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Henry Kissinger: Born in 1923 in Germany; became a naturalized US citizen. Dr. Kissinger was well recognized as a scholar before he served as special assistant for National Security and Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Kissinger is considered the architect of the Nixon Doctrine. In 1971, Kissinger secretly travelled to China, meeting with Zhou Enlai in Beijing to arrange Nixon's unprecedented trip to the PRC. Considered one of America's "elder statesmen," he was recognized by the international community in 1975, when he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Foreign Minister of North Vietnam, Le Due Tho. He is noted for having said that foreign policy should not be 'sentimental.'


MACV: Acronym for Military Assistance Command Vietnam.


Pat McCarran: 1876-1954. Conservative Democrat from Nevada. Elected to the US Senate in 1933; served until his death in 1954. McCarran sponsored legislation designed to track down "hidden" communists in the US by making them register and used his committee to interrogate American public officials about their political affiliations.


Joseph R. McCarthy: 1908-1957. A WW II veteran, Joseph McCarthy tapped the feelings of fear in postwar America to build a political base in 1946, when he was elected to the US Senate from Wisconsin as a Republican. Flamboyant and ever ready to capitalize on events. Senator McCarthy dominated the political scene that took its character and name from him--"McCarthyism." The Senator made a sensation by publicly declaring that he had the names of some fifty individuals in the US government who were known to have been members of the American Communist Party ("card-carrying") or were known to have been friends with Communists or to have associated with known Communists. McCarthyism became characterized by these sensational allegations, which were never proved or substantiated in the least degree. However, countless government careers, public reputations, and even private lives were ruined by the Senator's charges. When McCarthy began to investigate the US Army, the fraud became vividly apparent. This resulted in his formal censure by the US Senate in 1954. He died in office in 1957.


Richard Nixon: Prominent conservative Republican politician. He served as a Representative from California (1946-52); Eisenhower's vice president (1952-60); and US president (1968-73). He is the only American president to resign from office. While a Congressman, Nixon was a prominent member of HUAC (the House Un-American Activities Committee), which, as the House equivalent of the McCarran Committee, sought to rid American society of "subversive Communist" influences.


Nixon Doctrine: (also called the "Guam Doctrine") Enunciated by President Richard Nixon on the Pacific island of Guam in July 1969, the Nixon Doctrine consisted of three propositions:

       “First, the United States will keep all of its treaty commitments.  Second, we shall provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us or of a nation whose survival we consider vital to our security.

Third, in cases involving other types of aggression, we shall furnish military and economic assistance when requested in accordance with our treaty commitments. But we shall look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defense."

The final sentence signaled that the United States would expect far more of its allies in Asia and elsewhere to assume the burden of defense against communism, and that South Vietnam, in particular, would be required to assume a greater manpower burden as the United States withdrew its troops.


Policy of Containment: As enunciated by George Kennan in the late 1940s, the United States policy of containment sought initially to block Soviet expansionism in the world by a variety of political, economic, and military means. Victory in World War II had positioned the Red Army so that it was capable of attacking and possibly taking control of the two great power centers of the War, Germany and Japan. Soviet antipathy toward the West, and its influence over communist parties worldwide, presented an additional threat. If contained long enough, Kennan argued, the worldwide communist network would break up due to the chronic Soviet inability to tolerate diversity. He predicted that the most obvious point for the breakup, if containment held together long enough, would be Eastern Europe. This vision was borne out in 1989, but not before the United States had altered, militarized, and generalized containment policy far beyond the original plan. The result was a global commitment to combat communism "at any price." The cost for America and its allies was great indeed.


SEATO: Acronym for Southeast Asia Treaty Organization. Established 1954. Countries participating included: Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The objectives of the organization were to prevent and counter communist subversion and to uphold the principles of self-determination and self-government. An (unrealistic) insistence on unanimity in decision making, among other factors, ted to dissolution in 1977.


Harry S Truman: 1844-1972. Thirty-third president of the US (1945-53). Truman was responsible for some of the most momentous decisions in the history of US global relations: the atomic bombing of Japanese cities; countermeasures to Soviet aggression, including the Berlin Airlift, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and NATO; fighting the invasion of South Korea with American and United Nations forces; and the refusing to recognize the communist government of China. All these decisions shaped American foreign policy in the post-WWIl era.


Truman Doctrine: On 12 March 1947, President Harry Truman proclaimed "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressures." Widely interpreted to have obligated the United States to resist Soviet expansionism wherever it appeared in theworld, the policy implied a confrontational stance during a period in which America was demobilizing its army and radically reducing its defense expenditures. At first, the Truman Doctrine lacked a strategy for implementation, but this was soon supplied by analysts such as George Kennan in the initial formulation of "containment policy."



