• The Control War: Communist Revolutionary Warfare, Pacification, and the Struggle for South Vietnam, 1968-1975

      Urwin, Gregory J. W., 1955-; Bailey, Beth L., 1957-; Nguyen, Dieu T.; Birtle, A. J. (Andrew James) (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      This dissertation examines the latter stages of the Second Indochina War through the lens of geography, spatial contestation, and the environment. The natural and the manmade world were not only central but a decisive factor in the struggle to control the population and territory of South Vietnam. The war was shaped and in many ways determined by spatial / environmental factors. Like other revolutionary civil conflicts, the key to winning political power in South Vietnam was to control both the physical world (territory, population, resources) and the ideational world (the political organization of occupied territory). The means to do so was insurgency and pacification - two approaches that pursued the same goals (population and territory control) and used the same methods (a blend of military force, political violence, and socioeconomic policy) despite their countervailing purposes. The war in South Vietnam, like all armed conflicts, possessed a unique spatiality due to its irregular nature. Although it has often been called a "war without fronts," the reality is that the conflict in South Vietnam was a war with innumerable fronts, as insurgents and counterinsurgents feverishly wrestled to win political power and control of the civilian environment throughout forty-four provinces, 250 districts, and more than 11,000 hamlets. The conflict in South Vietnam was not one geographical war, but many; it was a highly complex politico-military struggle that fragmented space and atomized the battlefield along a million divergent points of conflict. This paper explores the unique spatiality of the Second Indochina War and examines the ways that both sides of the conflict conceptualized and utilized geography and the environment to serve strategic, tactical, and political purposes.