Maxwell D. Taylor
|Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board|
February 29, 1968 –May 1, 1970
|President|| Lyndon B. Johnson |
|Preceded by||Clark Clifford|
|Succeeded by||George Whelan Anderson Jr.|
|United States Ambassador to South Vietnam|
July 14, 1964 –July 30, 1965
|President||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.|
|Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff|
October 1, 1962 –July 1, 1964
|President|| John F. Kennedy |
Lyndon B. Johnson
|Preceded by||Lyman Lemnitzer|
|Succeeded by||Earle Wheeler|
|Chief of Staff of the Army|
June 30, 1955 –June 30, 1959
|President||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Deputy|| Williston B. Palmer |
|Preceded by||Matthew Ridgway|
|Succeeded by||Lyman Lemnitzer|
|Commander of the United Nations Command|
1 April 1955 –5 June 1955
|President||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Deputy|| Williston B. Palmer |
|Preceded by||John E. Hull|
|Succeeded by||Lyman Lemnitzer|
|Governor of the Ryukyu Islands|
April 1, 1955 –June 5, 1955
|President||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Preceded by||John E. Hull|
|Succeeded by||Lyman Lemnitzer|
Maxwell Davenport Taylor
August 26, 1901
Keytesville, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||April 19, 1987 85) (aged|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education|| U.S. Military Academy (BS)|
Metropolitan Community College, Missouri
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1922–1959|
|Unit|| Engineer Branch |
Field Artillery Branch
|Commands|| Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff |
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
United States Military Academy
101st Airborne Division
82nd Airborne Division Artillery
12th Field Artillery Battalion
|Battles/wars|| World War II |
|Awards|| Distinguished Service Cross |
Army Distinguished Service Medal (4)
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Maxwell Davenport Taylor (August 26, 1901 – April 19, 1987) was a senior United States Army officer and diplomat of the mid-20th century.He served with distinction in World War II, most notably as commander of the 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed "The Screaming Eagles."
After the war, he served as the fifth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, having been appointed by President John F. Kennedy. He is the father of biographer and historian John Maxwell Taylor and of military historian and author Thomas Happer Taylor.
Born in Keytesville, Missouri, and raised in Kansas City, Taylor graduated from Northeast High School and attended Kansas City Polytechnic Institute. In 1918, he passed competitive examinations for Congressional appointment by William Patterson Borland to either the United States Military Academy or United States Naval Academy and then passed the Military Academy entrance examination. Taylor attended West Point, graduated fourth in his class in 1922, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He served in Hawaii with the 3rd Engineers from 1923 to 1926.
Taylor transferred to the Field Artillery and, from 1926 to 1927, served with the 10th Field Artillery, receiving promotion to first lieutenant. Having demonstrated a facility for foreign languages, he studied French in Paris and was then assigned to West Point as an instructor in French and Spanish. He graduated from the Field Artillery School in 1933, and he completed the course at the United States Army Command and General Staff College in 1935.
Taylor was promoted to captain in August 1935 and served at the American embassy in Tokyo from 1935 to 1939, including attaché duty in China in 1937. He graduated from the United States Army War College in 1940 and was promoted to major in July 1940.
Taylor served on the War Plans Division staff in 1940 and took part in a defense cooperation mission to Latin American countries. He commanded the 1st Battalion of the 12th Field Artillery Regiment from 1940 to 1941, and then served in the Office of the Secretary of the General Staff until 1942. He received temporary promotions to lieutenant colonel in December 1941, colonel in February 1942, and brigadier general in December 1942.
In 1942, Taylor became chief of staff of the 82nd Airborne Division, followed by command of the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery, and took part in combat in Sicily and Italy. In 1943, during the planning for the Allied invasion of Italy, Taylor's diplomatic and language skills resulted in his secret mission to Rome to co-ordinate an 82nd air drop with Italian forces. General Dwight D. Eisenhower later said that "the risks he ran were greater than I asked any other agent or emissary to take during the war."
