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The Lotus Unleashed

The Buddhist Peace Movement in South Vietnam, 1964-1966

Robert Topmiller

Publication Year: 2002

During the Vietnam War, Vietnamese Buddhist peace activists made extraordinary sacrifices—including self-immolation—to try to end the fighting. They hoped to establish a neutralist government that would broker peace with the Communists and expel the Americans. Robert J. Topmiller explores South Vietnamese attitudes toward the war, the insurgency, and U.S. intervention, and lays bare the dissension within the U.S. military. The Lotus Unleashed is one of the few studies to illuminate the impact of internal Vietnamese politics on U.S. decision-making and to examine the power of a nonviolent movement to confront a violent superpower.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-

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Preface

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pp. vii-xii

How could the United States have possibly lost the war in Vietnam? It had the best trained and equipped army in the world, able to move and strike with astonishing and unprecedented speed, combined with a well-trained, highly motivated officer corps inculcated with the latest military thinking and ...

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Introduction: Vietnamese Buddhism as a Political Force, 1963-1965

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pp. 1-32

In May 1963, a group of students in Hue, South Vietnam, marched through the city carrying Buddhist flags in defiance of a recent order by President Ngo Dinh Diem. South Vietnamese security forces soon confronted and fired on the demonstrators, killing eight young people. Buddhists throughout ...

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1. Origins of the Buddhist Crisis of 1966

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pp. 33-52

In February 1966, GVN and American leaders met in Hawaii to strengthen ties and plan ways to defeat the Communist insurgency. While the conferees saw this as a milestone in U.S./GVN relations, many Buddhists viewed the meeting with horror because it would assuredly mean ...

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2. Conservative Backlash

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pp. 53-69

Responding to Lodge's pressure to settle the crisis, Ky flew to Danang on April 5 to resolve the impasse. Yet, despite the presence of four battalions of ARVN, including paratroopers, riot police, and South Vietnamese Marines, he found himself confronted by the Struggle ...

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3. Confrontation in Danang: U.S.Marines and the Buddhist Struggle Movement

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pp. 71-91

Buddhist protests in central Vietnam during 1966 placed U.S. forces in an awkward position that, in time, raised serious questions about the U.S. role in South Vietnam and laid bare a simmering debate between U.S. Marines and the U.S. Army over American strategy in the conflict. For the ...

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4. American Reassessment of Its Role in South Vietnam

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pp. 93-120

Throughout the Vietnam War, Washington constantly affirmed its support for representative government in South Vietnam. The United States, however, never could complete the process, for fear that exposing popular attitudes could terminate the American position in South Vietnam. Washington followed ...

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Resolution

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pp. 121-141

Ky's May 15 attack on Danang caught the Buddhist leadership by surprise. Sure that he would soon fall from power like the string of dictators before him, and trusting American guarantees that no more attacks would be launched against the Struggle Force, Buddhist leaders ...

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Conclusion: The Movement Defeated?

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pp. 143-151

In the end, the Vien Hoa Dao saw its three-year campaign to end the war and protect the politically powerless citizenry of South Vietnam turned back by the police and military power of the GVN and the United States. Despite a brief period of self-doubt on their part, U.S. leaders soon ...

Notes

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pp. 153-186

Bibliography

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pp. 187-201

Index

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pp. 203-214


E-ISBN-13: 9780813172484
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813122601

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2002