Talk:Wars of Vietnam

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 Definition The broad context of warfare in the modern area of Vietnam, of which the Vietnam War (1962-1975) is best known, but involves colonization, Japanese occupation, decolonization, and post-1975 but related warfare among Vietnam, Cambodia and China [d] [e]

This material does not yet replace anything in mainspace, but supplements it.

This article is part of a split of what has been a single article, Vietnam War, into this broader context-setting article, which will logically include a number of articles, a major one being on what is commonly called the "Vietnam War" in the West, with major combat between 1962 and 1975.

Top Level of Vietnam articles, see separate detail

Here's the breakout of the more detailed level. Obviously, things like containment policy and detente have broader implications. The "technology" will mostly be brief introductions with links to articles on the specific technology/equipment.

Detail of usual U.S. perception of "the war"

Consider this an interim title. Some talk page discussions in the existing Vietnam War article have discussed different ranges for the "modern" wars of Vietnam, the start of which, under different assumptions, can be from anywhere from 1789 to 1946. Less well known in the West is that purely Asian war continued, after all Western and allied troops withdrew and South Vietnam fell in 1975, until 1999.

Even in this broad context, it should still be noted that Sino-Vietnamese hostilities can be traced back at least to the Trung Sisters in the first century CE. The long-term conflict between Vietnam and China is important for perspective on the Cold War perception that Vietnam would eventually be controlled by China.

The more specifically focused article is still under active development in a sandbox as User: Howard C. Berkowitz/Vietnam War, but should soon move to mainspace. There will be no loss of content from the existing Vietnam War article, although some of it may move into other, well-linked articles.

Slightly edited discussion from current Vietnam War page

I hope this doesn't seemed skewed; I tried to pull out some of the more recent discussions, removing some digressions (as in which U.S. football player was a better metaphor), and, to some extent, where issues have been overtaken by development.

Please -- anyone who feels that they are being quoted out of context, feel free to remove the questionable text here; the full context remains available. There are still probably some discussion of settled arguments in this.

This section also does not try to get into the details of the "Vietnam War" article that will, hopefully, replace the existing one with thorough redirects and cross-linkage to this one.

The broader perspective

Congratulations on the work of putting the subject into a realistic perspective. The earlier concept of a Vietnam war without Vietnamese was a curious aberration that seemed to violate the CZ principle of neutrality, and an appreciation of the Vietnamese standpoint is scarcely possible without some knowledge of their history. It has always seemed to me that a valuable function of historical analysis is to help us to learn from the mistakes and successes of our predecessors - whoever they are - and that to do that we have to try to put ourselves in their place and envisage their objectives and their means of pursuing them. Anything further anyone can contribute concerning Vietnamese (as well as French and American) decision-making, would add to the value of the article from that standpoint. Nick Gardner 10:23, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