Hundreds of miles behind the front lines of battle, Taylor was forced by the rules of engagement to wear his American military uniform to prevent himself, if captured, from being shot as a spy. He met with the new Italian prime minister, Marshal Pietro Badoglio, and General Carboni. The air drop near Rome to capture the city was called off at the last minute since Taylor realized that German forces were already moving in to cover the intended drop zones. Transport planes were already in the air when Taylor's message canceled the drop, preventing the mission. His efforts behind enemy lines got Taylor noticed at the highest levels of the Allied command.
After the campaigns in the Mediterranean, Taylor was assigned to become the Commanding General (CG) of the 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed "The Screaming Eagles", which was then training in England in preparation for the Allied invasion of Normandy, after the division's first commander, Major General William Lee, suffered a heart attack. Taylor received temporary promotion to major general in May 1944.
Taylor took part in the division's parachute jump into Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day), the first Allied general officer to land in France on D-Day. He subsequently commanded the 101st in the Battle of Normandy, including in the capture of Carentan on June 13, and the division continued to fight in the campaign as regular infantry. The 101st Airborne Division was pulled out of the line in late June, having been in almost continuous action for nearly a month, and in early July, he returned to England to rest and refit and absorb replacements, after having suffered over 4,600 casualties.
Having been brought up to strength, Taylor led the 101st in Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands in September 1944. He was not present for the division's action during the Siege of Bastogne as part of the Battle of the Bulge since he was attending a staff conference in the United States. The Divisional Artillery commander, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, exercised command in his absence. Taylor called the defense of Bastogne the 101st Airborne Division's "finest hour" of the war and stated that his absence was one of his greatest disappointments of the war.After Bastogne, Taylor's 101st saw little further service in the war and was sent to the United States in late 1945, where it was deactivated in November.
From 1945 to 1949, Taylor was superintendent of West Point. In 1947, he drafted the first official Honor Code publication marking the beginning of the written "Cadet Honor Code" at West Point.Afterwards he was the commander of allied troops in West Berlin from 1949 to 1951; when he left that post, he felt like a "Berliner," more than a decade before John F. Kennedy gave his famous "Ich in ein Berliner" speech in the city. In July 1951 he was promoted to lieutenant general and assigned as the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Administration at the Pentagon.
In June 1953, he was sent to Korea, where he commanded the Eighth United States Army during the final combat operations of the Korean War. From 1955 to 1959, he was the Army Chief of Staff, succeeding his former mentor, Matthew B. Ridgway. During his tenure, Taylor attempted to guide the service into the age of nuclear weapons by restructuring the infantry division into a Pentomic formation. Observers such as Colonel David Hackworth have written that the effort gutted the role of US Army company and field grade officers, rendering it unable to adapt to the dynamics of combat in Vietnam.[ citation needed ]
During 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered Taylor to deploy 1,000 troops from the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce federal court orders to desegregate Central High School during the Little Rock Crisis.
As Army Chief of Staff, Taylor was an outspoken critic of the Eisenhower administration's "New Look" defense policy, which he viewed as dangerously overreliant on nuclear arms and neglectful of conventional forces; Taylor also criticized the inadequacies of the Joint Chiefs of Staff system. Frustrated with the administration's failure to heed his arguments, Taylor retired from active service in July 1959. He campaigned publicly against the "New Look," culminating in the publication in January 1960 of a highly critical book, The Uncertain Trumpet.
This article needs additional citations for verification .(June 2008)
As the 1960 presidential campaign unfolded, Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy criticized Eisenhower's defense policy and championed a muscular "flexible response" policy intentionally aligned with Taylor's views as described in The Uncertain Trumpet. After the April 1961 failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Kennedy, who felt the Joint Chiefs of Staff had failed to provide him with satisfactory military advice, appointed Taylor to head a task force to investigate the failure of the invasion.
Both President Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, had immense regard for Taylor, whom they saw as a man of unquestionable integrity, sincerity, intelligence, and diplomacy.[ citation needed ] The Cuba Study Group met for six weeks from April to May 1961 to perform an "autopsy" on the disastrous events surrounding the Bay of Pigs Invasion. In the course of their work together, Taylor developed a deep regard and a personal affection for Robert Kennedy, a friendship that was wholly mutual and which remained firm until RFK's assassination in 1968.
Taylor spoke of Robert Kennedy glowingly: "He is always on the lookout for a 'snow job,' impatient with evasion and imprecision, and relentless in his determination to get at the truth." In January 1965 Robert Kennedy named his next-to-last son Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy (better known as an adult as "Max").
