Download Eisenhower and the Cold War by Robert A. Divine PDF

By Robert A. Divine

A really apt and cogent vindication of Eisenhower's prudent and reasonable behavior of statecraft in the course of his phrases.

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8 The situation became critical in early 1954 when General Navarre decided to force a showdown by holding on to a remote outpost deep in the interior of Vietnam near the border of Laos and China. Dien Bien Phu was a major road center but not a natural fortress. Located in a deep valley, it became the site of a protracted seige, as the Vietminh, with Chinese Communist support that had intensified after the end of the Korean War, began to close in on the 12,000 French defenders. As the French position deteriorated, the government in Paris sent Chief of Staff Paul Ely to Washington to seek additional American support.

Despite the favorable Communist military position, both Russia and China put pressure on Ho Chi Minh to accept the division of Vietnam at the i7th parallel, with the promise of elections to determine the political future of all Vietnam in 1956. With considerable reluctance, the Vietminh accepted this compromise, and the fighting ended in mid-July. The United States did not sign the Geneva accords. "24 Some portions of the accords were unpalatable, especially the ban on introducing new forces and military equipment and the prohibition on either portion of Vietnam entering into a military alliance.

As the French position deteriorated, the government in Paris sent Chief of Staff Paul Ely to Washington to seek additional American support. In conversations with Admiral Arthur Radford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Ely sketched a bleak picture. To his surprise, Radford began to outline a possible American response, an air strike against the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu that had been drawn up by both American and French officers in Saigon. Operation Vulture, as the 40 MASSIVE RETALIATION AND ASIA project was named, would involve 60 American B-sgs from bases in the Philippines, supported by 150 American carrier-based fighters.

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