Small Wars Journal

history

Vietnam War History: Orthodox Versus Revisionist

The dispute between orthodox and revisionist historians of the Second Indochina War is not about debating points, but about permanent differences of basic value systems and perceptions of historical reality. The epistemological dispute between their opposing concepts of historical truth -- objective truth versus subjective "truthiness" -- may be endlessly analyzed, but probably never fully resolved.

About the Author(s)

Beware the Lesson of the Caudine Forks

There are certain events in military history that rise above the rest. They are not merely battles, campaigns, or wars. They teach more than the specifics of military science. There are certain events that teach an art and address moral and philosophical topics of a timeless nature. It is very well to know how to turn the flank of an advancing army. It is something altogether different to understand and balance the competing interests of victory and mercy, efficiency and morality.

About the Author(s)

Look Who Has Been Entrusted With Vietnam Military History SWJED Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:22am
Franklin C. Annis’ recent article (SWJ, February 16, 2019) “Who is to be Trusted with Military History?” is a good start, but it fails to address a number of items and takes a slap (intended or not) at Vietnam veterans.
Who is to be Trusted with Military History? SWJED Sat, 02/16/2019 - 2:26am
Georges Clemenceau once asserted that “War .. [is] much too serious a thing to be left to the military”. U.S. Service Members would recognize this assertion to be true as applied to modern warfare. Clemenceau’s assertion presents an interesting follow on question. If war exceeds the limits of the military, should the recording of military history also be perceived as a task exceeding the abilities of Department of Defense historians? In this paper, we will examine Clemenceau’s original assertion and if demonstrated to be true will examine the question of who should be responsible for the recording and the examination of military history.
History & The Military Professional SWJED Mon, 10/23/2017 - 12:09am

Studying military history affords military professionals the opportunity to identify lessons that apply to operational environments and develop a deeper understanding of their profession.

Casebooks on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare

US Army Special Operations Command and Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory National Security Analysis Department have put together a useful reference for small wars students and practitioners entitled "Casebook on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare Volume II:  1962-2009."  The resource is available for download in PDF format here.  If you are wondering where Volume I is, that government document covers post-World War I insurgencies and revolutions up to 1962 and can be downloaded in PDF here.  The original was published by the Special Operations Research Office at The American University in 1962.

Volume II is broken down by conceptual categories as can be seen by the table of contents:

 

I. REVOLUTION TO MODIFY THE TYPE OF GOVERNMENT........... 1 

1. New People’s Army (NPA).............................................................5 

2. Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)..........39 

3. Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path)............................................71 

4. 1979 Iranian Revolution............................................................113 

5. Frente Farabundo Martí Para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN)...151 

6. Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)................................195 

II. REVOLUTION BASED ON IDENTITY OR ETHNIC ISSUES........ 229 

7. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)...............................233 

8. Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO): 1964–2009............277 

9. Hutu–Tutsi Genocides...............................................................307 

10. Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA): 1996–1999............................343 

11. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA): 1969–2001...379 

III. REVOLUTION TO DRIVE OUT A FOREIGN POWER.................. 423 

12. Afghan Mujahidin: 1979–1989..................................................427 

13. Viet Cong: 1954–1976................................................................459 

14. Chechen Revolution: 1991–2002..............................................489 

15. Hizbollah: 1982–2009................................................................525 

16. Hizbul Mujahideen....................................................................569 

IV. REVOLUTION BASED ON RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM.... 605 

17. Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ)......................................................609 

18. Taliban: 1994–2009....................................................................651 

19. Al Qaeda: 1988–2001.................................................................685 

V. REVOLUTION FOR MODERNIZATION OR REFORM................. 725 

20. Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)....729 

21. Revolutionary United Front (RUF)—Sierra Leone.................763 

22. Orange Revolution of Ukraine: 2004–2005..............................801 

23. Solidarity.....................................................................................825 

 

The original was broken down regionally and included chapters on Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaya, Guatemala, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Tunisia, Algeria, French Cameroon, Congo, Iraq x 2, Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Korea, China, Germany, Spain, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

 

This project has been the vision of Paul Tompkins, a retired Special Forces Warrant Officer who works in the USASOC G3 and has had the support of the senior Army SOF leadership (see forwards from LTG Mulholland and MG Sacolick).  This is the first of several products that will be published on human factors In revolutions and insurgencies as well as undergrounds and auxiliaries.  

"In a rare spare moment during a training exercise, the Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA) Team Sergeant took an old book down from the shelf and tossed it into the young Green Beret’s lap. “Read and learn.” The book on human factors considerations in insurgencies was already more than twenty years old and very out of vogue. But the younger sergeant soon became engrossed and took other forgotten revolution-related texts off the shelf, including the 1962 Casebook on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare, which described the organization of undergrounds and the motivations and behaviors of revolutionaries. He became a student of the history of unconventional warfare and soon championed its revival as a teaching subject for the US Army Special Forces. When his country faced pop-up resistance in Iraq and tenacious guerrilla bands in Afghanistan during the mid-2000s, his vision of modernizing the research and reintroducing it into standard education and training took hold. 

This second volume owes its creation to the vision of that young Green Beret, Paul Tompkins, and to the challenge that his sergeant, Ed Brody, threw into his lap."

H/T to Dave Maxwell