In general, I think that these are good improvements. Still, I think there should be at least a sentence or two indicating that "Vietnam War" is essentially a Western term. While I dislike text boxes for human factors reasons, perhaps the museum paragraph, cleaned up, might go into a sidebar text box near the beginning, when the article is very close to approval. I'm not at all insistent about having it at all.
It doesn't need to be in the first paragraph, but I do think there should be at least a sentence or two explaining that Vietnamese nationalism (and that's another article -- I've started one on Nguyen Dynasty) does go back two millenia. Yes, I know it might be more correct to say Cham or other nationalism.
Seriously, the point about 2000 years of conflict with the Chinese has a real reason for being there: think about how much the Johnson Administration especially, but also going back to Truman, based their policies around the fear of Korea-style Chinese takeover. This issue is elaborated at much greater depth in subordinate articles, but I think it deserves a very brief mention in the main article simply to frame the clash with containment policy. (as an aside, I had, but misplaced, a sourced quote from George Kennan himself saying the Chinese intervention argument was not reasonable). Mentioning the Trung sisters, very very briefly, drives in the point. In one of the subordinate articles, I quote a source describing them as being as essential to Vietnamese identity as Joan of Arc is to French identity.
Let me think about how I could phrase these points most succinctly, and then propose them here.
Can you still live with some sort of "Wars of Vietnam" top-level article, with a "Vietnam War" just below it? Vietnam War would have a strong enough introduction to be freestanding, but have clear links to the broader context, if only for the 1945-1954 and 1954-1962 contexts.
Any preferences for name of the top-level article? If it's not too outrageous, I'd like to try, in the moderate term, for Approval of the top-level article and selected subarticles. For that matter, addressed to your History Editor persona, Dien Bien Phu and Battle of the Ia Drang, at least, might be in striking range of Approval. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:31, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
I think the first para. looks pretty good to me. And I guess that the name, Vietnam War is the one that we better use. With a gazillion redirects, of course. Hayford Peirce 18:54, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Of course it looks good. Like myself, humility is one of the few things you boast about.
If the top-level heading is Vietnam War, then where does find the historical context? Call the real top-level article something like Historical context for wars of Vietnam, call that main or seealso in Vietnam War?
It really opens a bag of worms to start talking about things in the sixties and seventies, without any reference to the French, the Viet Minh and non-communist nationalists one one side, and the China-Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand wars on the other (seventies through nineties). I'm not saying that the top-level article has to do more than summarize the historical periods, but I'm concerned that without knowing there's a broader context, things will get confusing.
As an example of problems in defining years, plus having background, one has to decide if the overthrow of Diem (1963) is part of "Vietnam War". Certainly, the U.S. encouraged the coup. Shortly afterwards, there was a burst of defections from the NLF, who were not Communists, but Cao Dai, Vietnamese Buddhists, Hoa Hao, and others who were in the NLF for "anybody but Diem" reasons.
Many Americans, and I'm sure K-12 history books, will suggest the war started with the Gulf of Tonkin. That fiasco, on both sides, wasn't helped by the MACV-SOG covert operations that had the North trigger-happy. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:38, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Don't make things more complicated than they are; you know too much; try to pretend that you know less. Begin the time frame with Kennedy sending a gazillion advisers, mentioning in passing that maybe Eisenhower had earlier sent a few. Mention the first American death on so-and-so date, and the Race Is On.... Hayford Peirce 22:11, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Roger that! Russell D. Jones 22:20, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Naming: I am opposed to calling this top-level article the Vietnam War because this article is placing the "Vietnam War" into a broader context. I liked Howard's approach as calling this the Wars of Vietnam, 1858-1999; it establishes the top-level context for the subordinate conflicts of the period. Also, I thought we've been over this before. I do not see why we can't move this article to Wars of Vietnam, 1858-1999 right now (but see below). Russell D. Jones 22:20, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Moving toward approval

Howard, you mentioned about moving this article towards approval. This has been on my mind, too. Here's what I see as the main issues yet to be resolved here:

  • Periodization: We've been batting around "1858-1999" as the nominal period for a series of conflicts that "Collectively ... can be called the Wars of Vietnam." However, the first "war" that the article addresses is World War II. If this article is going to talk about the "Wars of Vietnam, 1858-1999," it should make the case that there were bloody conflicts between 1858 and 1940. Right now I don't see this article discussing them. Conversely, this oversight could be resolved by naming the article "Wars of Vietnam, 1940-1999" thus we avoid the problem of not discussing any wars in Vietnam 1858-1940 (I don't know of any, do you?). If there are wars in Vietnam 1858-1940, I doubt that they are of a similar stature or significance as the Wars of Vietnam, 1940-1999.
  • Background: The heading titled "Background" seems to introduce the whole article (again) in a little greater detail. Then the article goes over the same material a third time (in the body) in still greater detail. In short, I don't see that this "background" section as written is contributing anything that either the introduction or the body does not. I think that the background section should mainly talk about French colonization and the period leading to the first conflict (WW2). If it is not adding to the article it should be cut or moved.

There may be other issues as I review this article. I'll post them as addenda to this heading. Russell D. Jones 22:20, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Apropos of periodization, as you've observed elsewhere, this can get one arguing with oneself. Now, I'm going to go through my thinking, but it gets more specific than we want. Bottom line: 1858 was a French colonialization that lit the fuse for anticolonialism, and even a sense of Vietnamese nationalism that hadn't necessarily existed among Annam, Tonkin, and Cochin China. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:00, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, yes, but only in the sense that there can not be wars of decolonization in places that were not colonies. Russell D. Jones 23:50, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
The other option is to think of serious formation of undergrounds strarting around 1930, which run straight into French preparation for WWII. While they didn't call it such, the French were very clearly concerned about Japan in China, starting with the Manchurian Incident in 1932, and taking visible steps as of roughly 1936. 1930 is the foundation of the Indochinese Communist Party. Definitely from 1930 on, and probably earlier with the Cao Dai, there was something closer to the Latin American "dirty wars". Howard C. Berkowitz 23:00, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but can't this be the "background?" Russell D. Jones 23:50, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Otherwise,there definitely was substantial fighting with the French from the first significant landing in 1858, to at least 1862; I would want to check sources there. Do remember that was major French involvement; there was French support for factions at least from 1802 and possibly earlier. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:00, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
This would be a "colonization conflict" and not part of this article. Russell D. Jones 23:50, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Now, if I go back a little earlier, to the overthrow of the Le Dynasty in 1789 and more-or-less civil war until Emperor Gia Long [re-]established the Nguyen Dynasty in 1802, it gets nastier. (especially if you try to keep track of all the different factions, almost all named Nguyen but different Nguyens) There are very major conflicts beforehand, mostly with the Chinese, that go back to the first century CE. As an aside, the Vietnamese don't seem to retain the kind of hatreds that you see in the Balkans, but they don't forget. I can think of conversations even with first-generation Vietnamese-Americans who speak of the Trung Sisters as if that was last year.Howard C. Berkowitz 23:00, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
And this would be part of the History of Vietnam or Vietnam, History (whatever other naming convention CZ has figured out....). Russell D. Jones 23:50, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Why I pick 1858 is that it started the anticolonialist movement, and yes, there were several years of fighting afterwards, pushing back the French at least once, until (I'd want to check a source) 1862, but then periodic put-down-the-peasants. I think that's more logical than starting in 1930 with the Indochinese Communist Party, then other nationalist groups, increasingly getting into guerilla warfare with the French. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:00, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Howard, I don't buy this at all. I think we should not confuse wars of colonization with wars of de-colonization. The two are different and should be treated as such. The Opium Wars are not the Mau-Mau Rebellion. Russell D. Jones 23:50, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't really want to go back to Nguyen Hue in 1789, but, if you start trying to figure out why Bao Dai was given any attention by the French, I know it confused me. When I started reading the subject, my reaction was "Emperor of Vietnam? huh?" but he was the last of the Nguyen Dynasty (but, I hasten to add, the second set of Nguyens or the third if you count the Nguyen faction of the Le Dynasty). 'pause to scream: scream. Actually, he was more correctly Emperor of Annam. This sort of detail, of course, belongs several levels down, but it affects why I selected the dates I did.
I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise; I can see a rationale for 1940, as long as the context is clearly established that there was already turmoil. Had the Japanese never shown up, sooner or later, there would have been major revolutionary activity.Howard C. Berkowitz 23:00, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, exactly, this is exactly the sort of information that would be quickly summarized in a "background" section. Russell D. Jones 23:50, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Believe me, I'm thinking about it. Opium Wars vs. Mau-Mau, sure. Opium Wars vs. Boxer Rebellion, or the Long March?
Unless you set the nationalist framework for Vietnam, then how do you avoid it degenerating it into Cold War? Now, if that's possible in Background, fine. Is there a major Communist aspect? Of course. Is it the only thing? No.
As a separate and specialized article, I'm working on a draft about the North Vietnamese rephrasing of the Maoist protracted war doctrine; they are different. That is deep background, but possibly worth one sentence along the lines of "while some of the anti-GVN activity is thought to be Maoist, the North Vietnamese had their own model; the non-communist had another; all overlap." (Links with all this, of course). Howard C. Berkowitz 23:57, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
I'll review Background; some of the duplication is an artifact of earlier arguments long overtaken by events. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:00, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

New intros

Howard, all of this rewriting is a major step either backwards or into total chaos. So much info is being introduced, sometimes without a verb, that it totally overwhelms the reader and bears no relationship whatsoever to what a poor innocent 19-year-old in college, say, might expect to find when he incautiously types in the words "Vietnam War" in order to find out what his father was doing as a grunt in the fields around Saigon.... Hayford Peirce 20:44, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Hey, I said more eyes were needed! My focus right now is eliminating the duplication that was present among the intro, background, and summary sections. Perhaps a certain amount of duplication is necessary to make sections more free-standing. By no means do I consider this my best writing, although I'm trying to improve it. You won't hurt my feelings with suggestions. (Pictures Hayford, in the kitchen of cooking prose, reaching for a large jar labeled "Grade A Verbs"). Howard C. Berkowitz 21:00, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Reviewing the bidding and tasting the verbs

Again, many thanks to everyone that is helping. Recently, I received some sources through interlibrary loan, and have some specialized articles underway that will be the specialists.

