That’s why LBJ called General William Westmoreland home in November 1967. Turse said that many of the Vietnamese killed were actually innocent civilians, and the Vietnamese casualties were not just caused by military cross-fire but were a direct result of the U.S. policy and tactics, for example the policy "kill everything that moves" which enabled the U.S. soldiers to shoot civilians for "suspicious behavior". Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam (2011) by Lewis Sorley, p. 96. , 25th Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Headquarters Morning Report, 13 Oct 1944, Division Headquarters, 9th Infantry Division. The numbers troubled Westmoreland, who feared that the press would not understand them. Primary Duty: Chief of Staff". https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/william-westmoreland-quotes Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind. The alternative of sustained countrywide pacification operations, which would require massive use of US manpower, was never available to Westmoreland, because it was considered politically unacceptable. Available on microfilm at National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri. The attacks were carried out by some 85,000 troops against five major South Vietnamese cities, dozens of military installations, and scores of … Militarily, we succeeded in Vietnam. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara told President Lyndon B. Johnson in April that Westmoreland was "the best we have, without question". As the senior commander in Vietnam, I was aware of the potency of public opinion - and I worried about it. The last man in the world who should have been criticized was the American soldier. Despite the inconclusive outcome of the Korean War, Americans expected their wars to end with the unconditional surrender of the enemy. Just ten weeks after Westmoreland’s National Press Club speech, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive. Guiding the army as it transitioned to an all-volunteer force, he issued many directives to try to make Army life better and more palatable for United States youth—e.g., allowing soldiers to wear sideburns and to drink beer in the mess hall. A Conference Final Declaration, issued by the British chairman of the conference, provided that a general election be held by July 1956 to create a unified Vietnamese state. This was a type of war that we'd had no experience with before. In 1939, he was promoted to first lieutenant, after which he was a battery commander and battalion staff officer with the 8th Field Artillery at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Moreover, the Battle of Ia Drang was unusual in that US troops brought a large enemy formation to battle. He was unable to use the absolutist stance that "we can't win unless we expand the war". During his four-year spell as commander in Vietnam (1964-68), Westmoreland was a textbook version of how a general should look: ramrod straight, well over 6ft … For the remainder of his life, Westmoreland maintained that the United States did not lose the war in Vietnam; he stated instead that "our country did not fulfill its commitment to South Vietnam. By the end of 1967, Westmoreland reported that the rebels had lost 90,000 men. From 1947 to 1950, he served as chief of staff for the 82nd Airborne Division. Disagreements persist about the appropriateness of some of the methods of CBS's editors.. In 1954, he completed a three-month management program at Harvard Business School.  Although the communists were severely depleted by the heavy fighting at Khe Sanh when their conventional assaults were battered by American firepower, as well as tens of thousands of deaths in the Tet Offensive, American political opinion and the panic engendered by the communist surprise sapped U.S. support for the war, even though the events of early 1968 put the United States and South Vietnam into a much stronger military position. He wanted the North Vietnamese to leave their brothers in the South alone. After spending a year at The Citadel in 1932, he was appointed to attend the United States Military Academy on the nomination of Senator James F. Byrnes, a family friend. We had the best food any battlefield ever had. It was a difficult war against an unorthodox enemy. He then commanded the 101st Airborne Division from 1958 to 1960. In the 1974 film Hearts and Minds, Westmoreland opined that "The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner.  The turning point of the war was the 1968 Tet Offensive, in which communist forces attacked cities and towns throughout South Vietnam. Less than a month after the Tet Offensive, key advisors met to discuss General Westmoreland’s request. It's the first war we've ever fought on the television screen and the first war that our country ever fought where the media had full reign. Supposedly, General Giap had written in How We Won the War that in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive of 1968, the Communist leaders in Vietnam had … The Vietnam memorial is a masterpiece. Giap understood that protracted warfare would cost many lives but that did not always translate into winning or losing the war. The report, entitled Study on Military Professionalism, had a profound influence on Army policies, beginning with Westmoreland's decision to end the policy that officers serving in Vietnam would be rotated into a different post after only six months. After returning to the United States, Westmoreland was deputy assistant chief of staff, G–1, for manpower control on the Army staff from 1953 to 1955. Westmoreland later served on a task force to improve educational standards in the state of South Carolina. Detailed in G.S.C. ), Westmoreland's War: Reassessing American Strategy in Vietnam By Gregory Daddis p74, Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley, Westmoreland's War: Reassessing American Strategy in Vietnam, By Gregory Daddis p74, The Ia Drang Campaign 1965: A Successful Operational Campaign or Mere Tactical Failure?, Peter J. Schifferle (1994), Parameters.To Change a War: General Harold K. Johnson and the PROVN Study, LEWIS SORLEY, Westmoreland: The General who Lost Vietnam By Lewis Sorley p96, Westmoreland's War: Reassessing American Strategy in Vietnam, By Gregory Daddis p74-5, Murray Kempton, "Heart of Darkness," New York Review of Books, 24 Nov. 1988, p. 26, Superintendents of the United States Military Academy, Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, Viet Cong and PAVN strategy, organization and structure, National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Order of National Security Merit, Tong-Il Medal, Order of National Security Merit, Gukseon Medal, Republic of Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, First Class (Army), Republic of Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, First Class (Air Force), Republic of Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, First Class (Navy), Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal, First Class, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation, "William C. Westmoreland Is Dead at 91; General Led U.S. However, to lessen the impact of this damaging report, Westmoreland ordered that the document be kept on "close hold" across the entire Army for a period of two years and not disseminated to War College attendees.  