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Don't Tread On Us

Little as the American people like warfare, the United States' reply to North Vietnamese attacks on our destroyers was the most realistic possible.

Few in this nation are happy over the chain of events. Only a fool enjoys the excitement of gunfire exchange. And the prospects of nuclear war could please only an idiot. But there a point beyond which no man can be pushed and that was reached early this week when North Vietnamese craft attacked American destroyers a second time in international waters.

"No peace by aggression and no immunity from reply," President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Wednesday at Syracuse University. This statement of U.S. policy is fair warning to those who would employ violence against us.

If the Communist leaders of the Chinese People's republic were merely testing Washington's reactions in an election year, they know now retaliation will be swift and certain. American men and planes were lost in the attack on North Vietnam shore bases. But the Reds suffered far more in causalities and damage.

In case the PT boats' attacks on U.S. Navy craft were the opening of a Communist drive to take over all Asia by force, the issue was joined unfavorably from Peking's standpoint. Furthermore, there was little good news for China also in swift American reinforcement of land, sea and air units in the threatened region.

All Americans hope the incidents were tests. They would prefer a world state of uneasy peace to one of widespread bloodshed. During the past 19 years, however, they have been pushed and shoved constantly by Communism. Their temper today is one of resolution not to take another backward step.

The best reaction to armed attack is immediate and crushing counterattack. This the United States has done in North Vietnam. Perhaps the Reds will not repeat their aggression in the Gulf of Tonkin. Judging by the past, however, it is certain they will try something- somewhere- and not before too long.

Korea, the Berlin blockade, missile bases in Cuba and Tonkin Gulf attacks are all part of a pattern. This week proved the American people will still react vigorously and effectively. Our domestic policy divisions have not lessened our determination to resist Communist aggression and we trust the men in Moscow and Peking understand that facet of the American character.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The subject of this August 6, 1964 editorial from "The Greenfield Recorder" is the Gulf of Tonkin Incident which occurred on August 2nd and 4th. The tone of the article and the assertions made by its author broadly reflect the sentiments shared by many in United States at the time. Ever since Dwight D. Eisenhower had been in office in the 1950s, American Presidents and foreign policymakers had claimed that Communist governments were aggressive. The editorial illustrates the extent to which United States citizens believed that the Vietnam War was actually a conflict between Communist countries headed by China and the Soviet Union and the United States. The author assumes that the North Vietnamese were acting under the influence of China when they attacked United States' destroyers in the international waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. The author asserts that "if the Communist leaders of the Chinese People's republic were merely testing Washington's reactions-they know now retaliation will be swift and certain". The United States' increasing participation in the Vietnam War was widely seen as insurance against the "domino theory". Many Americans believed that if South Vietnam became a Communist-led country, that other nations in Southeast Asia would soon follow.


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"Don't Tread On Us" editorial in The Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Recorder-Gazette
date   Aug 6, 1964
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   5.0"
height   5.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L06.050

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See Also...

"Goldwater Backs President's Acts in Emergency" article in The Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"Communication Trouble" editorial in The Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"U.S. Planes Hit North Vietnam... " article in The Greenfield Record-Gazette newspaper

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