Shortly after the investigation concluded, the Kennedys' warm feelings for Taylor and the president's lack of confidence in the Joint Chiefs of Staff led John Kennedy to recall Taylor to active duty and install him in the newly created post of military representative to the president. His close personal relationship with the president and White House access effectively made Taylor the president's primary military adviser, cutting out the Joint Chiefs. On October 1, 1962, Kennedy ended this uncomfortable arrangement by appointing Taylor as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff following the previous chairman General Lyman Lemnitzer's appointment as the new NATO Supreme Allied Commander, a position in which he served until 1964. However by appointing Taylor as the 5th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kennedy broke the traditional rotation for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff position between the Air Force, Navy and Army, as the preceding chairman was from the Army.Kennedy should have chosen either General Curtis E. LeMay, the Air Force Chief of Staff, or Admiral George W. Anderson, Jr., the Chief of Naval Operations, as Lemnitzer's successor for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff position. Kennedy's decision ultimately led to the diminishment of the traditional rotation for the chairman's position, and eventually resulted in the Army filling almost half of the chairmanships.
Taylor was of crucial importance during the first few years of the Vietnam War, during his time as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and later being appointed Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam. Whereas Kennedy initially told Taylor that "the independence of South Vietnam rests with the people and government of that country", Taylor soon recommended that 8,000 American combat troops be sent to the region at once. After making his report to the Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff, Taylor reflected on the decision to send troops to South Vietnam: "I don't recall anyone who was strongly against, except one man, and that was the President. The President just didn't want to be convinced that this was the right thing to do.... It was really the President's personal conviction that U.S. ground troops shouldn't go in."
In May 1963, mass protests and civil disobedience broke out in South Vietnam in response to President Ngo Dinh Diem's persecution of the Buddhist majority, which was met with military crackdowns, culminating in nationwide raids on Buddhist temples.In the wake of the raids, the US sent out Cable 243, which called for Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. to lobby for the removal from influence of Diem's younger brother and chief political adviser Ngo Dinh Nhu, and to look for alternative leadership options if Diem refused. As it was known that Diem would never sideline Nhu, it was effectively an authorisation for Lodge to encourage a military coup. The cable was prepared and sent out over a weekend when many leading Washington figures were away, under the misunderstanding that higher authorisation had been given. Marine General Victor Krulak signed off on behalf of the military without showing Taylor, who was a supporter of Diem. On Monday August 26, at the White House, Kennedy was met with angry comments by Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, CIA Director John McCone and Taylor, all of whom denied authorizing the cable. Kennedy was reported to have said "My God! My government's coming apart." Taylor felt insulted by the final line of the cable which asserted that only the "minimum essential people" had seen its contents. During the acrimonious exchange, he condemned the cable as an "egregious end run" by an anti-Diem faction. Roger Hilsman rebutted Taylor by asserting that Kennedy and representatives of departments and agencies had approved the message. Years afterward, Taylor declared "The anti-Diem group centered in State [department] had taken advantage of the absence of the principal officials to get out instructions which would never have been approved as written under normal circumstances". Taylor claimed that the message was reflective of Forrestal and Hilsman's "well-known compulsion" to remove Diem. He accused them of pulling "a fast one". Kennedy asked his advisers if they wanted to retract the cable, but they agreed to stand by the original decision to maintain consistency. Taylor said that "You can't change American policy in twenty-four hours and expect anyone to ever believe you again." Taylor also objected to two phone calls on August 24 to Washington from Admiral Harry D. Felt, the commander of US forces in the Pacific, calling for backing to the generals to remove Nhu. Felt said that the mid-level officers would not fight if Nhu was not removed. Taylor became angry that Felt had advised the State Department to move against Diem without first consulting the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Taylor then told Kennedy that Americans would not tolerate their officers selecting the president, and thus they should not usurp the cabinet in doing the same in South Vietnam.
Taylor remained opposed to any moves towards the disposal of Diem. Years afterward, he said that Diem was "a terrible pain in the neck", but was a devoted servant of his country.Taylor called on Kennedy to support Diem until a better leader had been lined up, pointing out that the officers were divided and therefore could not be relied on to plot and stage a coup.
