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That 40 % was a clear plurality of the vote although I personally thought that holding elections in the middle of a war was ridiculous. In the event, the clumsy military rule in South Vietnam was far preferable to the post 1975 government. Then again, the US never should have gone in to Vietnam in the first place (the pleasures of Monday morning quarterbacking). Paul Dunn > From: "Kaiser, David, Prof." <firstname.lastname@example.org> > > The parties that actually decided to fight the war, beginning in > 1965, were the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese on the one hand, and > the United States on the other. The Communists at that time enjoyed the > support and encouragement of China; the Soviets, as every study has > shown, would have much preferred that the war had never taken place, > although politics within the Communist bloc forced them to provide > massive assistance once it got going. The South Vietnamese did not > decide to fight the war. As a matter of fact, it was a great > contribution of George McT. Kahin to have shown that the reason for the > "revolving door governments" from November 1963 until June 1965 was the > inability of the American government to find a leadership that would > agree to fight the war. I confirmed that Nguyen Khanh had to be eased > out of power before Rolling Thunder began and the Marines landed, > because, as all the Americans realized, he had decided to become the > "Sihanouk" or "Souvanna Phouma" of South Vietnam, and push for > neutralism rather than war. After a brief, failed experiment of > civilian rule under Quat, who didn't seem to want a huge American ground > commitment either, we turned to military rule, which continued through > 1975. In the one real election held in 1967 Thieu got less than 40% of > the vote and the leading peace candidate came in second. The ARVN > remained a very shakey military instrument throughout the war. > > David Kaiser