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Paraguay sends troops to Vietnam


Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Published by SLP
Nu Yawk
One of those little footnotes of history: IOTL, Stroessner offered to send Paraguayan troops to Vietnam, which ultimately didn't happen. What if it did? My hunch is that it'd be a small symbolic force placed in the area of least perceived risk, but how big/divergent could it have been?

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
It'd probably be an extra thing for the anti-war movement to bring up in America - "why are we working with STROESSNER, look at all the horrible stuff HE does" - and get some extra attention brought to what goes in Paraguay (as now it affects America a bit), though whether that translates to anything concrete I'd doubt it

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
Published by SLP
At best a token force like one of the many smaller forces present in Korea. Maybe it curries some more favor for Stroessner in Washington but probably not enough to save him from a coup.
Yeah like I'm not an expert on latin america by any means but Colombian troops in Korea are probably something to pattern on. And you'll at best see a couple of thousand troops which means a contribution on par with New Zealand or the Philippines in OTL, so those also aren't bad as case studies.

Unfortunately I don't actually know what effect Colombia fighting in Korea or New Zealand and the Philippines fighting in Vietnam had domestically. Maybe a wild @Juan Vogel could enlighten me.


Yo también soy Mauricio
Unfortunately I don't actually know what effect Colombia fighting in Korea or New Zealand and the Philippines fighting in Vietnam had domestically.
Colombia's participation in the Korean War is largely a very brief sidenote, if even mentioned, in general histories of Colombia and I'd be surprised if many Colombians were even at all aware of the Batallón Colombia (but Colombians usually have a very poor knowledge of their own history). Of course, the Korean War and Colombia's minor military contribution to it is overshadowed by the very bloody partisan civil war in Colombia during that same period (La Violencia) and the general political instability/conflict of that period (Laureano Gómez's presidency and the 1953 Rojas Pinilla coup).

The discussion of Colombia's participation in Korea began in the final year of Conservative president Mariano Ospina Pérez's presidency, but the decision to send an infantry battalion and the frigate Almirante Padilla to Korea was taken in October 1950 early in the presidency of authoritarian Conservative president Laureano Gómez. The Conservative government justified participation in the conflict with their quasi-falangiste/clerico-fascist ideology as "defending Christian civilization against communist tyranny" while also trying to make a link between international communism and their own domestic enemies, namely the Liberal Party and specifically the Liberal guerrillas of the Llanos Orientales. There's a view that Gómez committed troops in an effort to whitewash his own anti-American views and fascist-leaning sympathies in the 1930s and World War II, and play himself up to the United States, much like his idol Franco did, in the hopes of gaining military assistance and support from the United States (which, of course, it did, although by that point Gómez was out of power). Certainly Colombia's participation in Korea did further professionalize the military and provided it with some valuable training, which it would later make us of at home.

The Liberal Party, which at this point in time was excluded from formal institutions of power, had a leadership elite which was broadly pro-American and therefore also sympathetic to the anti-communist side, but the Liberals and El Tiempo (the main newspaper of the bogotano Liberal oligarchic elite at the time) opposed Colombia's active participation in Korea. There's some debate over whether or not the infantry battalion had a disproportionate number of Liberal officers and non-commissioned officers or not (so as to 'get rid of' some annoying Liberals).

Juan Vogel

Strong on middle initials, weak on ship detail
Veitnam's one of the three pivotal protest issues of the boomer generation in NZ - along with nuclear testing in the Pacific and rugby links with South Africa during the Apartheid years. I'm no scholar of it, but I think of the three it probably was the most narrowly supported - at the time. Certainly the people who started coming to power/responsibility in the early 80s, from the left, usually had some involvement in the anti Vietnam War movements.

Probably a bit trite but one could probably argue that a lot of the broad left/protest movement that got involved in Treaty/Anti Apartheid movements later, cut their teeth at uni or school about Vietnam. Helen Clark PM is the most noteworthy example - she apparently got involved in anti Vietnam protests at school then uni before graduating to Labour politics.

Then there is the wider cultural impact. NZ didn't send a lot of people, military or civilian (around 3k) but we were there in some capacity till 75 and so whilst 3k is not a lot, the NZ military wasn't much bigger and the country was under 3million and the returned servicemen's interaction with people back home was not always fun, which spread wider. It was also just as the country was starting to open up culturally - moving past from the apparently staid post War conservatism to the weird 70s / reassertion of Maori identity and rights and then the era of Muldoon/then the 4th Labour government. So there was a real clash of cultures and the impact was felt for a long time.

Which leads to things like Foreskin's Lament, which, is one of the more impactful plays written in NZ, bringing together Vietnam, Rugby and the Tour. IT was still widely taught till the late 1990s at least. Which is something for NZ literature as it often shines brightly, then dissipates and no one really remembers or reads it compared to the wider English speaking milieu.

Foreskin's lament, 1981 – Plays and playwrights – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand