5. Westmoreland’s War

General Westmoreland

General Westmoreland

Strategy behind the introduction of American ground forces in 1965 to the end of the Johnson administration reflected a traditional American preference to close with and destroy the enemy. Russell Weigley (The American Way of War, 1973) argues American military tradition since US Grant has favored a direct approach, centered on applying massive firepower in pursuit of rapid annihilation of the enemy army. The introduction of US ground forces and their use in search and destroy missions reflected this tradition. General Westmoreland, Commander of US Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), attempted to wage a conventional force on force campaign seeking battle with Communist regular and guerilla units.

Required Readings

  • Herring, George C. America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. New York: Wiley, 1979. Chapter 5: “On the Tiger’s Back: The United States at War” (pp 144-185)
  • Maurer, Harry. Strange Ground: Americans in Vietnam, 1945-1975, an Oral History. 1st ed. New York: H. Holt, 1989. Harold Sochurek, “La Salle Guerre” (pp 68-79)

Book Reviews

  • Krepinevich, Andrew F. The Army and Vietnam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.
  • Summers, Harry G. On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1982.

Additional Resources


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: