[sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-Vietnam War Memorial

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: Thu Jun 22 2000 - 07:52:30 CUT

  • Next message: Jerry West: "[sixties-l] Re: Civil War & Slavery"

    Why, beyond the active anti-war movement did a majority of Americans
    come to be against the war? First, from the beginning, the US government
    was unable to demonize the Vietnamese as an enemy as it had done Japan
    and Germany in WW2 and to a lesser extent No. Korea in 1950. This was
    not the result of any decision made in Washington but the result of an
    intelligent, brilliantly conceived public relations effort on the part
    of North Vietnam and the NLF to isolate the US government from the
    American people by publicly stating that its war was with our government
    and not with our people, and inviting groups of American citizens to
    Hanoi for visits beginning in the early stages of the intervention.
    Consequently, both the North and the NLF achieved a degree of popularity
    within the anti-war movement that was considerable considering that they
    were technically enemies with whom the US was at war. What an
    extraordinary thing it was to see posters of Ho Chi Minh on people's
    walls and in their windows and to see NLF and No. Vietnamese flags in
    respectable numbers ar anti-war demonstrations.

    Secondly, I believe an increasing number of soldiers in the field began
    to write home to their parents and loved ones that they didn't know what
    they were doing fighting in Vietnam and were concerned that they were
    sacrificing their futures for nothing. And these sentiments were
    communicated, directly or indirectly to their congressional
    representatives and to the pollsters who took measurements of the war's

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I went to the town of Beallesville,
    Ohio, (Pop. 500) in May, 1969, to interview the parents of five boys who
    had been killed in Vietnam, for Ramparts Magazine. The parents spoke of
    the letters they had received from their sons before the notices of
    their deaths, in which the sentiments of doubt about the war and
    depression predominated. While this is a small sample from which to
    reach a conclusion, I think it is safe one since Beallsville was more
    alike than different from the rest of small-town America that provided
    the main fodder for the war. While that issue of Ramparts is difficult
    to find, the article can be read, without the photos, in Reporting
    Vietnam, a two-volume anthology published by the Library Association of
    America in hardcover in 1998 and in paper, this year.

    Jeff Blankfort


    > Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 21:35:58 -0700
    > From: "Craig M. Kind" <ckind@uci.edu>
    > Subject: Re: [sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-Vietnam War Memorials
    > SNIP
    > It seems to me that only a portion of the sentiment of the time is
    > represented on this list. Certainly other Americans turned against the war
    > because they felt we had paid too high a price, others thought the war was
    > unwinnable. But I have noted in some of my local research, and some
    > historians have argued more generally, that many were simply saying since
    > we'll never fight the war the way it should be fought, then we should get
    > out. When teaching the Vietnam War to my students, I find that these are
    > many of the perspectives they want to know about. They have been taught,
    > or more likely they have heard, about the moral arguments that many made
    > against the war, but they are seeking more than that. They want a more
    > complicated history.
    > So I pose this question to this list, What were Americans saying when they
    > turned against the war? I have taken what you have all said about your
    > own personal histories to heart, and I hope to convey such sentiments to my
    > students when I teach this time period again. But what do you consider the
    > range of responses to the war, the complexity of antiwar sentiment? What
    > was going on beyond the moral arguments against the war?
    > I thank you in advance.
    > Kind.
    > ****************************
    > Craig M. Kind ckind@uci.edu
    > Department of History Grad Program
    > University of California, Irvine
    > -

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jun 22 2000 - 08:24:36 CUT