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This is the prize the communists are after South Vietnam rich in rice and standing at the gateway to the rice rich nations of Cambodia Laos Thailand Burma and East Pakistan. The Asian communists are saying that grain of rice is worth a drop of blood. There are also natural resources. For. Phosphate zinc manganese the raw materials on which to base industrialization. Feed a war machine. Natural Rubber. South Vietnam has this tube. And the latex processing facilities which make a floor rubber. The vitally important material it is in today's world. This then is another aspect of the
South Vietnam which the North covers. A nation moving toward greater industrialization. A rich prize indeed in the eyes of communist strategists. At Gettysburg College in 1959. President Eisenhower clearly recognizes the danger. We have learned too that the cost of defending freedom of defending America must be paid in many forms and in many places. They are assessed in all parts of the world in Burnley and in Vietnam and in the Middle East. Here at home on assisted. Viet Nam Can you not at this time produce and support the military formations essential to its. Military as well as economic help is currently needed in Vietnam. By 1960 every area of life from the south has become a combat zone.
This is. A different kind of war. There are no marching armies or solemn declaration. This is really cool. It is guided by North Viet Nam and it is spurred by communist China. Its goal. Is to conquer the South. And to expand. The Asiatic dominion. Of communists. And there. Are. Great stakes. In the balance. No people see this more clearly than the embattled hard pressed Vietnamese. By 1961. They send out an urgent call for help. The answer to that call. Is prompting the right. America promises substantial military and technical aid. Machines and equipment to resist aggression. And the trained men to teach Vietnamese fighting
forces how to put them into effective use. The American advisors are specialists highly trained and motivated often able to speak to trainees in their own language. They're not close to being right yet came out but now I also know I. Know I sat night driving it looking like my instructors and advisors willing and able to teach fine men whose freedom is at stake. At this time however the Americans in Vietnam. They are only as advisors. There are no United States combat units. As such the advisor's primary job is to train and encourage the South Vietnamese fighting men they have come to respect and admire. This guerrilla warfare is the latest tactic in the global communist plan.
Show the free world would meet and stop the conventional invasion. And communist efforts to dominate newly emerging nations through trade aid and political subversion had little success. Now a new kind of politically camouflaged invasion must be faced. The so-called. People's War of Liberation. As months go by the Communists lose a lot of man. But there are many more in the north will be sent south to replace them. And others can be kidnapped and forced to serve. Meantime in addition to training Vietnamese fighting men American advisor teams are working constantly to help relieve the human suffering of remote villages. Under pressure of growing communist aggression. The flow of American equipment and advisors
has increased. It is the only means of meeting the rising tide of infiltration and attack from the north especially since aggressive guerrillas with no citizenry to protect. Entire forces ten times their own number. Superior equipment and mobility are used to full advantage to carry the fight to the enemy swiftly whenever its presence becomes known that the Vietnamese soldier is quick to grasp the techniques involved in copter borne counteraction to guerilla raids on country villages. And he uses his new knowledge well. With the. Even with superior equipment. This is a difficult war to prosecute. There are no frontlines here. The war is everywhere. Against an enemy that is seldom clearly seen.
In the scenes of casualty evacuation. The enemy is not far away certainly within shouting distance. The enemy is not seen but American and Vietnamese fighting men bear on their bodies the painful evidence that he is still here. Still determined. Throughout this time the combat capability of South Vietnam's military forces is growing. American advisors work to bring the level of training and combat readiness of these forces as high as possible. But as North Vietnam continues to send in fresh cadres. There is a growing need in South Vietnam for fighting men. The losses suffered by the South in combat are cruelly heavy for a nation whose population is no larger than that of New York State.
The fact is in proportion to population. South Vietnam's losses in combat. Are ten times as great as those suffered by the United States and Korea. Greater even than our total losses in World War 2. Then in August of 1964 the communists again and enlarge the scope of the conflict renewed hostile actions against United States ships on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin after they required me to order the military forces of the United States to take action and reply. That reply is being given. As I speak to you tonight. Their action is now an execution.
Against certain supporting Purcel of this. And no I have not. But you have been used and these hostile operations. Never until now have American men and machines struck directly a communist North Vietnam. Later in August secretary of defense make no match sets the record straight. We wish to emphasize we seek no wider war. Our response will depend upon the actions of the aggressors in this case the North Vietnamese. The key to the situation remains the cessation of infiltration from the north into the south. We seek no wider war. But we find ample evidence that there is no remaining on the part of the north. In this one captured shipment of the upcoming. Million rounds of small arms ammunition. 30 500 rifles submachine guns. And some 4000 anti-tank and
Vietnam: A Television History
Raw Footage
Why Vietnam? [Part 2 of 3]
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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This film explores U.S. policy toward Vietnam, focusing on how the U.S. commitment expanded from providing supplies to military advisors, and ultimately combat forces in response to the growing challenge of the communists. Scenes show the bombing of the U.S. Embassy and barracks building in South Vietnam, scenes of U.S. soldiers and Marines in combat, and footage of Ho Chi Minh and the Vietcong. Other personalities shown are Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
Asset type
Raw Footage
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Nationalism and communism; Rusk, Dean, 1909-1994; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; strategy; Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973; Ho, Chi Minh, 1890-1969; Vietnam (Asia) nation; National liberation movements; McNamara, Robert S. (Robert Strange), 1916-
Rights Note:,Rights:Public Domain,Rights Credit:NARA,Rights Type:All,Rights Coverage:,Rights Holder:NARA
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Moving Image
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Distributor: NARA
Narrator2: Arness, James
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Identifier: 548f679fb506f0c6094a61587441f98006c0318e (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
Format: video/quicktime
Duration: 00:06:10
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Chicago: “Vietnam: A Television History; Why Vietnam? [Part 2 of 3],” 1965-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 4, 2021,
MLA: “Vietnam: A Television History; Why Vietnam? [Part 2 of 3].” 1965-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 4, 2021. <>.
APA: Vietnam: A Television History; Why Vietnam? [Part 2 of 3]. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from