COLUMBIA, S.C. – “Peace with Honor.” That’s what Richard Nixon promised voters in 1968, and it’s what he spent his time in the White House trying to achieve – extricating the United States from Vietnam, honorably.
It was never going to be easy.
At 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 29, historian Ryan Floyd from Lander University will talk about exactly what Nixon did in pursuit of that goal over the years he was in office. The free lecture, “Escaping the Quagmire: Military Escalation and Diplomacy during the Vietnam Conflict,” will be presented live on Zoom, since the physical museum itself is closed.
It is one in a series of live programs the museum is presenting to keep the discussion of history alive while its doors are closed because of the coronavirus. Visit relicroomsc.com or check the museum’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sccrrmm/ for details on how to participate in these programs.
Floyd’s presentation will focus on the main issues and strategies that guided Nixon as he tried to extricate the nation from Vietnam, such as:
• Vietnamization. From the start, the U.S. effort to get out depended upon a program of turning the job of defending South Vietnam over to the South Vietnamese. Among the many challenges of the approach was convincing anyone involved that this could be done successfully.
• Détente with China and the Soviet Union. At every stage, the effort to leave Vietnam was complicated by the ways it interacted with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s strategy of pragmatic engagement with America’s main communist adversaries.
• Escalations of the war initiated by Nixon himself. Nixon wanted out, but along the way he actually stepped up aspects of the conflict, such as sending troops into Cambodia and bombing Hanoi. Floyd will discuss what effects these actions had on the peace process.
Ryan Floyd is an associate professor of history and social studies secondary education coordinator at Lander University. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Samford University in 1998, and his doctorate from the University of Alabama in 2010). He is the author of Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Coming of the Great War, August 1914-December 1915.
About the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum
Founded in 1896, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is an accredited museum focusing on South Carolina’s distinguished martial tradition through the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Vietnam, the War on Terror, and other American conflicts. It serves as the state’s military history museum by collecting, preserving, and exhibiting South Carolina’s military heritage from the colonial era to the present, and by providing superior educational experiences and programming. It is located at 301 Gervais St. in Columbia, sharing the Columbia Mills building with the State Museum. For more information, go to https://crr.sc.gov/.
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