Which historian suggested that not building a navy would have enabled Germany to win WW1?

Which historian suggested that not building a navy would have enabled Germany to win WW1?

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It seems that a writer named "Nickadie" or "Nipadie" (I did not quite understand the pronunciation) suggested that had the German Empire never built such a navy to challenge the British, and focused more of their economy on the land army instead, they would, or could, have won the First World War.

Did any historian ever publish such a theory, and if so, who?

Holder Herwig's book "'Luxury' Fleet: The Imperial German Navy 1888-1918" (1980) is very often cited.

The term "luxury fleet" comes from Churchill, then First Sea Lord.

The British Navy is to us a necessity, whilst the German Navy is more in the nature of a luxury.

There is a lot of hindsight in this historical judgement based on the failure of either fleet to gain a decisive victory. At the time, the build up of the Imperial German Navy was viewed as a very serious threat to British security and drove much of the political tension between Germany and Britain in the decade prior to the war. Geoffrey Bennett's book "The Battle Of Jutland" (1964) quotes Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary:

Our Navy is to us what [the German] Army is to them. No superiority of the British Navy could ever put us in a position to affect the independence or integrity of Germany, because our Army is not maintained on a scale which, unaided, could do anything on German territory. But if the German Navy were superior to ours, our independence, our very existence would be at stake.

FACT: Germany Could Have Won World War One If It Had Done This

Was it worth it? The all-out U-boat offensive did sink 880,000 tons of shipping in April 1917 alone and endangered the seaborne trade that Britain depended on. Unfortunately, it also helped U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to persuade Congress to declare war on Germany in April 1917. The intervention of more than a million fresh American soldiers by late 1918 heartened the British and French armies battered by years of war and the devastating German 1918 offensives.

When it comes to alternative history, the Second World War is king. Dozens of books and wargames suggest how history would have changed if Hitler had invaded Britain or not invaded Russia. Want to know what happens when a Nimitz-class supercarrier goes back in time to battle the Japanese fleet at Pearl Harbor? There's a movie for that. What would the world be like if Nazi Germany had won? Plenty of novels paint a dark portrait. Would the Third Reich have triumphed if it had developed jet fighters sooner? Such topics are like incendiary bombs on Internet chat forums.

Yet fascinating as these questions are, why are they any more fascinating than asking what would have happened if Imperial Germany had not invaded Belgium in 1914, if the Kaiser had built more U-boats, or if America had not entered the war? If it is plausible to imagine a historical timeline where Hitler won, then why not one in which the tsars still rule Russia, the British Empire was never exhausted by war, and the Ottoman Empire still controls the Middle East?

Perhaps it is the grim aura of fatalism that discourages speculative history of the Great War. The sense that no matter what, the conflict would have been one long, miserable slaughter, a four-year live performance of "Paths of Glory." But the combatants were not drones or sheep, and the conflict was more than mud, blood and barbed wire. There was mobile warfare in Russia and Poland, amphibious invasions in Turkey and guerrilla campaigns in East Africa.

It is also easy to assume that German defeat was inevitable at the hands of an Allied coalition richer in manpower, weapons and money. Yet Germany nearly captured Paris in 1914, crushed Serbia and Romania, bled the French Army until it mutinied, drove Russia out of the war, and then came oh-so-close to victory on the Western Front in 1918. Don't underestimate the power of Imperial Germany. Until the armistice was signed in a French railway carriage on November 11, 1918, Germany's enemies didn't.

So with this year marking the 100th anniversary of the War to End All Wars (but didn't), let's look at what might have been. Here are a few possibilities in which history could have been very different for Germany:

Avoiding a two-front war

If twentieth-century Germany had a tombstone, it would say "This is What Happens to Those Who Fight on Two Fronts". Much as kung-fu movies make fighting multiple opponents look easy, it's generally better to defeat your enemies one at a time.

That was the idea behind Germany's Schlieffen plan, which called for concentrating on France in the opening days of the conflict while keeping weaker forces in the East. The key was to defeat France quickly while vast and underdeveloped Russia still mobilized, and then transfer forces by rail to settle accounts with the Tsar.

However, Russia did attack into East Prussia in August 1914, only to be surrounded and annihilated at the Battle of Tannenberg. They lost 170,000 men to just 12,000 Germans in one of history's most famous battles of encirclement. Yet the Russian advance also frightened German Army Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke into transferring three corps from France to East Prussia. They arrived too late for Tannenberg, while depriving the Western offensive of vital troops at Germany's best time to overcome France and possibly end the war.

From then on, Germany had to spread its forces between West and East, while supporting its Austro-Hungarian and Turkish allies. Just what Germany could have accomplished—had it been able to concentrate on just one front—became painfully clear in 1918. After forcing the new Soviet government to sue for peace, the Germans quickly transferred 500,000 troops to France. They also unleashed innovative new stosstruppen (stormtrooper) infiltration tactics—an early form of blitzkrieg without the tanks—that enabled them to break the trench-warfare deadlock.

Kaiserschlacht ("Kaiser's Battle") offensives shattered several British armies and compelled British commander Douglas Haig to warn his troops that their backs were "to the wall." After four years of unrelenting combat and economic blockade, Germany still had the strength to achieve more in weeks than four years of bloody Allied offensives at the Somme, Passchendaele and Chemin des Dames.

Ideally, Germany could have found diplomatic means to have fought against Russia alone without war with France, or vice-versa. Failing that, and given the shorter distances in the West, it would have been better to have temporarily conceded some East Prussian territory while concentrating on capturing Paris. It might not have been easy, but it would have been far easier than fighting on two fronts.

Not Invading Belgium

Imperial Germany was a nation too clever for its own good. Case in point: invading neutral Belgium. From a military perspective, advancing to Belgium was a brilliant move to sidestep north of the French armies and fortifications on the Franco-German border, and then turn south to capture Paris and encircle the French armies from the rear. It reflected the traditional German preference for mobile warfare (Bewegungskrieg), which favored superior German tactics, rather than a static war of attrition (Stellungskrieg) that could only favor their numerically superior opponents.

A strategic masterstroke? Indeed. It also may have lost Germany the war.

Britain had guaranteed Belgium's neutrality. That "scrap of paper" had been derided by German leaders, but the parchment would cost Berlin dearly by giving London a casus belli to declare war. Now Germany faced not just France and Russia, but also the immense military and economic resources of the British Empire.

France had a population of 39 million in 1914, versus Germany's 67 million. Can anyone imagine France alone defeating Germany? It failed in 1870, and it would have failed in 1914. Russia could boast of a population of 167 million people, yet shortages of weapons, supplies and infrastructure rendered it a giant with feet of clay. Despite keeping much of their army in France, the Germans were still able to drive Russia out of the war by 1918. Without British support, even a Franco-Russian combination would probably have succumbed to German might.

The entry of Britain and her empire added nearly 9 million troops to the Allies. More importantly, it added the Royal Navy. The French battle fleet was half the size of Germany's and was deployed in the Mediterranean against Germany's Austro-Hungarian and Turkish partners. The Russian navy was negligible. It was Britain's Grand Fleet that made possible the blockade that starved Germany of raw materials and especially food, which starved 400,000 Germans to death and sapped civilian and military morale by late 1918.

It is quite possible that Britain might have declared war on Germany anyway, just to prevent a single power from dominating the Continent, and to preclude hostile naval bases so close to England. But if Germany had managed to stave off British entry for months or years, it would have enjoyed more time and more resources to defeat its enemies.

Don't Build a Big Surface Fleet

Imperial Germany's High Seas Fleet was the second most powerful navy in the world in 1914, behind Britain's Grand Fleet. It mustered fifteen dreadnoughts to Britain's twenty-two, and five battlecruisers to Britain's nine. German surface ships enjoyed better armor plating, guns, propellant and fire control systems than their British rivals.

And what did this powerful surface fleet accomplish? Not much. Its capital ships rarely left port, which also left the British blockade in place. If the German fleet could not break the British blockade, impose its own blockade of Britain, or enable a German amphibious invasion of England, then what was it good for?

It did have value as a classic "fleet in being", staying in port while waiting for an opportunity to pounce, and threatening the enemy just by its existence (Churchill described Royal Navy commander John Jellicoe as the only man on either side who could lose the war in an afternoon). But its main contribution was provoking the British into regarding Germany as a threat even before the war began. Challenging the Royal Navy's maritime supremacy through a naval arms race was the one move guaranteed to arouse the British lion.

Despite ambitions of becoming a global colonial empire, Germany was still a Continental power in 1914. If it won the war, it would be through the immense power of its army, not its navy. What could Germany have bought with the money, material and manpower tied up in the High Seas Fleet? More divisions? More guns and aircraft? Or best of all, more U-boats, the one element of German naval strength that did inflict immense damage on the Allies.

Russia's exit from World War One, in 1917, must have made an eventual victory for Germany seem quite likely to German leaders, and vindicated their nurturing of Russian dissidents. From the very early months of World War One, the German government had been in touch with exiled Russian revolutionaries, many of them Bolsheviks, in the hopes that they could be used to undermine the Russian war effort against Germany.

A sealed train passed through Germany . with the conspirators hidden on board .

This didn't pay off in the first years of the war, but - although the Germans were in no way implicated - the February revolution in 1917 that eventually toppled the Russian tsarist regime raised German hopes that Russia would soon withdraw from the war. These hopes were soon dashed, as the new, provisional liberal government in Russia decided to continue to fight against Germany and the Central Powers.

Towards the end of March, however, the German foreign office and the High Command agreed to send one of the exiled Bolshevik leaders, Vladimir Lenin, plus 31 other émigrés opposed both to the tsarists and the liberals, back to Russia from Switzerland.

This was in the hopes that they would topple the Provisional Government and sue to bring an end to Russia's involvement in the war. A sealed train passed through Germany during the night of 10 to 11 April, with the conspirators hidden on board, and within a few months the policy appeared to be crowned with spectacular success.

Widespread war weariness among the general population of Russia was the major cause of the October Revolution of that year this brought the Bolsheviks to power, and almost the first act of the new government was to publish its peace proposals on 8 November. The fighting on the Eastern Front ended within a few weeks, and a peace conference began its deliberations at Brest Litovsk on 22 December 1917.

The negotiations were lengthy and fractious and it was not until 3 March 1918 that the instruments were finally signed. Russia lost control of the Baltic States, Poland, Finland, the East Anatolian provinces, and the districts of Erdehan, Kars and Batum.

Ukraine became a theoretically independent state under German military occupation. Russia lost about one million square kilometers, and 50 million inhabitants, in a treaty negotiated on the theoretical basis of a peace without annexations and reparations.

Exclusion from office, 1929–39

Thus, when in 1931 the National Government was formed, Churchill, though a supporter, had no hand in its establishment or place in its councils. He had arrived at a point where, for all his abilities, he was distrusted by every party. He was thought to lack judgment and stability and was regarded as a guerrilla fighter impatient of discipline. He was considered a clever man who associated too much with clever men—Birkenhead, Beaverbrook, Lloyd George—and who despised the necessary humdrum associations and compromises of practical politics.

In this situation he found relief, as well as profit, in his pen, writing, in Marlborough: His Life and Times, a massive rehabilitation of his ancestor against the criticisms of the 19th-century historian Thomas Babington Macaulay. But overriding the past and transcending his worries about India was a mounting anxiety about the growing menace of Hitler’s Germany. Before a supine government and a doubting opposition, Churchill persistently argued the case for taking the German threat seriously and for the need to prevent the Luftwaffe from securing parity with the Royal Air Force. In this he was supported by a small but devoted personal following, in particular the gifted, curmudgeonly Oxford physics professor Frederick A. Lindemann (later Lord Cherwell), who enabled him to build up at Chartwell a private intelligence centre the information of which was often superior to that of the government. When Baldwin became prime minister in 1935, he persisted in excluding Churchill from office but gave him the exceptional privilege of membership in the secret committee on air-defense research, thus enabling him to work on some vital national problems. But Churchill had little success in his efforts to impart urgency to Baldwin’s administration. The crisis that developed when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 found Churchill ill prepared, divided between a desire to build up the League of Nations around the concept of collective security and the fear that collective action would drive Benito Mussolini into the arms of Hitler. The Spanish Civil War (1936–39) found him convinced of the virtues of nonintervention, first as a supporter and later as a critic of Francisco Franco. Such vagaries of judgment in fact reflected the overwhelming priority he accorded to one issue—the containment of German aggressiveness. At home there was one grievous, characteristic, romantic misreading of the political and public mood, when, in Edward VIII’s abdication crisis of 1936, he vainly opposed Baldwin by a public championing of the King’s cause.

