November 30, 1965
McNamara warns Johnson that communists are gaining strength in South Vietnam
Following a visit to South Vietnam, Defense Secretary McNamara reports in a memorandum to President Lyndon B. Johnson that the South Vietnamese government of Nguyen Cao Ky “is surviving, but not acquiring wide support or generating actions.”
He said that Viet Cong recruiting successes coupled with a continuing heavy infiltration of North Vietnamese forces indicated that “the enemy can be expected to enlarge his present strength of 110 battalion equivalents to more than 150 battalion equivalents by the end of 1966.” McNamara said that U.S. policymakers faced two options: to seek a compromise settlement and keep further military commitments to a minimum, or to continue to press for a military solution, which would require substantial bombing of North Vietnam.
In conclusion, McNamara warned that there was no guarantee of U.S. military success and that there was a real possibility of a strategic stalemate, saying that “U.S. killed in action can be expected to reach 1,000 a month.” In essence, McNamara cautioned Johnson that sending additional troops was not likely to prevent the stalemate. In the end, however, Johnson chose to seek a military solution. By 1969, there were more than 500,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam.
“McNamara warns Johnson that communists are gaining strength in South Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Nov 2008, 10:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1520.
1700 – 8,000 Swedish troops under King Charles XII defeated an army of at least 50,000 Russians at the Battle of Narva. King Charles XII died on this day.
1782 – The United States and Britain signed preliminary peace articles in Paris, ending the Revolutionary War.
1803 – Spain completed the process of ceding Louisiana to France.
1838 – Three days after the French occupation of Vera Cruz Mexico declared war on France.
1954 – In Sylacauga, AL, Elizabeth Hodges was injured when a meteorite crashed through the roof of her house. The rock weighed 8½-pounds.
1981 – The U.S. and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva that were aimed at reducing nuclear weapons in Europe.
1993 – U.S. President Clinton signed into law the Brady Bill. The bill required a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.
November 30, 1939
USSR attacks Finland
On this day in 1939, the Red Army crosses the Soviet-Finnish border with 465,000 men and 1,000 aircraft. Helsinki was bombed, and 61 Finns were killed in an air raid that steeled the Finns for resistance, not capitulation.
The overwhelming forces arrayed against Finland convinced most Western nations, as well as the Soviets themselves, that the invasion of Finland would be a cakewalk. The Soviet soldiers even wore summer uniforms, despite the onset of the Scandinavian winter; it was simply assumed that no outdoor activity, such as fighting, would be taking place. But the Helsinki raid had produced many casualties-and many photographs, including those of mothers holding dead babies, and preteen girls crippled by the bombing. Those photos were hung up everywhere to spur on Finn resistance. Although that resistance consisted of only small numbers of trained soldiers-on skis and bicycles!–fighting it out in the forests, and partisans throwing Molotov cocktails into the turrets of Soviet tanks, the refusal to submit made headlines around the world.
President Roosevelt quickly extended $10 million in credit to Finland, while also noting that the Finns were the only people to pay back their World War I war debt to the United States in full. But by the time the Soviets had a chance to regroup, and send in massive reinforcements, the Finnish resistance was spent. By March 1940, negotiations with the Soviets began, and Finland soon lost the Karelian Isthmus, the land bridge that gave access to Leningrad, which the Soviets wanted to control.
“USSR attacks Finland.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Nov 2008, 10:39 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6396.