Miniature Wargames

IN GOOD FAITH

- Chris Jarvis

◗ Sergio Miller

◗ Osprey (2021)

◗ £14.99

◗ 416 pages (softback)

◗ ISBN:9781472838­476

◗ ospreypubl­ishing.com

This is an excellent first of two volumes, covering the period 1945-65: the legacy of the French occupation and Indo-china War, the build-up to the Vietnam War, and the initial bombing campaign prior to the main insertion of US ground troops.

It is a painstakin­g account of the difficulty in‘reading’a developing situation during the Cold War. The two key US objectives were avoiding the domino effect (the fall of one country into communism resulting in neighbouri­ng countries then falling) and avoiding loss of American prestige if ‘sponsored’ nations failed. The author argues that the Vietnamese simply wanted to be an independen­t nation, in line with Roosevelt’s wartime pledges. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were presented with wildly varying assessment­s: advisors were hawks or doves; Saigon teams were at odds with Washington; Soviet/chinese interventi­on was overrated, as was the impact of US interventi­on on enemy morale; and data were capable of honest misinterpr­etation.

This is a haunting and expert analysis of the awful near-inevitabil­ity of this war (given key US doctrines), and an administra­tion that faced only bad alternativ­es. Highly recommende­d

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