When Neville Chamberlain succeeded Baldwin, the gulf between the Cassandra-like Churchill and the Conservative leaders widened. Repeatedly the accuracy of Churchill’s information on Germany’s aggressive plans and progress was confirmed by events repeatedly his warnings were ignored. Yet his handful of followers remained small politically, Chamberlain felt secure in ignoring them. As German pressure mounted on Czechoslovakia, Churchill without success urged the government to effect a joint declaration of purpose by Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. When the Munich Agreement with Hitler was made in September 1938, sacrificing Czechoslovakia to the Nazis, Churchill laid bare its implications, insisting that it represented “a total and unmitigated defeat.” In March 1939 Churchill and his group pressed for a truly national coalition, and, at last, sentiment in the country, recognizing him as the nation’s spokesman, began to agitate for his return to office. As long as peace lasted, Chamberlain ignored all such persuasions.

Britain entering first world war was ɻiggest error in modern history'

Britain could have lived with a German victory in the first world war, and should have stayed out of the conflict in 1914, according to the historian Niall Ferguson, who described the intervention as "the biggest error in modern history".

In an interview with BBC History Magazine, Ferguson said there had been no immediate threat to Britain, which could have faced a Germany-dominated Europe at a later date on its own terms, instead of rushing in unprepared, which led to catastrophic costs.

"Britain could indeed have lived with a German victory. What's more, it would have been in Britain's interests to stay out in 1914," he said before a documentary based on his book The Pity of War, which will be screened by BBC2 as part of the broadcaster's centenary season.

The Laurence A Tisch professor of history at Harvard University rejected the idea that Britain was forced to act in 1914 to secure its borders and the Channel ports. "This argument, which is very seductive, has one massive flaw in it, which is that Britain tolerated exactly that situation happening when Napoleon overran the European continent, and did not immediately send land forces to Europe. It wasn't until the peninsular war that Britain actually deployed ground forces against Napoleon. So strategically, if Britain had not gone to war in 1914, it would still have had the option to intervene later, just as it had the option to intervene after the revolutionary wars had been under way for some time."

It was remarkable, he said, that Britain intervened on land so early in 1914, when quite unprepared.

"Creating an army more or less from scratch and then sending it into combat against the Germans was a recipe for disastrous losses. And if one asks whether this was the best way for Britain to deal with the challenge posed by imperial Germany, my answer is no.

"Even if Germany had defeated France and Russia, it would have had a pretty massive challenge on its hands trying to run the new German-dominated Europe and would have remained significantly weaker than the British empire in naval and financial terms. Given the resources that Britain had available in 1914, a better strategy would have been to wait and deal with the German challenge later when Britain could respond on its own terms, taking advantage of its much greater naval and financial capability."

The comments are certain to fan the flames of the debate sparked by the education secretary, Michael Gove, about whether Britain's role in the war should be seen as heroic courage or monumental error.

Gove, in an article in the Daily Mail, attacked "leftwing academics all too happy to feed those myths by attacking Britain's role in the conflict", and decried the Blackadder portrayal of the war as "a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite".

Ferguson is unequivocal: "We should not think of this as some great victory or dreadful crime, but more as the biggest error in modern history."

He continued: "The cost, let me emphasise, of the first world war to Britain was catastrophic, and it left the British empire at the end of it all in a much weakened state … It had accumulated a vast debt, the cost of which really limited Britain's military capability throughout the interwar period. Then there was the manpower loss – not just all those aristocratic officers, but the many, many, many skilled workers who died or were permanently incapacitated in the war.

"We need of course to feel sympathy for the men like my grandfather who fought in the first world war, because their sufferings were scarcely imaginable. The death toll, which was greater than the second world war, was the most painful thing that Britain has ever experienced in war."

But, he added, we should also feel dismay that the leaders, not just of Britain but of the European states, could have taken decisions that led to such an appalling slaughter.

"Arguments about honour of course resonate today as they resonated in 1914, but you can pay too high a price for upholding the notion of honour, and I think in the end Britain did."

He concedes that if Britain had stood back in 1914, it would have reneged on commitments to uphold Belgian neutrality. "But guess what? Realism in foreign policy has a long and distinguished tradition, not least in Britain – otherwise the French would never complain about 'perfidious Albion'. For Britain it would ultimately have been far better to have thought in terms of the national interest rather than in terms of a dated treaty."

Ferguson, no stranger to controversy, is unlikely to worry about coming under fire for his views. Last year he managed to stir up a massive row over a long-dead economist when he suggested that John Maynard Keynes had no stake in the future because he was gay and childless – although he did later apologise, calling his remarks "stupid and tactless".


The South Vietnamese security forces, including the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), Regional and Popular Forces, Montagnard irregulars and National Police totaled 567,246 personnel. [1] : 20 23,310 U.S. military personnel were in South Vietnam. [2]

The number of VC guerrillas and PAVN regulars in South Vietnam was a matter of much debate. One U.S. government estimate was that the VC consisted of 40,000 full-time fighters and 80,000 to 100,000 part-time guerrillas. [1] : 19 The Department of Defense's fact book estimated that the VC numbered less than 200,000 plus 39,175 political cadre. [3] : 34 These numbers presumably included thousands of PAVN soldiers and cadre infiltrated during the previous five years. The first PAVN units dispatched to South Vietnam, consisting of three regiments (about 5,000 men), had arrived in South Vietnam in late 1964. [4] : 200 A junior-level Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst, Samuel A. Adams, had just begun work estimating VC numbers he would later conclude that MACV underestimated VC strength by about one-half. [1] : 20 [3] : 84

Both North Vietnam and the United States would rapidly increase the number of their troops in South Vietnam during 1965.

The Battle of Binh Gia concluded as the PAVN/VC withdrew from the battlefield. In six days of fighting, the VC 9th Division had killed 201 South Vietnamese soldiers from the Airborne Division, Marine Division and Rangers and five American advisers. [5] : 302–3

Senator Mike Mansfield, considered the U.S. Congress's most knowledgeable person about Vietnam, appeared on television and said that neutralization of South Vietnam through an agreement reached by negotiations between the U.S. and the communist powers might be the best solution to the war. Mansfield was one of several senators who had doubts about the course of U.S. policy in South Vietnam. [5] : 305–6

The Armed Forces Council made a show of officially renouncing all their power to Prime Minister Tran Van Huong, who was asked to organize elections. [6] : 350 They also agreed to appoint a civilian body and release those arrested in the December coup. [7] : 297

The U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam General Maxwell Taylor summed up the situation in a telegram to the U.S. government in Washington. "We are faced here with a seriously deteriorating situation characterized by continued political turmoil, irresponsibility and division within the armed forces, lethargy in the pacification program, some anti-US feeling which could grow, signs of mounting terrorism by VC directly at US personnel and deepening discouragement and loss of morale throughout SVN. Unless these conditions are somehow changed and trends reversed, we are likely soon to face a number of unpleasant developments ranging from anti-American demonstrations, further civil disorders, and even political assassinations to the ultimate installation of a hostile govt which will ask us to leave while it seeks accommodation with the National Liberation Front and Hanoi."

Taylor opposed the introduction of U.S. ground units to help fight the VC (as proposed in frustration by President Johnson a few days earlier), endorsing instead a U.S. policy of graduated air attacks against the Ho Chi Minh trail, the supply line for the PAVN/VC itself. [8]

South Vietnamese military strength: January 1, 1965
Regulars (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps) 246,284
Regional Force (RF) 96,049
Popular Force (PF) 168, 317
National Police 31,395
Civilian Irregular Defense Group 21,454
Coastal Force 3,747
Total 567,246
9 January

Huong and the South Vietnamese military again reiterated their commitment to civilian rule through an elected legislature and a new constitution, and that "all genuine patriots" would be "earnestly assembled" to collaborate in making a plan to defeat the communists. [7] : 297 Khánh and Taylor were both signatories to this announcement. [9] : 122

While Buddhist protests against the government and the United States intensified, including the burning of a United States Information Service library, Ambassador Taylor met with a Buddhist leader. He said the Buddhists wanted peace and told Taylor that the leaders of South Vietnam were only interested in the benefits they could derive personally from American aid and would otherwise capitulate to the VC. The Buddhists had been protesting against the government of South Vietnam for the previous two years. [5] : 212

In a speech, former Vice President Richard Nixon argued the U.S. military effort should be escalated to destroy communist supply lines and staging areas in Laos and North Vietnam. He said the U.S. must "either get out, surrender on the installment plan through neutralization, or. find a way to win." [10]

Amidst continuing political chaos in South Vietnam, General Nguyễn Khánh and the Armed Forces Council overthrew the civilian government of Trần Văn Hương in a bloodless coup, replacing Houng with civilian Nguyễn Xuân Oánh. Khánh, who had been Prime Minister during most of 1964, had been hovering in the background for some time, so the coup d'état was not a great surprise. Ambassador Taylor cabled Washington that Khánh had an alliance with the Buddhist Institute headed by Thích Trí Quang. Taylor said, "The most sinister aspect of this affair is the obvious danger that the Buddhist victory may be an important step toward the formation of a government which will eventually lead the country into negotiations with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front [VC]." [5] : 316

In response to the coup, National Security Council director McGeorge Bundy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote a memo to President Johnson. They gave the President two options: use American military power to defeat the insurgency, or negotiate thus attempting to "salvage what little can be preserved." McBundy and McNamara favored the first option Secretary of State Dean Rusk disagreed. Johnson accepted the military option and sent a telegram to Ambassador Taylor in Saigon saying "the U.S. will spare no effort and no sacrifice in doing its full part to turn back the Communists in Vietnam." President Johnson had crossed the Rubicon. [5] : 317–9

In Laos two coups took place. On 27 January General Phoumi Nosavan once again attempted to seize control of the government but was opposed by forces loyal to General Kouprasith Abhay. On 29 January Colonel Bounleut Saycocie independently mounted his own coup, but after a short term takeover of Vientiane's radio station and infrastructure his forces returned to Government control and were then used by Kouprasith to suppress Phoumi's coup. [11] : 123–5

The VC attacked Camp Holloway near Pleiku killing eight Americans, wounding 128, destroying 10 U.S. aircraft and damaging a further 15. McGeorge Bundy (visiting South Vietnam) and General Westmoreland visited Pleiku that day. Bundy strongly recommended a reprisal attack against North Vietnam. [12] : 215 Bundy reported to Johnson "The situation in Vietnam is deteriorating and without new U.S. action defeat appears inevitable--probably not in a matter of weeks or perhaps even months, but within the next year or so. There is still time to turn it around, but not much." [13] : 14

In retaliation, President Johnson ordered Operation Flaming Dart: 49 retaliatory sorties by American and Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) planes targeted PAVN bases near Đồng Hới a second wave targeted VC logistics and communications near the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Among the pilots was Air Marshal Kỳ. Poor weather limited the damage caused by the strikes. One plane and its pilot were lost. [14] : 58 [12] : 218–9

The Premier of the Soviet Union, Alexei Kosygin, was visiting Hanoi during the bombing. The Soviets were furious that an American attack was carried out while Kosygin was present and motivated to provide additional assistance to North Vietnam. [15]

Bundy sent a memorandum to President Johnson advocating "a new US action" without which "defeat seems inevitable." McBundy said that "any negotiated US withdrawal today would mean surrender on the installment plan." [16]

The USMC 1st LAAM Battalion based on Okinawa arrived at Da Nang Air Base and by 9 April its HAWK SAMs were operational at the base. [17] : 4–5

As bombing of North Vietnam continued, the People's Republic of China issued a statement that "We warn U.S. imperialism: You are overreaching yourselves in trying to extend the war with your small forces in Indochina, Southeast Asia, and the Far East. To be frank, we are waiting for you in battle array." [18] On the same day, U.S. National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy told Senator Mike Mansfield that the Johnson administration "was willing to run the risk of a war with China" if an invasion of North Vietnam was deemed necessary. [19]

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow was attacked by a mob of about 3,000 Asian and Russian students who were protesting against the American bombing of North Vietnam. Two reporters, Adam Clymer of the Baltimore Sun and Bernard Ullman of the Agence-France news agency, were injured, and more than 200 windows in the building were shattered before Moscow police intervened. [20]

The first twenty of 1,819 wives and children of South Vietnam-based American civilian and military personnel departed that nation, by order of President Johnson. [21] The rest, including the dependents of Ambassador Taylor and General Westmoreland, departed over the next 15 days.

VC sappers blew up a hotel used as an enlisted men's barracks in Qui Nhơn, killing 23 U.S. soldiers, two VC sappers and seven civilians. [22]

In response to the Qui Nhơn attack President Johnson ordered Operation Flaming Dart II: 155 sorties and air strikes by U.S. and RVNAF aircraft. [14] : 58–9

In Hanoi, Soviet Premier Kosygin announced the Soviet Union had agreed to assist North Vietnam to defend itself from air attacks, by providing surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), jet fighter planes, technical support and advisers. [23]

On his way back to Moscow from Hanoi, Kosygin stopped in Beijing for the second time in less than a month, and met with Mao Zedong, with a suggestion that the two nations help the United States to "find a way out of Vietnam" that would end the continuing war there Mao's response was a warning that the Soviets should not use Vietnam as a bargaining issue in negotiations with the U.S., and refused to agree. [24]

President Johnson approved Operation Rolling Thunder, the Joint Chiefs of Staff plan for the sustained bombing of North Vietnam. Over an eight-week period, U.S. warplanes planned to bomb fixed targets and interdict military traffic along roads in southern North Vietnam. Johnson did not immediately launch Rolling Thunder. [5] : 333–4

In the Vung Ro Bay Incident, an American pilot spotted a 100-ton North Vietnamese naval trawler unloading munitions on a beach at a remote bay on the coast of central South Vietnam. RVNAF aircraft sank the ship and the defenders and crew were later killed or captured after a firefight with South Vietnamese naval commandos. The incident spurred further United States Navy involvement in the Vietnam War.

