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CharlesHouston

Book "Eisenhower 1956 And 1956 Egyptian/Israeli War

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If you are looking for a good but DENSE book about the Middle East, “Eisenhower 1956” may be it. I just finished reading it and it filled in some holes about how the world got stuck in this never ending conflict. The author was David A. Nichols, an Eisenhower biographer and fan. 

The book talks a lot about how the various governments there were changing as colonialism died and was replaced by authoritarian, nationalist regimes. The people of many countries there seem to have changed from a peaceful, paternalistic government to a warlike, paternalistic government. This was no improvement. 

At this time the Middle East was rapidly changing - Israel had been supported by the Soviet Union and the British had threatened to bomb Israel to punish them for fighting with Jordan! The US refused to sell Israel significant military equipment. European economies had become dependent on oil shipped through the Suez Canal, which had just been nationalized by Egypt. The situation there was as complex then as it is today. 

One of the more interesting wars it covered was the “Tripartite Aggression” as the Arabs called it or the “Suez Campaign” as the Israelis called it. The war started on Oct 29, 1956 when Israel invaded Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. This was to support a secret plan to allow Britain and France to take the Suez Canal back. At that time the Muslim countries in that area did not like Israel, and had attacked it in 1947, but were very much in conflict among themselves. Apparently one of the unforeseen results of the 1956 attack by Israel was to accelerate the unity between their opponents and push them into the embrace of the Soviet Union. The Soviets subsequently became the arms supplier of choice for many of the armies in the region and sold lots of weapons. 

I have read several other books about that area, one was “Six Days Of War” by Michael B. Oren and it was interesting to see his version of the history of the Suez Campaign - it describes that attack as a necessary response. From reading several books it appears that the attack was unprovoked, unnecessary, and caused many more problems than it solved.

The Eisenhower book leaves the impression that the 1956 war might have been avoided had Eisenhower not had a major heart attack, a major abdominal surgery, and a reelection campaign in that year. Also, the Warsaw Pact almost had Hungary leave it that year, and they invaded Hungary and violently suppressed a rebellion there. 

The book answered a lot of questions that I had about the region and was well written. Apparently the sad situation we are now in might have been much better, had a number of people made much smarter decisions. What if the region had not divided into Muslim/Soviet and Israel/US sides??? It might have been several blocs supported by different major powers; even though Egypt and Israel were at war, the other Muslim countries did not come to the aid of Egypt (for various reasons). 

If you are tired of hearing about the Middle East - avoid this book. 

Edited by CharlesHouston

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16 hours ago, CharlesHouston said: Also, the Warsaw Pact almost had Hungary leave it that year, and they invaded Hungary and violently suppressed a rebellion there. 

Also, the Warsaw Pact almost had Hungary leave it that year, and they invaded Hungary and violently suppressed a rebellion there. 

This is something that needs a special emphasis: the suppression of the anti-Soviet rebellion in Hungary was a two-part operation: the first one failed, and the second one - with an all-out Soviet invasion - succeeded. It's unclear if the Soviet post-Stalin leadership would go for it without the Western powers being distracted by the Suez war, so it could be a major unintended consequence, right on. 

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The Suez action had many ramifications. Chiefly perhaps, was the lasting rift caused by the USA administration's quite hostile reaction to the Anglo-French action.  The support that one might have expected from an ally was certainly not forthcoming.

It certainly reverberated internationally and was just one reason why Britain was not sucked into the Vietnam conflict some five years later despite US requests.

Now there was a conflict that was "ünprovoked and unnecessary".

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On 2/12/2018 at 12:23 AM, Philip Whitehouse said:

The Suez action had many ramifications. Chiefly perhaps, was the lasting rift caused by the USA administration's quite hostile reaction to the Anglo-French action.  The support that one might have expected from an ally was certainly not forthcoming.

It certainly reverberated internationally and was just one reason why Britain was not sucked into the Vietnam conflict some five years later despite US requests.

Now there was a conflict that was "ünprovoked and unnecessary".

The British and French conspired with Israel to attack Egypt - that was not the action of an ally!! Our allies concealed the truth from their wartime colleague - Eisenhower. 

The French got out of Vietnam and the British had their troubles in Malaya, etc etc. Vietnam was not a place that Britain had ever been involved in. 

Vietnam was no less provoked and necessary than Malaya, Korea, and many other conflicts. We all lost a lot of people in Asia for very little purpose. 

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A matter of opinion. The Suez Canal was (and Is) of vital  importance to Europe and to allow it to be seized by Nasser, supported by the USSR , was a most dangerous development. A pity the USA didn't perceive that at the time.

The British (and Commonwealth) forces won, in Malaya /Malaysia.

True. Britain was never associated with Vietnam, but that didn't prevent Dean Rusk  to ask for British participation.

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4 hours ago, Philip Whitehouse said:

A matter of opinion. The Suez Canal was (and Is) of vital  importance to Europe and to allow it to be seized by Nasser, supported by the USSR , was a most dangerous development. A pity the USA didn't perceive that at the time.

The British (and Commonwealth) forces won, in Malaya /Malaysia.

True. Britain was never associated with Vietnam, but that didn't prevent Dean Rusk  to ask for British participation.

From your answers it appears that you are devoted to your opinions and are not very interested in the research of others.

There are MANY canals, bridges, etc etc that are of vital importance to some region - that happen to be located in some other country. The importance of the Suez Canal did not justify the British and French attempt to take it back. They could not hold it and operate it when the Egyptians were not in favor of that! A few cannons would close the canal in a hurry. Eisenhower realized that and tried to convince his allies to give up this bad idea. Nasser at that time was open to support from the West or from the Soviet Union - the Suez seizure sure helped push them into the Soviet sphere! A pity that Britain and France didn't perceive that at the time. 

The British won in Malaya - and so it must have been provoked and necessary?