The junta led by General Duong Van Minh following Diem's removal lasted three months until General Nguyen Khanh toppled Minh in January 1964. Taylor and other military officials had disagreed with Minh's reluctance to carry out large-scale offensives against the communists and wanted a more aggressive approach.He was known to regard Khanh as the more competent ARVN general. However, Taylor changed his opinion upon being made Ambassador to South Vietnam in July 1964 when Lodge returned to the US.
In August, following widespread Buddhist protests, some senior officers, particularly the Catholic Generals Tran Thien Khiem and Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, decried Khanh's concessions to the Buddhists.They plotted Khánh's removal and sought out Taylor for a private endorsement, but Taylor did not want any more leadership changes, fearing a corrosive effect on the already-unstable government. This deterred Khiêm's group from acting on their plans. On September 13, another coup attempt led by Catholic Generals Duong Van Duc and Lam Van Phat started while Taylor was on a flight from the US —back to Saigon and catching him off-guard. The coup failed, and Taylor helped organize for Khiêm to be made Saigon's representative in Washington. During the coup, Minh had remained silent, angering Khánh and keeping their long-running rivalry going. By the end of October, the Johnson administration had become more supportive of Taylor's negative opinion of Minh and eventually paid for Minh to go on a "good will tour" to remove him from the political scene.
Taylor frequently clashed with General Nguyen Khanh and helped to engineer his removal, having supported Khanh's deposal of General Duong Van Minh.
Taylor received fierce criticism in Major (later Lieutenant General and National Security Advisor) H.R. McMaster's book Dereliction of Duty. Specifically, Taylor was accused of intentionally misrepresenting the views of the Joint Chiefs to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and of cutting the Joint Chiefs out of the decision-making process.
Whereas the Chiefs felt that it was their duty to offer unbiased assessments and recommendations on military matters, Taylor was of the firm belief that the chairman should not only support the president's decisions but also be a true believer in them. That discrepancy manifested itself during the early planning phases of the war while it was still being decided what the nature of American involvement should be. McNamara and the civilians of the office of the secretary of defense were firmly behind the idea of graduated pressure: to escalate pressure slowly against North Vietnam in order to demonstrate U.S. resolve. The Joint Chiefs, however, strenuously disagreed with that and believed that if the US got involved further in Vietnam, it should be with the clear intention of winning and through the use of overwhelming force. McMaster contends that using a variety of political maneuvering, including liberal use of outright deception, Taylor succeeded in keeping the Joint Chiefs' opinions away from the President and helped set the stage for McNamara to begin to dominate systematically the U.S. decision making process on Vietnam.
Taylor was also criticized by Tom Ricks in his book The Generals (2012): "Maxwell Taylor arguably was the most destructive general in American history. As Army chief of staff in the 1950s, he steered the US military toward engaging in 'brushfire wars.' As White House military adviser during the early 1960s, he encouraged President John F. Kennedy to deepen American involvement in Vietnam. As chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he poisoned relations between the military and civilian leadership. He was also key in picking Gen. William Westmoreland to command the war there."
Taylor again retired from the Army on July 1, 1964, having been succeeded as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff by General Earle Wheeler, and became Ambassador to South Vietnam from 1964 to 1965, succeeding Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. He was Special Consultant to the President and Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1965–1969) and President of the Institute for Defense Analyses (1966–1969).
Afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also called "Lou Gehrig's disease"), Taylor spent his last three months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, and died at 85 years of age on April 19, 1987.He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1925, Taylor married the former Lydia Gardner Happer (1901–1997). They had two sons: John Maxwell Taylor and Thomas Happer Taylor, the latter being a West Point graduate [Class of 1960] and Army officer.