The Armed Forces Council of South Vietnam appointed medical doctor Phan Huy Quát as Prime Minister. [6] : 363

Radio Moscow, the official English-language broadcasting station of the Soviet Union, warned that American bombing raids on North Vietnam could lead to a world war. "The flames of war starting in one place could easily spread to neighboring countries and, in the final count, embrace the whole world", the broadcast noted, and admonished that "responsibility for the dire consequences of such a policy rests with America." [25]

On the United States Senate floor, Senator Frank Church said "The Saigon government is losing its war, not for lack of equipment, but for lack of internal cohesion" and the best solution would be the negotiation of a neutral South Vietnam. Church's speech was supported by several other prominent Democratic Party Senators, including George McGovern. Church's call for a neutral South Vietnam echoed similar statements by French President Charles de Gaulle, the Pope and the Secretary General of the United Nations. Former President Eisenhower and several Republicans supported Johnson's policy. Eisenhower advised Johnson not to negotiate from weakness. [5] : 333–50

Influential columnist Walter Lippman in The Washington Post said escalation of the war would be a disaster. "For this country to involve itself in such a war in Asia would be an act of supreme folly." [5] : 351–2

Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo and General Lam Van Phat mounted a coup d'état to overthrow General Khánh, head of the Armed Forces Council. The coup failed but the instability forced Khanh from power. North Vietnam later revealed that Thao was a communist agent. [6] : 307 [26] : 325 The coup collapsed when the U.S., in collaboration with Generals Nguyễn Chánh Thi and Cao Văn Viên, assembled units hostile to both Khanh and the current coup into a Capital Liberation Force. [27] : 302 Saigon was recaptured "without a shot" the next day by loyal troops and Khanh was restored to power [28]

The 15 generals comprising South Vietnam's High National Council — Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, Nguyen Van Cao and Nguyễn Cao Kỳ — voted to remove General Khánh from leadership as Prime Minister, and replaced him with a caretaker civilian premier, Trần Văn Hương. [29]

General Westmoreland requested that two battalions of United States Marines be assigned to protect Da Nang Air Base from the increasing threat of attacks by the VC. [17] : 7

General Khánh departed South Vietnam. He was persuaded to leave by his fellow generals and by Colonel Wilson of MACV. Air Marshall Kỳ became the de facto leader of South Vietnam. [6] : 364 [5] : 362

The first South Korean troops arrived in South Vietnam in a brigade group known as Dove Force. These included engineers, a medical unit, military police, a navy LST, liaison staff, and other support personnel. Dove Force was deployed to Biên Hòa and helped build schools, roads and bridges. Medical teams are reported to have treated over 30,000 South Vietnamese civilians. The civilian operations in the early southern part of the campaign are reported to have had some success. [30] [31] : 122–4

The U.S. Department of State issued a white paper to the press, Aggression From the North: The Record of North Viet-Nam's Campaign to Conquer South Viet-Nam, as a part of the U.S. government's effort to justify the escalation of the role of the U.S. in the war. [32] As a CIA employee and National Security Council staffmember would note later, the paper "proved to be a dismal disappointment. the only hard information we had about North Vietnamese participation and supplies and so forth came from information that was much too highly classified to include, and the only information that was of sufficiently low classification was pretty thin gruel." [33] : 127

The U.S. and South Vietnam announced that sustained bombing of North Vietnam would begin during the coming week. As a result of the announcement, North Vietnam's leaders ordered the evacuation of children and elderly residents from Hanoi and other major cities. [34]

Ambassador Taylor met with generals Thiệu and Trần Văn Minh in Saigon to request permission for the assignment of the Marines to Da Nang Air Base. The generals raised no objections, but asked that the Marines arrive "in the most inconspicuous way feasible." [17] : 9

Operation Rolling Thunder was launched. One hundred and four U.S. fighter-bombers and 19 RVNAF aircraft hit targets in the largest U.S. bombing raid to date against North Vietnam. Five U.S. planes and one RVNAF plane were shot down. The operation was meant to last eight weeks, but instead lasted more than three years. [35] : 408 [12] : 234

Previously, North Vietnam and its allies China and the Soviet Union had indicated a willingness for negotiations leading to the neutralization of South Vietnam and the withdrawal of the U.S. The bombing resulted in a hardened and less flexible communist position. North Vietnam shut down channels it had with Canada and France for exploring negotiations. [5] : 366–7

An angry mob assembled outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to protest the bombing of North Vietnam, before finally being driven away by police on horseback and soldiers. [36] The next day, the Soviet Union formally apologized to the U.S. government and began replacement of 310 broken windows in the embassy building and the removal of stains from more than 200 inkpots that had been shattered against the walls. [37]

McGeorge Bundy wrote a memo to President Johnson saying: "Last night, Bob McNamara said for the first time what many others have thought for a long time - that the Pentagon and the military have been going at this thing the wrong way round from the very beginning: they have been concentrating on military results against guerrillas in the field, when they should have been concentrating on intense police control from the individual villager on up." [38] : 413–4

1,400 Marines of the U.S. 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade began to land on beaches near Da Nang. The arrival of the Marines heralded the direct involvement of American combat units in the war. The Marines had the responsibility of guarding the Da Nang Air Base but were ordered to "not, repeat not, engage in day-to-day actions against the Viet Cong." By the end of March the Marines at Da Nang numbered almost 5,000 [17] : 11–6 Although there were 23,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam already, the deployment represented "the first body of Americans to go to the embattled southeast Asian nation as a fighting military unit." [39]

In Washington, Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton sent a memo to National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy outlining the U.S. objectives in South Vietnam in percentage terms: "70% - to avoid a humiliating US defeat. 20% - to keep SVN [South Vietnam]. territory from Chinese hands 10% - to permit the people of SVN to enjoy a better, freer way of life. [12] : 236–7

The first drawings were held under Australia's new birthday lottery system of conscription. At the Department of Labor and National Service in Melbourne, Representative Dan Mackinnon drew marbles from a barrel as part of the "birthday ballot" until there were sufficient eligible men to meet the quota of 4,200 draftees. The results were kept secret, with a policy that "Although pressmen will be able to watch and photograph the drawing of the first marble they will not be allowed to see or photograph the number on it." Young men whose birthdays were selected were "balloted out" and would be notified within four weeks. [40]

Operation Market Time, a U.S. Navy operation began off of the coast of North and South Vietnam with patrols along the coast and out to 150 miles (240 km) offshore, in order to disrupt North Vietnam's supply lines to the PAVN/VC in the south. [41]

Vice President of the United States Hubert Humphrey had dinner with the Ambassador of the Soviet Union Anatoly Dobrynin in Washington. Dobrynin asked why the U.S. bombed North Vietnam while the USSR Premier Kosygin was visiting Hanoi. Dobrynin advised that the USSR was now committed to the support of North Vietnam, saying "We can't be a leader and stand by and ignore the bombing of the North Vietnamese." [42]

82-year old Alice Herz stood at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Oakman Boulevard in Detroit, doused herself with two cans of flammable cleaning fluid, then set herself ablaze in protest against the war. [43] She left a note that said, "I choose the illuminating death of a Buddhist to protest against a great country trying to wipe out a small country for no reason." Two bystanders smothered the flames, but she died of her burns 10 days later. [44]

The CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency issued an estimate of military strength in South Vietnam. The armed forces of South Vietnam numbered 567,000, of which 245,000 belonged to the ARVN and the remainder to the Regional and Popular Force militia. The VC was estimated to number between 50,000 and 60,000 regulars and 100,000 militia. [45] : 143

After hearing from General Harold K. Johnson, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, that it would take five years of fighting and 500,000 American troops to win the war, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended to Secretary McNamara to change the American mission from being "not simply to withstand the Viet Cong. but to gain effective operational superiority and assume the offensive", and that two additional divisions of combat troops be transferred to South Vietnam for that purpose. "To turn the tide of war," the memo said, "requires an objective of destroying the Viet Cong, not merely to keep pace with them, or slow their rate of advance." [33] : 174–5

Quoting Associated Press (AP) photographer Horst Faas and unidentified sources, AP reporter Peter Arnett broke the story that U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were using gas warfare in combat. Though he emphasized that these were "non-lethal" gases dispensed by helicopters and bombers, Arnett wrote that "one gas reportedly causes extreme nausea and vomiting, another loosens the bowels". [46] Hours after the story was revealed, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed for afternoon papers that the story of the use of gas, but said that it was only being used by "South Vietnam's armed forces". [47] Two days later, U.S. Secretary of State Rusk would hold a press conference to respond to the controversy, saying "We are not embarking upon gas warfare in Vietnam. There has been no policy decision to engage in gas warfare in Vietnam. We are not talking about agents or weapons that are associated with gas warfare. We are not talking about gas that is prohibited by the Geneva Convention of 1925." [48]

The first Teach-in to protest the war was held at the University of Michigan, 3,500 people attended. [49] [50]

China announced that it was ready to "send its personnel to fight together with the Vietnamese people to annihilate the American aggressors." [51]

General Westmoreland, said in a report to Washington that the South Vietnamese armed forces had "begun to show evidence of fragmentation and there is no longer an effective chain of command." [52]

In the face of disagreement among U.S. military leaders about where and how many U.S. combat troops should be stationed in Vietnam, Secretary McNamara, General Westmoreland, Ambassador Taylor and the Joint Chiefs met in Washington. The Chiefs and Westmoreland wanted two U.S. combat divisions sent to Vietnam along with one combat division from the Republic of Korea. Taylor disagreed. McNamara didn't take a position. In meetings the next day, President Johnson agreed only to the assignment of two additional U.S. combat battalions to South Vietnam, but he approved an expansion and extension of the bombing of North Vietnam under Operation Rolling Thunder. [45] : 145–6

After a three-year testing period that had started with the beginning of Operation Ranch Hand on 29 December 1961, the United States moved into the second phase of the operation with the heavy use of defoliants and herbicides in combat zones. Initially, four tactical herbicides, codenamed Purple, Pink, Green and Blue, were used, with Purple, a combination of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) being the used the most. [53]

The VC exploded a car bomb in front of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon killing 22 people, including 2 Americans. [54] : 110

The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China signed an agreement allowing Soviet trains to travel through China to deliver economic and military aid to North Vietnam. However Mao Zedong rejected a request by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev to allow Soviets overflights through an air corridor for shipments. [55]

The RAND Corporation publishes its first report on the war: Viet Cong Motivation and Morale in 1964 A Preliminary Report based on interviews with 145 VC POWs defectors and suspects between July and December 1964. [56]

In North Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh decreed a new military service law. Enlistments were extended indefinitely for soldiers, previously discharged soldiers were recalled, and an increased number of young people were inducted into military service. During 1965, North Vietnam expanded the size of its army by 290,000 personnel and its self-defense militia from 1.4 million to 2.0 million. [57] : 164

President Johnson authorized a change in the U.S. Marines' mission in South Vietnam, a month after the first units had been sent to protect installations at Da Nang from attack. For the first time, American ground troops were scheduled to move into the surrounding area and to engage PAVN/VC forces in combat. [58]

The first jet-to-jet combat of the war took place when four U.S. Navy F-8E Crusaders from the USS Hancock were engaged by eight Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) MiG-17 fighters from the 921st Sao Do Regiment. One of the F-8Es was set on fire by cannons fired from a MiG-17 but was able to land safely at Da Nang. [59] The VPAF claim to have shot down two F-8Es. [57] : 166 In future years, 3 April would be a Vietnamese public holiday commemorated as "Air Force Day." [60]

3 April - 11 November 1968

Operation Steel Tiger was a covert United States Air Force (USAF) 2nd Air Division, later Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 aerial interdiction effort targeted against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in southeastern Laos. [61] : 53

The USAF conducted its first airstrike on the Thanh Hóa Bridge, the raid failed to down the bridge and it would resist further attacks until finally being downed on 13 May 1972. Two USAF F-105 Thunderchief strike aircraft were shot down and both their pilots killed, the first aircraft lost in air-to-air combat by either side during the war. [62] A USAF F-100 Super Sabre fighter escorting the strike aircraft scored the first probable USAF kill of the war shooting down a VPAF MiG-17. [63]