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On 25/02/2018 at 3:29 AM, CharlesHouston said:

From your answers it appears that you are devoted to your opinions and are not very interested in the research of others.

There are MANY canals, bridges, etc etc that are of vital importance to some region - that happen to be located in some other country. The importance of the Suez Canal did not justify the British and French attempt to take it back. They could not hold it and operate it when the Egyptians were not in favor of that! A few cannons would close the canal in a hurry. Eisenhower realized that and tried to convince his allies to give up this bad idea. Nasser at that time was open to support from the West or from the Soviet Union - the Suez seizure sure helped push them into the Soviet sphere! A pity that Britain and France didn't perceive that at the time. 

The British won in Malaya - and so it must have been provoked and necessary?

Given the rather dismissive tone of your response, I thought long and hard about responding. But still...

Of course I'm not welded to my my own opinions ,otherwise why would I bother with this forum ?

I don't know where your own research took you, but I can assure you that the Suez canal was, and is, of paramount importance to Europe's prosperity, and any threat its integrity had to be taken seriously. The only other comparable feature in the world is the Panama canal.  But unlike the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal does not have any locks- which makes your contention that "a few cannons would close the canal in a hurry" slightly ridiculous.

 

I must admit that your final paragraph is a mystery- to me anyway. Would you care to elucidate ?

 

 

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4 hours ago, Philip Whitehouse said:

Given the rather dismissive tone of your response, I thought long and hard about responding. But still...

Of course I'm not welded to my my own opinions ,otherwise why would I bother with this forum ?

I don't know where your own research took you, but I can assure you that the Suez canal was, and is, of paramount importance to Europe's prosperity, and any threat its integrity had to be taken seriously. The only other comparable feature in the world is the Panama canal.  But unlike the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal does not have any locks- which makes your contention that "a few cannons would close the canal in a hurry" slightly ridiculous.

I must admit that your final paragraph is a mystery- to me anyway. Would you care to elucidate ?

If you are willing to have a polite exchange (even if we disagree) I am also willing to. 

So my contention that a few cannons could close the Suez canal is slightly ridiculous? A cannon could easily target a slow moving ship, cannons are not only usable on locks. There are few ships and few crews that would sail the Suez Canal if cannons were even only on one side - the ships would be targeted easily. That is why I fail to see why my contention is at all ridiculous, unless you just want to disagree with people. 

In our previous exchanges you equated winning, as the British did in Malaya, with being "necessary and provoked" where as there is no connection. 

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On 29/03/2018 at 3:27 PM, CharlesHouston said:

If you are willing to have a polite exchange (even if we disagree) I am also willing to. 

So my contention that a few cannons could close the Suez canal is slightly ridiculous? A cannon could easily target a slow moving ship, cannons are not only usable on locks. There are few ships and few crews that would sail the Suez Canal if cannons were even only on one side - the ships would be targeted easily. That is why I fail to see why my contention is at all ridiculous, unless you just want to disagree with people. 

In our previous exchanges you equated winning, as the British did in Malaya, with being "necessary and provoked" where as there is no connection. 

That's what I hoped your attitude would be. Life's too short for recriminations.

The very reason why the British and French descended upon the Suez Canal- and isn't that what this all about ?-  is that the Canal is not  just another piece of infrastructure: it's in a league of its own,with the possible exception of the Panama Canal. Thus, ever since its construction  it's been guarded by the British Army; to prevent any hostile forces from deploying cannon along its banks. (And the USA thought similarly about the Panama cut:- hence the Panama Canal Zone). It's the reason why the British Empire occupied Egypyt entirely in 1882.

THis attitude continued during WW1, against the Ottomans, and WW2 against Rommel.

So perhaps you can imagine the consternation when Abdul Nasser unilaterally decided to nationalize the whole enterprise.

Whether, in retrospect, this attitude  by Britain and France was correct is something else entirely. At the time it was a certain cause for alarm.

"Provoked and Necessary" were certainly true  when applied to the Malayan Emergency of the 1950s and the later Malaysian "Confrontation" of the mid-60s,: these conflicts were concluded happily. Whether the same could be said of the Vietnam War is entirely debatable: wouldn't you say ?

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On 2/24/2018 at 11:58 AM, Philip Whitehouse said:

A matter of opinion. The Suez Canal was (and Is) of vital  importance to Europe and to allow it to be seized by Nasser, supported by the USSR , was a most dangerous development. A pity the USA didn't perceive that at the time.

The British (and Commonwealth) forces won, in Malaya /Malaysia.

True. Britain was never associated with Vietnam, but that didn't prevent Dean Rusk  to ask for British participation.

One of FDR's war aims for WW2 was the demolition of both the French and British Empires, in the expectation that the USA could march right in and sell its goods to markets previously closed. As with so MUCH American foreign policy down the decades, such oversimplification often - even USUALLY - leads to disasterous "unforseen consequences", The USA flatly refused to assist the French retake control of French IndoChina... the result wasn't a huge increase of sales by Ford and Coca Cola in IndoChina... it was the Viet Nam war! The British and the French were, by maintaining colonial rule, at least maintaining some kind of political and economic infrastructure and keeping the influence of the USSR at bay. Sadly, the USA seems utterly unable to LEARN from thiese basic screw-ups, even adding a new expresion to its lexicon to describe "what happens when you do something that seemed really smart at the time, but subsequently - due to your complete lack of research of the matter - then blows up in your face" It's called "BLOWBACK". Worse, having created a world of former colonies, the USA signally failed to avoid doing exactly what it had claimed that it hated about Colonialism: it routinely meddled in the internal affairs of other nations' former colonies. It gave them a choice of supporting the USA or the USSR - NO "Neutral" third option allowed! - and, if you didn't pick the "Support the USA" option, then expect an undeclared economic war against you. Britain and France provided for their colonies a government structure - India, for example still runs on pretty much exactly the same lines today as it did under the Raj, with the same civil service modelled along Trevellian's British service, and entered by competitive examination. They also got defence provided, an education system, often huge amounts of infrastructure... and in exchange British (or French) goods got preferential treatment. Not by any means perfect... but certainly rather better than the "give them less, take more" model imposed by the USA. To be fair, the British did not believe that Egyptians either could or would be able to develop the skills required to provide the pilots needed to navigate the Suez Canal. In 1918, nomadic Arabs had taken over cities previously run by the (at that point defunct) Ottoman Empire, and had totally failed to be able to run the things that allowed them to function (things like the municipal power and gas companies) And that hadn't been so long in the past. The Egyptians surprised their former colonial masters by demonstrating that they HAD been watching, and were just itching for the opportunity to do the job of canal pilots themselves.

