Saturday, March 28, 2020

Keegan vs Parshall and Tully on Midway

In regard to Keegan's The Second World War, published by Viking, 1989 being compared to others on the subject of Midway:

I can’t recall whether I read that book but I can’t find it in my library – which unfortunately doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.  I don’t know how much space Keegan gives to Midway, but The Shattered Sword, is devoted just to the battle of Midway, is about as long as the one by Keegan uses to cover the entire Second World War.  Time passes.  Toll is taking three volumes to do what Keegan did in one.  I don’t know if Keegan had much access to Japanese records and writings.  In The Shattered Sword, published in 2005 it seems that Parshall and Tully are breaking new ground: providing significant Japanese records about Midway, in English, for the first time.

But I do like Keegan.  He argued that Vietnam was a righteous war – that it was right for us to fight it.  It was popular in his day to say the opposite, but the military strategy devised by Acheson comprising the Truman doctrine resolved that we would oppose Communism in whatever nation the USSR was advancing it, and since we had more resources than the USSR, it was believed, we would eventually run them out of theirs.  We would defeat the USSR by outspending them.

It was bold of Keegan to take that view (if that was his view as well).  My own view at the time was that we should have dealt directly with Ho Chi Minh when he was giving us an olive branch before that war.  We didn’t understand at the time that all communists and communist countries were not under the control of the USSR.  Ho Chi Minh did go to Russia at one time, but he also showed up at a number of international political events.  He was open to dealing with us at the time.  IMHO.

If I was a dumb 17-year-old at the time the Vietnam War started (as I was when the Korean war started) I probably would have still enlisted in the Marine Corps.  In my case the  Korean war was winding down before I got to Korea.  That wouldn’t have been the case in Vietnam.  

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