Westmoreland gives farewell press conference in Saigon - HISTORY
Year
1968

Westmoreland gives farewell press conference in Saigon

At a Saigon news conference on the day he is to turn over command of U.S. forces in Vietnam to Gen. Creighton Abrams, Gen. William Westmoreland offers his assessment of past and current trends in the war. In defense of his attrition policy, Westmoreland declared that it would ultimately make continued fighting “intolerable to the enemy.” He also explained that, because it was impossible to “cut a surface line of communication with other than ground operations,” Washington’s ban on ground attacks to interdict communist infiltration through Laos precluded the achievement of military victory. Westmoreland denied, however, that the military situation was stalemated. Westmoreland’s approach to the war had all but been discredited by the communist Tet Offensive, which was launched in January 30, 1968. In the wake of the widespread Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacks, there was a review of U.S. policy by the Johnson administration. When it was decided to de-escalate the war, !

halt the bombing of North Vietnam, and go to the negotiating table, Westmoreland was reassigned to become the Army Chief of Staff, a post he held until his retirement from the service in 1972.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Norway surrenders to Germany

After two months of desperate resistance, the last surviving Norwegian and British defenders of Norway are overwhelmed by the Germans, and the country is forced to capitulate to the Nazis.Two months earlier, on April 9, Nazi Germany launched its invasion of Norway, capturing ...read more

Mandela writes from prison

In South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) makes public a statement by Nelson Mandela, the long imprisoned leader of the anti-apartheid movement. The message, smuggled out of Robben Island prison under great risk, read, “UNITE! MOBILISE! FIGHT ON! BETWEEN THE ANVIL OF ...read more

First Salem witch hanging

In Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Bridget Bishop, the first colonist to be tried in the Salem witch trials, is hanged after being found guilty of the practice of witchcraft.Trouble in the small Puritan community began in February 1692, when nine-year-old Elizabeth ...read more

Alcoholics Anonymous founded

In New York City, two recovering alcoholics, one a New York broker and the other an Ohio physician, found Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), a 12-step rehabilitation program that eventually helps countless people cope with alcoholism.Based on psychological techniques that have long ...read more

Franklin flies kite during thunderstorm

On this day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm and collects a charge in a Leyden jar when the kite is struck by lightning, enabling him to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning. Franklin became interested in electricity in the mid-1740s, a time ...read more

Battle begins at Dong Xoai

Some 1,500 Viet Cong start a mortar attack on the district capital of Dong Xoai, about 60 miles northeast of Saigon, and then quickly overrun the town’s military headquarters and an adjoining militia compound. Other Viet Cong forces conducted a raid on a U.S. Special Forces camp ...read more

Joe Nuxhall makes MLB debut at 15

On June 10, 1944, 15-year-old Joe Nuxhall becomes the youngest person ever to play Major League Baseball when he pitches in a game for the Cincinnati Reds. Nuxhall threw two-thirds of the ninth inning in an 18-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals; he was pulled only after one wild ...read more

JFK has busy day

President John F. Kennedy announces that the U.S. may cease atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons on this day in 1963. Before the day was out, he had also signed a bill prohibiting wage discrimination toward women and sent a telegram to Governor George Wallace of Alabama asking ...read more

Arizona Deputy Sheriff Billy Daniels is killed

Two years after Arizona Deputy Sheriff William Daniels apprehended three of the five outlaws responsible for the Bisbee Massacre, Apache Indians kill him.Billy Daniels was typical of the thousands of courageous young men and women who helped tame the Wild West but whose names and ...read more

Last episode of The Sopranos airs

Almost 12 million people tune in for the series finale of HBO’s critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning Mob-family drama The Sopranos on this day in 2007.The mastermind behind The Sopranos was David Chase, a longtime writer, producer and director for TV series such as The ...read more

Evacuations save lives in the Philippines

On this day in 1991 at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, 14,500 personnel are evacuated in anticipation of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Over the next several days, the eruptions killed hundreds of people and sent tons of ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. In the ...read more

Doughnut truck thief arrested

On this day in 2002, Clint Messina, 21, of Lacombe, Louisiana, is arrested and charged in the attempted murder of a police officer after driving into a patrol car while attempting to flee from sheriff’s deputies. Soon after, police discovered that he was already a wanted man.At ...read more