Saturday, September 23, 2017

Studying Vietnam

Studying the Vietnam War. How the scholarship has changed. By Mark Atwood Lawrence
Excerpt: But there is another, less noticed reason for renewed attention to the Vietnam War: Spectacular new source material has transformed the possibilities for writing about the subject. Some of this new documentation has emerged from U.S. archives as a result of declassification in the last decade or so. Records from the Nixon and Ford presidencies (1969–1977), especially, are making it possible for historians to write with more confidence and in greater detail about the final stages of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, long a relatively neglected era of the war. Indeed, the last phase of U.S. military operations has recently spawned an especially contentious debate on one of the most fundamental controversies about Vietnam: Could the United States and its South Vietnamese allies have won the war if the American public had not turned against it? Provocative new works by Lewis Sorley and Gregory Daddis lead the way in arguing for and against, respectively, the notion that the U.S. military could have secured overall victory, if not for crumbling political support within the United States. (Very nicely done. I only wish there was more noting of how Hanoi has released only a fraction of its secret files. And the truth is that the debate will never be ended, no matter what the evidence presented. Those who choose to see it as complicated but in the end a mistake for the USA to get involved versus those who see it as less complicated and just a failed attempt at Containment due to loss of will to fight. --Del. Hell, we're still re-fighting the Civil War. ~Bob)

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