When General Maxwell Taylor admonished the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1966 that France had lost its Vietnam war not in Vietnam but in Paris, which he considered to be an important object lesson to the United States, the proper reply might well have been: "Of course; where else should they have made the appropriate decision?" The French army, which is to say its professional officer corps, was outraged by its government's decision after Dien Bien Phu to liquidate the war, and these feelings were to accentuate the subsequent bitterness over Algeria. However, Premier Pierre Mendes-France agreed with the common judgment that whatever benefits accrued to France from keeping Vietnam as a colonial dependency were in no sense worth the cost.... Significantly, Mendes-France remained under the Fifth Republic the most respected of the political figures of the preceding regime, an attitude shared even by so nationalistic and imperious a figure as Charles de Gaulle, who in fact followed his example under the more difficult circumstances of Algeria.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Quote of the day
From Bernard Brodie, War and Politics (1973), p.5: