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Vietnam: Why We Lost

ID : 776   
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Over forty years have passed since Saigon fell in April, 1975, yet for many Americans Vietnam remains an enormously charged subject. The conventional wisdom is that the only lesson of Vietnam is never to get into another war like it. In the nuclear age, however, counterinsurgency wars like Vietnam have been far more frequent than “conventional” wars, as the Iraq War demonstrates. A study of the Vietnam War yields many valuable lessons about how not to fight an insurgency, lessons we ignore at our peril. In this study group we will analyze the ground and air wars in Vietnam using two short books: Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.’s scathing The Army and Vietnam (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986) and Mark Clodfelter’s thoughtful The Limits of Air Power (Bison Books, 2006), together with selected supplemental readings. These sources paint a tale of the disastrous political, doctrinal, operational and tactical mistakes by the Administration, the Army and the Air Force, mistakes that doomed the U.S War effort. The real lesson of the Vietnam War is that it was unwinnable the way we fought it. Take this study group to find out how and why. No class on 11/22/18.

Class Details

13 Sessions
Weekly - Thu

Wieboldt Hall

James Smith 



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Schedule Information

Skip dates: (No class on 11/22/2018, 11/22/2018)

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s) Instructional Method
9/13/2018 - 12/13/2018 Weekly - Thu 9:45 AM - 11:45 AM Chicago, Wieboldt Hall  Map James Smith  ClassRoom