There was always a danger that a rather low-level proxy

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1.The Cold War ran from the end of World War II in 1945 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. That is a lot of history, and a great many events occurred in the world during those 44 years. One of them, but only one of them, is the proxy war that we call the Vietnam War.

There was always a danger that a rather low-level proxy war could escalate and even rise to the level of nuclear confrontation and war. The dangers were perceived as great - that the Cold War could get hot and out of control.

To start, what other events of the Cold War years fit this idea of "proxy war?" What kind of steps did world leaders take to keep Cold War proxy wars from heating up? What were such leaders thinking?

2.Not long before the Vietnam War is considered to have started - around the time period we focus on this class week, 1963 and 1964 - Dag Hammarskjøld of Sweden was serving as Secretary General of the United Nations. He is quoted to have said, "Peacekeeping is not a soldier's job, but only a soldier can do it." This quote is often the driving logic behind what came to be known as mlitary operations other than war.

With the years prior to this week's discussions, American forces in southern Vietnam were relatively few and were called "advisors." They brought American expertise with them for the purpose of training. From 1950 onward, the MAAG and later Special Forces trained Vietnamese forces to serve as a modern combatant force, but in this course week period, American forces moved beyond a partnership arrangement and took on direct combat roles.

Such a shift called for decisions at the highest levels. What can we learn about the minds and concerns of American senior leaders that allow for difficult decisions and commitments at such moments - what we might call "turning points?"

Reference no: EM13455502

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