Here are some things, not in a special order, that I think may be a consensus.

  • For the "Daddy what did you do with an M-16"; I think we've agreed that the primary U.S.-centric view is 1962-1972 for U.S. involvement, although that extends to 1975 with the last sad evacuation of diplomats. Even the 1962, I suspect, will be a surprise to many. This is what you will get by typing in Vietnam War. It will have subarticles, both main military chronology in chunks, plus parallel things such as politics, air war and covert operations outside Vietnam, and pacification.
  • There is a fairly clear section on the active anticolonial war, which can run from September 2, 1946, to the signing on the Geneva accord on July 18, 1954, the prisoner exchange 1n July, and the French Union treaty and the U.S. taking over funding and training in 1955.
  • I'm not sure if "Civil War" is the right thing to call it, but there is now clearly something that is logically between 1955 and 1962.
  • There is a Third Indochinese War from 1978 to 1999, with a prelude starting in 1973.
  • Before that, perhaps there may be some things more background, which end about 1936, when France clearly took actions directed at Japanese theats. I will grant there was not continuous war before that, but I now see formation and colonization starting in 1789 to roughly 1930. It's one article with subarticles. I want to pin down the clear nationalist formation dates, but that's not critical.
  • There are a few individual national legends, like the Trung rebellion, that rate a sentence or two in the main article.
  • I am not planning on to take on the details between the 1st century and the Le Dynasty to the end of the Nguyen Dynasty. While there are interesting parts, they are fairly obscure, and I don't think my language skills are up to it.

Howard C. Berkowitz 08:12, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

  • I don't think we have a name for the top-level article.
You make some good points above, Howard, and I think the real shape is now taking place. As for the single most important part of our discussions, the title of the top-level article (if I actually understand what this means), why not go with the simplest one of all: Vietnam—Wars. With an em-dash, you will note. It's short, simple, elegant, and addresses the subject of the topic precisely. Any one of a gazillion redirects will bring anyone interested in any aspect of fighting in the general Indochinese area over a 2,000-year period here. At least that is my simple-minded suggestion for an early Sunday morning. Hayford Peirce 15:36, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Clarification to Gareth's question.

The sentence in question, to which I am not wedded, is

After a period of overt military government, there was a gradual transition to at least the appearance of democratic government, but South Vietnam neither developed a true popular government, nor rooted out the corruption that caused a lack of support.

Very brief background:

  1. No insurgency has ever succeeded if the bulk of the people believe their government is legitimate and effective. Different cultures have different tolerance for corruption and for democratic process.
  2. South Vietnam never put together a government that was perceived widely as stable and inclusive, and financial corruption was a day-to-day problem, especially in rural areas.
  3. If a guerilla does not lose and is not destroyed, he eventually wins. That point is more complex in this situation, which was ended by a conventional attack

So, is this any better?

South Vietnam's government began without wide involvement in creating it, and it was perceived as biased toward a minority. A series of military coups seemed simple competition for power, although there was some stability, although not strong leadership, by late 1967. Especially local government was distant from the populace and often financially corrupt; military leadership was often bad because the commanders were often selected on political connections and bribery rather than on demonstrated ability. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:35, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Khmerization: The Vietnamese probably didn't call it that, but I can give you a number of sourced scholarly references that do. The parallel to the U.S. is too ironic to be ignored. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:21, 28 December 2008 (UTC)


Just a few comments. I like the idea of this article taking a broad look across the whole long history of conflict in this region while others focus on the Vietnam War as experienced by the U.S.A. (and its allies). For this article therefore, there seems to be too much of the domestic US politics - Kennedy LBJ Nixon Ford etc. I think, you could probably write this article without mentioning a single American political name - and maybe it would be much better for that? After all, you don't mention the Japanese leaders (and why should you?) or the French after Nap III... Just a thought. American history is indeed fascinating, but this is Vietnam's history, isn't it?

