The Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary The Vietnam War (2017), shown in 10 parts on PBS, once again brought a divisive and contested conflict into American living rooms. Mark A. Lawrence, Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin and preeminent historian of the Vietnam War, recently wrote about what we are learning from […]
by Mark Atwood Lawrence Originally published as “Studying the Vietnam War: How the Scholarship Has Changed” in the Fall 2017 issue of Humanities magazine, a publication of the National Endowment for the Humanities.” Editors Note: The Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary The Vietnam War premiered on PBS last Sunday, September 17. Mark A. Lawrence, Associate Professor […]
During the summer of 2016, we will be bringing together our previously published articles, book reviews, and podcasts on key themes and periods in the history of the USA. Each grouping is designed to correspond to the core areas of the US History Survey Courses taken by undergraduate students at the University of Texas at Austin.
Most Americans, including policy makers, and Vietnam Veterans have expressed their lack of knowledge of Vietnam’s history and culture before US’s involvement in Vietnam to fight a war over ideology.
Must must-read books on the Vietnam War by Mark A. Lawrence Christian Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (2015). The latest in a long line of studies focused on the legacies of the war in the United States, Appy’s book covers everything from film and literature to foreign and military policy. […]
The on-going legacy of the War in Vietnam.
Does history offer lessons for the present? Skeptics about the possibility of drawing meaningful, specific, and persuasive lessons from history may be strengthened in their views by the two documents below.
In the months following his resounding electoral triumph over Barry Goldwater in November 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson made momentous decisions to escalate U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. Most consequentially, he ordered the bombing of North Vietnam: first retaliatory strikes following a National Liberation Front attack on the U.S.
Democratic governments often have a hard time changing their minds, as recent U.S. decision-making about Iraq and Afghanistan has made clear. Even when the United States encountered monumental frustrations and setbacks, Washington kept fighting, adjusting its strategy and tactics but not its overall goals or the assumptions that underpinned them.
Why did the United States choose to fight a major war in Vietnam? The question has bedeviled scholars almost since President Lyndon Johnson made the decision in 1965.