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Here, with Ron's reply, we see someone who wants to ram his opinion down our throats; we see a guy who twists history to fit his notions. Pardon my sharp reply but he says a lot of things that are easily shown to be false and so it is hard to answer politely. 

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One of FDR's war aims for WW2 was the demolition of both the French and British Empires, in the expectation that the USA could march right in and sell its goods to markets previously closed. 

This assertion is of course ridiculous - if FDR had any such aim his actions would have been to let the Germans crush England and all of France and then step in. Much as the Russians let the Germans and Poles wear each other out in Warsaw, while they waited outside the gates. And if Europe was totally devastated - who was gonna by American stuff (as Ron later claims)? Are French farmers, trying to rebuild their fields, gonna stop for a Coke?? Ron does not understand history or economics. 

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The USA flatly refused to assist the French retake control of French IndoChina.

Ron certainly has not bothered with history - the French for instance did not need to retake control of IndoChina, but to maintain it. Ron - just to let you know that there was no French amphibious assault to retake Hanoi, you are thinking of the Allied assault to retake Seoul. That was a different war - if you look closely you will realize that. 

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Britain and France provided for their colonies a government structure - India, for example still runs on pretty much exactly the same lines today as it did under the Raj, with the same civil service modelled along Trevellian's British service, and entered by competitive examination. They also got defence provided, an education system, often huge amounts of infrastructure... and in exchange British (or French) goods got preferential treatment.

Yes - and slaves the world over got free room and board, and free clothes! It was really a good deal for them, right Ron? It was such a good deal that Ron wonders why they revolted. 

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certainly rather better than the "give them less, take more" model imposed by the USA.

Yes, the USA - the country that plundered what was left in Germany. Oops, the USA had that Marshall Plan - must have been a mistake? In fact Ron wants us to forget that the USA sacrificed to help Europe and Japan - are the Germans and Japanese our allies today? YES. Why? Because of their lingering gratitude over the way that their countries have been able to rebuild. Compare the attitude of the Polish nation to the Russians (acting as the Soviets in the late 1940s) - the relationship is hostile at best. Eastern Europe still remembers how the Soviet (Russian) armies treated their citizens brutally - certainly people in the cross fire did what they had to to survive but today's relationship between the USA and Germany as compared to Russia and Germany - the conclusions are obvious. 

Ron's transparent attempt to convince us that there was some evil plan behind WWII is too obvious. The current relationship (sadly diminished by the current American administration) is all the evidence we need of the (flawed but well intended) efforts of the Allies to stand together and build a better world. 

Ron obviously has not read the book that I was talking about and will not read it - he will look for some more conspiratorial book. 

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1 hour ago, CharlesHouston said:

The current relationship (sadly diminished by the current American administration) is all the evidence we need of the (flawed but well intended) efforts of the Allies to stand together and build a better world. 

As much as I think you have a point - and apart from somewhat personal tone - there's no need to simplify the way the said relationships are shaped. If I may remind you, it was Obama who removed the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office in quite a transparent gesture.  

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12 minutes ago, George Collins said:

As much as I think you have a point - and apart from somewhat personal tone - there's no need to simplify the way the said relationships are shaped. If I may remind you, it was Obama who removed the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office in quite a transparent gesture.  

Don't get me wrong, I am no fan of President Obama. His phony "Red Line" in Syria was one of many blunders he made. But he did not blab publicly about how NATO was taking advantage of us - and privately support NATO. Obama consistently mainly ignored our European relationships, he is not the hypocrite that donald is. 

But the big point of the discussion is that we have decades of close alliance with many partners - European and others. We cannot (and did not) build this relationship on earlier attempts to cheat other countries. I have visited Europe several times and have always been impressed with the friendly reception I got. 

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37 minutes ago, CharlesHouston said:

But he did not blab publicly about how NATO was taking advantage of us - and privately support NATO.

Ha - ha. Some say, it's how you negotiate real estate deals in New York City. I am withholding my judgement for the time being.

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Here, with Ron's reply, we see someone who wants to ram his opinion down our throats; we see a guy who twists history to fit his notions. Pardon my sharp reply but he says a lot of things that are easily shown to be false and so it is hard to answer politely. 

Or to put it another way... here we have someone who is at least capable of using Google to check facts, rather than insisting "I'm right, and anyone who disagrees with me is just WRONG!" Try typing into Google the simple phrase "FDR War aims anti-imperialism". Which results in a surprising consensus of responses that FDR was NOT about to "send American boys to fight for the British Empire." Whose response was it you claimed to be "easily shown to be false"???
 

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Ron certainly has not bothered with history - the French for instance did not need to retake control of IndoChina, but to maintain it. Ron - just to let you know that there was no French amphibious assault to retake Hanoi, you are thinking of the Allied assault to retake Seoul. That was a different war - if you look closely you will realize that. 

