to 1967

We had a good discussion in our Zoom class today, including a review of the Red Scare and McCarthyism, and a presentation on the early years and strategy of the Vietnam War.

Part of the conversation talked about American internment camps during World War II, and someone recommended Farewell to Manzanar as a first-person memoir of life in the camps. I second that, and also recommend JARDA, the Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive, a rich online collection about the Japanese-American internment experience (1941-1945).

We also discussed the extent to which fears of Communist subversion and espionage in U.S. government and research (not to mention in television, Hollywood, business, education, and other spheres of life) were justified or exaggerated. We can all agree McCarthy wasn’t making good-faith attempts to keep Americans safe. The Rosenbergs, we know in hindsight, weren’t innocent. I mentioned a cache of documents declassified from Soviet archives, known collectively as the VENONA Project, which showed — unbeknownst to many except in the intelligence community at the time — how hard the Soviet Union was indeed working to gather American secrets and destabilize American society through misinformation and propaganda campaigns. Two historians named John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr wrote a book based on the declassified VENONA cables, back in 1999 — here’s a NYT review of the book.

For more on the Vietnam War, here’s a roundup of good books and movies mentioned in today’s discussion.
Books: Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
Films: The Green Berets (1968), Apocalypse Now (1979), Platoon (1986), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Forrest Gump (1994), We Were Soldiers (2002).
Documentaries: many good ones, including Ken Burns’ Vietnam (2017)

World War II in North Africa and Europe, 1942-1945

Links for today:

Department of Defense Film, “Tunisian Victory” (American / British, US National Archives)

Trailer, Mighty Eighth: The Air War in Europe

Importance of Ultra (UnknownHistory)

Saving Private Ryan (1998) opening – Omaha Beach, 6 Jun 1944

CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow accompanying troops liberating Nazi concentration camps, May 1945

On a Note of Triumph – CBS Norman Corwin broadcast after V-E Day, 13 May 1945

Textbook Link

The Army Center for Military History website seems to be down this week, which makes it hard to access our textbooks online (especially with the midterm tomorrow!). Here’s a link to a Google Drive folder with both books as giant PDF files. I recommend downloading them for offline use, if you haven’t already.

I’ve also added this folder link to our course website sidebar –> to make it easier to find.

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick (Feb 18)

Links for today:

US / World History in Context (need WSU login to use)

U.S. Navy from Civil War to the “Great White Fleet”

Quick overview of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet” trip 1906-1907

The Schlieffen Plan (i.e. why Germany invaded France through Belgium in 1914, and how that worked out for them)

PBS American Experience, The Great War, Part 1 (may need PBS Passport to view)

Civil War, Part II (1863-1865)

Links for today:

Armies and Organization in the Civil War (Battlefield Trust)

Magnitude of the Civil War (Ken Burns)

Animated Battle Map of entire Civil War, by year (Battlefield Trust)

Overview of the Western Theater (Battlefield Trust)

Vicksburg Campaign – July 1863 (Battlefield Trust)

Chickamauga Campaign / Battle of Chattanooga – Sept-Nov 1863 (Battlefield Trust)

Atlanta Campaign – May-Sept 1864 (Battlefield Trust)

Sherman’s March – late 1864 (Ken Burns)

Sherman’s Field Order No. 15 – 1865 (Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History)