Moshe Dayan ‘Vietnam Diary’ Original Autograph Manuscript.

Exceptionally Rare 200-page autograph manuscript entirely in the hand of Israeli military commander Moshe Dayan documenting his years as a journalist in Vietnam

Moshe Dayan ‘Vietnam Diary’ Original Autograph Manuscript.

DAYAN, Moshe.


Item Number: 134059

Rare autograph manuscript consisting of roughly 200 pages entirely in the hand of Israeli military commander Moshe Dayan, published one year later as part of Dayan’s “Yoman Vietnam” or “Vietnam Diary.”  Folio, approximately 200 pages handwritten by Dayan on a variety of paper mounts with numerous edits, margin notes, and cross-outs which suggest an intensely involved and meticulous writing process, an original map showing military movements on page 220, and a drawing or other schematic on page 367. With English language terms throughout which provide especially revealing snapshots of what Dayan was observing during his Vietnam War experience including: “Lt. Col. Jack Spaulding” (July 30, 1966, p. 1), referring to Lieutenant Jack Douglas Spaulding (1924-1966), who died in a non-combat related car crash in South Vietnam three months later, in mid-October 1966; “Robert Komer, Special Assistant to the President” (July 18, 1966, p. 70), referring to Robert Komer (1922-2000), who had served as Johnson’s 3rd Deputy National Security Adviser in 1965, and who would oversee the controversial Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) program in South Vietnam after May 1967; “search and kill – Westmoreland” (July-August 1966, p. 109), referring to the strategic policies of William Westmoreland (1914-2005), who commanded U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964-1968; “Mrs. Katharine Graham … President of Washington Post and Newsweek” (July 18, 1966, p. 71), referring to Katharine Graham (1917-2001), the president of the “Washington Post” since her husband’s death in 1963; “some chickens some necks” (August 8, 1966, p. 242), referring to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s December 30, 1941 address to Parliament, in which Churchill mocked the French comment that England would have her neck wrung like a chicken if forced to fight against the Axis Powers alone. In 1966, several newspapers, including Tel Aviv’s “Ma’ariv” newspaper, the “London Sunday Telegraph” and the “Washington Post,” invited Dayan to write a series of articles about the Vietnam War then being fought between American forces and their South Vietnamese allies, and the Communist-led Viet Cong and their allies. Dayan’s unique perspective made him an ideal war correspondent: he had extensive military experience gained in Mandatory Palestine, during World War II, and in post-independent Israel, and he was also an accomplished independent author. Dayan’s proposed trip to Vietnam proved controversial, however, as Israel’s status was officially neutral. Consequently, Dayan strove to make his information-gathering mission as apolitical as possible. Dayan interviewed important British, French, and American military commanders, policymakers, and politicians in London, Paris, and Washington, D.C. in early July 1966 before arriving in Vietnam on July 25, 1966. Dayan’s field experiences while embedded with U.S. Marines and Green Beret units lasted until late August 1966. His startling observations are recorded in this manuscript which spans the entire length of his trip, from July 4, 1966 to August 31, 1966. Accompanied by a first edition of “Vietnam Diary” signed by Dayan on the half-title page in the year of publication, “Moshe Dayan 28.3.77” [Tel Aviv: Dvir Co. Ltd., 1977. Octavo, original wrappers, illustrated]. Both the manuscript and book are in near fine condition. Housed in a custom full morocco and chemise clamshell box decorated with an overly of Dayan’s signature eyepatch and the Star of David.

Dayan's manuscript of "Vietnam Diary" dates from a period when he was unattached and between political assignments (Dayan had served as Israeli's Minister of Agriculture between 1959 and 1964, and he would serve as Israel's Minister of Defense from 1967 to 1974). In 1966, he went on patrol as an observer with members of the US Marine Corps in Vietnam. Although he did not take part in most of the planning before the Six-Day War of June 1967, he personally oversaw the capture of East Jerusalem during the 5–7 June fighting. Dayan would ultimately apply much of what he learned in the Vietnam war zone to Israel's military tactics in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Dayan suggested options at the beginning of the war, including a plan to withdraw to the Mitleh Mountains in Sinai and a complete withdrawal from the Golan Heights to carry the battle over the Jordan, abandoning the core strategic principles of Israeli war doctrine, which says that war must be taken into enemy territory as soon as possible. Chief of Staff David Elazar objected to these plans and was proved correct. Israel broke through the Egyptian lines on the Sinai front, crossed the Suez canal, and encircled the 3rd Egyptian Army. Israel also counterattacked on the Syrian front, repelling the Jordanian and Iraqi expeditionary forces and shelling the outskirts of Damascus. The war ended with an Israeli victory, but the Arab attack destroyed the image of Israeli invincibility and eventually led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and the subsequent withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Egyptian territory.

Add to cart Ask a Question SHIPPING & GUARANTEE