The Pro-War Movement
Domestic Support for the Vietnam War and the Making of Modern American Conservatism
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication
Introduction: Conservatives and the Vietnam War
In 1980 the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) broke with an eighty-year- old precedent and endorsed a presidential candidate. Four weeks after winning the Republican presidential nomination, Ronald Reagan delivered an address to the VFW’s annual convention in Chicago. Reagan’s address was typically impassioned and...
1. No Substitute for Victory: The Beginnings of a War
As Sen. Barry Goldwater triumphantly accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 1964, a great many of the Republicans who crowded into San Francisco’s Cow Palace stood jaded. Many were exhausted by the last-minute campaign to stem the unexpected tide of Goldwaterite strength...
2. The Loyal Opposition?: The Push for Victory, 1965–1968
Intellectual conservatives and political activists wasted little time in questioning the policies of the Johnson administration. This distinguished them from most within the Republican Party, who remained largely silent on the Vietnam War because of the widely held view that challenging the popular president...
3. Conservatives for Nixon: The Domestic Politics of Vietnam, 1968–1969
Richard Nixon’s rhetoric on the centrality of the Vietnam War to America’s credibility differed little from that of pro-war conservatives during the early to mid-1960s. Building on his reputation as an arch-anticommunist and determined to augment the political leverage of the Republican Party, Nixon used the...
4. From Victory to Honor: Making Peace with Withdrawal, 1969–1972
Nixon’s “Silent Majority” speech engendered a patriotic campaign that rivaled the anti-war effort in its breadth and lasting impact. Patriotic groups and veterans’ organizations rallied in support of the president’s call for national unity, exemplified by full endorsement of his policies of Vietnamization and negotiation...
5. The Search for a New Majority: Popular Support for the War
Each president who dealt with Vietnam understood that military intervention would have far-reaching political ramifications. Both Kennedy and Johnson sought to avoid a debate on Americanization of the conflict precisely because they realized that the complexities involved in whatever strategy was pursued...
6. Tell It to Hanoi: Student Pro-War Campaigns
In 1961 the young conservative activist M. Stanton Evans published a book that, in its opening pages, described the Right’s “revolt on the campus.” Evans confidently envisaged historians recording “the decade of the 1960s as the era in which conservatism, as a viable political force, finally came into its own.”1 Conservative...
7. Snatching Victory: The Endings of a War
Grassroots and student activism in support of Vietnam reduced the need for the government to rationalize the continuation of the war on the basis of national security considerations. Public and congressional pressures to hasten the process of Vietnamization made any talk of outright military victory...
Conclusion: Defining the Vietnam War
The Watergate scandal in 1972–74 undercut what remained of the Nixon administration’s commitment to South Vietnam. It also convinced conservative leaders that the provisions of the Paris accords that were designed to ensure North Vietnam’s compliance were in fact hollow. Although individuals like Goldwater...
Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Culture, Politics, and the Cold War
Series Editor Byline: Christian Appy See more Books in this Series
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