The Vietnam War Debate

The Vietnam War Debate : Hans J. Morgenthau and the Attempt to Halt the Drift into Disaster

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This book explores how America's national leadership, mesmerized by the mythology of monolithic communism, failed the American people. It demonstrates with detailed archival sources how three administrations refused to consider the arguments of the central critic of the war who proved that the war should never have been fought because Vietnam was never a vital American security interest. That critic, Hans J. Morgenthau, is the centerpiece of this study who participated in the teach-in movement, wrote articles, engaged in public debate in the attempt to prevent the impending tragedy in Vietnam.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 430 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 33.02mm | 839.14g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0739137697
  • 9780739137697
  • 1,747,661

Review quote

Hans Morgenthau was my teacher, mentor and friend. He recommended me for my law professorship. It was my great honor and distinct pleasure to have studied with Morgenthau while he was heroically leading the forces of opposition to the genocidal Vietnam War at great personal cost to himself and his family. Morgenthau's stellar example of brilliance in the service of courage, integrity and principles has inspired and motivated me now for over four decades. After reading Zimmer's compelling book, Morgenthau will do the same for you. Zimmer vividly brings back to life Morgenthau, his epic battle against the Vietnam War, and those tumultuous and tragic events that shaped my generation and determined the destinies of two nations only now beginning to reconcile-a volte-face preternaturally predicted by Morgenthau during the darkest days of the wars. This book is required reading for all those seeking to pursue peace with justice in today's increasingly troubled and endangered world. Humanity desperately needs more like Morgenthau in order to survive. Zimmer explains why. A real tour de force of engaged historical research and scholarship. -- Francis A. Boyle, University of Illinois Dr. Zimmer provides an exhaustively researched account of Hans J. Morgenthau's campaign against the United States's involvement in the Vietnam War. Zimmer reminds us about the central role that Margenthau played in formulating an authoritative and intellectual framework for opposing the war. -- David E. Settje, Concordia University Chicago Louis B. Zimmer has written a compelling study of Hans J. Morgenthau, international foreign policy expert and principal critic of the American war in Vietnam. Through extensive research, Zimmer's book provides a thorough account of Morgenthau's arguments and demonstrates clearly how history has proven him to be right. Endorsing Morgenthau, Zimmer makes a strong argument against ideological bases for foreign policy decisions and the strength of his book lies in his voluminous research that draws both an explicit and implicit parallel to contemporary foreign policy decisions. -- Pamela A. Pears, Washington College This is an intriguing peek into the public debate before and after the final commitment of ground troops in Vietnam in 1965, seen through the eyes and opinions of Hans Morgenthau, a widely respected foreign policy expert and academic. It is a good start in analyzing the language of intervention. Morgenthau forthrightly warned that Vietnam was a hopeless venture and urged restraint. Contrasting his transparent approach was the often hazy language of careerists and political advisors seeking fame and the pleasing of their bosses. Zimmer (emer., Montclair State Univ.) is particularly harsh on McGeorge Bundy and Robert McNamara, seeing them as dishonest, both in and out of government...Zimmer does carefully examine the often dishonest and contradictory nature of the so-called liberal organs, such as The New York Times. An interesting work on all levels. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. CHOICE The sheer breadth of primary-source-material research that Zimmer undertook for this book is impressive. Immersion in the archive allows him to gain insight into the mentalities of both the architects of the conflict and, at least for Zimmer, their most significant critic. Zimmer's documentary approach reveals both the depths of the American foreign policy elite's ideologically driven crusade against monolithic Communism and the extent of their rage against Morgenthau's opposition to their politics in Vietnam...Zimmer's book is very valuable in that it examines the debates and issues of the 1960s through the prism of the career of one of America's foremost public intellectuals... Zimmer provides an excellent insight into the importance of knowing Morgenthau to a new generation of IR students who can benefit from his insights in an age also characterized by long-standing wars and serious crises. Review of Politicsshow more

About Louis B. Zimmer

Louis B. Zimmer is professor emeritus of history at Montclair State University.show more

Table of contents

1 Acknowledgements 2 Author's Note 3 Preface 4 Chapter 1: Background to a Needless War 5 Chapter 2: Morgenthau and Bundy: The Harvard Dean Fails the Vietnam Reality Test 6 Chapter 3: Media Neglect of the National Interest 7 Chapter 4: Morgenthau and Schlesinger and the National Interest 8 Chapter 5: Morgenthau and the Council on Foreign Relations 9 Chapter 6: Morgenthau's Influence, Fulbright's Conversion and the Stupidity of Smart Men 10 Chapter 7: "What I have said recently, I have been saying for years without anybody paying attention." 11 Epilogue 12 Bibliography 13 Indexshow more