WGBH Openvault

Vietnam: A Television History; Interview with William R. Corson, 1982

Part of The Vietnam Collection.

08/26/1982

Dr. William Corson was a Colonel in the Marine Corps during Vietnam. He retired from the military in 1968 and published “The Betrayal,” a controversial critique of the war for which he was nearly court-martialed. Here he describes the process of befriending the South Vietnamese in order to use their intelligence about the terrain and the NVA. He laments the corruption of the Government of Vietnam who sold US aid to the black market and recounts his Marines’ efforts to steal back supplies and distribute them to the villages. Corson also describes an instance of draft evasion in South Vietnam. Finally, Corson comments on the ineffectiveness of the “search and destroy” strategy employed and the trauma it inflicted on the civilian population of Vietnam.


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Series
Vietnam: A Television History
Title

Interview with William R. Corson, 1982

Series Description

This 13 part series covers the history of Vietnam from France's colonial control, through the 1945 revolution, to the 1975 U.S. evacuation from Saigon and the years beyond. The series' objective approach permits viewers to form their own conclusions about the war. 101--Roots of a War--Despite cordial relations between American intelligence officers and Communist leader Ho Chi Minh in the turbulent closing months of World War II, French and British hostility to the Vietnamese revolution laid the groundwork for a new war. 102--The First Vietnam War (1946-1954)--The French generals expected to defeat Ho's rag-tag Vietminh guerrillas easily, but after eight years of fighting and $2.5 billion in U.S. aid, the French lost a crucial battle at Dienbienphu--and with it, their Asian empire. 103--America's Mandarin (1954-1963)--To stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, America replaced France in South Vietnam--supporting autocratic President Ngo Dinyh Diem until his own generals turned against him in a coup that brought political chaos to Saigon. 104--LBJ Goes to War (1964-1965)--With Ho Chi Minh determined to reunite Vietnam, Lyndon Baines Johnson determined to prevent it, and South Vietnam on the verge of collapse, the stage was set for massive escalation of the undeclared Vietnam War. 105--America Takes Charge (1965-1967)--In two years, the Johnson Administration's troop build-up dispatched 1.5 million Americans to Vietnam to fight a war they found baffling, tedious, exciting, deadly and unforgettable. 106--America's Enemy (1954-1967)--The Vietnam War as seen from different perspectives: by Vietcong guerrillas and sympathizers; by North Vietnamese leaders; by rank and file; and by American held prisoner in Hanoi. 107--Tet (1968)--The massive enemy offensive at the Lunar New Year decimated the Vietcong and failed to topple the Saigon government, but led to the beginning of America's military withdrawal. 108--Vietnamizing the War (1968-1973)--President Nixon's program of troop pull-outs, stepped-up bombing and huge arms shipments to Saigon changed the war, and left GI's wondering which of them would be the last to die in Vietnam. 109--Cambodia and Laos--Despite technical neutrality, both of Vietnam's smaller neighbors were drawn into the war, suffered massive bombing, and in the case of Cambodia, endured a post-war holocaust of nightmare proportions. 110--Peace is at Hand (1968-1973)--While American and Vietnamese continued to clash in battle, diplomats in Paris argued about making peace, after more than four years reaching an accord that proved to be a preface to further bloodshed. 111--Homefront USA--Americans at home divide over a distant war, clashing in the streets as demonstrations lead to bloodshed, bitterness and increasing doubts about the outcome. 112--The End of the Tunnel (1973-1975)--Through troubled years of controversy and violence, U.S. casualties mounted, victory remained elusive and American opinion moved from general approval to general dissatisfaction with the Vietnam war. 113--Legacies--Vietnam is in the Soviet orbit, poorer than ever, at war on two fronts; America's legacy includes more than one half million Asian refugees, one half million Vietnam veterans and some questions that won't go away. Series release date: 9/1983

Duration

00:36:18

Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type

Video

Subjects
United States. Agency for International Development
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Veterans--United States
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Personal narratives, American
Vietnam (Democratic Republic)
United States--Politics and government
Combat
Vietnam--Politics and government
Strategy
United States--History--1945-
Draft
Vietnam--History--1945-1975
Physical distribution of goods
Genres
Documentary
Topics
War and Conflict
Creators
Ellison, Richard (Series Producer)
Contributors
Corson, William R. (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Rights Summary

No materials may be re-used without references to appearance releases and WGBH/UMass Boston contract. 2) It is the liability of a production to investigate and re-clear all rights before re-use in any project. Rights Holder: WGBH Educational Foundation

Citation
Chicago: “Vietnam: A Television History; Interview with William R. Corson, 1982,” 08/26/1982, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 8, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_12648D775FB3491EBC1140721350EC4F.
MLA: “Vietnam: A Television History; Interview with William R. Corson, 1982.” 08/26/1982. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 8, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_12648D775FB3491EBC1140721350EC4F>.
APA: Vietnam: A Television History; Interview with William R. Corson, 1982. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_12648D775FB3491EBC1140721350EC4F
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