Sadly, Charles is again spouting utterly unresearched rubbish (again) While Wikipedia isn't always 100% reliable, 30 seconds of research would have found that ...
"In March 1945, the Japanese imprisoned the Vichy French and took direct control of Vietnam until they were defeated by the Allies in August. At that point, there was an attempt to form a Provisional Government, but the French took back control of the country in 1946.

In looking at the broad picture of Southeast Asia at the end of World War II, several conflicting movements appear:

  • generic Western anticommunism that saw the French as protector of the area from Communist expansion.
  • nationalist and anti-colonialist movements that wanted independence from the French.
  • Communists who indeed would like to expand.

The lines were not always clear, and some alliances were of convenience. Prior to his death, Franklin D. Roosevelt made numerous comments about not wanting the French to regain control of Indochina."
Surrender of the Japanese forces was undertaken in the North of Indochina (which would later be called "VietNam") by Chang Kai Shek's Nationalist Chinese, and in the South by the British. The USA declined even to provide transport to allow the French to attend.
 

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Yes - and slaves the world over got free room and board, and free clothes! It was really a good deal for them, right Ron? It was such a good deal that Ron wonders why they revolted. 

My old primary school was named after Edward Colston, a prominent Bristolian philanthropist, after whom the city's principal concert venue is also named, Colston made his fortune from trading slaves. Boo! Hiss! The schools' governers have recently decided to change the school's name. Before Colston came "the Pitchfork Rebellion", a revolt led by the Duke of Monmoth against the unpopular king James II. The rebels were defeated not far from Bristol at the battle of Sedgemoor. Survivors and sympathisers were tried by Judge Jefferies at the notorious "Bloody Assizes", and pretty much all of them were shipped off to Sugar plantations in the West Indies - as slaves. Go back further, to about 1050, and you'll find the oldest document in they archives of the city of Bristol: a request that Bristolians cease their seasonal habit of sailing across the Bristol Channel to South Wales, rounding up a village or two, and taking the inhabitants as slaves. These slaves were frequently sold to Viking traders, who sold them on to the irish. Go back a little further (500  years), and the Romans occupied the area... with plentiful slaves.  I don't condone Colston making a profit from trafficking in human life...but I at least have an appreciation of the historical context. Colston didn't invent slavery; in his time it had been in existence back into classical times. What was different about slavery in Colston's day is that they'd belatedly found a source of slaves that didn't die quite as quickly in tropical climes as the white ones had. Like the irish buying-on Welshmen who'd already been enslaved by their own neighbours. Sadly, Charley seems to lack a sense of historical context. (Or indeed, much sense of history  at all.)

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Yes, the USA - the country that plundered what was left in Germany. Oops, the USA had that Marshall Plan - must have been a mistake? In fact Ron wants us to forget that the USA sacrificed to help Europe and Japan - are the Germans and Japanese our allies today

Too bad that "Eisenhower" seems to be the ONLY history book that Charley has read. He might otherwise be better informed about the USA's cynical realisation that a broke Europe was unlikely to be able to indulge in trade with America. The British film mogul, who produced a string of successful movies, some of them on relatively small budgets, which led to him being invited to become CEO of Colombia Studios in Los Angeles. His history of the cinema is entitled "The Undeclared War", and illustrates graphically how the USA was remarkably selective in who and how they aided in post-war reconstruction. Hollywood received an effective government subsidy (in the form of massive tax breaks, and a blanket exemption from anti-trust legislation - IF you were exporting your subsidized movies to somewhere where they'd be competing against studios that had been bombed flat during the war, and were now trying to rebuild. In business this is known as "cutting the air supply". ) 
 

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Ron claims to be a researcher since he can Google phrases, this reminds me of a funny video of a job interview for a young woman who is asked if she can do research. She says Yes, just ask Siri. I did Google that phrase and behold - www.marxists.com comes up with "facts" to back up Ron's assertion. Sorry, Ron, but I could refer to several books about FDR that I have read, several books about Truman, several about Eisenhower. 

But the best source of information is my own travels in Germany and Austria, my career in the USAF working with our Canadian allies, and my ability to process multiple news sources. The Allies have had a very good relationship since the mid-1950s at least. We have worked together well in Iraq (a couple of times), in Afghanistan, in various conflicts around the world. Good relationships like this are not built on exploitation. As a comparison, would Latvian or Finnish troops deploy to work with Russians? No. I read a great book by Wes Clark (I did not have to depend on the results of a search of questionable sources) who describes the relationship between NATO allies and how they interfaced with Russians in the Balkans. Now Wes Clark was a bit too hostile for my tastes but I believe him when he says that the NATO allies did not get along well with the Russians. 

25 minutes ago, Ron Walker said:

Try typing into Google the simple phrase "FDR War aims anti-imperialism". Which results in a surprising consensus of responses that FDR was NOT about to "send American boys to fight for the British Empire." Whose response was it you claimed to be "easily shown to be false"???

Who's claims? Ron Walker's claims. False. 

You said that the US refused to help the French retake IndoChina - as though there was organized resistance. If there was any, it was minor. Ho Chi Minh (actually Nguyen Sinh Cung) was active in the northern part of Vietnam during WWII and did try to control Hanoi, but the Chinese put the French-backed emperor back in charge. Actual real hostilities started in Oct 1946 after Ho tried to have a peaceful transition - French forces in Haiphong were attacked by Vietnamese forces. But at the actual end of WWII, there was no need for the US to help the French - the Chinese in the north and British in the south helped the French. 

But that does not fit Ron's assertion since the Chinese and British did not want to sell Cokes to Vietnamese rice farmers. Ron needs a "reason" for the US to get involved, an evil plot by the Americans to sell Fords to Vietnamese soccer moms. 

Who's claims? Ron Walker's claims. False. 

Do we have time to dissect some story about a British film mogul who wants to have Germans watch cartoons in their bombed out theaters? I didn't think so. 

