By Robert R. Tomes
Prior to the Vietnam conflict, American highbrow existence rested conveniently on shared assumptions and sometimes universal beliefs. Intellectuals mostly supported the social and financial reforms of the Nineteen Thirties, the battle opposed to Hitler's Germany, and U.S. behavior through the chilly conflict. via the early Nineteen Sixties, a liberal highbrow consensus existed.
The battle in Southeast Asia shattered this fragile coalition, which in a timely fashion dissolved into quite a few camps, each one of which wondered American associations, values, and beliefs. Robert R. Tomes sheds new mild at the loss of life of chilly struggle liberalism and the improvement of the recent Left, and the regular development of a conservatism that used Vietnam, and anti-war sentiment, as a rallying aspect. Importantly, Tomes presents new proof that neoconservatism retreated from internationalism due mostly to Vietnam, basically to regroup later with considerably decreased targets and expectations.
Covering enormous archival terrain, Apocalypse Then stands because the definitive account of the influence of the Vietnam battle on American highbrow existence.
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Extra resources for Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975
The refugees were using waste disposal facilities for washing. “Loudspeakers bellowed in Vietnamese . .
51 The system required fundamental change, these intellectuals were saying, and the liberal agenda granted token reformist concessions to the needy in order to successfully stave off revolution, which is what the New Left really wanted. Liberalism rationalized and perpetuated the standing economic and political order, while the radical right, with its often irrational and paranoiac tendencies, could achieve only limited popular support. Prior to the Southeast Asian crisis, Studies on the Left called on prospective radical intellectuals to “consciously develop an ideology with man and his social needs at the center .
It worked. Encounter attracted a sizable audience both in Great Britain and Western Europe. The passionate objectives and agonizing fears, as well as the unusual epistemology of liberalism, appeared in their pages with remarkable consistency throughout the Vietnam period. ” Though both journals enjoyed a “quasi- or semiofﬁcial” status that might allow one to question their intellectual autonomy or freedom, they are most useful for examination precisely because they explained a semiofﬁcial point of view so effectively, and because this view was indeed ratiﬁed and supported by so many intellectuals.