Between 1960 and 1968 the United States conducted intensive psychological operations (PSYOP) in Vietnam. Until now, no comprehensive study of the psychological war there has been conducted. This book fills that void, describing the development of American PSYOP forces and their employment in Vietnam. By looking at the complex interplay of American, North Vietnamese, National Liberation Front (NLF) and South Vietnamese propaganda programs, a deeper understanding of these activities and the larger war emerges.
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This book challenges the argument that the Northern/Viet Cong propaganda program was much more effective than the Southern/US one. Contrary to common perceptions, northern propaganda increasingly fell on deaf ears in the south by 1968. This study also argues for understanding the Tet Offensive as a desperate northern gamble born out of knowledge the tide of war favored the Allies by mid-1967. The combat trend was solidly towards the southern government and the NLF/PAVN increasingly depended on violence to maintain control.
The American PSYOP forces went to Vietnam with little knowledge of the history and culture of Vietnam or experience conducting psychological operations in a counterinsurgency. As The Psychological War for Vietnam, 1960-1968 demonstrates, despite these drawbacks, they had considerable success in the period covered. Although facing an experienced enemy in the psychological war, the U.S. forces made great strides in advising, innovating techniques, and developing equipment.
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I rely extensively on untapped sources such as the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) transcripts, Captured Document Exploitation Center files (CDEC), and access to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Archives. Additionally, I have digitized databases such as the Hamlet Evaluation System and Terrorist Incident Reporting System for Geographic Information System software analysis. The maps on this site provide examples of the possibilities available to the historian using these data sets.
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