Ron - when you post here you are subject to review by people with decades of experience, study, etc. People that do not get all of their "facts" from www.marxist.com

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Perhaps I should reassure Joris, et al that I do have strong reactions when people post stuff that I personally know to be wrong. I will remain respectful of the group and of people that I disagree with. We should all aspire to that. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Ron Walker said:

The British film mogul, who produced a string of successful movies, some of them on relatively small budgets, which led to him being invited to become CEO of Colombia Studios in Los Angeles. His history of the cinema is entitled "The Undeclared War", and illustrates graphically how the USA was remarkably selective in who and how they aided in post-war reconstruction. Hollywood received an effective government subsidy (in the form of massive tax breaks, and a blanket exemption from anti-trust legislation - IF you were exporting your subsidized movies to somewhere where they'd be competing against studios that had been bombed flat during the war, and were now trying to rebuild. In business this is known as "cutting the air supply". ) 
 

Yeah, I'm with Charles on this one. I mean, we're talking about the Cold War being the context here. It's kind of like complaining about a sibling getting a preferential treatment by the parents. How often do we hear, "It's not fare"? - used to be mostly 5-year olds, but, boy, it spreads around all the way to retirement age nowadays.... Can anybody explain to me why would the US government - or any other government in its stead - be interested in making sure that the British movie industry dominates? 

Edited by George Collins

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27 minutes ago, George Collins said:

Yeah, I'm with Charles on this one. I mean, we're talking about the Cold War being the context here. It's kind of like complaining about a sibling getting a preferential treatment by the parents. How often do we hear, "It's not fare"? - used to be mostly 5-year olds, but, boy, it spreads around all the way to retirement age nowadays.... Can anybody explain to me why would the US government - or any other government in its stead - be interested in making sure that the British movie industry dominates? 

The issue - much as currently being claimed with steel and aluminium imports - is/was predatory dumping, The US Government on the one hand allowed Hollywood Studios to ALSO control the majority of cinemas in the USA, and thereby control what was (or wasn't) shown to American audiences, Unsurprisingly, the big studios were not interested in quid pro quo. This it was generally agreed, was in flagrant breach of America;s OWN anti-trust legislation, yet, somehow, government actually applying its OWN LAWS got postponed again and again.  Exporting foreign films to the USA and getting them a cinema release was all but impossible. On the OTHER hand, profits made on selling American made movies to Europe (after costs had already been recovered from the domestic market, meaning that any sales were almost PURE profit, and could be pitched at an absurdly low level, yet still remain profitable) could be offset, pretty much indefinitely. The eventual anti-trust hearings concluded that the Major Studios had been ripping off American audiences for years, providing a constant diet of mediocre movies secure in the knowledge that they didn't need to compete with anyone! You want an example of predatory marketing... take a look at Hollywood in the Post War years, European cinema was trying to get back on its feet after the war, and finding itself under constant attack from subsidized American imports, seemingly aimed at ensuring that they would NEVER make sufficient profit to recover, The victims here weren't so much the British film industry. more the French German and Italian industries, all of which had been thriving pre-war. Eventually, profits from the right to release Hammer Horror films, made in the UK, were all that kept  Universal Studios from bankruptcy. Just looking at what happened - and looking at the judgement of the Anti-Trust courts which told Hollywood to make movies OR own cinemas, but NOT both - shows that protecting a domestic industry from competition merely produces a fat, sloppy industry, which doesn't feel any need to put in much effort. In the final days when people went to the cinema EVERY week (possibly more than once) it was the AMERICAN consumers who suffered the most.

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33 minutes ago, Ron Walker said:

The eventual anti-trust hearings concluded that the Major Studios had been ripping off American audiences for years, providing a constant diet of mediocre movies secure in the knowledge that they didn't need to compete with anyone! You want an example of predatory marketing

I'm not even sure what your argument is. You started out with pretty much declaring the US government foreign policy imperialist, and then by a hardly intelligible pivot you ended up accusing Hollywood of monopolizing the entertainment industry. For one, if you're arguing for less government involvement and more competition in the market, particularly entertainment, I'm all for it. But that apart, what on earth one has to do with another?

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10 minutes ago, George Collins said:

I'm not even sure what your argument is. You started out with pretty much declaring the US government foreign policy imperialist, and then by a hardly intelligible pivot you ended up accusing Hollywood of monopolizing the entertainment industry. For one, if you're arguing for less government involvement and more competition in the market, particularly entertainment, I'm all for it. But that apart, what on earth one has to do with another?

Simple. An Imperialist - at least in theory - is like an adoptive parent. Their job is to raise a "child nation", protect it from danger, make sure it gets enough to eat... The USA has long expressed its opposition to such behaviour, and seems to prefer the role of a pimp to a child prostitute - which has been lured out of the protection of its former guardian so that it can be "Free". Kipling wrote a fairly striking poem, exhorting the USA (as a developed nation) to take a more responsible attitude to the Phillipines. It reflects Kipling's own personal view of what "Imperialism" means. It was titled "Take up the white man's burden".  I am amused by the fact that there;s a "Club of countries that used to be part of the British Empire", simply called "the Commonealth". The "amusing" aspect is that the "club" now includes a number of nations that never WERE British possessions. They just wished that they had been! And that's quite an appreciation of how "Imperialism" wasn't quite as terrible as some people like to claim it was...

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4 minutes ago, Ron Walker said:

Simple. An Imperialist - at least in theory - is like an adoptive parent. Their job is to raise a "child nation", protect it from danger, make sure it gets enough to eat... The USA has long expressed its opposition to such behaviour, and seems to prefer the role of a pimp to a child prostitute - which has been lured out of the protection of its former guardian so that it can be "Free". Kipling wrote a fairly striking poem, exhorting the USA (as a developed nation) to take a more responsible attitude to the Phillipines. It reflects Kipling's own personal view of what "Imperialism" means. It was titled "Take up the white man's burden".  I am amused by the fact that there;s a "Club of countries that used to be part of the British Empire", simply called "the Commonealth". The "amusing" aspect is that the "club" now includes a number of nations that never WERE British possessions. They just wished that they had been! And that's quite an appreciation of how "Imperialism" wasn't quite as terrible as some people like to claim it was...