A U.S. Navy RF-8 Crusader reconnaissance aircraft photographed an SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile (SAM) site under construction in North Vietnam for the first time. The discovery, 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Hanoi, "sent shivers down the spines of task force commanders and line aviators alike", a historian would note later, but official permission to attack a site so close to the capital would not be given "until the Navy and Air Force lost a few jets to the SA-2s". [64]

President Johnson made a major televised speech at Johns Hopkins University. Johnson described the war as an attack by North Vietnam on South Vietnam. He proposed "unconditional discussions" to exchange views with interested parties in search of a peaceful solution, but offered no concessions. Johnson also proposed a massive program to develop the Mekong River basin which could include North Vietnam among the recipients of the Tennessee Valley Authority-type project. Ho Chi Minh responded that the United States must withdraw from South Vietnam as a condition for a peace agreement. [38] : 423–6 The Johns Hopkins speech marked a change in American policy. Formerly, over a period of several years of escalating warfare in South Vietnam, the U.S. had refused to consider talking to the VC and North Vietnamese until the U.S. and South Vietnam had gained a military advantage. [38] : 421

Elements of the VC 2nd Regiment attacked the positions of the 2nd Vietnamese Marine Battalion at midnight. The Marines repulsed 10 attacks and the VC withdrew at dawn leaving 59 dead, 10 wounded and 71 weapons. Intelligence revealed that a further 70 VC dead and over 200 wounded were removed from the battlefield VNMC losses were four killed. [17] : 206

North Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng responded to President Johnson's proposal for peace negotiations by announcing North Vietnam's Four Points peace formula: withdrawal of all U.S. forces from South Vietnam, neutralization of both Vietnams pending reunification, adoption of the program of the National Liberation Front [VC] for internal affairs, and reunification without foreign interference. [65] : 25

A mutiny by 20 young officers ousted Admiral Chung Tấn Cang as commander of the Republic of Vietnam Navy in an action "that evidently had the government's blessing". The military junta governing South Vietnam did not order a response, and one U.S. official commented that Cang, an associate of recently ousted President Nguyen Khanh, "has been a thorn in our side", because of his lack of cooperation in moving military supplies. [66]

Two U.S. Navy F-4B Phantom fighters flew into Chinese airspace and were tracked by radar flying over the Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island, but departed before the Chinese military could respond to an alert. [67]

At a CINCPAC meeting in Hawaii, the planners recommended the deployment of two brigades to South Vietnam. One would be stationed at Biên Hòa near Saigon to protect Bien Hoa Air Base the other would go to Nha Trang to prepare for the introduction of a full division of U.S. troops. Ambassador Taylor had not been present at the meeting and he protested that "Recent actions relating to the introduction of U.S. ground forces have tended to create an eagerness in some quarters to deploy forces into SVN which I find difficult to understand." Taylor opposed the introduction of American ground troops for offensive operations, believing they should be restricted to coastal "enclaves." General Westmoreland disagreed, believing that enclaves were "an inglorious, static use of U.S. forces. that would leave the decision of when and where to strike to the enemy." [45] : 140–9

Two groups of four U.S. Navy F-4Bs, flew over Hainan Island. This time, a squadron of four Jian-5 jet fighters from the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) intercepted them, with instructions not to fire unless fired upon. The American pilots stated that they had believed that they were outside China's airspace and in an area 36 miles (58 km) southwest of Hainan, while China accused the U.S. of trying to provoke a war. [67]

The U.S. and South Vietnam began "Operation Fact Sheet", a psychological warfare aerial mission, dropping over two million notices on those cities in North Vietnam with military facilities. The paper leaflets carried different types of messages written in the Vietnamese language. Some of them warned civilians to stay away from the areas that were to be bombed, and others suggested that civilians "could end the bombings by turning against their government", or advocated the benefits of moving to South Vietnam. During April, May and June, nearly 25 million papers were dropped. "The leaflets had no effect on North Vietnamese strategy", an author would note later, "but they did result in a few civilians moving away from military facilities." [68]

Life magazine publishes as its cover story the photo-essay "One ride with Yankee Papa 13" by Larry Burrows documenting a helicopter mission on 31 March. [69]

In Washington, D.C. about 20,000 people gathered to protest the war organized by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). This was the first large protest against the war in the United States. [70] At the same time, a counter-protest of about 100 people took place across the street, and a group of students representing the University of Wisconsin presented National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy with a petition of support for the war, signed by 6,000 faculty and students. [71]

China rescinded the order to the PLAAF to not attack American war planes violating Chinese air space. Over the next three years, 12 American war planes and several reconnaissance planes were shot down over China. [72]

At a meeting of American military and political leaders in Honolulu, Ambassador Taylor successfully proposed that the U.S. adopt what he called the "enclave strategy" in its conduct of the war. Defense Secretary McNamara and Assistant Secretary John McNaughton, CIA analyst William Bundy, General Westmoreland, U.S. Navy Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp Jr. and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Earle Wheeler concurred in the proposal, which was adopted by President Johnson. Taylor's idea was to limit U.S. ground operations to within a 50 miles (80 km) radius of important areas in important coastal areas, and with the ARVN to conduct counter-insurgency operations in the surrounding territory. The strategy would prove unsuccessful, leading to Taylor's resignation and a switch to a "search and destroy" operation in June. [73] In a memo to the President the next day, McNamara described the military consensus that "it would take more than six months, perhaps a year or two to. break the will of the DRV/VC [PAVN/VC] by denying them victory." On this date the U.S. had 33,000 U.S. military personnel in Vietnam and another 20,000 scheduled to be there. [74] : 212

Defense Secretary McNamara told reporters that he would not rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the war, as part of a press conference given under the condition that the reporters not attribute his remarks to him, nor quote him verbatim. Tom Wicker of The New York Times took notes and paraphrased the statement, in which McNamara said "We are not following a strategy that recognizes any sanctuary or any weapons restriction. But we would use nuclear weapons only after fully applying non-nuclear arsenal. In other words, if 100 planes couldn't take out a target. we would try 200 planes, and so on. But 'inhibitions' on using nuclear weapons are not overwhelming." Wicker's report noted that "High officials" in the Johnson administration "emphasize that it is 'inconceivable' that nuclear weapons would be used in the present circumstances of the war. They do not rule out the possibility that circumstances might arise in which nuclear weapons have to be used." [75] Nikolai T. Fedorenko, the Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations, sharply criticized McNamara and the U.S. in a speech the day after the report, commenting that "See the statement made today by Mr. McNamara. The United States is not averse to utilizing — this time perhaps as tactical weapons - nuclear warheads against the people of an Asian country as they have done once before, covering themselves with indelible shame for centuries to come. Mr. McNamara clearly reserved the right to unleash nuclear war in Vietnam." [76]

Ambassador Taylor reported to Washington that Prime Minister Quat was reluctant to accept the assignment of more U.S. soldiers to South Vietnam. [74] : 213

USAF Lieutenant Colonel James Robinson Risner commander of the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron is featured on the cover of Time magazine. On 15 September Risner's F-105 was shot down over North Vietnam and he was captured and held as a prisoner of war until 12 February 1973. [77] [78]

President Johnson met with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and noted that, according to U.S. intelligence reports, American protests against the war were part of a strategy of China, North Vietnam and the American members of the "New Left" with the goal that "intensified antiwar agitation in the United States would eventually create a traumatic domestic crisis leading to a complete breakdown in law and order" and that "U.S. troops would have to be withdrawn from Vietnam in order to restore domestic tranquility." [79]

Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies informed the Parliament in Canberra that he was sending the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) to fight in the war, at the request of the Premier of South Vietnam. [80] The day before, after the news of the government's plans had been published to the press, Menzies cabled the Australian Embassy in Saigon to stress the urgent need for South Vietnam to actually send a request, and during Thursday, Ambassador H. D. Anderson and his staff had to speak to the Vietnamese Premier, Phan Huy Quát, to ask him to invite Australia to enter the war. The cable from Premier Quát was not received by Menzies until 5:36 p.m. two and a half hours before Menzies was scheduled to speak to Parliament. [81]

Captain Charles Shelton was shot down and captured by the Pathet Lao. He would be listed as a prisoner of war by the United States Department of Defense until 20 September 1994 making him the last American classified as a prisoner from the war. [82]

The CIA warned in a memorandum that the introduction of U.S. ground forces into Vietnam might result in "constant danger that the war weary people of South Vietnam will let the U.S. assume an even greater share of the fighting. [45] : 150

The U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Harold K. Johnson lunched with Vietnam expert and author Bernard Fall in Washington. Johnson said that, "As a result of my discussions with Dr. Fall, I conclude that I am the victim of appreciable misinformation concerning cliques, claques, and the variety of outlooks and objectives of the diverse elements that comprise the population of Vietnam." [83]

In his search for more reliable information about Vietnam, in June, Johnson appointed a team of military officers to develop "new sources of action to be taken in South Vietnam by the United States and its allies, which, will, in conjunction with current actions, lead in due time to successful accomplishment of US aims and objectives." What came to be called "A Program for the Pacification and Long-Term Development of South Vietnam" (PROVN) would be completed on 1 March 1966. [84]

An article in Newsweek magazine prompted the breaking of diplomatic relations by Cambodia with the United States. Prince Norodom Sihanouk cited a report about his mother, Queen Kossamak, that had accused her of involvement in "various money-making schemes". [85]

President Johnson requested an additional appropriation of $700 million for the war during the remainder of the fiscal year. The request was approved by Congress 2 days later. Johnson indicated that he might have to request additional funds. [86]

Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived in South Vietnam. The brigade would be responsible for providing security to Bien Hoa Air Base and the port of Vung Tau, both near Saigon. This was the first combat unit from the U.S. Army to arrive in Vietnam. [45] : 147, 151

Forty male students at the University of California in Berkeley stood in front of the city's draft board office and burned their draft cards, introducing what would become a common form of antiwar protest and a refusal to join the war effort. The 40 UC students were among hundreds who marched to the draft board after a noon rally on the Berkeley campus. "While Berkeley police photographers snapped their photos," an Associated Press report noted, "the students squatted in a huddle like a football team and placed their burning cards in a small pile." Although future draft-card burnings would be made in opposition to the war, the initial protest was against the U.S. intervention in the Dominican Civil War. [87]

The Armed Forces Council of South Vietnam under General Thiệu dissolved itself leaving in nominal control of the country the civilian Prime Minister Quat. [54] : 114

III Marine Expeditionary Force established its headquarters at Da Nang Air Base. [17] : 236

Construction began on what would become the Chu Lai Air Base in South Vietnam, as a unit of the U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion, NMCB-10, began the task of putting in the first combat zone "Short Airfield for Tactical Support" (SATS). The team would have a 4,000 feet (1,200 m) runway in place within 23 days and the first airplanes would land on 1 June. [17] : 33–4

In the Battle of Song Be the VC overran the capital city of Phước Long Province, about 60 miles (97 km) north of Saigon. The town was recaptured by the ARVN with U.S. air support but the VC withdrew in good order and evaded pursuit by the ARVN.The battle resulted in 85 VC, 49 ARVN and five U.S. killed. [54] : 115

President Johnson halted the bombing of North Vietnam under Operation Rolling Thunder in an attempt to induce the North Vietnamese to negotiate a peace agreement. North Vietnam instead said the bombing halt was only "an effort to camouflage American intensification of the war." [54] : 115

Ho Chi Minh met with Chinese leader Mao Zedong in China. Ho said that North Vietnam would "take the main burden of the war by themselves" but requested additional Chinese economic and military support. Mao agreed and they set the ground rules for Chinese assistance: North Vietnamese would fight the war with Chinese logistical help, but the Chinese would not intervene militarily unless the United States invaded North Vietnam. Chinese assistance to North Vietnam took three forms: engineers and laborers to build and maintain defense works, airfields and roads, anti-aircraft personnel to defend North Vietnam from air attacks, and military equipment. The total number of Chinese stationed in North Vietnam and dedicated to these tasks was about 160,000 with the first tranche arriving in May 1965. [51] : 369–374

Twenty-eight USAF airmen and eight RVNAF were killed in an accidental explosion at Bien Hoa Air Base. Thirteen airplanes were destroyed and 25 damaged. [54] : 115 [61] : 45

Presidential adviser and future Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford in a letter to President Johnson said, "I believe our ground forces in South Vietnam should be kept to a minimum, consistent with the protection of our installations and property in that country . This could be a quagmire. It could turn into an open end commitment on our part that would take more and more ground troops, without a realistic hope of ultimate victory." [88]

A few officers and around 40 civilians, predominantly Catholic, were arrested on charges of attempting to assassinate Quát and kidnap Kỳ among others. Several of the arrested were known supporters of Thảo and believed to be abetting him in evading the authorities. [7] : 338–44 [89] : 249

Eight hundred soldiers of 1 RAR departed Australia on HMAS Sydney to be deployed to Biên Hòa. [90] [54] : 116

