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Ken Burns' "Vietnam" Really Worth the Time & Effort


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#31 Big Texan

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 02:23 PM

Hubert, Dien Bien Phu happened from 13 March - 7 May, 1954. My date was wrong and so was yours. You were also correct, De Gaulle wasn't the leader of France at the time, Rene Coty was.

Thanks for your corrections.


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#32 MostlyRacers

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 04:19 PM

Oops, my bad for Dien Bien Phu ! My father graduated from St Cyr (the French Army officers' Academy) in 1953 and his promotion was named "Extrême-Orient" (Far-East). The were pretty numerous, a significant number of them being "planned" for becoming cannon fodder in Indochina. Dien Bien Phu fell before most could be sent there. The next promotion was actually about half in numbers compared to the 1953 one. The year has stuck in my mind for this reason. I'll go to bed smarter this evening than this morning ;)

 

Thanks

 

Hubert


Edited by MostlyRacers, 02 October 2017 - 04:20 PM.

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#33 LSP_Typhoonattack

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 05:36 PM

And yet another series I discovered last night by Ken (Netflix), this one on the civil war here in the states. For whatever reason, I generally can't seem to get into civil war stuff too much, despite having several books on the subject. I suppose there's also one on the Korean war, floating around out there somewhere?


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#34 Tony T

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 05:56 PM


As Kag has mentioned, if you're in the land of UK...

Series 1 episodes 3-4 are on BBC4 (Freeview channel 9) tonight starting at 22:00, and 5-6 next Monday, 9 October, with 1-2 etc accumulating on ketchup.

Absorbing series. Was up way past my bedtime last Monday

Tony
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#35 G-Man

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 06:34 PM

And yet another series I discovered last night by Ken (Netflix), this one on the civil war here in the states. For whatever reason, I generally can't seem to get into civil war stuff too much, despite having several books on the subject. I suppose there's also one on the Korean war, floating around out there somewhere?


KB has not yet done a Korean War documentary to my knowledge. He has done WW2 though, which concentrates on the American perspective. It is called "The War", and I highly recommend it.
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#36 LSP_Typhoonattack

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 06:49 PM

KB has not yet done a Korean War documentary to my knowledge. He has done WW2 though, which concentrates on the American perspective. It is called "The War", and I highly recommend it.

 

Yes, I just finished watching it.


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#37 Bill Cross

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 10:04 PM

KB has not yet done a Korean War documentary to my knowledge. He has done WW2 though, which concentrates on the American perspective. It is called "The War", and I highly recommend it.

"The War" is mostly about the people who served and those who stayed at home. It's one of the best reports I have ever seen about life in the US during the war, and shows the pain and loss, passions and hopes of the men and women who gave up their family members or who went overseas.

 

But there isn't anything about why the way happened, what its historical significance is, or its context even within the historical moment. It's really just about the US and not meant to be anything more.

 

Clearly "The Vietnam War" aims to be much more comprehensive. Though not without flaws, it looks to show not only how the US ended up in Southeast Asia, but the impact the war had on our politics and life back home. Perhaps that's because unlike in previous wars, the soldiers were being shuffled in and out of the battlefield, bringing back with them the contamination and fallout from the conflict, which then reacted with our simmering political climate here. The series tries very hard to show that we are who we are right now because of tensions that fractured the body politic back then.

 

Someone said recently "you can't imagine Walter Cronkite saying that we should get out of WW2" as an example of the extraordinary freedom the press had in Vietnam to report the unvarnished truth (at least as the press saw it), but Americans did not turn against the war because of the press. The drumbeat of casualties and the ever-rising need for more troops, more bombing, more razing of villages, along with the always present atrocities on both sides, made the war seem pointless, not unpopular. Johnson and then Nixon couldn't come up with a "selling point" for the war, which wasn't needed in WW2 when everyone agreed that the Japanese and the Nazis needed to be stopped.


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#38 Tony T

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 10:39 PM


My Vietnam war heroes were the photojournalists: Michael Herr, Tim Page et al. So far, not much if anything on them, but the Press did get a distorted perspective at times.

Disgusting war, as are most conflicts, but The Vietnam War is something everbody should be encouraged to watch, whatever your own political conclusions.

The bizarre component is the lack of parallel infusions on rock culture and the Apollo programme, but maybe some are drawn later.

Tony
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#39 Big Texan

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 07:15 PM

They had the "selling" point early in the war. When it was pointed out of the communists on the move. You had things going on in the eastern block of Europe by heavy handling Soviets. You had Cuba in 1959 and early 60's. The American people were behind the Vietnam war at the beginning. The problem was, our politicians weren't willing to fight it to total victory. They tried to set up another "Korea" situation. They were afraid if we went out for total victory in Vietnam, China would step in as they did in the Korean conflict. Well, if they weren't willing to win it, then they should have packed up and brought the boys home. But, as we heard the tapes from Ken Burns' show, JFK came to this conclusion, but couldn't do it because it would possibly hurt his re-election chances. Let that soak in. So, in the early 1960's, we could have pulled out before we really had a lot of assets there, just so called "advisors".

The thing that kills me, is the fact had FDR and Truman gave Ho Chin Minh a chance to speak with them, chances are Vietnam would be a very close ally of ours in the Pacific realm. Heck, we probably would have military bases there! The Vietnam War would never have happened and there would have been a unified Vietnam in the late 1940's! 


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#40 Gigant

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 10:45 PM

Although I do personally subscribe to PBS and contribute to our local station, and have been following the series, I am not a fan of Ken Burns, and for the record, I do not buy his version "hook, line, and sinker" as others seem to.

 

Unlike myself, I do not believe that he was actually subject to being forced to consider active duty in that engagement, much less having personal friends who served in that conflict as I have.

 

As an example, one personal friend of mine who was an artillery officer in 'Nam and in the '80's while we were discussing the MIA issue, told me about his experience that since his battery's position was subject to more than one NVA suicide-charge, which they repelled by firing flechette canon rounds into their ranks, after the defeated charge they often discovered among the dead Americans in North Vietnamese uniforms from the front of the charges. By the way, the flechette's often nailed their rifle stocks to the NVA soldier's bones, so they buried them together, gun and all.

 

Adding to the situation, in my opinion, along with Jane Fonda, Walter Cronkite contributed to the problem, when immediately after the NVA's morale was shattered by the failure of their Tet Offensive, he actually came back to the states and publicly declared the winning the war as unattainable!

 

Not unlike others, I resent the tone of condescension that the North Vietnamese officer reflects.

Why are their atrocities against the South Vietnamese people left out while the My Lai masacre is chronicled?


Edited by Gigant, 03 October 2017 - 11:58 PM.
Removal of political comments

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:innocent: Tom

 


#41 LSP_Mike

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 01:01 AM

Because nothing is perfect, and there are an endless progressions of "what ifs"


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#42 Gigant

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 01:19 AM

Because nothing is perfect, and there are an endless progressions of "what ifs"

 

Well, maybe if you stay on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" for your answers...


:innocent: Tom

 


#43 LSP_Ron

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 03:03 AM

With no disrespect intended to our vets,  I have no idea what this has to do with LSP and our interest in them.

If you want to debate the actions and politics of the Vietnam war do it somewhere else pls


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