I do like the idea, not least because it would make this article different and "distanced" from U.S. politics - a hands-off neutral article, potentially, putting 'the' Vietnam War purposefully in historical context Gareth Leng 17:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm sure that Howard will have *long* (hehe) reply to this, but I will cut to the chase: It is my understanding, from what Howard has previously stated, that Larry feels (or felt) very strongly that the Vietnam War article should have a firm American focus to it. It may be that all these articles (and their titles) are now inextricably conflated, but that's my understanding of things.... Hayford Peirce 18:10, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
You could always just ask me, y'know. I like simple questions like this. But first, generally, debating about what I would say about a particular question makes me uncomfortable. On content questions, the views of editors matter most and they should be sought out for their advice. I'm not likely to overrule them, and if it came to any sort of controversy, I'll go with them in most cases, as I have in the past. Now, I've never said that "Vietnam War" should have an American focus--I mean really, have a little faith. What I would say, however, is that the history of the Vietnam War is an incredibly important topic for the U.S.--far more important for the U.S. than for any other group of English speakers, and English speakers are the audience of CZ ('s in English). So we should respect that. How we should respect it, I'm not sure precisely. One thing we should not do, in my opinion--not according to my diktat, but only in my opinion--is write an article titled "Vietnam War" and just ignore on important fact. The fact (well, I allege it to be fact, but I'm open to being proven wrong by the data) is that the vast majority of the English speakers reading the article understand "Vietnam War" to mean the history of the U.S. military action in the 1960s and 1970s in Vietnam. Please don't draw any invalid conclusions from that statement on my behalf. The statement does not validly imply, e.g., that the page titled Vietnam War should be exclusively focused on U.S. involvement in the war. It does give a good reason to have some article that focuses mainly on the history of the U.S. involvement in the war, but I don't know. Again, I leave these things up to the historians, or at least, to people who know more about it than I do.
If you draw any conclusion from the above comment, it should be: Larry doesn't know enough about the subject, and so is unwilling to say anything definite except perhaps that American viewpoints on the war should not simply be marginalized. --Larry Sanger 19:37, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The graphics may help. The lower picture is what you will get from typing in "Vietnam War", with the links below it. The typical nonspecialist picture is going to be roughly 1965-1969. There's a fair bit, however, that isn't about running around with an M-16, but why decisions were made, and why those decisions were sometimes very bad ones. There are parts, however, not well known to the U.S. public, which should be known, but the "tree" structured above will take them, in a couple of links, to the first U.S. battle in which the Hueys were critical.
I believe, however, that a reasonable chunk of the U.S. public would like to know how we get into wars. Sometimes, it's absolutely necessary. In other cases, it's more like lemmings, except lemmings do not actually go commit suicide. It's worth knowing when a president demands attack authority and Congress rubber stamps when there is no immediate threat. Hopefully, a thoughtful reader might be interested in the circumstances under which the war could have been avoided, ended earlier, or even what the other side now explains where they were really vulnerable.
We are coming up with what I think will be a very reasonable, consensus structure that will meet various needs. Yes, there will be a basic set of links that will take someone straight to the Battle of the Ia Drang, or what was being bombed or why. There is also information on what the Truman Administration could have done differently. There was a point at which South Vietnamese governments were doing well to last a month, and that affected the U.S.