New Zealand Prime Minister Keith Holyoake announced in Parliament that 120 troops from the 16th Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery become the first of that nation's troops to be committed to the war. "Nothing will give Australian soldiers more satisfaction than to be in company with troops from New Zealand”, Holyoake told the opening session of Parliament in Wellington. [91]

The Battle of Ba Gia in Quảng Ngãi Province began when the VC 271st Regiment, 9th Division ambushed the ARVN 1st Battalion, 51st Regiment 25th Division. The VC claim to have killed or wounded 915 ARVN and captured 270, while the ARVN claim to have lost 392 men and killed 556 VC. The battle highlighted the vulnerability of the ARVN as a military force against the flexible VC. [54] : 116

The PAVN besieged Đức Cơ Camp which was defended by the 5th Special Forces Group Detachment A-215 and Civilian Irregular Defense Group program (CIDG) forces. On 3 August a force of ARVN Paratroopers with Major Norman Schwarzkopf as senior military adviser was sent to relieve the camp. The paratroopers took heavy casualties and a second, larger force was required to relieve them. That force too came into heavy contact on 5 August. Schwarzkopf and his group fought continuously for several days. On 17 August additional ARVN forces supported by two battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived and broke the siege. [92]

The U.S. Navy began a permanent presence by one aircraft carrier at Dixie Station off the coast of South Vietnam. [93] : 152

General Westmoreland reported to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the VC were stronger than ever and that ARVN was taking heavy casualties and suffering from a high rate of desertions and an unwillingness to take the offensive. Westmoreland said, "I see no course of action open to us except to reinforce our efforts in SVN South Vietnam with additional U.S. or third country forces as rapidly as is practical." He identified U.S. units that could be assigned to South Vietnam that would bring U.S. military strength in the country up to 44 combat battalions. [38] : 440–2

A U.S. State Department spokesman, Robert J. McCloskey told a press conference "more or less offhandedly", that General Westmoreland had been given presidential authorization to commit American ground troops to combat in support of ARVN missions. McCloskey specifically said that "I'm sure it's been made clear. that American forces would be available for combat support together with Vietnamese forces as and when necessary." [94] The White House issued a carefully worded denial the next day. [95]

In the Battle of Đồng Xoài, in Phước Long Province about 60 miles (97 km) northeast of Saigon, the VC overran the district capital, then withdrew following air strikes and ARVN reinforcements brought in by U.S. helicopters. The battle resulted in 350+ VC, 416 ARVN and 7 U.S. killed and 12 missing. [54] : 118

South Vietnam's President Phan Khắc Sửu and Prime Minister Phan Huy Quát announced their resignations, less than eight months after they had formed a civilian government that worked within the oversight of the military leaders. [96] Major General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was named as the President, chairing the "Supreme Military Council" and Vice Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ became Prime Minister. [97]

General Westmoreland asked the U.S. Department of Defense for increased authority to undertake offensive operations. He said, "We have reached the point in Vietnam where we cannot avoid the commitment to combat of U.S. ground troops." The Pentagon endorsed Westmoreland's request for additional soldiers which would bring total U.S. military personnel in Vietnam up to 117,000, plus 20,000 third-country troops, by November 1. [38] : 445–6

Senator J. William Fulbright, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said on national television that the U.S. should negotiate directly with North Vietnam and make "major concessions" to end the war. Fulbright's statement was criticized by prominent Republicans former Vice President Nixon said that negotiations "would be surrender on the installment plan." [35] : 445–6

Secretary of Defense McNamara announced that 22,000 additional troops were being sent to South Vietnam, while conceding that the war was going unfavorably for the U.S. [98]

Commander Louis Page and Lieutenant John Smith, of VF-21 operating from the USS Midway, scored the first U.S. Navy air kill of the war, shooting down a VPAF MiG-17 while flying an F-4B Phantom. In all, four MiGs were downed on that day by the U.S. [99]

Under Secretary of State George Ball wrote a memo to President Johnson stating, "Ever since 1961 - the beginning of our deep involvement in Vietnam - we have met successive disappointments. We have tended to underestimate the strength and staying power of the enemy. We have tended to overestimate the effectiveness of our sophisticated weapons under jungle conditions. We have watched the progressive loss of territory to Viet Cong control. We have been unable to bring about the creation of a stable political base in Saigon." Ball advised caution in expanding the U.S. military commitment to South Vietnam. [38] : 448–9

Under Operation Arc Light, B-52 aircraft were used for the first time in the Vietnam War. Flying out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, 27 B-52s dropped 750- and 1,000-pound bombs on a VC stronghold. Two B-52s were lost in a mid-air collision. An after-action survey found little evidence of VC casualties. [100]

Air Marshall Kỳ was appointed by the military junta as Prime Minister. With Thiệu as president and Kỳ as Prime Minister the revolving door of rulers that had prevailed in South Vietnam since the overthrow of Ngô Đình Diệm in November 1963 ended.

After being ambushed while in support of a rescue operation, A-1 Skyraider pilots Clinton Johnson and Charles Hartman shoot down a VPAF MiG-17 with their 20 mm M3 cannons. This is the first confirmed air-to-air gun kill of the war.

The Soviet Union rejected a proposal by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson to come to Moscow, along with the leaders of three other British Commonwealth states (the United Kingdom, Ghana, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago), on a peace mission to end the war. Denying that the Soviet Union would have any influence over the Communist regime in North Vietnam, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin said that the U.S.S.R. "has not been authorized by anybody to conduct talks on a settlement in Viet Nam and the Soviet Government does not intend to conduct such negotiations." [101]

General Westmoreland advised Washington that he needed more soldiers than those previously approved and proposed that the U.S. bomb the railroad from North Vietnam to China, mine Haiphong harbor, and carry out B-52 strikes. [38] : 451–2

The VC planted two bombs in central Saigon, the first on the My Canh Café floating restaurant and second on a tobacco stall to injure the first responders. The two bombs killed 42 people, mostly civilians and wounded 80. [102]

General Westmoreland was granted authority by the Department of Defense "to commit U.S. ground forces anywhere in the country when, in his judgement, they were needed to strengthen South Vietnamese forces." [103]

A battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade undertook the first major U.S.-led search and destroy mission of the war. ARVN and Australian soldiers also participated in the sweep through part of Zone D, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Saigon. The assault began with an artillery barrage it located very few VC. [38] : 454 An observation of an Australian on the operation was: "Our patrols do not fire off ammo or shoot up flares like the Yanks--they listen and move quietly, we haven't fired a shot or sent up a flare yet. The Americans think we are mad. It seems to me though, that all they're doing is letting the Viet Cong know where they are. I guess we have a bit to teach them." The Australians had experience in jungle warfare in the Malayan Emergency. [13] : 26–7

Undersecretary of State Ball dissented from the buildup of American forces in South Vietnam. He wrote President Johnson that "The Viet Cong - while supported and guided from the North - is largely an indigenous movement" and that "although we have emphasized its Cold War aspects, the conflict in South Vietnam is essentially a civil war within that country." Ball's view conflicted with the official view that the insurgency in South Vietnam had been created and was sustained by North Vietnam. [104]

Australia began training its first draftees for the war, bringing up the first of 63,790 conscripts who would have two years full-time service in the Australian Regular Army, followed by further service in the army reserves. In all, 804,286 young men who were 20 years old at the time that the draft reactivated, or turned 20 during the Vietnam era, registered for National Service. [105]

A PAVN/VC mortar and sapper attack on Da Nang Air Base destroyed one F-102 and two C-130s and damaging a further two F-102s and one C-130. [17] : 56–7

The A-6 Intruder attack plane made its combat debut, as several were launched from the USS Independence on a combat mission. [106]

The Soviet Union's Council of Ministers approved sending 2,500 army instructors to North Vietnam, to train North Vietnamese troops on how to use surface-to-air missiles against American airplanes. [107]

After B-52 strikes, the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade began another sweep through Zone D with 2,500 men and ARVN and Australian participation. The allies claimed to have inflicted 100 VC casualties. [54] : 120

Former Olympian Lieutenant Ronald Zinn commanding a platoon of B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment was killed in action in War Zone D. [108]

Maxwell Taylor resigned as U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam. Taylor had earlier been opposed to the introduction of U.S. ground troops into South Vietnam, proposing instead an intensified air campaign against North Vietnam. Taylor would be replaced by Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., who returned to Saigon for his second stint as ambassador. [54] : 120 [35] : 395

The Vietnam Service Medal was established by Executive Order 11231 for all members of the armed services who served in the Vietnam War. [109]

The New York Times reported that the 173rd Airborne suffered 10 killed and 42 wounded on its sweep through Zone D, and that its estimates of VC casualties were inflated. The newspaper reported that the U.S. had begun "to accept aerial estimates of enemy casualties. The command has also begun to calculate probable damage inflicted on the Viet Cong despite the absence of bodies or weapons." [38] : 454–5

Two USAF F-4C Phantom fighters of the 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron shot down two VPAF MiG-17 fighters, scoring the first confirmed USAF jet victories of the war. [110]

The 2nd Brigade of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division began to arrive in South Vietnam. The brigade was initially responsible for providing security for Bien Hoa Air Base. [13] : 33–4

U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Isaac Camancho became the first U.S. prisoner of war to successfully escape from a VC prison camp. Four days earlier, Camancho had managed to pry loose a bar on a bamboo cage where he had been kept at night, after having been captured 19 months earlier on 24 November 1963. [111]

The first New Zealand Army combat unit, 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base. [112]

Secretary of Defense McNamara, visiting South Vietnam, was briefed by General Westmoreland who said that U.S. airstrikes had not succeeded in halting the flow of military supplies down the Ho Chi Minh trail. To defeat the VC, now reinforced by the PAVN, would require another large influx of U.S. soldiers amounting to 57 battalions plus helicopter companies and support units. Westmoreland said he planned to reverse the deteriorating military situation by the end of 1965, take the offensive in 1966, and destroy the VC and capture their strongholds by the end of 1967. [74] : 220–1

Three months after a commitment by China's President Liu Shaoqi to provide Chinese pilots to fight in North Vietnam, the Chinese General Staff notified North Vietnam's Defense Ministry that "the time was not appropriate" to supply the assistance. [113]

Thao was reported dead in unclear circumstances [27] : 497 an official report claimed that he died of injuries while on a helicopter en route to Saigon, after being captured north of the city. However, it is generally assumed that he was murdered or tortured to death on the orders of some military officials. [7] : 338–44 [89] : 249

McNamara returned to Washington and recommended to President Johnson that the number of U.S. troops in South Vietnam be increased to 175,000. He recommended also that 235,000 soldiers in the Reserve and National Guard be activated and that the number of U.S. military personnel be increased by 375,000 and that air strikes against North Vietnam be increased from 2,500 to 4,000 per month. [74] : 221

On the 11th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Accords ending the First Indochina War, Ho Chi Minh said that the North Vietnamese and the VC will fight for 20 years or more to achieve victory and unification of the two Vietnams. [54] : 121

Police in Saigon foiled a plot to assassinate outgoing U.S. Ambassador Taylor, 15 minutes before he was scheduled to enter a stadium for South Vietnam's "National Unity Day for the Liberation of North Viet Nam" rally. VC members had placed a shrapnel-loaded bomb at a cemetery across the street from the entrance that Taylor was to use. [114]

Two VC battalions attacked Bù Đốp Camp. At daybreak three CIDG companies arrived from Camp Bù Gia Mập securing the camp. VC losses were 161 killed. [115] [116]

President Johnson convened his advisers in a meeting of the 15 member National Security Council at the White House, prior to making a decision about the direction that the United States should take in fighting the war. During the morning session, George Ball, the United States Under Secretary of State strongly argued against the recommendation by Secretary of Defense McNamara to increase the number of American troops in South Vietnam. According to minutes of that day's meeting that would be released years later, Ball urged that the U.S. should "cut its losses" and allow the South Vietnamese government to "do what seems natural to it, let it fall apart" and, with the rest of the advisers against him, closed with the prophetic statement that South Vietnam would ultimately lose to the VC guerrillas, regardless of McNamara's plans to commit 175,000 additional troops, that the U.S. would not get out with a victory, and that "we'll double our bet and get lost in the rice paddies." [117] In the course of the discussion, General Wallace M. Greene, Jr. estimated that winning the war would take 5 years and 500,000 American soldiers. He said that he believed the American people would back such a commitment. Johnson was skeptical that Americans would support such a large commitment and opted instead for a gradual buildup of American forces and escalation of the war as recommended by General Westmoreland. [118]

A USAF F-4C Phantom #63-7599 was shot down by a North Vietnamese SAM-2 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Hanoi, in the first loss of a US aircraft to a North Vietnamese SAM. [119] : 163–4 The pilot, Captain Richard P. Keirn ejected successfully from his stricken aircraft and was captured. His bombardier/navigator Captain Roscoe H. Fobair failed to eject and was killed, his remains were recovered in 2001. [120] 24 July would be celebrated in North Vietnam as "Missile Day". [57] : 167

In a meeting with President Johnson most Congressional leaders of both parties agreed with his plan to increase U.S. military forces in South Vietnam. The exception was Senator Mike Mansfield, while publicly supporting the President said at the meeting, said, "we are going deeper into a war in which even a total victory would, in the end, be a loss to the nation." Mansfield proposed negotiations to end the war. [35] : 455–7

U.S. aircraft struck a surface-to-air missile installation for the first time, attacking an SA-2 site at Suối Hai, Hà Tây Province, North Vietnam. Operation Spring High took off with 46 F-105 fighter-bombers and 58 other supporting aircraft to bomb the sites, losing six planes in the process and destroying only one of the two targets, designated as "Site 6". Afterward, "bomb damage assessment photos disclosed that there was a dummy missile in Site 6, placed there as a trap, and that Site 7 was empty." [119] : 164–5 [93] : 153 [57] : 167

In a nationally televised speech, President Johnson announced his decision to send an additional 50,000 U.S. troops to South Vietnam, increasing the number of personnel there by two-thirds and to bring the commitment to 125,000. Johnson also said that the monthly draft call would more than double, to more than 1,000 new young men per day (from 17,000 to 35,000) for enlistment and training in the U.S. Armed Forces, but he declined to activate the Reserve and National Guard. [121] Johnson timed the speech for the noon hour in Washington, when there were fewer television viewers. [74] : 22 [35] : 458

A brigade of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division arrived at Cam Ranh Bay and set up its base camp there.