It is apparent that Ron issues a "stream of consciousness" of notes that effortlessly segues from unrelated topic to unrelated topic (I don't often get to work the word segue into a note) and that he doesn't have any actual opinions, he is just looking to argue. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Ron Walker said:

Simple. An Imperialist - at least in theory - is like an adoptive parent. Their job is to raise a "child nation", protect it from danger, make sure it gets enough to eat... The USA has long expressed its opposition to such behaviour, and seems to prefer the role of a pimp to a child prostitute - which has been lured out of the protection of its former guardian so that it can be "Free". 

May be, Charles is on to something having noticed your quotation from a marxist site. I smell a whole lot of dialectics here. Looks like you're pivoting back to the Marshall Plan - aka a "pimping" operation in your interpretation, which of course exactly the way the Soviet propaganda portrayed it. Nothing to do with Hollywood, of which your complaint presumably alluded to protectionism. Not quite the same as imperialism, is it?

Edited by George Collins

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On 4/1/2018 at 11:16 PM, CharlesHouston said:

Ron claims to be a researcher since he can Google phrases, this reminds me of a funny video of a job interview for a young woman who is asked if she can do research. She says Yes, just ask Siri. I did Google that phrase and behold - www.marxists.com comes up with "facts" to back up Ron's assertion. Sorry, Ron, but I could refer to several books about FDR that I have read, several books about Truman, several about Eisenhower. 

But the best source of information is my own travels in Germany and Austria, my career in the USAF working with our Canadian allies, and my ability to process multiple news sources. The Allies have had a very good relationship since the mid-1950s at least. We have worked together well in Iraq (a couple of times), in Afghanistan, in various conflicts around the world. Good relationships like this are not built on exploitation. As a comparison, would Latvian or Finnish troops deploy to work with Russians? No. I read a great book by Wes Clark (I did not have to depend on the results of a search of questionable sources) who describes the relationship between NATO allies and how they interfaced with Russians in the Balkans. Now Wes Clark was a bit too hostile for my tastes but I believe him when he says that the NATO allies did not get along well with the Russians. 

Who's claims? Ron Walker's claims. False. 

You said that the US refused to help the French retake IndoChina - as though there was organized resistance. If there was any, it was minor. Ho Chi Minh (actually Nguyen Sinh Cung) was active in the northern part of Vietnam during WWII and did try to control Hanoi, but the Chinese put the French-backed emperor back in charge. Actual real hostilities started in Oct 1946 after Ho tried to have a peaceful transition - French forces in Haiphong were attacked by Vietnamese forces. But at the actual end of WWII, there was no need for the US to help the French - the Chinese in the north and British in the south helped the French. 

But that does not fit Ron's assertion since the Chinese and British did not want to sell Cokes to Vietnamese rice farmers. Ron needs a "reason" for the US to get involved, an evil plot by the Americans to sell Fords to Vietnamese soccer moms. 

Who's claims? Ron Walker's claims. False. 

Do we have time to dissect some story about a British film mogul who wants to have Germans watch cartoons in their bombed out theaters? I didn't think so. 

Ron - when you post here you are subject to review by people with decades of experience, study, etc. People that do not get all of their "facts" from www.marxist.com

The fllowing is cribbed direct from Wikipedia again, I'm afraid: Note how different this account is to Charley's "Alternative facts". He claims "as though there was organized resistance. If there was any, it was minor." So, a conflict that leads to upwards of 2.5k dead VietMinh counts as "minor"??? Any historian will be aware of Marx's "stage" theory as an excellent tool for the analysis of history. I'd forgotten that Americans tend to shy away from even the WORD "Marx" like nervous virgins, incapable of overcoming the legacy of their own Cold war propaganda. The insurmountable problem with Marxism is that Marx attempted to make predictions extrapolated from his theories, and - pretty much without exception - those predictions proved to be totally WRONG. But merely because their predictions might be wrong... stage theory - the suggestion that all societies evolve along similar lines, passing through a series of stages in the same sequence as they develop, is hard to disagree with. Which is probably why it's so popular with genuine historians.

In July 1945 at Potsdam, Germany, the Allied leaders made the decision to divide Indochina in half—at the 16th parallel—to allow Chiang Kai-shek to receive the Japanese surrender in the North, while Lord Louis Mountbatten would receive the surrender in the South. The Allies agreed that France was the rightful owner of French Indochina, but because France was critically weakened as a result of the German occupation, a British-Indian force was installed in order to help the French in re-establishing control over their former colonial possession.[3]

To carry out his part of the task, Lord Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander Southeast Asia Command, was to form an Allied Commission to go to Saigon and a military force consisting of an infantry division that was to be designated as the Allied Land Forces French Indochina (ALFFIC). It was tasked to ensure civil order in the area surrounding Saigon, to enforce the Japanese surrender, and to render humanitarian assistance to Allied prisoners of war and internees.[3]

The Control Commission's concern was primarily with winding down the Supreme Headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army Southeast Asia and also render humanitarian assistance to prisoners of war. Thus Major-General Douglas Gracey was appointed to head the Commission and the 80th Brigade, commanded by Brigadier D.E. Taunton, of his crack 20th Indian Division was the ALFFIC which followed him to Vietnam.

In late August 1945, British occupying forces were ready to depart for various Southeast Asian destinations, and some were already on their way, when General Douglas MacArthur caused an uproar at the Southeast Asia Command by forbidding reoccupation until he had personally received the Japanese surrender in Tokyo, which was actually set for 28 August, but a typhoon caused the ceremony to be postponed until 2 September.

