Richard Branson
Chairman, Virgin Group
01:22

Coming of Age in the Vietnam Era

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Branson has changed since then; he now thinks war must be avoided at all costs.

Richard Branson

Richard Branson is a British entrepreneur known for his philanthropic projects and his taste for adventure. He is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., a conglomerate of separately run companies which include radio stations, airlines, and mobile phones.  The Virgin Group now owns around 200 companies in over 30 countries.  Virgin also plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years in a venture called Virgin Galactic.

Branson's involvement in social and environmental projects include the Virgin Green Fund, the Carbon War Room, and the global leader council called The Elders

Branson was born in 1950 in Surrey, England, and was educated at Stowe School, where he established a national magazine, Student, at the age of 16.  He is married with two children and lives in London and Oxfordshire. 

Transcript

Richard Branson: When I was young, I watched people marching against wars, and I thought they must be extreme left-wingers and completely unrealistic, etc.

As I got older, I’ve actually realized that there are alternatives to wars and wars are completely unnecessary in this day and age. And all of us must campaign to make sure that there are no future wars.

Robert McNamara did this brilliant film, "Fog of War," when he was maybe 87 years old. And to say that he made a dreadful mistake taking America into the Vietnamese War; the whole premise was a mistake.

But because the war had started, he couldn’t actually back out. The submarine that he thought had fired at the American fleet hadn’t been a submarine at all. It had been a ripple, a wave rippling through the sea. But they started carpet-bombing North Vietnam. By then it was too late.

Recorded on: July 5, 2007

 


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