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Vietnam War Origins

Program #ELLD001. Recorded in Boulder, CO on April 25, 1998.

Daniel Ellsberg describes the origins of U.S. intervention in Vietnam. He traces Washington's early support for the French attempt to retain control of its colony after World War Two. He further talks about U.S. nuclear weapons policy including the threat of using weapons against the USSR and the Eisenhower-Dulles offer of weapons to the French to stave off defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The U.S. later supplanted the French and Ellsberg looks at the policy of supporting Diem, first by Kennedy then Johnson. He dismisses conspiracy theories around JFK's assassination. Interviewed by David Barsamian.

Speaker(s):

Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg was a company commander in the Marine Corps. In 1959 he joined the RAND Corporation as an analyst. In 1964 he was recruited to serve in the Pentagon under Robert McNamara. He precipitated a national political crisis in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers,  a top-secret study of U.S. government decision-making about the Vietnam War. He is the author of Secrets.

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