From the Archive: General William Westmoreland

Daniel Hautzinger
General William Westmoreland and President Lyndon B. Johnson. April 4, 1968. Photo: Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Audiovisual Archives
General William Westmoreland and President Lyndon B. Johnson. April 4, 1968. Photo: Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Audiovisual Archives

As Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's monumental The Vietnam War approaches – the first of ten parts premieres Sunday, September 17 at 7:00 pm – we're looking back into out archive at programs that discuss the war. (You can explore more archival video and photographs as well as the stories of Chicago veterans and contemporary articles about the war on our Vietnam War microsite.)

In 1976, WTTW's John Callaway conducted two interviews with General William Westmoreland, the military commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964 until 1968. The general discussed the difficulty of conducting this war, given the political interference and widespread press coverage; the justification of the war by the Truman Doctrine; the questionable decisions made; and the governmental obfuscation that opened up a deep public mistrust, still with us today. The war "came about as the result of a series of very serious political blunders. It didn't have to be that way," he says.

The Vietnam War
General William Westmoreland
From the Archive
John Callaway