Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, by Robert R. Tomes

By Robert R. Tomes

Prior to the Vietnam warfare, American highbrow existence rested conveniently on shared assumptions and sometimes universal beliefs. Intellectuals mostly supported the social and monetary reforms of the Thirties, the battle opposed to Hitler's Germany, and U.S. behavior in the course of the chilly struggle. via the early Nineteen Sixties, a liberal highbrow consensus existed.

The warfare in Southeast Asia shattered this fragile coalition, which in a timely fashion dissolved into quite a few camps, every one of which wondered American associations, values, and beliefs. Robert R. Tomes sheds new mild at the dying of chilly struggle liberalism and the advance of the recent Left, and the regular progress of a conservatism that used Vietnam, and anti-war sentiment, as a rallying element. Importantly, Tomes offers new facts that neoconservatism retreated from internationalism due mostly to Vietnam, in simple terms to regroup later with considerably reduced objectives and expectations.

Covering great archival terrain, Apocalypse Then stands because the definitive account of the impression of the Vietnam conflict on American highbrow existence.

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Extra info for Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975

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Consensus, in a broad sense, describes the liberal climate of the period, and in a specific sense communicates a supportive intellectual majority committed to an anticommunist foreign policy. Commitment in a general sense reveals the willingness of the vast majority of American intellectuals to support aggressive policies that were products of the broader anticommunist program. More specifically, it entailed the evolution of discussion over affairs in Vietnam, which led to intellectual approval of the American governmental policy that emerged.

On the right-wing fringe of the intellectual spectrum, a small group of conservatives began to coalesce during the 1950s, eventually finding their center around the National Review, an intellectual journal edited by the highly visible William Buckley, Jr. On the opposite side of the spectrum lay several small factions, including pacifists, Stalinists, Trotskyists, and socialists—groups which continued to survive although their audience and their influence seemed to be dwindling. However, by the end of the decade, several notable thinkers such as C.

13 In the 1950s, the Southeast Asian struggle reached another crucial point. Would the people of South Vietnam follow their brothers in the North and become absorbed as a communist satellite, or would they retain their independence, with American assistance? Buttinger, a zealous anticommunist liberal, placed the local problems of civil war and communist development in South Vietnam in a global context. ”15 Buttinger’s “conversion” was clear and complete; the global purpose of American liberalism converged with the local policy of supporting the Diem regime in South Vietnam.

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