[too much gov’t.; instances in history]

“I’m sick and tired of old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”


“If we practice ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ we’ll end up with a nation that’s blind and toothless… we’ve got to find a more excellent way.”

-MLK, Jr.

_JFK and MLK, Jr. were really similar but were always uncomfortable with each other.

_Robert Kennedy put MLK, Jr. & Stanley Levinson under wire tap surveilance when he found out that Levinson was part of the Communist International  Party.

_Through surveilance, the Hoover administration discovered that King had mistresses on the side. MLK, Jr. fell into a deep depression. This was around the time he was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.

[the history of America’s involvement in Vietnam]

Germany, 1938: Hitler began absorbing places like Austria and his allies were afraid of him; they appeased him instead of fighting him (this was a diplomatic tactic to avoid war). Hitler invades Poland in 1939 & his allies wage war on him (this was basically a continuation of WWI).

  • WWI = 20 million deaths
  • WWII = 80 million deaths (“a war of genocide”).

The leaders who came to power after WWII kept the idea of the prior appeasement to Hitler in the back of their minds and used the opposite approach. Basic lesson from WWII: “Don’t appease a bully!”

In 1944, the Vietnamese were sick of 100 years of French colonialism in their territory (which had come to be known as “French Indo-Asia”) and wanted them out. In 1949, China becomes a Communist country. in 1950, Communist (north) Vietnam invades South Vietnam (by this point, Communism was known as “the great menace” in America, and conditioning from WWII led America to deal with Menace Communism by not appeasing the bully). From 1957-1990, America dealt with Communism by containment. This involved an obvious military component.

  • Nuclear weapons had come into play by this point.

Viet-minh was a Communist organization led by Ho Chi Minh. After the French were defeated and pushed out of Asia, South East Asia broke into 4 parts (these parts ignored national boundaries and tribal relations). In 1955/56, a peace treaty was formed to see who would control Vietnam: the Communists in the north or the non-communists in the south. There was supposed to be an election to vote on this, but South Vietnam dropped the ball and did not vote in the treaty (North Vietnam took control). Knowing that the US hated Communism, South Vietnam came to the American government and asked for help to keep Communism out of the south. The biggest post-WWII mistake on America’s part was to not force the election.

  • side note; South Vietnam was known as a republic but it was really a non-Communist dictatorship ruled by Ziem, a Roman-Catholic.
  • Southern Vietnamese didn’t agree with his rule either, but it was better than Communism. In the summer of 1963, in protest of Ziem’s rule, (we’ve all seen this image) a Buddhist monk commited suicide by burning.

John F. Kennedy was President in the US by this point, and he had this magic little piece of white paper that had plans to withdraw American troops from Vietnam (thank you!). Within hours after this paper appeared on his desk, Kennedy was assassinated (there are multiple theories – later…). Lyndon Baines Johnson, his polar opposite, replaced him as president and ordered a surge in Vietnam. Official war had not been declared at this point. If war had been declared, the US would have had to activate 700,000 people in the army reserves, which would lead to a loss of civilian jobs and the threat of Russia (who was perceived to have nuclear weapons) invading the US. So LBJ was hesitant to declare war.

March 9, 1965: the first American troops touched ground in Vietnam. They were marines.

“The record ended long before, but we go on dancing nonetheless…”

thanks to Dr. Arnoldt for his infinite wisdom and experience.