Sixty-one percent of Americans responded "no" to the following question by the Gallup Poll, "Do you think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam?" [122]

General Lo Jui-ching, the Chief of Joint Staff of the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, declared on Radio Peking that the Chinese were ready to fight the United States again, as they had in the Korean War. Comparing U.S. President Johnson to Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo, General Lo said of the Americans that "If they lose all sense of reality in their lust for gain and persist in underestimating the strength and determination of the Chinese people, impose a war on us, and compel us to accept the challenge, the Chinese people and the Chinese People's Liberation Army, long well prepared and standing in battle array, not only will stay with you without fail to the end, but invite you to come in large numbers, the more the better. [123]

After coming under VC sniper fire, U.S. Marines burned down the South Vietnamese village of Cam Ne, "using flame throwers, cigarette lighters and bulldozers" to set fire to 150 houses made up of straw, thatch, and bamboo and bulldozing homes made of sturdier materials. [124] Major General Lewis W. Walt, the commander of the 3rd Marine Division, said in a statement that "the civilians had been urged in advance by helicopter loudspeakers to go to open fields where they would be safe" before their homes were burned down. [125] The Marines were accompanied by CBS reporter Morley Safer and a cameraman, and while the newspaper reports of the deliberate destruction of homes had little impact, American TV viewers were shocked when they saw film of the attack on the CBS Evening News, and President Johnson was infuriated by the CBS decision to show the war in an unfavorable light. [17] : 64

Đức Cơ Camp, 45 kilometres (28 mi) southwest of Pleiku had been under siege by the VC since late May. On 8 August the South Vietnamese Marines Task Force Alpha and an ARVN armored task force departed Pleiku on 8 August to relieve the garrison. On 9 August they came into heavy contact with a PAVN battalion dug in astride Route 19. The South Vietnamese attacked and dislodged the PAVN, only to have the rear of the column attacked by another reinforced PAVN battalion. Battered by air strikes all night long, the PAVN 32nd Regiment, launched a final attack at dawn and then withdrew from the battlefield. On 10 August the South Vietnamese moved into Đức Cơ and broke the siege. The South Vietnamese infantry, with the support of U.S. and RVNAF air strikes, claimed to have killed over 400 PAVN and captured 71 weapons. VNMC losses were 28 killed and 3 missing. [17] : 206 General Westmoreland sent the 173rd Airborne Brigade to Pleiku and the brigade opened the highway from Pleiku to Duc Co. [13] : 30–1

The VC attacked a petroleum storage facility near Da Nang, destroying 40 percent of the facility and almost 2 million gallons of fuel. [54] : 124

Former General and Ambassador Maxwell Taylor, now an adviser to President Johnson, told the President: "By the end of 1965, the North Vietnamese offensive will be bloodied and defeated without having achieved major gains." North Vietnam would be forced to change its strategy. [35] : 464

Gerald R. Ford, a Congressman from Michigan and the leader of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, urged President Johnson to ask Congress to declare war on North Vietnam, so that the increasing commitment of American servicemen could be debated. "It would be the honest thing to do under the circumstances, considering our present commitment." [126]

After its pilots ejected safely, a battle-damaged USAF B-57 bomber and its payload of 16 armed 250-pound bombs crashed in a residential area of Nha Trang, killing at least 12 people and injuring 75 others. [127]

The North Vietnamese revealed that they had mobile SAM-2 units that could be taken to any location, shooting down a U.S. Navy A-4 Skyhawk flying 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Hanoi. Lieutenant (j.g.) Donald H. Brown Jr. operating from the USS Coral Sea was killed in the crash, becoming the first U.S. Navy flier to be downed by a SAM missile. [128]

The VC attacked the National Police headquarters in Saigon killing two guards and exploding a bomb in the building before making their escape. [129] The VC claim to have killed 165 police in the attack. [57] : 161

Operation Starlite was the first offensive military action conducted by the U.S. Marines during the war and the first purely American operation. Lieutenant General Lewis W. Walt with 5,500 Marines launched a preemptive strike against 1,500 VC to nullify a threat on the Chu Lai base, 60 miles (97 km) south of Da Nang. The operation resulted in 614 VC killed and 42 captured and 45 Marines killed. [130] [17] : 79–80 General William E. DePuy at an later briefing said that the VC "maneuvered in the jungle, maintained tactical integrity, withdrew their wounded, lost practically no weapons, and did a first class job" and that "we'd be proud of American troops. who did as well." [74] : 234

A U.S. Marines C-130 Hercules plunged into Yau Tong Bay shortly after takeoff from Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport killing 58 of the 71 U.S. military personnel onboard who had been on R&R and were returning to South Vietnam. [131] [132]

President Johnson signed an Executive Order removing a marriage exemption from the draft, although married fathers between the ages of 19 to 26 were still exempt. Americans who got married before midnight on the 26th would remain exempt from conscription into military service. [133] Hundreds of men drove to Nevada in order to get married without a waiting period and would find out four days later that they had only deferred eligibility for four months General Lewis B. Hershey announced on 30 August that all married, childless men (aged 19 to 26) would be eligible for the draft beginning in January, 1966. [134]

The 1st Battalion, 9th Marines operating south of the Marble Mountains engaged a VC company killing 12 VC and capturing 12. Later intelligence revealed that the VC had actually lost 30 killed. [17] : 139

China lodged a protest with the United Kingdom for allowing American troops to visit Hong Kong while on R&R. The Chinese, who were obligated under a 99-year lease to allow the British to use the area as a colony until 1997, likened the recreational use to the placement of an American military base on the Chinese mainland. The diplomatic note was delivered in Beijing to British Chargé d'Affaires K. M. Wilford, who was summoned to the Chinese Foreign Ministry by Hsieh Li, the Director of the Ministry's Department for Western European affairs. [135]

The U.S. Marine Corps announced that it was cutting the amount of training of new recruits from 12 weeks of boot camp to only eight, in response to the sudden increase in combat troops assigned to the war. "The aim is to process 30,000 additional men," a report noted, "without adding to present marine facilities or increasing the staff of instructors," effectively educating 50% more U.S. Marines each year. [136]

During Operation Stomp, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines used what it described as tear gas to force hidden VC guerrillas into the open in the South Vietnamese village of Vinh Quang in the Binh Dinh Province. The North Vietnamese branch of the International Red Cross, however, said that the 48 canisters were of a high concentration of phenacyl chloride or CN gas and that 35 civilians had been killed. USMC Lieutenant Colonel Leon N. Utter was investigated but cleared of wrongdoing. [137] The operation resulted in 26 VC killed and three captured. [17] : 91

The New York Times reported that ex-Vice President Richard Nixon said at a press conference that 125,000 American troops and an expanded bombing campaign would be sufficient to achieve victory in South Vietnam. [138]

Operation Piranha was an assault by the U.S. 7th Marine Regiment, the ARVN 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment, 2nd Division and the 3rd Vietnamese Marine Battalion on the VC stronghold on the Batangan Peninsula, Quảng Ngãi Province. The operation resulted in 178 VC, two U.S. and five South Vietnamese killed. [17] : 87

The U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) began to arrive in South Vietnam at Qui Nhơn. The division was the first full U.S. Army division to be deployed to South Vietnam and relied on helicopters to transport its combat units to and from operational areas. [139]

Columnist Joseph Alsop writing in The Washington Post said that, with the U.S. military build-up in South Vietnam, "at last there is light at the end of the tunnel." [3] : 32–3

An Air Vietnam DC-3 was shot down 11 km northeast of Quảng Ngãi killing all 39 on board. [140]

In Operation Gibraltar, 224 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division landed by helicopter near An Khê, in the Central Highlands area where 2 VC battalions were located. The VC attacked and killed 13 Americans. Air strikes forced the VC to retreat, with losses estimated by the U.S. at between 226 and 257. [13] : 41–3 General Westmoreland called the operation "a great victory." Others, including Col. David H. Hackworth, considered the battle "not. a great victory." [13] : 42–3

Six U.S. warplanes were shot down over North and South Vietnam. [54] : 126

Two People's Liberation Army Air Force Shenyang J-6 fighters shot down a USAF F-104C Starfighter #56-883 and captured its pilot, USAF Captain Philip E. Smith, when due to equipment failure and incorrect navigational commands he strayed into Chinese airspace over Hainan. [141] Smith would spend more than seven years in solitary confinement in a Chinese prison until being released at Hong Kong on 15 March 1973. [142]

General Westmoreland requested 35,000 additional U.S. troops, which would bring the total military personnel authorized in South Vietnam to 210,000. President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara set a limit of the total number of U.S. soldiers of 195,000. [35] : 468

U.S. Army Captain Humbert Roque "Rocky" Versace, 28, and U.S. Army Master Sergeant Kenneth M. Roraback, 33, were executed by the VC. According to a broadcast by Radio Hanoi, the two men, both of whom had been held prisoner since 1963, were killed in reprisal for the execution of three VC in South Vietnam. [143] Versace would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on 8 July 2002. [144]

General Suharto seizes power in Indonesia ostensibly in response to an attempted coup by the Communist Party of Indonesia. An anti-communist purge followed and Suharto consolidated power with U.S. support and so "stabilising" the Indonesian "domino".

The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag is first released by Country Joe and the Fish, it would become one of the most recognized protest songs against the war. [145]

Project Skoshi Tiger was the combat testing of 12 F-5A/B Freedom Fighters by the USAF 4503rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. In June 1967 the surviving aircraft were transferred to the RVNAF to form their first jet squadron, the 522nd Fighter Squadron. [146]

David Miller "a Catholic pacifist" burnt his draft card during an anti-war rally in New York City organized by the Catholic Worker Movement. On 18 October he was arrested by the FBI under the new federal law that made defacement of a selective service information card punishable as a crime and later served 22 months in prison. [147]

Protests against the war took place in Europe and in about 40 U.S. cities. The organization coordinating the U.S. demonstrations was called the National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam. [54] : 127

The first successful American attack on a North Vietnamese SAM site was accomplished when four A-4 Skyhawks struck a site near Kép Air Base northeast of Hanoi. [148]

In the first Shining Brass mission against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos an RVNAF CH-34 and an O-1 collided and disappeared killing all four on the aircraft, including Captain Larry Thorne. [149]

The Siege of Plei Me was a series of assaults by the PAVN on a CIDG camp manned by U.S. and ARVN special forces and rangers and 400 Montagnard allies. U.S. airstrikes and a relief force lifted the siege. The siege resulted in 326 PAVN killed and a further 850 estimated killed in the siege and pursuit, 14 CIDG and three U.S. killed. [54] : 127

Two Marine F-4B Phantoms returning to Da Nang Air Base crashed into the side of Monkey Mountain killing all four crewmen. [17] : 155

A CIA intelligence estimate said that "Hanoi continues to asset its determination to press on with the war in South Vietnam despite the continuing attrition of the air war and the increase of US troops in the South." [35] : 468

Approximately 90 VC attacked Marble Mountain Air Facility near Da Nang under the cover of 60 mm mortar fire using four demolition teams armed with Bangalore torpedoes and hand grenades. They were able to destroy 19 aircraft and damage another 35. VMO-2 took the brunt of the attack with 13 of its UH-1E Hueys destroyed. The attack killed two Marines and one Navy Corpsman with another 91 wounded. Seventeen Viet Cong were killed during the battle along with four wounded who were taken prisoner. [17] : 201

The VC penetrated Chu Lai Air Base destroying two A-4 Skyhawks and damaging a further six. Marines killed 15 of the 20-man VC sapper squad. [17] : 125