MacArthur's uproar had enormous consequences, for Allied prisoners of war in Japanese camps had to suffer living in a ghastly state for a little bit longer and also this delay, before the Allied troops arrived, enabled revolutionary groups to fill the power vacuums that had existed in Southeast Asia since the announcement of the Japanese capitulation on 15 August. The chief beneficiaries in Indochina were the Communists, who exercised complete control over the Viet Minh, the nationalist alliance founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1941. In Hanoi and Saigon, they rushed to seize the seats of government, by killing or intimidating their rivals.[4]

While the Allies stated that the French had sovereignty over Indochina, America opposed the return of Indochina to the French;[5] but there was no such official America animosity towards the Communist-led Viet Minh.[6]

MacArthur finally had his ceremony on board the USS Missouri on 2 September, and three days later the first Allied medical rescue teams parachuted into the prisoner of war camps. During the following days a small advance party of support personnel and infantry escort from Gracey's force arrived in Saigon to check on conditions and report back; on the 11th a brigade was flown in from Hmawbi Field, Burma via Bangkok. When these advance Allied units landed in Saigon they found themselves in a bizarre position of being welcomed and guarded by fully armed Japanese and Viet Minh soldiers. The reason these soldiers were armed was because six months earlier (March 9) they disarmed and interned the French, for the Japanese feared an American landing in Indochina after the fall of Manila and did not trust the French.

Britain in Vietnam

Upon Gracey's arrival on September 13 to receive the surrender of Japanese forces, he immediately realized the seriousness of the situation in the country. Anarchy, rioting, and murder were widespread, Saigon's administrative services had collapsed, and a loosely controlled Communist-led revolutionary group had seized power. In addition, since the Japanese were still fully armed, the Allies feared that they would be capable of undermining the Allied position. Furthermore, Gracey had poor communications with his higher headquarters in Burma because his American signal detachment was abruptly withdrawn by the U.S. government for political reasons; it was a loss that could not be rectified for several weeks.

Gracey wrote that unless something were done quickly, the state of anarchy would worsen. This situation was worsened by the Viet Minh's lack of strong control over some of their allied groups.[7] Because of this, the French were able to persuade Gracey (in a move which exceeded the authority of his orders from Mountbatten) to rearm local colonial infantry regiments who were being held as prisoners of war.

Gracey also allowed about 1,000 former French prisoners of war to be rearmed. They, with the arrival of the newly formed 5th Colonial Infantry Regiment (RIC) commandos, would then be capable of evicting the Viet Minh from what hold they had on the Saigon administration. Gracey saw this as the quickest way to allow the French to reassert their authority in Indochina while allowing him proceed in disarming and repatriating the Japanese.

Gracey faced another problem in his relations with Mountbatten. One example of this occurred on Gracey's arrival in September. He drew up a proclamation that declared martial law and stated that he was responsible for law and order throughout Indochina south of the 16th parallel. Mountbatten, in turn, made an issue of this, claiming that Gracey was responsible for public security in key areas only. The proclamation was published on September 21 and, although Lord Mountbatten disagreed with its wording, the Chiefs of Staff and the Foreign Office supported Gracey.

During the following days, Gracey gradually eased the Viet Minh grip on Saigon, replacing their guards in vital points with his own troops. These vital points were then turned over to French troops.[8] This procedure was adopted because the Viet Minh would not have relinquished their positions directly to the French.[9]

French reassert control in Saigon

300px-Gcma_commando_french_indochina_jap
 
Free French 6th Commando C.L.I. in Saigon are saluted by surrendered Japanese in November 1945.

By September 23, most of Saigon was back in French hands, with less than half a dozen vital positions in Viet Minh control. The French subsequently regained total control of Saigon. On that day, former French prisoners of war who had been reinstated into the army together with troops from the 5th RIC ejected the Viet Minh in a coup in which two French soldiers were killed.[9]

On the night of the 24/25 a Vietnamese mob (not under Viet Minh control) abducted and butchered a large number of French and French-Vietnamese men, women, and children. On the 25th, the Viet Minh attacked and set fire to the city's central market area, while another group attacked Tan Son Nhut Airfield. The airfield attack was repelled by the Gurkhas, where one British soldier was killed along with half a dozen Viet Minh. The British now had a war on their hands, something which Mountbatten had sought to avoid.

For the next few days, parties of armed Viet Minh clashed with British patrols, the Viet Minh suffering mounting losses with each encounter.[10]:70 The British soldiers were highly professional and experienced troops who had just recently finished battling the Japanese; many officers and soldiers had also experienced internal security and guerrilla warfare in India and the North West Frontier. In contrast, even though the Viet Minh were courageous, they were still learning how to fight a war.

In early October, Gracey held talks with the Viet Minh and a truce was agreed upon. On the 5th, General Philippe Leclerc, the senior French commander, arrived in Saigon where he and his troops were placed under Gracey's command. However, on October 10, a state of semi-peace with the Viet Minh was broken by an unprovoked attack on a small British engineering party which was inspecting the water lines near Tan Son Nhut Airfield. Most of the engineering party were killed or wounded. Gracey accepted the fact that the level of insurrection was such that he would first have to pacify key areas before he could repatriate the Japanese. It was at this time that his small force had been strengthened by the arrival of his second infantry brigade, the 32nd, under Brigadier E.C.V. Woodford. Gracey deployed the 32nd Brigade into Saigon's troublesome northern suburbs of Gò Vấp and Gia Định. Once in this area the Viet Minh fell back before this force, which included armoured car support from the Indian 16th Light Cavalry.[11]:206

Aerial reconnaissance by Spitfires revealed that the roads approaching Saigon were blocked: the Viet Minh were attempting to strangle the city. On October 13, Tan Son Nhut came under attack again by the Viet Minh; their commandos and sappers were able this time to come within 275m of the control tower. They were also at the doors of the radio station before the attack was blunted by Indian and Japanese soldiers. As the Viet Minh fell back from the airfield, the Japanese were ordered to pursue them until nightfall, when contact was broken.[11]:284

By mid-October, 307 Viet Minh had been killed by British/Indian troops and 225 were killed by Japanese troops, including the new body count of 80 more Viet Minh at Da Lat. On one occasion, the Japanese repulsed an attack on their headquarters at Phú Lâm, killing 100 Viet Minh. British, French, and Japanese casualties were small by comparison. On the 17th, the third brigade, the 100th, commanded by Brigadier C.H.B. Rodham, arrived in Indochina.