I could also touch upon what is meant by "You number 10! Doom on you!", but it would violate some policies. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:01, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I am not going to try to read Larry's mind. You'll see, in the figures, that typing in "Vietnam War" would still get to what the average USian would expect, at least of a certain age...some seem to think the Battle of the Bulge was outside Saigon, and when they watch as show with B-17's, they are over Hanoi.
As far as the French, quite a few are named in the colonial and Indochinese revolution articles: Georges d'Argenlieu,Georges Catroux, Jean Cedile, Jean Sainteny, Raoul Salan, Henri Navarre,Marius Moutet Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, a bit on the ministerial and parliamentary level in France on which I can expand, and some at the tactical level. It might be more for someone that reads French, but I would enjoy an article on Marcel Bigeard, a rather larger-than-life character. Incidentally, I've had, for some time, an article on Roger Trinquier. If desired, I certainly can do articles on de Lattre de Tassigny, Salan, Navarre, Paul Ely, and maybe others if they seem indicated.
One of my favorite quotes from the revolutionary period is from a French lieutenant colonel named Wainwright: (his family settled in France:
There is a difference between us French and Don Quixote. Don Quixote rode against windmills because he thought they were giants, but we ride against windmills knowing they are windmills but doing it all the same because we think that in this materialistic world, there ought to be someone who rides against windmills.
Japanese officialdom is rather odd. The ones in Vietnam largely were functionaries letting Vichy handle the details. Thinking hard, I can't think of a Japanese in Indochina that really affected policy. For completeness, Yuitsu Tsuchihashi was the Japanese commander. I could really reach and bring in Matsunobu Tsuji, but there's little confirmed; IIRC, he disappeared into Vietnam after WWII and was even in the Diet. As far as I'm concerned, Major War Criminal who should have been in the main Tokyo trial. Now, I really hadn't thought of writing decisions on the Japanese decision to invade, but I suspect I do have some source material.
Partially, I agree that the U.S. presidents can be toned down, but, there are a couple of reasons. Escalations and deescalations, and for that matter the final SVN expectation of American help did depend presidents as much as generals. LBJ was planning the details of bombing at a level appropriate to an Air Force major (RAF Squadron Leader). I do think it's appropriate to indicate who sent in and took out a half-million soldiers. Part of the reason that there isn't so much South Vietnamese names is that their government changed leadership so often, and, further, it was fairly decentralized.
Here's a suggestion: there is already a separate article, Vietnam, war, and the United States that tries to capture the domestic politics, and it may well be that some of the material here belongs there. I'd rather like to keep the Kearns quote of LBJ, to express his obsession with it. Unfortunately, some of the quotes from the other side are in such dense "revolutionary jargon" that they are almost unreadable to a nonspecialist.
It may interest you, Gareth, that I only recently discovered that the Japanese had jailed the French administration, Ho had declared a provisional government, it was only after a Gurkha unit under a British major-general, Douglas Gracey let them out of jail did they return to power.
The policies of American presidents may go away, in the top-level argument (top graphic) but properly belong in the lower picture about "Vietnam War" rather than "Wars of Vietnam". Some still may belong in the specifically political argument. Government of the Republic of Vietnam is a separate article really dealing with more late 1963 to 1967, since some governments were lasting only weeks before the next coup.
There isn't yet an article on what, from the U.S. perspective, is the "Vietnam War", which, for example, should have some of the legislative authorization as well as presidential policy. I think that such an article, mostly the lower graphic, will be an appropriate place for some of the things that concern Gareth, but I'm also perfectly willing to move some into the politics. I do think the top-level US-Vietnam article needs to show who decided to do each major level of commitment or deescalation. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:43, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