In New York City, 25,000 people marched down Fifth Avenue in support of President Johnson and the Vietnam War. Demonstrations of support took place in other locations in the United States as well. [150] The New York march was sponsored by the New York City Council, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. [151]

Two USAF A-1 Skyraiders mistakenly struck the South Vietnamese village of De Duc near Bong Son in Bình Định Province, killing 48 civilians, mostly women and children and injuring 48 more. [152]

The VC attack Hill 22 south of the Túy Loan River occupied by Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines partially overrunning the position. Marine reinforcements arrived and drove off the VC killing 57 and capturing one for the loss of 16 Marines killed. [17] : 127–9

Norman Morrison a 31 year old Quaker died of burns suffered when he set himself on fire in front of The Pentagon, in protest against the war. Morrison was holding his one-year-old daughter as he doused himself in kerosene, and was reportedly still holding her as he began to burn, letting the child go after horrified onlookers yelled 'Drop the baby!" The child was rescued, unharmed but Morrison was dead on arrival at the Fort Myer dispensary. [153] Morrison had set himself ablaze 50 yards (46 m) from, and within sight of, the office of Defense Secretary McNamara, who would write 30 years later, "Morrison's death was a tragedy not only for his family, but also for me and the country." North Vietnam would memorialize him with a postage stamp and named [154] [155]

In a memorandum to President Johnson, Secretary McNamara estimated total communist forces in South Vietnam as having increased to 230,000, including 71,000 VC main force, 40,000 political cadre, 110,000 guerrillas and 20,000 PAVN soldiers. McNamara anticipated that these totals would increase. [156]

Photojournalist Dickey Chapelle dies from a shrapnel wound caused by a VC booby-trap while on patrol with a Marine platoon during Operation Black Ferret, a search and destroy operation 16 km south of Chu Lai. She became the first female war correspondent to be killed in Vietnam, as well as the first American female reporter to be killed in action. [157]

Ho Thi Que a 38 year old ARVN Ranger known as "The Tiger Lady of South Vietnam", was killed during an argument with her husband, Major Nguyen Van Dan. [158]

Operation Hump was a search and destroy operation by the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in an area 17.5 miles (28.2 km) north of Biên Hòa. 1 RAR deployed south of the Đồng Nai River while the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, conducted a helicopter assault on an LZ northwest of the Đồng Nai and Song Be rivers. The operation resulted in 403 VC, 49 U.S. and two Australians killed.

The Battle of Gang Toi was fought between 1 RAR and the VC. The battle occurred when 1 RAR found a VC bunker system in the Gang Toi Hills, in northern Biên Hòa Province. The battle resulted in six VC killed and five captured and two Australians killed. [159]

The Republic of Korea Army Capital Division completed its landing in South Vietnam to participate in the war. [45] : 168 The Capital Division was stationed at Qui Nhơn in Bình Định Province on the central coast of South Vietnam. With the Koreans in Qui Nhơn, a brigade of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division moved inland to protect Highway 19, which led to Pleiku in the Central Highlands. The South Korean 2nd Marine Brigade was stationed at the port city of Nha Trang. [160]

In the Battle of Ap Bau Bang two regiments from the VC 9th Division attacked a night defensive position of the United States 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment at Ap Bàu Bàng, 25 km north of Thủ Dầu Một. The battle resulted in 146 VC killed and a further 50 estimated killed and 20 U.S. killed. [13] : 84

Peter Hunting, an American member of the International Voluntary Service, is killed in a VC ambush in the Mekong Delta, becoming the first American civilian volunteer to be killed in the war. [161]

In the Battle of Ia Drang for the first time, the U.S. Army and PAVN met head-on in a major engagement, with the ARVN playing only a minor role. Casualties were heavy on both sides, with some 250 U.S. and at least 1,200 PAVN dead. For General Westmoreland, the battle was a victory for U.S. firepower and mobility in a war of attrition in which the U.S. attempted to kill more communist troops than could be replaced. However, in the words of Joe Galloway, a journalist awarded a Bronze Star for his participation in the battle, Ia Drang was "the battle that convinced Ho Chi Minh he could win." The communists would "grind down the Americans" as they had the French in the 1940s and early '50s in the First Vietnam War. [45] : 169 [162]

30 Marine UH-34D helicopters, supported by fixed-wing attack aircraft, lifted 788 ARVN troops to the relief of an invested ARVN garrison at Hiệp Đức District. In this initial lift, 20 of the 30 helicopters were hit by ground fire as they approached the landing zone. Despite marginal flying weather, accompanying attack aircraft and armed helicopters dropped some 14 tons of high explosive bombs and fired 512 rockets into VC positions near the landing areas. VC losses during the period were 38 confirmed dead with many more probables. The following day, 22 UH-34Ds lifted 463 more ARVN troops to Hiệp Đức. [17] : 240

3rd Battalion, 7th Marines began reinforcing an ARVN Ranger battalion which had come under attack by an estimated VC regiment about 20 miles (32 km) south of Quang Ngai. The Rangers had lost 71 killed and two missing while VC losses were 175 killed by U.S. body count and three VC captured. When the Marines landed, they secured the landing zones, occupied night defensive positions and early the next morning cleared the critical terrain, capturing 17 VC and killing three, Marine losses were two killed. [17] : 240

A U.S. military spokesman reported that 240 American servicemen had been killed in the war during the week of 14–20 November, in the deadliest week of the war for Americans up to that time. During the years 1961–4, there had been 244 U.S. deaths, only slightly more than the casualties for the week. The newest casualties raised the toll to 1,335 dead and 6,131 wounded. [163]

General Lon Nol, Chief of Staff of the Royal Cambodian Army, concluded an agreement with Luo Ruiqing, the Chief of Staff of China's People's Liberation Army, permitting the passage of PAVN/VC troops through its border regions and allowing China to ship war supplies to Vietnam through Cambodian territory. Lon Nol had traveled to Beijing at the request of Prince Sihanouk. [164]

The "March on Washington for Peace in Vietnam", organized by the "Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy" (SANE), attracted a crowd of almost 35,000 demonstrators who picketed the White House, then moved on toward the Washington Monument. It was the largest public protest against U.S. involvement in Vietnam up to that time. The leaders of SANE were concerned about the public perception of the antiwar movement, so they asked that protesters only carry signs with "authorized slogans", and not to demand immediate withdrawal, nor to burn the American flag. [165] [166]

In an act which it said was being done as a "response to the friendly sentiments of the American people against the war in South Vietnam", the VC released U.S. Army Sergeant George E. Smith and Specialist E-5 Claude E. McClure, who had both been captured on 24 November 1963. Vietnam Communist Party official Le Duc Tho escorted Smith and McClure across the border from North Vietnam into Cambodia, freeing both men after two years as prisoners of war. Smith and McClure would travel across neutral Cambodia on their own and would address a press conference in Phnom Penh on 30 November, praising their captors and American antiwar protesters, and criticizing the war effort. [167] On 27 December the U.S. military announced that Smith and McClure would face court martial for aiding the enemy. [168]

PAVN forces attacked the ARVN 7th Regiment, 5th Division in the Michelin Rubber Plantation killing most of the Regiment and five U.S. advisers. [13] : 88 [169]

In response to President Johnson's call for "more flags" in South Vietnam, Philippines President-elect Ferdinand Marcos announced that he would send troops to help fight in South Vietnam. [170]

After meeting with General Westmoreland in South Vietnam, Secretary of Defense McNamara recommended in a memorandum to President Johnson that the number of U.S. troops in South Vietnam should be increased to about 400,000 in 1966 and possibly by an additional 200,000 in 1967. McNamara estimated that 1,000 Americans per month would die in the war and that "the odds are even" that the U.S. would prevail. McNamara recommended a pause in bombing North Vietnam of 3 to 4 weeks duration to try to find a way to end the war before undertaking the military buildup. Ambassador Lodge, General Westmoreland, and CINCPAC opposed the bombing halt. [74] : 236–7, 243–4

In an article in Reader's Digest, former Vice President Nixon opposed negotiations to end the war. "There can be no substitute for victory when the objective is the defeat of communist aggression", he said. [171]

Operation Bushmaster II was conducted by the U.S. 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in the Michelin Rubber Plantation. The operation resulted in 318 VC killed and 27 captured and 44 U.S. killed and three missing. [13] : 92

A U.S. Marine at Da Nang allegedly vandalized the Khue Bac Pagoda by beheading the shrine's golden image of Gautama Buddha. By 8 December 500 Buddhist protesters marched through the streets of Da Nang after Khue Bac's principal monk, Thich Giac Ngo, threatened to disembowel himself to atone for allowing the Buddha to be destroyed. U.S. Ambassador Lodge promised to fully investigate the incident and to compensate the monastery for the damage. [172]

The VC bomb the Metropole Bachelor Enlisted Quarters in Saigon killing seven Vietnamese civilians, one U.S. Marine and one New Zealand soldier and injuring 175 others. [173] The VC claim to have killed 200 Americans. [57] : 161

Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines engaged 70 VC on the Trung Phan peninsula 6 miles (9.7 km) southeast of Chu Lai Air Base killing 38 VC and capturing seven. [17] : 131

In Operation Dagger Thrust V the Marines Shore Landing Force 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines landed at the Phu Thu village 40 miles (64 km) north of Qui Nhơn and engaged a VC force killing 26 VC and capturing 38 suspects for the loss of three Marines killed. [17] : 203

5 December - 11 November 1968

Operation Tiger Hound was a covert USAF 2nd Air Division, later Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 aerial interdiction campaign conducted in southeastern Laos. [174]

Operation Harvest Moon/Lien Ket 18 was a U.S. 1st Marine Division and ARVN 2nd Division search and destroy operation in the Quế Sơn Valley in western Quảng Tín Province. The operation resulted in 407 VC killed and 33 captured and 45 Marines killed and 90 ARVN killed and 91 missing. [17] : 109

A USAF C-123 Provider transport plane crashed with 81 ARVN Airborne and four American officers on board. There were no survivors and the wreckage wasn't located until 23 December. [175]

150-200 VC supported by mortars attacked an 81-strong Marine Reconnaissance, Special Forces, CIDG and Nung force on a hilltop position in Ba Tơ District. The defenders were forced to disperse and evade losing three Marines, one Special Forces and 10 CIDG killed. [17] : 180

Operation Game Warden (Task Force 116) began. It was a U.S. Navy and Republic of Vietnam Navy operation in the Mekong Delta to patrol the rivers and coastal waters, prevent the infiltration of soldiers and supplies from North Vietnam and deny the VC access to the waterways. [176]

After a visit to South Vietnam, Marine Corps General Victor Krulak wrote a report expressing disagreement with General Westmoreland's strategy of attrition. It was "wasteful of American lives, promising a protracted, strength-sapping battle with small likelihood of a successful outcome." Krulak proposed instead a focus on a pacification program to provide village security plus increased air strikes. [74] : 249–50

For the first time since the beginning of the war, Saigon came under a VC mortar attack. One of the first rounds exploded inside the Kieu Tong Muo police precinct station, about 4 miles (6.4 km) from the city center, although there were no casualties. [177]

President Johnson announced a halt in the bombing of North Vietnam and initiated a worldwide diplomatic effort to persuade North Vietnam to negotiate an end to the war. The Department of Defense opposed the bombing halt. [35] : 476–7

Ho Chi Minh addressed the Communist Party Central Committee in Hanoi. Ho said that "politics" was the weak point of the American and South Vietnamese enemy, and the domestic situation of the United States will not permit the U.S. to utilize its military and economic power in South Vietnam. The Committee decided that the communist forces in South Vietnam should seek a "decisive victory within a relatively short period of time", but must prepare to defend itself if the U.S. expands its war effort. [57] : 171–2

Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines patrolling in Quang Ha, 11 miles (18 km) south of Da Nang Air Base was ambushed by a VC unit but called in supporting forces and killed 41 VC for the loss of two Marines killed. [17] : 109

U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam now totaled 184,314, compared to 23,310 a year earlier. [178] U.S. casualties in 1965 totaled 1,928 dead, compared to 216 in the 1964. [179] North Vietnam claimed to have shot down 834 U.S. aircraft during the year. [57] : 167 South Vietnamese military forces totaled 514,000, including the ARVN and the Regional and Popular Force militias. [180] The South Vietnamese armed forces suffered 11,242 killed in action, a five-fold increase in battle deaths since 1960. [1] : 275 93,000 persons deserted from the South Vietnam's armed forces in 1965. [181]

At year's end, the PAVN numbered 400,000, compared to 195,000 a year earlier. VPAF and air defense capabilities were greatly expanded. 50,000 PAVN cadre and soldiers infiltrated South Vietnam during 1965, equal to the total number infiltrated from 1959 through 1964. Group 559, charged with transporting supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to supply PAVN/VC troops in both South Vietnam and Laos, was expanded to 24,400 personnel and moved almost as much tonnage south in 1965 as it had in the preceding six years. [57] : 164–71

Conscription into the United States armed forces in 1965 was 230,991 men, compared to 112,386 in 1964. [182]

Primary Sources

(1) Manchester Guardian (22nd October, 1914)

Victory on the Allied left in Northern France and West Flanders is confidently expected by the troops. From many quarters come reports of the high hopes entertained by the armies. Apparently the fighting is going well and the German position becoming increasingly unfavourable. Throughout yesterday the enemy vigorously attacked the Allied front, only to be beaten back after suffering heavy losses. These tactics are one more proof of the pressure under which the Kaiser's armies are giving way.

