Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates

Friday, October 20, 2017

1968 and the Tet Offensive

Conference Call for Papers and Panels
“1968 and the Tet Offensive”
April 28-29, 2017, Lubbock Texas

The Vietnam Center and Archive (VNCA) and the Institute for Peace & Conflict (IPAC) at Texas Tech University are pleased to announce a conference focused on the year 1968 and the Tet Offensive. We expect in this conference to approach these historical events in the broadest possible manner by hosting presenters who examine diplomatic, military, international regional, and domestic aspects of the Vietnam War during that year, as well as the strategic and tactical decision-making and actions that led up to and followed the Tet Offensive. This will include presentations that look at all participants to include the US, RVN, DRV, NLF, and the numerous allies and other nations involved. We will also strongly encourage presentations that examine the antiwar and peace movements at home and abroad, the efforts to support the war effort, and the efforts to end the conflict through international diplomacy, as well as military and diplomatic means in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Recent and emerging scholarship on the Tet Offensive and on 1968, more broadly, is refocusing much needed attention on some of the pivotal events that took place during that fateful year. In late November 1967, General William Westmoreland publicly conveyed his optimism regarding eventual US victory in Vietnam, helping President Johnson to buoy flagging US popular and political support for the war effort. In the aftermath of the Tet Offensive, as fighting broke out in every major city throughout the entirety of South Vietnam, many started to doubt the veracity of those previous claims, including prominent politicians and members of the American media. Attention within the US came to focus on some of the more brutal battles that emerged as US Marines fought to retake Vietnam’s ancient Imperial city in the Battle for Hue and they came under heavy fire during in the Siege of Khe Sanh. As the fighting intensified in Vietnam, so it did in the streets and on campuses across America, as critics of the war continued their calls for an immediate US withdrawal and an end to the war. So powerful was the effect of these events that on March 31, President Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection – adding to the leadership changes already in play with the departure of Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense in late February and the emergence of General Creighton Abrams and departure of General Westmoreland as commander of US forces in Vietnam in June. The violence that year included some of the most horrific wartime atrocities committed against civilians in Vietnam, including the Hue Massacre and the My Lai Massacre, while violence in the US claimed the lives of nationally prominent figures, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. The presidential election that year witnessed last-minute attempts by the Johnson administration to end the war in Vietnam sabotaged by the Nixon campaign. By the end of 1968, approximately 550,000 Americans engaged in more than 200 major combat operations, dropped more than 500,000 tons of bombs, and the overall financial costs of the war for that year alone totaled approximately $20 Billion. 1968 resulted in the highest numbers of casualties in a single year with more than 16,000 Americans and approximately 100,000 Vietnamese killed on all sides. All the while, the North Vietnamese and NLF fought on. With a new president and leadership team preparing to take over in January of 1969, innumerable questions remained as to whether a US victory could be achieved in Vietnam.

This two-day conference will be hosted at the MCM Elegante Hotel and Suites in Lubbock, Texas. Conference organizers welcome both individual presentation proposals as well as pre-organized panel proposals that include a moderator/commentator and three individual presentations. Conference sessions will follow the standard 90-minute format to include 60 minutes for presentations (20 minutes per presentation) followed by 30 minutes for questions and discussion. Presentations by veterans are especially encouraged as are presentations by graduate students. Graduate student travel grants will be made available to select students. All presentations will be video recorded and made publicly available after the conference via the Vietnam Center and Archive website. Select papers may also be published in a collection by the TTU Press.

Proposal submission deadline is January 15, 2018. Please submit a 250 word abstract and separate two-page CV/resume to 1968vietnamconference@gmail.com. The program committee of Ron Milam, Steve Maxner, Justin Hart, Dave Lewis, and Laura Calkins will evaluate all paper proposals and develop a program that reflects the many remarkable aspects of 1968. If submitting a panel proposal, please include separate abstracts for each proposed presentation and CVs/resumes for each speaker.

Thank you for your interest in participating in this conference.
 

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Vietnam War Movie Night at Alamo Drafthouse

Please join us on Sunday, September 3, 2017, at 6 PM for Vietnam War Movie Night at Alamo Drafthouse as we present the Academy Award winning documentary film, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.

 

Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara is the sole focus of documentary film-maker Errol Morris’ The Fog of War, a film that not only analyzes McNamara’s controversial decisions during the first half of the Vietnam War, but also his childhood upbringing, his education at Berkeley and Harvard, his involvement in World War II, and his later years as president of the World Bank. Culling footage from almost 20 hours of interviews with the Secretary, Morris details key moments from McNamara’s career, including the 1945 bombing of Tokyo, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and President Kennedy’s suggestions to the Secretary that the U.S. remove itself from Vietnam. Throughout the film, the 85-year-old McNamara expounds his philosophies on international conflict, and shows regret and pride in equal measure for, respectively, his mistakes and accomplishments.

 

The film will start at 6 PM and will be followed by expert commentary and discussion featuring Dr. Ron Milam and Dr. Justin Hart, associate professors of history at Texas Tech University.

 

Reserve your tickets online at https://drafthouse.com/lubbock/show/the-fog-of-war-eleven-lessons-from-the-life-of-robert-s.-mcnamara

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Virtual Vietnam Archive 2.0 (Coming Soon)

For a little over two years now, the staff at the Vietnam Center & Archive have been diligently working on a new and improved version of the Virtual Vietnam Archive. The new version will feature a crisper and cleaner interface, enhanced search capabilities, new record formats, and more records for our patrons to explore (almost 3 million additional pages of material to be exact). We built our new interface using an open source platform called ArchivesSpace, which not only allowed us to add a lot of new features to the Virtual Vietnam Archive but also turned it into a web-based application. There are no more license limits for the number of people allowed to use the database and no more exiting your search session to leave the Virtual Vietnam Archive.

 

Users of the new system will be able to browse our finding aids, and if they find something of interest, click on links within the finding aid to be taken directly to the digitized material. Given the widespread international use of the Virtual Vietnam Archive with more than 2 million searches conduced every year in over 160 countries, we realize and appreciate that we have many research patrons who have frequently used the current version and may have saved links to digital documents for your footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies, and personal reference. So long as you followed our previous guidance and used the links provided within the database records, the links you saved will still function as before.

 

If you have any links that no longer function after our transition, please feel free to contact us directly and we will assist you as much as possible in reestablishing those links. Also, given the newness of the ArchivesSpace interface and differences between the previous and new versions of the Virtual Vietnam Archive, we will be providing online tutorials and additional guidance to help smooth the transition for everyone.

 

As always, we will invite your feedback and observations on how we can improve the new Virtual Vietnam Archive. We are very excited about the new Virtual Vietnam Archive and the ArchivesSpace platform, which will allow us to continue improving the database and its features moving forward. The new Virtual Vietnam Archive will be released in early June.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

TET – The Vietnamese New Year 2017

Please join the Vietnam Center and Archive as we celebrate… TET – The Vietnamese New Year

Thursday, February 2
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The International Cultural Center
Hall of Nations
Texas Tech University

The Vietnam Center and Archive cordially invites you to join us as we celebrate Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, on Thursday, February 2nd, 2017. Please come sample delicious Vietnamese cuisine and learn more about the rich heritage and culture that makes Vietnam so remarkable.
In Vietnam, one of 12 animals of the zodiac represents each year and January 28, 2017, ushered in the Lunar Year of the Rooster. The Rooster plays an important role in everyday life in Vietnam and people born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be hardworking, talented, resourceful, courageous, active, amusing, and popular.
The Vietnamese people regard Tet as their most cherished holiday and it is a time to celebrate
family and friends.We hope you will be able to join us!
For more information, please visit
www.vietnam.ttu.edu or call 742-9010

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

1967: The Search for Peace

ipacvnca

 Conference Call for Papers and Panels
“1967: The Search for Peace”

April 28-29, 2017, Lubbock, Texas

 

The Vietnam Center and Archive and the newly-created Institute for Peace & Conflict (IPAC) at Texas Tech University are pleased to announce a conference focused on the year 1967 and the search for peace in Vietnam. We hope and expect in this conference to approach the events of 1967 in the broadest possible manner by hosting presentations not only on the antiwar and peace movements at home and abroad, but also on efforts to end the conflict through international diplomacy as well as military and diplomatic means in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Recent scholarship has focused on 1967 as a pivotal year in the Vietnam War, as the broad consensus that had supported the war in its early years started to break down and the country fractured over whether the United States could successfully achieve its stated objectives in Vietnam. In streets and on campuses across America, critics of the war demanded an immediate U.S. withdrawal—a position rejected by the Johnson administration as naïve and irresponsible. In April, Martin Luther King became the most famous opponent of the war, much to the chagrin of President Johnson. Behind closed doors, an increasing number of officials within the administration began to question official U.S. strategy and they looked for ways to change course. In May, the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) was created to hopefully “pacify” the rural areas controlled by NLF and PAVN troops, and win the “hearts and minds” of the villagers. In a speech in San Antonio in September of that year, President Johnson offered to suspend the bombing campaign in exchange for concessions from North Vietnam, prefiguring his more famous offer of a bombing pause announced in the wake of the Tet Offensive the following year. Meanwhile, a force increase to 480,000 troops, operations such as Cedar Falls, Junction City and Rolling Thunder had not defeated the will of the enemy to continue fighting. The depth of this divide behind closed doors was perhaps symbolized most profoundly by the resignation of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara that fall. While this conference will reflect upon the 50th anniversary of all of the events that took place during that critical year, we also encourage the submission of papers and panels that will address the theme of peace over the course of the war from as many perspectives as possible.

This two-day conference will be hosted at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas. Conference organizers welcome both individual presentation proposals as well as pre-organized panel proposals that include two to three presentations. Conference sessions will follow the standard 90-minute format to include 60 minutes for presentations and 30 minutes for questions and discussion. Presentations by veterans are especially encouraged as are presentations by graduate students. Graduate student travel grants will be made available to select students.

