The 40th anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War and 50th anniversary of the major U.S. escalation and first antiwar protests provide an appropriate occasion for reflecting upon the history of the war and examining its critical lessons. The U.S. Department of Defense is sponsoring an official Vietnam War Commemoration to honor veterans of the war and highlight the service of the armed forces, while also paying tribute to the contributions of people on the home front during that long and difficult period of American history. It is appropriate to honor those who served, but it is also necessary to learn the lessons of the war.
The conference on “Assessing the Critical Lessons” examined the following themes:
> Was the war just?
> War or revolution?
> A winnable war?
> The misconduct of war and impacts in Vietnam
> Lessons in U.S. Foreign Policy
> The Anti-war movement
This conference addressed these and related questions through a systematic assessment of the decisions that led to the war and of the ways in which the war was fought.
Chair: David Cortright
They keynote address will be followed by a reception.
Chair: John Prados
Chair: Dan Lindley
Chair: Sophie Quinn-Judge
Chair: Marilyn Young
Chair: Marilyn Young
Jessica Chapman’s specialization is the United States and the World, with particular research emphases on Vietnam, decolonization, and the Cold War. She received a B.A. in history from Valparaiso University in 1999 and a PhD in history from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2006. Her teaching interests include international history and U.S. foreign relations from the early republic to the present, including the relationship between domestic affairs and foreign policy. Her first book, Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, The United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam, is forthcoming with Cornell University Press. Her new research project explores the commodification of Kenyan runners in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East.
David Cortright is the Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute and Chair of the Board of the Fourth Freedom Forum. The author or editor of 17 books, most recently Ending Obama's War (2011, Paradigm) and Towards Nuclear Zero (Routledge, IISS, 2010) he also is the editor of Peace Policy, Kroc's online journal. He blogs at davidcortright.net.
Other recent works by Cortright include the 2nd edition of Gandhi and Beyond: Nonviolence for a New Political Age (Paradigm, 2009), Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and Uniting Against Terror: Cooperative Nonmilitary Responses to the Global Terrorist Threat (MIT Press, 2007), co-edited with George A. Lopez. Over the past decade, Cortright and Lopez have written or co-edited a series of major works on multilateral sanctions, including Smart Sanctions (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), Sanctions and the Search for Security (Lynne Rienner, 2002) and The Sanctions Decade (Lynne Rienner, 2000). Cortright also is editor of The Price of Peace: Incentives and International Conflict Prevention (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).
Cortright has written widely about nonviolent social change, nuclear disarmament, and the use of multilateral sanctions and incentives as tools of international peacemaking. He has provided research services to the foreign ministries of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland, and has served as consultant or advisor to agencies of the United Nations, the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, the International Peace Academy, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Cortright has a long history of public advocacy for disarmament and the prevention of war. As an active duty soldier during the Vietnam War, he spoke against that conflict. In 1978, Cortright was named executive director of SANE, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, which under his leadership grew from 4,000 to 150,000 members and became the largest disarmament organization in the United States. He also was actively involved in the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s. In November 2002, he helped to create Win Without War, a coalition of national organizations opposing the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
After graduating with a B.A. in history from the University of Notre Dame in 1968, Cortright earned an M.A. degree in history from New York University. He completed doctoral studies in political science at the Union Institute in residence at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.
Gregory A. Daddis is Academy Professor of History at the United States Military Academy, West Point, and a Colonel in the US Army. A West Point graduate, he has served in numerous army command and staff positions in the United States and overseas and is a veteran of both Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He is the author of the 2011 book, No Sure Victory: Measuring U.S. Army Effectiveness and Progress in the Vietnam War.
Carolyn Eisenberg is a professor of U.S. foreign policy at Hofstra University and the author of “Drawing the Line: the American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-49.” She is currently writing a book on Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger and the Vietnam War, to be published by W.W. Norton.
David W. P. Elliott is H. Russell Smith Professor of International Relations and Politics, in the Politics Department of Pomona College in Claremont, California, and author of “The Vietnamese War” and “Changing Worlds.” Professor Elliott spent many years in Vietnam during the Vietnam War era performing academic research for his own studies as well as for the RAND Corporation. During this time, he acquired a large collection of original books in the Vietnamese language covering a wide range of topics, from literature, to politics, history, economics, ethnography, anthropology, and sociology. Most were published in South Vietnam. Some, acquired in Hong Kong, were published by the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam or by the North. After the war, he returned to Vietnam, and was able to acquire many books published in North Vietnam during the war and after. A small number of publications are in English or French. This is a collection, now unavailable as original publications, that reflects the war period and encompasses both sides of the conflict in Vietnam. The rest represent retrospective works on the war North and South, or reflect conditions in Vietnam following the war.
Mai Elliott was raised in Vietnam and is a graduate of Georgetown University. Her memoir, The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family (Oxford University Press) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2000. It is notable for investigating, with a novelist’s eye for detail and a historian’s grasp of events, the stories of a family involved in every thread of the war against French colonial rule and the Vietnam War.
Her great-grandfather was a mandarin and member of the imperial court; her father was a government official under French rule; her older sister married an engineer who joined the Viet Minh resistance against the French under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. Mai herself enrolled in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in 1960 and met her husband, the political scientist David Elliott, at a Christmas party at the Vietnamese embassy in 1961.
Upon her graduation, she returned to Saigon where she interviewed Viet Cong prisoners of war and defectors for the RAND Corporation then performing research on the morale and motivation of the insurgents. Following her return to the United States, she worked in banking before retiring to write her personal, family-centered account of modern Vietnamese history. Besides being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, The Sacred Willow was selected as a finalist for the Asian-American Literary Award (Asian American Writers Workshop).
Mai Elliott has recently published a book exploring the history of RAND’s involvement in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War era through its research projects in the Republic of Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.
Professor Nguyen specializes in the study of the United States in the world, with spatial focus on Southeast Asia and temporal interest in the Cold War. She is currently working two projects. The first is a comprehensive history of the 1968 Tet Offensive and the second explores the role of gender, people's diplomacy, and transnational networks of anti-war activism during the Vietnam War.
She is the author of Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, which won the Society for Military History (SMH) Edward M. Coffman Prize, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Stuart L. Bernath Prize, the UKY Department of History Alice S. Hallam Prize, was a finalist for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians First Book Prize, and earned her an invitation to participate in the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival.
Professor Nguyen is the General Editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Vietnam War (3 vols.) and she and Professor Paul T. Chamberlin are the Co-Editors of the "Cambridge Studies in U.S. Foreign Relations" Series.
Elizabeth Holtzman serves as the co-chair of Herrick's Government Relations Practice, concentrating her practice in government relations at the federal, state and local levels, and in litigation. She joined Herrick after 20 years in government.
She served for eight years as a US Congresswoman and won national attention for her role on the House Judiciary committee during Watergate. She chaired the Immigration and Refugees Subcommittee and dealt directly with many foreign governments, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, over refugee issues.
Professor Hunt’s current research interests are the Vietnam War and 20th-century Vietnam, peasant studies, the French Revolution and French social history, politics and culture, and world history in the early-modern period.
Professor Hunt's most recent book, Vietnam’s Southern Revolution (UMass Press, 2008), is part of a larger attempt to write a social history of the war. It includes chapters on peasants and the urban/rural divide; the concerted uprising of 1959-1960; utopianism and violence of the popular movement; generational and gender conflicts at village level; the 1965 escalation and subsequent scattering of the rural population; quotidian encounters between Vietnamese and Americans; disruptions in conceptions of time and space; and the dual parentage of the Tet Offensive. More recent articles/chapters deal with mass consumer culture, the beginnings of an agricultural revolution, and the elaboration of a “public sphere” in the villages.
Michael Lind is co-founder of the New America Foundation, along with Walter Mead, Sherle Schwenninger, and Ted Halstead. Lind became New America’s first fellow in 1999. With Ted Halstead he wrote New America’s manifesto, The Radical Center (2001). He wrote the first book published under the New America imprint with Basic Books, Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics (2003). With Sherle Schwenninger Lind co-founded the American Strategy Program, named after Lind’s book The American Way of Strategy (2006) and later directed by Steve Clemons. At present he is policy director of the Economic Growth Program, which he founded along with Sherle Schwenninger. A graduate of the University of Texas and Yale, Lind has taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins and has been an editor or staff writer for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New Republic and The National Interest. Lind is a columnist for Salon and writes frequently for The New York Times and The Financial Times. He is the author of numerous books of history, political journalism, fiction, poetry and children’s literature. His most recent book is Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States (2012).
David Little, a research fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center, is a leading authority on the history of religious freedom, ethics and human rights, and religion and conflict resolution. Little retired in 2009 as T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at Harvard Divinity School and as an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Until summer 1999, he was senior scholar in religion, ethics, and human rights at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). From 1996 to 1998, he was member of the Advisory Committee to the State Department on Religious Freedom Abroad. Little’s publications include several volumes in the USIP series on religion, nationalism, and intolerance, as well Religion and Nationalism in Iraq: A Comparative Perspective (2007, with Donald K. Swearer), and Peacemakers in Action: Profiles of Religion in Conflict Resolution (2007). Little was also a part of the Christianity and Freedom Project headed by the Berkley Center's Religious Freedom Project.
John Prados heads the Archive’s Intelligence Documentation and Vietnam Projects, co-directs its Iraq Documentation Project, and is a Senior Fellow on national security affairs, including foreign affairs, intelligence, and military subjects. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (International Relations) from Columbia University and has authored many books, most recently The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power (University of Texas Press); as well as Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun (NAL/Caliber, 2012), and Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War (University Press of Kansas), winner of the Henry Adams Prize in American History. Other works include Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA (Ivan R. Dee Publisher, 2006, paperback 2009);Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle That Shaped World War II in Europe (NAL/Caliber, 2011), How the Cold War Ended: Debating and Doing History (Potomac, 2010) as well as In Country: Remembering the Vietnam War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).
Prados is the author of more than twenty books in all, along with many articles and papers. His research centers on subjects including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Vietnam war, and analysis of international relations, plus diplomatic and military history more generally. Additional works include William Colby and the CIA: The Secret Wars of a Controversial Spymaster (UPKansas), The Hidden History of the Vietnam War and Presidents’ Secret Wars (Ivan Dee); Inside the Pentagon Papers (with Margaret Pratt Porter, Kansas); and Hoodwinked: The Documents that Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War (New Press, 2004). Among his books, Unwinnable War, Keepers of the Keys (on the National Security Council) and Combined Fleet Decoded (on intelligence in the Pacific in World War II) were each nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Combined Fleet Decoded was the winner of the annual book prize of the New York Military Affairs Symposium, and along with his book Valley of Decision: The Siege of Khe Sanh (with Ray W. Stubbe) was named a Notable Naval Book of the Year by the United States Naval Institute. His The Soviet Estimate was awarded the book prize of the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence. Prados’s papers appear in many other works, and his articles have been inVanity Fair, Scientific American, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Naval History, the Journal of American History,Diplomatic History, Intelligence and National Security,Naval Institute Proceedings,The Journal of National Security Law & Policy, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, theJournal of East-West Studies, Survival, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The VVA Veteran. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Quinn-Judge is a highly accomplished scholar of Vietnamese history and culture. Dr. Quinn-Judge has received international recognition for her scholarly work on Vietnam, including her highly-regarded book, Ho Chi Minh: The Missing Years (1919-1941), and essays on such topics as the history of women in 20th-century Vietnamese politics. Dr. Quinn-Judge, who is fluent in Vietnamese, spent two years in Vietnam working with a medical voluntary agency and she has made numerous subsequent visits to Vietnam. She has also served as a correspondent on Soviet- Asian affairs for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has contributed to other publications such as the Guardian (London). Dr. Quinn-Judge received her Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and she was Research Coordinator of the Cold War Studies Programme in the International History Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Thanks to a generous anonymous grant, Marilyn B. Young was able to attend Harvard University on full scholarship, provided she learned Chinese and wrote a thesis in the field of US-East Asian relations. This, in due course she did, under the direction of Ernest R. May and John King Fairbank, who nicely book-ended the subject matter. The thesis, and subsequent book, Rhetoric of Empire, put 19th century American policy towards China in an international context, examining the Notes as the emerged out of the crisis of the Boxer Rebellion. Her subsequent scholarship has had a dual track: to understand both American imperialism and those who fought against it, at home and abroad.
The Constance Milstein and Family Global Academic Center has been made possible through the generous leadership and support of alumni and friends, who have facilitated the University's purchase of this global academic site.