New Article Comments Start Here

I appreciate the move. This is starting to look like a good structuration of this topic. I still hold to my earlier comment about separating wars of colonization from wars of decolonization, tho. Thanks Howard. Russell D. Jones 16:15, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Point taken, although there are several levels at which to argue decolonization. No one will argue that the French were colonizers and their colonial status ended in 1954, but you'll certainly find North Vietnamese who argue that the U.S. replaced them. Of course, after the U.S. left, there are Cambodians that suggest the Vietnamese tried to colonize them.
In addition, during a clearly colonial period, there were elements of civil war among the Communist and non-Communist factions. It gets quite complex to establish who was the colonial authority, at various times in 1940-1945: the French? the Japanese, both before and after they allowed Vichy administration? After the Japanese surrender, there was a very confused period when the French weren't really in control, although they retained control once British troops got them out of a Japanese jail. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:35, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
All of which leads me back to an earlier definition I had for the Vietnam War as a war for decolonization and national unification. For this conflict, The NV wanted to oust everyone who was not Vietnamese (and therefore a colonizer) and unify all the Vietnamese under a single government. By including "all the wars of Vietnam" from the Trung Sisters to 1999, how is this different from a list? Would such a category (i.e., "wars of vietnam") lead us to have an article on the "Wars of the United States?" The American Revolutionary War and War of 1812 are different in character from the Civil War, which is different from the Spanish American War and Philippine War, and all different again from the US wars of the twentieth century [One, Two, Korea, Vietnam], and all different again from the Indian Wars. My point is that by making an all-inclusive list this topic is losing its explanatory power. I like an article that places the Wars of Vietnam from 1941 (say) to 1999 in a single article because it has power to explain commonalities of Vietnam's struggle for post-colonial independence and national identity. Russell D. Jones 17:25, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Since the Trung Sisters were fighting Chinese colonization, just as strong an argument, then, could be made by taking the date range back there — not to forget that there were other anticolonial wars by Vietnamese against Chinese long before the French arrived, such as the creation of the Dai Viet in 967 (no, not 1967). Of course, things really get complex when self-identified Vietnamese were the colonizers, as against the Kingdom of Champa by Tonkinese expanding south in the seventeenth century.
Now, if you were to qualify the colonialists as specifically Western, the dates you suggest do make sense, as long as we don't look too closely at the Japanese in 1940. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:35, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
(Laughing) Okay, "Western!" (ignoring for the moment the Japanese anomaly in such a def.) — but my point is also about how do we super-categorize the "Wars of Vietnam"? What's the category above? "Wars of Decolonization?" "Wars of the New Imperialism?" Certainly the "History of Vietnam" (Or "Vietnam, History" !¡), but is that the limit of this article's versatility? Is this just to be a sub-category of Vietnam, as per the graph? Your graphical schema ignores other ways that this article might be used. I think this is the root of our differences Howard. I'm approaching this from a different super-category (e.g., "Wars of Decolonization").Russell D. Jones
"Yes, the Japanese just don't want to cooperate with any coherent East-West, colonial-anticolonial, model. Where do you put a (hiss-spit) Matsunobu Tsuji? Ask a few Filipinos? Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere?
Seriously, why are both super-categories excluded? Let's think Western colonialism and ignore Japan for the moment. It's reasonable enough to talk of a primarily European colonization, from the early 16th century, to the decolonization in the mid 20th. With such a model, not to pick on the French unduly, but you have a model that covers French North Africa, Indochina, the subsaharan African colonies, and Oceania. The Wars of Vietnam part from 1858 (maybe as early as 1802 if you consider missionaries) to 1954 come under the French colonial model.
Spain, Portugal and the Treaty of Tordesillas, and later players like Simon Bolivar. British Empire, semi-gentle sunset in South Asia, Mau-Mau definitely not nice sunset.
Perhaps there could be a major article on Colonization -- an Eduzendium project on empires under it? Bring the Japanese in?
These categorizations aren't mutually exclusive. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:12, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, but shouldn't they be mutually consistent? -- Jones.
The problem seems to be that we do not have a generally accepted definition of "colonialism". Let's put it this way: it's general if it neatly handles the Greater east Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (colonizing), American Revolution (decolonializing), and Soviet post-WWII activity in Eastern Europe (colonializing). The Middle East...well, it's the Middle East, with lots of Ottoman colonial remnants imperfectly dropped into mostly the British (with some French) imperial structures. Are the combination of the Balfour Declaration, Sykes-Picot agreement, and Hussein-McMahon correspondence colonial or decolonial?
This is the sort of twisty and turny structure that gets more and more difficult, and something I have avoided in trying to deal with Vietnam. I suppose I can deal with one kind of nationalism at a time, to paraphrase Churchill when in the smallest room of his house. Really, it may be appropriate to have two or more top-level hierarchies. Yes, Wars (or semi-modern) Wars of Vietnam, in my view, works better under Vietnam than anything else. Laos and Cambodia are even messier, when one looks at their older civilizations. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:02, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

New Notes

  1. The content of this article must be integrated with the content of Vietnam War. Both of these articles seem to cover the same ground.
  2. Additionally, this article suffers from a conceptual framework that ignores the context of the war. There is not "two millennia of Wars of Vietnam in Southeast Asia" that form a common conceptual thread about which an encyclopedia article can be written. That this article is mostly about the Vietnam War demonstrates this.
  3. The only benefit I see in keeping this article, is that it puts the American-Vietnamese War into a twentieth-century context better than the Vietnam War article does.

Russell D. Jones 22:18, 25 August 2013 (UTC)