Marigold: The Lost Chance For Peace In Vietnam (Cold War International History Project)

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  • Publish Date: 2012-01-11
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: James Hershberg

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Marigold presents the first rigorously documented, in-depth story of one of the Vietnam War's last great mysteries: the secret peace initiative, codenamed Marigold, that sought to end the war in 1966. The initiative failed, the war dragged on for another seven years, and this episode sank into history as an unresolved controversy. Antiwar critics claimed President Johnson had bungled (or, worse, deliberately sabotaged) a breakthrough by bombing Hanoi on the eve of a planned secret U.S.-North Vietnamese encounter in Poland. Yet, LBJ and top aides angrily insisted that Poland never had authority to arrange direct talks and Hanoi was not ready to negotiate.

This book uses new evidence from long hidden communist sources to show that, in fact, Poland was authorized by Hanoi to open direct contacts and that Hanoi had committed to entering talks with Washington. It reveals LBJ's personal role in bombing Hanoi as he utterly disregarded the pleas of both the Polish and his own senior advisors. The historical implications of missing this opportunity are immense: Marigold might have ended the war years earlier, saving thousands of lives, and dramatically changed U.S. political history.

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