 Chongqing: (choong ching) Located in southwest China at the junction of the Yangzi and Jialing Rivers, Chongqing is a major city in Sichuan Province and was the provisional capital of Republican China from 1938 to 1945.

Korean Peninsula


Choson Inmin Konghwaguk; (choe son in min kohng hwah gook) Korean for Korean Peoples' Republic.


DPRK: Acronym for Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea; commonly called North Korea.


Kim II Sung: (kim ill soong) Bom Kim Song-ju in 1912, Kim was the sole leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in September 1948 until his death in 1994. Under Kim's direction. North Korea became isolated from the outside world, even within the Soviet bloc.


Kim Jong Il: Son of Kim Il Sung who succeeded him as leader of the DPRK, although not in the title of President out of respect for his father.   Died, December 17,2011.


Kim Jong-Un:  Son of Kim Jong Il.  Assumed power as DPRK's supreme leader on the death of his father.


Korean War. A confrontation between the Republic of Korea (ROK), the US, and the UN on one side, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Soviet Union, and the PRC on the other. The official dates for the war are June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. From the Korean point of view, however, the conflict started immediately after the end of WWII, when Korea was divided into American- and Soviet-occupied zones, and lasts to this day; the ROK never signed the armistice which ended the armed hostilities. The demilitarized zone between the Koreas is one of the most heavily armed borders in the world.


At the end of WWII, Korea was split at the thirty-eighth parallel-- an artificial division imposed by outside powers. Although the UN tried to unify the peninsula and sponsored elections in 1948, the Soviets denied UN representatives access to North Korea. In June 1950, the North invaded the South, and pushed the ROK forces back to a small corner in the Southeast. The MacArthur-led forces of the South launched an offensive in September, and pushed up to the Yalu River (Amnok-kang), the border with China. The PRC, feeling threatened by the proximity of enemy armies, entered the war at this point, repulsing the forces of the South. Eventually, the North worked its way back to the thirty-eighth parallel—back to where the war started. Armistice negotiations began in mid-1951 and dragged on for two years. Approximately four million people died in a war which changed no borders.


The Korean War's greatest significance for Japan was as a catalyst for economic revival and growth. It also changed the US approach to Japan-from reform of an old enemy to reconstruction of a new ally.




Ngo Dinh Diem: (ngo ding ziem) 1901-1963. The president of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) from 1956 until his assassination on 2 November 1963. Classically educated and from a Catholic family, he had served in the colonial administration under the French, but resigned in 1933, claiming that the Vietnamese could exercise no realpower in the colonial government In 1954, he became PM in the State of Vietnam. Diem forced the emperor out of the government, and proclaimed the Republic of Vietnam in 1956.


Supported by the US government, Diem's administration quashed peaceful attempts to reunify Vietnam. The nepotistic Diem regime became increasingly repressive, and the Catholic Ngos stifled the Buddhist majority. This led to the famous televised self-immolations by protesting Buddhist monks.


The November 1963 coup was implicitly sanctioned by the US, and as a result of the coup. Diem, two of his brothers, and many of his supporters, were assassinated.


NLF: Acronym for National Liberation Front, the actual (translated) name for the Viet Cong.


Nguyen Van Thieu: (win vahn tree) Born 1923. A military officer in the South Vietnam Army, Thieu participated in the coups against the Ngo brothers in 1963 and against their successor in 1964. Assuming control of Saigon as premier in 1965, Thieu was elected as the last president of the Republic of Vietnam in 1967. A former general, he was spirited fromVietnam by the US before the Fall of Saigon in April 1975.


Tet Offensive: Tet is the Vietnamese New Year, usually in late January or early February. In February of 1968, at the time of Tet, the Communists launched a major assault in South Vietnam. It was hoped that this offensive would lead to a popular uprising against the South Vietnamese government. Not only was there no such uprising, but the Communists suffered heavy losses during this maneuver. However, it was a major psychological victory for the Viet Cong against America, as popular opinion turned increasingly against the war effort


Viet Cong: Short for Viet Nam Cong San, or "Vietnam Communism." The term was popularly used to indicate the infamous guerrillas of the Vietnam War. The VC unrelentingly attacked American forces, and seemed to be everywhere. Due to the nature of the war, women, children, and the elderly were often part of the Viet Cong. The VC infiltrated virtually every village and even American installations in their efforts to liberate their country. In military communications, the letters "V" and "C" are called "Victor" and "Charlie;" eventually, "charlie" became a common term for the Viet Cong.

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