Much of the thinking about defense was by academics turned government advisors who concentrated on nuclear weapons, seen as making conventional war obsolete. Following the Tet Offensive, General William Westmoreland called for an additional 200,000 troops to help break the resolve of the Vietcong. However, a few days after the tragedy, he had praised the same involved unit on the "outstanding job", for the "U.S. infantrymen had killed 128 Communists [sic] in a bloody day-long battle". Who knew what the hell the man said? , Many military historians have pointed out that Westmoreland became Chief of Staff at the worst time in history with regard to the army.  Westmoreland had little appreciation of the patience of the American public for his time frame, and was struggling to persuade President Johnson to approve widening the war into Cambodia and Laos in order to interdict the Ho Chi Minh trail. Just days before the lawsuit was to go to the jury, Westmoreland suddenly settled with CBS, and they issued a joint statement of understanding. General Westmoreland’s forces and their South Vietnamese allies had fended off the attacks of National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese forces at the Vietnamese new year, Tet… He adopted a strategy of attrition against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army.  The Geneva Conference (April 26 – July 20, 1954) discussed the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina, and temporarily separated Vietnam into two zones, a northern zone to be governed by the Việt Minh, and a southern zone to be governed by the State of Vietnam, then headed by former emperor Bảo Đại. The military lead turbulent lives, but they are people like everybody else. The crucial Tet offensive is recounted in Don Oberdorfer's Tet! Tet Offensive would lead many to question this foreseeable ending which Westmoreland had declared during his speech. My conclusion is that the Tet Offensive was a turning point in the war. I was participating in my own lynching, but the problem was I didn't know what I was being lynched for. He went on to say, Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced. I was an adequate student. And as the philosophy of the Orient expresses it: Life is not important. , At one point in 1968, Westmoreland considered the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam in a contingency plan codenamed Fracture Jaw, which was abandoned when it became known to the White House. Many of the battles in Vietnam were technically United States victories, with the United States Army in control of the field afterward; holding territory gained this way proved difficult, however. When the soldiers came home from Vietnam, there were no parades, no celebrations. Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. I haven't yet figured out how I was made first captain, because I was not an outstanding student. In World War II, Westmoreland saw combat with the 34th Field Artillery Battalion, 9th Infantry Division, in Tunisia, Sicily, France, and Germany; he commanded the 34th Battalion in Tunisia and Sicily. He was a member of a distinguished West Point class that also included Creighton Abrams and Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Westmoreland graduated as first captain—the highest cadet rank—and received the Pershing Sword, which is "presented to cadet with highest level of military proficiency". Anytime it was advertised that I was going to be at a particular place, the radicals would be there, … Historian Derek Frisby also criticized Westmoreland's view during an interview with Deutsche Welle: General William Westmoreland, who commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War, unhesitatingly believed Giap was a butcher for relentlessly sacrificing his soldiers in unwinnable battles. ", Westmoreland's view has been heavily criticized by Nick Turse, the author of the book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. In January 1964, he became deputy commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), eventually succeeding Paul D. Harkins as commander, in June. , The General William C. Westmoreland Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina, is named in his honor. General Westmoreland Quotes Tet Offensive Free Daily Quotes ... General Quotes. He was mentioned in a Time magazine article as a potential candidate for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. TIME (1986). Now such a disregard for human life may make a formidable adversary, but it does not make a military genius. William Childs Westmoreland (March 26, 1914 – July 18, 2005) was a United States Army General, who commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War at its peak (1964–68), during the Tet Offensive.He adopted a strategy of attrition against the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army.He later served as U.S. Army Chief of Staff from 1968 to 1972. By the end of the summer of 1973 I thought it was virtually impossible for South Vietnam to survive. At the time, Westmoreland was focused on the Battle of Khe Sanh and considered the Tet Offensive to be a diversionary attack. He did not order them changed, but instead did not include the information in reporting to Washington, which in his view was not appropriate to report. . My wife was my greatest asset. He told President Lyndon B. Johnson that the Vietcong would be unable to replenish those kinds of numbers and that the end of the war was near. President Johnson was critical of Westmoreland's defused corporate style, considering him overattentive to what government officials wanted to hear. , William Westmoreland was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State's highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 1970 in the area of Government. He wanted the commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam to make the case that the United States was winning. I've made this statement many times: If I would have to do it over again, I would have made known the forthcoming Tet Offensive. With the encouragement of Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Earle Wheeler, Westmoreland renewed an earlier request for more troops.