The generals are evidently doing their utmost to check the Allies, but of a genuine offensive there is no sign. About Nieuport, on the Belgian coast, where the Allied front reaches the sea, the British navy has lent the armies valuable aid. Three heavily armed monitors, bought by the Admiralty from Brazil, for whom they were completing in England when war broke out, steamed in close to the shore, and by shelling the German flank powerfully assisted the Belgian troops.

Machine guns were landed at Nieuport, and by that means also the navy reinforced the defence. The seaward flank is attracting much of the enemy's attention. Yesterday, says the Paris official statement, the battle was violent between La Bassee and the coast, but nowhere did the Germans obtain any success.

Russia is more than holding her own. Petrograd, which has been studiously moderate in its reports about the fighting in Poland, now announces a German retreat from before Warsaw. The enemy are falling back utterly routed. It has been obvious for several days that Germany's first effort to force a way over the Vistula had failed the failure now appears to have been costly.

Russia's claims find unwilling support in the Berlin wireless circular, which has taken to announcing "no result" and "no change" on the Polish front. Germany will find herself faced with disaster if Russia is able to continue her good work and beat General von Hindenburg's main army as she has beaten his advanced troops.

(2) Manchester Guardian (28th October, 1914)

On the sea flank of the Franco-Belgian front Germany strives desperately to break her way through to the cost. Report says the Kaiser has ordered his generals to take Calais no matter what the cost.

Already the cost of the effort has been terrible, and the taking promises to be long deferred. A Paris official statement issued yesterday afternoon said the enemy were held everywhere, while between Ypres and Roulers the Allied troops had made progress. The British are fighting in front of Ypres.

Berlin puts the best possible construction on events but cannot pretend to a victory, and has to content itself with announcing minor advances. Germany's dash for the coast has suffered many delays, and now seems to have failed. How heavy the enemy's losses have been is illustrated by an incident mentioned in a despatch from an "Eye-witness present with General Headquarters."

On Tuesday, October 20, a determined but unsuccessful attack was made on virtually the whole British line, and at one point where one of our brigades made a counter-attack 1,100 Germans were found dead in a trench and 40 prisoners were taken. Everywhere the British troops have fought with the most splendid courage. For five days at Ypres they held in check, although overwhelmingly outnumbered, 250,000 Germans who fought recklessly to break a way through.

Russia expects great things from her campaign in Western Poland, so well begun with the repulse of the Germans from before Warsaw. The enemy's left flank has been pushed back far towards the frontier while their right remains near the Middle Vistula. This position would be difficult for the Army holding it in the best circumstances. It has been made dangerous by Russian enterprise.

A strong cavalry force has pushed rapidly westwards to Lodz, and from there threatens the German rear. About Radom, on their advanced right, the enemy have prepared a defensive line, but they can hardly remain in possession while danger draws near from Lodz. On the Vistula, east of Radom, the Russians have taken 3,000 prisoners, cannon, and machine guns.

Germany ↑

As in Austria-Hungary, by 1917 the German population was beginning to chafe under the pressures of war. Food shortages provoked riots and massive strikes across the country. Sailors at Wilhelmshaven first mutinied in August 1917, and in Hamburg and Brandenburg, martial law was required to restore order. The Reichstag had already passed a Peace Resolution in July 1917, to little real effect, but these factors forced the German High Command to demand the resignation of Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg (1856-1921). Rather than agree to a peace without annexations, Germany’s military leaders vowed to fight for victory on their terms and deliver a crushing blow on the Western Front. [48]

Under the command of General Ludendorff, Germany launched a series of offensives in the spring of 1918 designed to break the stalemate on the Western Front. Strengthened by forty-four divisions transferred westward from Russia, Ludendorff executed a total of five of six planned attacks between March and July 1918. The first of these attacks, named St. Michael, punctured through British positions and brought a return of mobile warfare. Subsequent offensives were also successful, but in the end, German forces had overextended their supply lines, exhausted their resources, and squandered their best troops. In the first round of attacks, between 21 March and 4 April 1918, German forces suffered over 240,000 casualties. By mid-June 1918, it was clear that Ludendorff’s gamble had failed, and the Germans had lost almost 1 million soldiers. While the Allies had suffered nearly as many casualties, their numbers were augmented by the arrival of American troops more than 200,000 fresh soldiers arrived every month from May to October 1918. By late July 1918, more than one million men were part of the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front. Between July and August 1918, German divisions abandoned their positions in the face of Allied counterattacks, suffering their worst losses on 8 August 1918, the “black day” of the German army. By 2 September 1918, the Germans had lost nearly all the territory taken in the spring and summer. [49]

On 29 September 1918, Ludendorff announced that German forces could not hold back the Allies, and that the government must seek an immediate end to the war. When the Allies announced their terms a few weeks later, Ludendorff refused to accept their conditions and was relieved of his command by the kaiser. On 3 October 1918, Wilhelm II, German Emperor (1859-1941) appointed the moderate Prince Max von Baden (1867-1929) as chancellor and head of the civilian government, and charged him with obtaining an armistice based on Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Furthermore, in order to head off the threat of revolution, Prince Max forced through a series of reforms transforming Germany into a constitutional monarchy. On 29 October 1918, following word of a pending suicidal mission against the British Royal Navy, German sailors mutinied at Kiel. By 4 November 1918, the government and the navy had lost control and the “revolution from below” began. [50]

Once it became clear that there was no chance of victory, further sacrifices on the home front became impossible. Word of the Kiel mutineers spread quickly to other provinces and cities such as Lübeck, Hamburg, and Cologne, where workers’ and military councils were established within days with little resistance These councils (soviets) demanded an end to the war, the abdication of the Kaiser, and creation of a republic. On 6 November 1918, General Wilhelm Groener (1867-1939), Ludendorff’s replacement, informed Prince Max that Germany must seek an immediate ceasefire. While the Social Democratic Party had split into the Majority and Independent Social Democrats over conduct of the war in 1917, both sides now demanded the Kaiser’s abdication.

In Bavaria, the Independent Social Democratic Party leader Kurt Eisner (1867-1919) turned a mass rally into a full rebellion, seizing weapons and deposing the Bavarian King. On 7 November 1918, Eisner declared Bavaria an independent republic and began separate peace negotiations. Two days later, Max announced the Kaiser’s abdication, and transferred parliamentary leadership to the Majority Social Democrats under Friedrich Ebert (1871-1925), which had the support of Groener and the army. Philipp Scheidemann (1865-1939) of the Majority Social Democrats declared a new parliamentary republic from the Reichstag. On the far left, the radical “Spartacists” under Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919), nominally part of the Independent Social Democrats, proclaimed a new soviet-socialist republic the same day, revealing the competing divisions within the socialist parties in the faltering state. Ebert secured the armistice drafted by Prince Max on 10 November 1918, and the following day at 11 o’clock in the morning, all became quiet on the Western Front. [51]

In Germany, the workers’ and soldiers’ councils were not radical revolutionaries, and instead supported the Majority Social Democrats working for democratic and social reform. The moderate Socialists wanted to avoid any threat of a Bolshevik-style revolution. The first goal was to create a democratically elected national assembly. When an all-German conference of delegates met in December 1918, of the 488 delegates only ten were radical “Spartacists,” and the majority supported the election of a National Constitutional Assembly in January 1919. Workers’ and soldiers’ councils simply failed to take control of the critical political and economic institutions, leaving the essential infrastructure of the old imperial state intact. The Kaiser was gone, but the bureaucracy, the power of the military, and the importance of the old elite remained. Among those on the right, many demobilized soldiers joined paramilitary “Freikorps” groups, dedicated to restoring the status quo and suppressing the threat of revolution.

Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) turned the “Spartacists” into the new German Communist Party on 30 December 1918 and challenged Ebert’s government in the Spartacist Revolt (5-12 January 1919). Relying on elements of the army and independent Freikorps volunteers, Ebert crushed his opposition and Liebknecht and Luxemburg were murdered. In demonstrations and fighting in Berlin in January 1919 and Munich in March 1919, over 1,000 people were killed by right-wing groups in order to secure Ebert’s regime. In Bavaria, Eisner was assassinated in February 1919. His successors declared communist republics in Munich in April 1919, which were quickly toppled by Freikorps in May 1919. Another soviet republic was created in Bremen.

Elsewhere, Freikorps units threatened competing politicians, killed their leftist supporters, and combated the threat of revolution across Germany. Some even seized control of Berlin for a short time in March 1920. [52] The increasing violence threatened the new government with the conditions of a near-civil war. The fragile “Weimar Coalition” forged by Ebert succeeded in creating a new democratic constitutional republic in January 1919, but lost much of its support by the June 1920 elections. In part this loss of support was caused by the repressive policies of Ebert’s government to contain the mass movement increasingly opposed to it. Political assassinations and attempted coups kept the government weak through 1923, and the lingering myth of the “stab in the back” led many Germans to conclude that the Allies had forced the Weimar government on them. [53]

Which historian suggested that not building a navy would have enabled Germany to win WW1? - History

Who fought in World War I?

World War I was fought between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers. The main members of the Allied Powers were France, Russia, and Britain. The United States also fought on the side of the Allies after 1917. The main members of the Central Powers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria.

Where was most of the fighting?

The majority of the fighting took place in Europe along two fronts: the western front and the eastern front. The western front was a long line of trenches that ran from the coast of Belgium to Switzerland. A lot of the fighting along this front took place in France and Belgium. The eastern front was between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria on one side and Russia and Romania on the other.

Although there were a number of causes for the war, the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the main catalyst for starting the war. After the assassination, Austria declared war on Serbia. Then Russia prepared to defend its ally Serbia. Next, Germany declared war on Russia to protect Austria. This caused France to declare war on Germany to protect its ally Russia. Germany invaded Belgium to get to France which caused Britain to declare war on Germany. This all happened in just a few days.

A lot of the war was fought using trench warfare along the western front. The armies hardly moved at all. They just bombed and shot at each other from across the trenches. Some of the major battles during the war included the First Battle of the Marne, Battle of the Somme, Battle of Tannenberg, Battle of Gallipoli, and the Battle of Verdun.

The fighting ended on November 11, 1918 when a general armistice was agreed to by both sides. The war officially ended between Germany and the Allies with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

  • More than 65 million men fought in the war.
  • Dogs were used in the trenches to carry messages. A well-trained messenger dog was considered a very fast and reliable way to carry messages.
  • It was the first major war where airplanes and tanks were used.
  • Ninety percent of the 7.8 million soldiers from Austria-Hungary who fought in the war were either injured or killed.
  • When the British first invented tanks they called them "landships."
  • The terrorist group responsible for assassinating Archduke Ferdinand was called the Black Hand.
  • Famed scientist Marie Curie helped to equip vans with x-ray machines that enabled French doctors to see bullets in wounded men. These vans were called "petites Curies", meaning "little Curies."

For reference and further reading:

Causes of World War I by John Ziff. 2006.
DK Eyewitness Books: World War I by Simon Adams. 2007.
Leaders of World War I by Stewart Ross. 2003.
Unraveling Freedom by Ann Bausum. 2010.
World War I: An Interactive History Adventure by Gwenyth Swain. 2012.


  1. ↑ Rielage, Dale C.: Russian Supply Efforts in America during the First World War. Jefferson 2002, p. 131 n.6 Herwig, Holger H.: The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1918. London 1997, p. 64.
  2. ↑ Churchill, Winston: The Unknown War: The Eastern Front. New York 1931, p. 76.
  3. ↑ Herwig, Holger H. and Heyman, Neil M. (eds.): Biographical Dictionary of World War I. London 1982, p. 25.
  4. ↑ Herwig, First World War, pp. 127-128.
  5. ↑ Österreichischer Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung/Österreichisches Kriegsarchiv (eds.): Österreich-Ungarns Letzter Krieg, 1914-1918. Vienna 1933, volume 2, p. 142.
  6. ↑ Von François, Hermann: Gorlice 1915. Der Karpathendurchbruch und die Befreiung von Galizien. Leipzig 1922, p. 42.
  7. ↑ Herwig, First World War, p. 144.
  8. ↑ Knox, Alfred: With the Russian Army, 1914-1917. New York 1971, p. 330.
  9. ↑ Lincoln, W. Bruce: Passage through Armageddon. The Russians in War and Revolution, 1914-1918. New York 1986, p. 260.

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