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The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1566631037
ISBN-10: 1566631033
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based partly on recently released archival documents, this noteworthy, nuanced study challenges previous views on Soviet policy toward the Vietnam War. Gaiduk, a Russian historian based in Moscow, reveals that in 1971, the Kremlin drew up plans to make Vietnam the U.S.S.R.'s main channel for Soviet influence in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, the Kremlin was apprehensive that the conflict might spread to other regions and develop into an East-West confrontation or a nuclear disaster. Consequently, Soviet leaders adopted a two-pronged policy, supplying economic and military aid to Hanoi on the one hand, but also making strenuous behind-the-scenes efforts to convince both North and South Vietnam of the need for a negotiated settlement. Another revelation is that North Vietnamese communist leaders, fearful of jeopardizing aid from Moscow, clandestinely kept Soviet diplomats in Paris informed of the contents of private meetings with Henry Kissinger.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Gaiduk, a research fellow at the Institute of World History in Moscow specializing in Soviet-American relations, has written an absorbing analysis of the Vietnam War from the Soviet perspective. He shows how the Soviets sought to support North Vietnam while at the same time keeping China from gaining any more political strength in the area. Moreover, the Soviets wished to promote detente with the United States while defeating it in Southeast Asia. How the Russians would react to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was always a chief concern of American strategists. Often, what they really thought was not known. For the first time, formerly classified Russian documents have become available, resulting in this fascinating look into the diplomacy of the Soviet Union near the height of its power in the 1960s and 1970s. For academic and most public libraries.
Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher (April 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566631033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566631037
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Fred C. Parker IV on June 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mr.Gaiduk rightly claims that not many authors address this aspect of the Vietnam conflict. He then asserts a special claim to the truth for having been given exclusive access to some classified Soviet materials. A close reading, however, reveals that he does not dispute the crucial known set of facts presented by others. The most important fact is that the Soviet Union was North Vietnam's primary source of military supply, and without this support, North Vietnam could not have prosecuted the war. Gaiduk uses his classified information to claim that Soviet leaders were reluctant in this endeavor. But they did it! And they had to understand that the likely result of Soviet military support would be a larger conflict. They exploited the results of their efforts in a long, consistent diplomatic policy. Even if some Soviets were worried personally, or were reluctant, the Soviet Union followed a long, expensive and risky course of action and exploited the results of this course of action. Sounds a lot like this was Soviet strategy. I am sorry if some of them felt badly about it. But to focus on feeling bad rather than what the Soviets did and how they used the result is to miss the point--which is what Gaiduk does. Still, the book should be read because it is the Russian foil to a prevelant view among many US intellectuals. During the Vietnam war, the Soviet supply effort was known by the Best and the Brightest. They actually viewed it as positive, because they viewed the Soviet Union as more moderate than China, and believed that increased Soviet supplies would buy more Soviet influence in Hanoi, which would in turn make the North Vietnamese more moderate--essentially Gaiduk's argument. Of course, all it did was make the enemy of the United States in a war stronger.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
the topic of soviet policy towards Vietnam is not a heavily researched one and the majority of what exists is heavily tainted by American views and a reliance on propaganda laced official statements of the Soviet government at the time. Gaiduk was one of few who was able to look at the Soviet declassified archives during the short time that they were open and thus his book is built on information which was never released and which better represents the motives and characteristics of the Soviet (and also Chinese to some extent) foriegn policy towards the Vietnam War. Very intersting if the subject interests you. and an integral perspective which can be found few other places.
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