… In addition, China, the Soviet Union and other communist nations recognized the North while the United States and other non-communist states recognized the South as the legitimate government. General Johnson turned out to be prescient. His upper middle class family was involved in the local banking and textile industries. Westmoreland filed a lawsuit against CBS. , Westmoreland served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1968 to 1972. However, the government wished to win at low cost, and policymakers received McNamara's interpretation indicating huge American casualties in prospect, prompting a reassessment of what could be achieved. In 1962, Westmoreland was admitted as an honorary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. Troops in Vietnam", "Finding Aid for Papers (ca. S. He later served as U. Westmoreland ran unsuccessfully for Governor of South Carolina as a Republican in the 1974 election. So they built the Vietnam Memorial for themselves. We won every engagement we were involved in out there. William Westmoreland Quotes ... July 18 2005) was a United States Army General who commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War at its peak (1964–68) during the Tet Offensive. By virtue of Vietnam, the U.S. held the line for 10 years and stopped the dominoes from falling. William Childs Westmoreland was born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, on March 26, 1914 to Eugenia Talley Childs and James Ripley Westmoreland. Master philosopher of war Karl von Clausewitz emphasized almost a century and a half earlier that because war is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it both in magnitude and also in duration. Consistent with the enthusiasm of Robert McNamara for statistics, Westmoreland placed emphasis on body count and cited the Battle of Ia Drang as evidence the communists were losing. (Entry reads: "O-20223 Westmoreland, William C Col, Reld fr asdg HQ 9 Inf Div Arty & asgd to Div Hq 9 Inf Div per par 1, SO 241 HQ 9 Inf Div dtd 12 Oct 44. "In evaluating the enemy strategy", he said, "it is evident to me that he believes our Achilles heel is our resolve. This request would have put more than 700,000 American soldiers in Vietnam (Schmitz, 232). Who cared?" Viet Cong and PAVN strategy, organization and structure meant Westmoreland faced a dual threat.  He reached the temporary wartime rank of colonel, and on October 13, 1944, was appointed the chief of staff of the 9th Infantry Division.. In Westmoreland v. CBS, Westmoreland sued Wallace and CBS for libel, and a lengthy legal process began. I didn't marry her until after World War II, but she has complemented me in every job I've ever had. 1900–2000 (Gifts to Manuscripts Division 2001, South Caroliniana Library)", "General William Westmoreland, Friend of ASA, Dies", "South Carolina General Assembly 109th Session, 1991–1992, Bill 918", "Laureates by Year – The Lincoln Academy of Illinois", "General William Westmoreland Uniform – UNIFORMS [REF] USA", "Biography General William Childs Westmoreland", An article on the CBS documentary controversy by LTC Evan Parrott for the Air War College, PDF copies of MG McChristian's deposition for the CBS trial, A biography on William Westmoreland at Encyclopaedia Britannica, MG McChristian's deposition concerning his participation in the documentary and clarifying his observation of the facts, Analysis of the broadcast by Professor Peter Rollins of Oklahoma State University, hosted on Vietnam Veterans website, 1981 video interview with Westmoreland about U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, Initial report on the death of Westmoreland, Obituary: General Commanded Troops in Vietnam, Gen. Westmoreland, Who Led U.S. in Vietnam, Dies, Commander of US forces in Vietnam dies aged 91, General Westmoreland's Death Wish and the War in Iraq, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_Westmoreland&oldid=996093305, United States Army personnel of World War II, United States Army personnel of the Korean War, United States Army personnel of the Vietnam War, Candidates in the 1968 United States presidential election, Recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal (US Army), Recipients of the National Order of Vietnam, Recipients of the Gallantry Cross (Vietnam), Recipients of the Order of Military Merit (Korea), Recipients of the Croix de Guerre (France), People from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States Army Command and General Staff College alumni, Articles with dead external links from August 2010, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2009, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2019, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Commander, 34th Field Artillery Battalion, 9th Infantry Division; 1943–1944, Chief of Staff, 9th Infantry Division; October 13, 1944 to 1946, Commander, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division; 1946 to 1947, Chief of Staff, 82d Airborne Division; 1947 to 1950, Instructor, Army Command and General Staff College; 1950 to 1951, Instructor, Army War College; 1951 to November 1952, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team; November 1952 to 1953, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, G–1, for Manpower; 1953 to 1955, Secretary of the General Staff; 1955 to 1958, Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division; 1958 to 1960, Superintendent, United States Military Academy; 1 July 1960 to 27 June 1963, Commanding General, XVIIIth Airborne Corps; July 1963 to December 1963, Deputy Commander, United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam; January 1964 to June 1964, Commander, United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam; June 1964 to June 1968, Chief of Staff, United States Army; July 3, 1968 to June 30, 1972, This page was last edited on 24 December 2020, at 14:04.  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