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This Happened

This Happened—November 29: Architect Of The Vietnam War Bids Farewell

As a key proponent of expanding the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara became the target of much the ire of the U.S. anti-war movement. He finally resigned after being the longest serving Secretary of Defense.

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Who was Robert McNamara?

Most closely associated with the Vietnam war, Robert McNamara served as Secretary of Defense under U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Before entering public service, McNamara served as President of Ford Motor Company and would be considered, for better or worse, as the consummate technocrat throughout his career. After resigning as Defense Secretary, he served as head of the World Bank.

How did Robert McNamara escalate the Vietnam War?

During Kennedy’s term as president alone, the number of U.S. troops in South Vietnam increased from 900 to 16,000 under Mcnamara’s supervision. He made multiple decisions to expand the draft, forcing many American youths to fight and sometimes die in a war they did not believe in.

Why did Robert McNamara finally resign?

In 1967, people around him began to notice changes in McNamara’s demeanor as the effects of stress and doubt took hold. He stopped shaving, his jaw would tremble, and he began to describe the war in Vietnam in a way which sounded hopeless. On November 29, he ended his seven year tenure and resigned as Secretary of Defense. McNamara expressed regret, but never made a formal apology, instead saying, “I'm very proud of my accomplishments, and I'm very sorry that in the process of accomplishing things, I've made errors.”

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

A Decisive Spring? How Ukraine Plans To Beat Back Putin's Coming Offensive

The next months will be decisive in the war between Moscow and Kyiv. From the forests of Polesia to Chernihiv and the Black Sea, Ukraine is looking to protect the areas that may soon be the theater of Moscow's announced offensive. Will this be the last Russian Spring?

Photo of three ​Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine

Anna Akage

Ukrainian forces are digging new fortifications and preparing battle plans along the entire frontline as spring, and a probable new Russian advance, nears.

But this may be the last spring for occupying Russian forces.

"Spring and early summer will be decisive in the war. If the great Russian offensive planned for this time fails, it will be the downfall of Russia and Putin," said Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence.

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Skinitysky added that Ukraine believes Russia is planning a new offensive in the spring or early summer. The Institute for the Study of War thinks that such an offensive is more likely to come from the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk than from Belarus, as some have feared.

Still, the possibility of an attack by Belarus should not be dismissed entirely — all the more so because, in recent weeks, a flurry of MiG fighter jet activity in Belarusian airspace has prompted a number of air raid alarms throughout Ukraine.

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