(General Taylor also received a number of other foreign honors.)
|No insignia||Cadet, United States Military Academy: November 6, 1918|
|Second Lieutenant, Regular Army: June 13, 1922|
|First Lieutenant, Regular Army: February 13, 1927|
|Captain, Regular Army: August 1, 1935|
|Major, Regular Army: July 1, 1940|
|Lieutenant Colonel, Army of the United States: December 24, 1941|
|Colonel, Army of the United States: February 1, 1942|
|Brigadier General, Army of the United States: December 4, 1942|
|Major General, Army of the United States: May 31, 1944|
|Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: June 13, 1945|
| Brigadier General, Regular Army: January 24, 1948 |
(Later changed to June 27, 1944.)
|Major General, Regular Army: July 29, 1951|
|Lieutenant General, Army of the United States: August 3, 1951|
|General, Army of the United States: June 23, 1953|
|General, Regular Army, Retired List: July 1, 1959|
|General, Retired on active duty: October 1, 1962|
|General, Regular Army, Retired List: July 1, 1964|
Dương Văn Minh, popularly known as Big Minh, was a South Vietnamese politician and a senior general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and a politician during the presidency of Ngô Đình Diệm. In 1963, he became chief of a military junta after leading a coup in which Diệm was assassinated. Minh lasted only three months before being toppled by Nguyễn Khánh, but assumed power again as the fourth and last President of South Vietnam in April 1975, two days before surrendering to North Vietnamese forces. He earned his nickname "Big Minh", because at approximately 1.83 m (6 ft) tall and weighing 90 kg (198 lb), he was much larger than the average Vietnamese.
Nguyễn Khánh was a South Vietnamese military officer and Army of the Republic of Vietnam general who served in various capacities as head of state and prime minister of South Vietnam while at the head of a military junta from January 1964 until February 1965. He was involved in or against many coup attempts, failed and successful, from 1960 until his defeat and exile from South Vietnam in 1965. Khánh lived out his later years with his family, in exile in the United States, and died of pneumonia and end-stage kidney failure at a hospital in San Jose, California, on 11 January 2013.
Robert Strange McNamara was an American business executive and the eighth United States Secretary of Defense, serving from 1961 to 1968 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He played a major role in escalating the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War. McNamara was responsible for the institution of systems analysis in public policy, which developed into the discipline known today as policy analysis.
Lyman Louis Lemnitzer was a United States Army general who served as the fourth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1960 to 1962. He then served as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1963 to 1969.
General Trần Thiện Khiêm was a Vietnamese soldier and politician, who served as an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He was born in Saigon, Cochinchina, French Indochina. During the 1960s, he was involved in several coups. He helped President Ngô Đình Diệm put down a November 1960 coup attempt and was rewarded with a promotion. In 1963, however, he was involved in the coup that deposed and assassinated Diêm.
Major Nguyễn Văn Nhung was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). After joining the French Army in 1944 during the colonial era of Vietnam, he soon met and became the aide-de-camp and bodyguard of Dương Văn Minh, and spent the rest of his career in this role as Minh rose up the ranks to become a general. Nhung and Minh later transferred to the French-backed Vietnamese National Army (VNA) during the First Indochina War and he became an officer; the VNA then became the ARVN after the creation of the Republic of Vietnam. A soft-spoken man, Nhung was a professional military hitman who was reputed to have etched a line on his revolver for each of his killings, and ended the lives of 50 people during his career.
Before dawn on January 30, 1964, General Nguyễn Khánh ousted the military junta led by General Dương Văn Minh from the leadership of South Vietnam without firing a shot. It came less than three months after Minh's junta had themselves come to power in a bloody coup against then President Ngô Đình Diệm. The coup was bloodless and took less than a few hours—after power had been seized Minh's aide and bodyguard, Major Nguyễn Văn Nhung was arrested and summarily executed.
On November 11, 1960, a failed coup attempt against President Ngô Đình Diệm of South Vietnam was led by Lieutenant Colonel Vương Văn Đông and Colonel Nguyễn Chánh Thi of the Airborne Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).
Trần Văn Đôn was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and one of the principal figures in the coup d'état which deposed Ngô Đình Diệm from the presidency of South Vietnam.
Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo, also known as Albert Thảo (1922–1965), was a communist sleeper agent of the Viet Minh who infiltrated the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and also became a major provincial leader in South Vietnam. In 1962, he was made overseer of Ngô Đình Nhu's Strategic Hamlet Program in South Vietnam and deliberately forced it forward at an unsustainable speed, causing the production of poorly equipped and poorly defended villages and the growth of rural resentment toward the regime of President Ngô Đình Diệm, Nhu's elder brother. In light of the failed land reform efforts in North Vietnam, the Hanoi government welcomed Thao's efforts to undermine Diem.