Proposal submission deadline is February 15, 2017. Please submit a 250 word abstract and separate two-page CV/resume to 1967vietnamconference@gmail.com. The program committee of Justin Hart, Dave Lewis, Steve Maxner, Laura Calkins, and Ron Milam will evaluate all paper proposals and develop a program that reflects the many remarkable aspects of 1967. If submitting a panel proposal, please include separate abstracts for each proposed presentation and CVs/resumes for each speaker.

Thank you for your interest in participating in this conference.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2016 Lunar New Year

You are invited . . .

Part of the mission of the VNCA is to promote awareness and understanding of Vietnamese culture. If you are in the Lubbock area, please join us for our Lunar New Year party on Thursday, February 18, 4-5pm at the Texas Tech International Cultural Center (in the TTU museum “district” along Indiana at 4th St.).

Since this is the Year of the Monkey, here are images from the Virtual Vietnam Archive . . .

'HQ & Co A's pet monkey comfy atop BKV's soft shoulders. 3 November 1969. VA049905 - Benedicto K. Villaverde Collection'
'Helen Brooks and a friend on Monkey Mountain above Devany. [Captain Brooks served in Vietnam from 1968-69 as Chief Nurse at the Fleet Support Activity facility in Danang.] VA050859 - Helen Brooks Collection''ca. 1969 - VAS019581 - Russ Mowry Collection''Quan Doc, RVN. A pet monkey climbing on a Huey's M60 machine gun. VA054054 - HA(L)-3 Seawolf Association Collection'

 

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Friday, October 16, 2015

From the Virtual Vietnam Archive

Visit the Vietnam Center and Archive Facebook to view more images:

Donut vas036233[1]Dollies (aka, American Red Cross volunteers) visiting LZ San Juan Hill, February 1971.

[Don Kilgore Collection – 1630]

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Friday, October 9, 2015

In Memory of Robert Funseth – May 10, 1926-September 25, 2015

funsethRobert Funseth’s career included 40 years of diplomatic service at American embassies, consulates and on diplomatic missions in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Western Hemisphere and the United Nations. He was the spokesman for the State Department in the 1970s and during his last ten years there, Funseth managed the worldwide U.S. refugee program.

He received numerous awards for his for humanitarian achievements, particularly pioneer work on behalf of refugee women and children, improving refugee mental health, and negotiating the release of tens of thousands of political prisoners.

The following lines are from A Song of Appreciation (Bài Ca Cảm Ơn by Huỳnh Công Anh) dedicated by the Vietnamese Political Prisoners and Their Families to Robert Funseth when he was Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (from the Virtual Vietnam Archive, Item No. 1849150078000):

Some men have such humane hearts
Their love shines radiant like a halo
Their light pierces through the dark prison cells
Which mankind is all too disposed to forget.

Obituary:  http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Robert-Funseth&lc=1143&pid=175943118&mid=6609973

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Medical History of the Vietnam War

Symposium Call for Papers and Panels

“A Medical History of the Vietnam War”

VCA_c2Cseal

 Sponsored by:
The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Army Medical Department Center of History and Heritage

March 10-12, 2016
Holiday Inn San Antonio Airport, San Antonio, Texas

Presentations on all facets of medicine and healthcare related to the Vietnam War are welcome to include historical understandings of military medicine as practiced by all participants and in all geographic regions, the repercussions of the war on the practice of medicine, medicine in various campaigns, medical care outside of Vietnam, effects on the home front, postwar medical issues, mental health issues, and related topics.

Symposium organizers welcome both individual presentation proposals as well as pre-organized panel proposals that include two to three presentations. Symposium sessions will follow the standard 90 minute format to include one hour for presentations and 30 minutes for questions and discussion. Presentations by veterans are especially encouraged as are presentations by graduate students. All of the symposium organizers are partners with the Department of Defense’s Vietnam War Commemoration. In keeping with that partnership, there will be a dignified event to thank veterans for their service.

Proposal submission deadline is October 31, 2015. Please send a 250 word abstract and separate two-page CV/resume to steve.maxner@ttu.edu. If submitting a panel proposal, please include separate abstracts for each proposed presentation and CVs/resumes for each speaker.

Thank you for your interest in participating in this symposium.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Guest Lecture: Jan Herman and Captain Paul Jacobs

April 23rd, 2015, 7:00PM
Location: Helen DeVitt Jones Auditorium, Museum of Texas Tech University

The Lucky Few

Jan K. Herman was the chief medical historian of the Navy from 1979 to 2012, the curator of the Old Naval Observatory, and editor-in-chief of Navy Medicine for 30 years. Since 2000, he has written and produced documentaries for the US Navy highlighting its medical service. In the documentary and its companion book, The Lucky Few, Herman tells the “relatively unknown heroic tale” of one small US Navy destroyer escort’s participation in the closing days of the Vietnam War. Herman has authored more than 50 articles and monographs plus five other books.

Captain Paul Jacobs (USN, retired) will also be in attendance. Jacobs served as commanding officer of the USS Kirk in April-May 1975 during Operation Frequent Wind (the evacuation of Saigon), during which the USS Kirk escorted the ships of the South Vietnamese Navy and 30,000 refugees to safety.

This lecture is sponsored by a generous grant from the Helen Jones Foundation and co-sponsored by the Museum of Texas Tech University.

Museum of Texas Tech University

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