Viet Minh attacks on Saigon's infrastructure

The Viet Minh next assaulted Saigon's vital points—the power plant, docks, airfield, and for the third time, even the city's artesian wells. Periodically, Saigon was blacked out at night and the sound of small arms, grenades, mines, mortars, and artillery became familiar throughout the city. Unable to overwhelm Saigon's defences, the Viet Minh intensified their siege tactics. During this time, newly arrived French troops were given the task of helping to break the siege while aggressive British patrolling kept the Viet Minh off-balanced.[10]:75

On October 25, the only known evidence of direct Soviet involvement in the area came about, when a Japanese patrol captured a Russian adviser near Thủ Dầu Một. He was handed over to Lieutenant-Colonel Cyril Jarvis, commander of the 1/1 Gurkha Rifles at Thủ Dầu Một. Jarvis tried several attempts at interrogation, but it was fruitless, so the intruder was handed over to the Sûreté, the French criminal investigation department (equivalent to the CID). From there he disappeared from the annals of history.

On October 29, the British formed a strong task force with the objective of pushing the Viet Minh further away from Saigon. This force was called 'Gateforce' after its commander, Lt.-Col. Gates of 14/13th Frontier Force Rifles. Gateforce consisted of Indian infantry, artillery, and armoured cars, and a Japanese infantry battalion. During their operations they killed around 190 Viet Minh; during one operation around Xuân Lộc, east of Saigon, the Japanese killed 50 Viet Minh when they surprised a Viet Minh group in training.

320px-Saigonairfield1945.jpg
 
Japanese POW's under British supervision repairing the taxiing strip at Saigon airfield, with behind them RAF de Havilland Mosquito aircraft, December 1945

On November 18, a Gurkha unit set out for Long Kiến, south of Saigon, to rescue French hostages held there. While en route, the force was forced to turn back as it was not strong enough to overcome the Viet Minh they encountered. A few days later a stronger force was dispatched. According to the Gurkhas, they had seen Japanese deserters leading some Viet Minh war parties. During this operation the only kukri (Nepalese knife) charge in the whole campaign occurred. According to a Gurkha platoon leader, at one point during the operation they were held up by determined Viet Minh defenders occupying an old French fort. The Gurkhas brought up a bazooka, blew in the doors, then without hesitation drew out their kukris and charged into the fort, putting the defenders to the knife. Long Kien was finally reached on that same day, but no hostages were recovered; however, about 80 Viet Minh had been killed during this operation.[12]

By early December, Gracey was able to turn over Saigon's northern suburbs to the French, when 32 Brigade relinquished responsibility to General Valluy's 9th Colonial Infantry Division. On Christmas Day, the 32nd set out for Borneo. Many of the newly arrived French soldiers were ex-Maquis (French Resistance), not accustomed to military discipline.

During the battles of the South Central Highlands, the Viet Minh forced French troops to leave many villages and newly captured positions in the Central Highlands. The town of Buôn Ma Thuột was regained by the Vietnamese in mid-December. It was during this operation that Spitfires of 273 Squadron RAF executed the only acknowledged offensive action against the Viet Minh on 11 December.

On 3 January 1946 the last big battle occurred between the British and the Viet Minh. About 900 Viet Minh attacked the 14/13 Frontier Force Rifles camp at Biên Hòa. The fighting lasted throughout the night, and when it was over about 100 attackers had been killed without the loss of a single British or Indian soldier. Most Viet Minh casualties were the result of British machine-gun crossfire.

In mid-January, the Viet Minh began to avoid large-scale attacks on the British, French, and Japanese forces. They began to take on fighting characteristics which later became common: ambushes, hit-and-run raids, and assassinations, while the British, French, and Japanese constantly patrolled and conducted security sweeps. This was the first modern unconventional war, and although the Viet Minh had sufficient manpower to sustain a long campaign, they were beaten back by well-led professional troops who were familiar with an Asian jungle and countryside.[13]

By the end of the month, 80 Brigade handed over its theater of operations to the French, and the 100 Brigade was withdrawn into Saigon. Gracey flew out on the 28th. Before his departure, he signed control over French forces to Gen. Leclerc. The last British forces left on March 26, so ending the seven-month intervention in Vietnam; and on March 30, the SS Islami took aboard the last two British/Indian battalions in Vietnam. Only a single company of the 2/8 Punjab remained to guard the Allied Control Mission in Saigon, and on May 15 it left, the mission having been disbanded a day earlier as the French became responsible for getting the remaining Japanese home. The last British troops to die in Vietnam were six soldiers killed in an ambush in June 1946.[14]

Casualties

For Britain's involvement in the First Vietnam War, the officially stated casualty list was 40 British and Indian soldiers killed and French and Japanese casualties a little higher. An estimated 2,700 Viet Minh were killed. The unofficial total may be higher, but given the methods with which the Viet Minh recovered their dead and wounded, the exact number may never be known. About 600 of the dead Viet Minh were killed by British soldiers, the rest by the French and Japanese.

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