Nguyễn Chánh Thi was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). He is best known for being involved in frequent coups in the 1960s and wielding substantial influence as a key member of various juntas that ruled South Vietnam from 1964 until 1966, when he was overpowered by Republic of Vietnam Air Force chief and Prime Minister Nguyễn Cao Kỳ in a power struggle and exiled to the United States. Known for his flamboyant style and hostility to U.S. advice, Thi's ouster was supported by the American leadership, who backed Kỳ's pro-U.S. regime.
DEPTEL 243, also known as Telegram 243, the August 24 cable or most commonly Cable 243, was a high-profile message sent on August 24, 1963, by the United States Department of State to Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the US ambassador to South Vietnam. The cable came in the wake of the midnight raids on August 21 by the regime of Ngô Đình Diệm against Buddhist pagodas across the country, in which hundreds were believed to have been killed. The raids were orchestrated by Diệm's brother Ngô Đình Nhu and precipitated a change in US policy. The cable declared that Washington would no longer tolerate Nhu remaining in a position of power and ordered Lodge to pressure Diệm to remove his brother. It said that if Diệm refused, the Americans would explore the possibility for alternative leadership in South Vietnam. In effect, the cable authorized Lodge to give the green light to Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) officers to launch a coup against Diệm if he did not willingly remove Nhu from power. The cable marked a turning point in US-Diem relations and was described in the Pentagon Papers as "controversial." The historian John M. Newman described it as "the single most controversial cable of the Vietnam War."
The McNamara–Taylor mission was a 10-day fact-finding expedition to South Vietnam in September 1963 by the Kennedy administration to review progress in the battle by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and its American advisers against the communist insurgency of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. The mission was led by US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and General Maxwell D. Taylor, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Joseph Abraham Mendenhall was a United States State Department official, known for his advisory work during the Kennedy administration on policy towards Vietnam and Laos. He was best known for his participation in the Krulak Mendenhall mission to South Vietnam in 1963 with General Victor Krulak. Their vastly divergent conclusions led U.S. President John F. Kennedy to ask if they had visited the same country. Mendenhall continued his work in the Indochina region after Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency in wake of Kennedy's assassination.
Major General Đỗ Mậu was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) best known for his roles as a recruiting strategist in both the 1963 coup that toppled President Ngô Đình Diệm and the 1964 coup led by General Nguyễn Khánh that deposed the junta of General Dương Văn Minh. He was born in Quảng Bình Province.
The 1959 to 1963 phase of the Vietnam War started after the North Vietnamese had made a firm decision to commit to a military intervention in the guerrilla war in the South Vietnam, a buildup phase began, between the 1959 North Vietnamese decision and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which led to a major US escalation of its involvement. Vietnamese communists saw this as a second phase of their revolution, the US now substituting for the French.
Lieutenant General Dương Văn Đức (1927–1983) was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He is best known for leading a coup attempt against General Nguyễn Khánh on 14 September 1964. He was a supporter of the Đại Việt Quốc Dân Đảng, a Roman Catholic political movement.
The defeat of the South Vietnamese Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in a battle in January set off a furious debate in the United States on the progress being made in the war against the Viet Cong (VC) in South Vietnam. Assessments of the war flowing into the higher levels of the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. were wildly inconsistent, some citing an early victory over the VC, others a rapidly deteriorating military situation. Some senior U.S. military officers and White House officials were optimistic; civilians of the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), junior military officers, and the media were decidedly less so. Near the end of the year, U.S. leaders became more pessimistic about progress in the war.
National Security Action Memorandum Number 263 (NSAM-263) was a national security directive approved on 11 October 1963 by United States President John F. Kennedy. The NSAM approved recommendations by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell Taylor. McNamara and Taylor's recommendations included an appraisal that "great progress" was being made in the Vietnam War against Viet Cong insurgents, that 1,000 military personnel could be withdrawn from South Vietnam by the end of 1963, and that a "major part of the U.S. military task can be completed by the end of 1965." The U.S. at this time had more than 16,000 military personnel in South Vietnam.
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