Assuming the Burden
Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam
By (author) Mark Atwood Lawrence
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Assuming the Burden by Mark Atwood Lawrence
Book DescriptionThis beautifully crafted and solidly researched book explains why and how the United States made its first commitment to Vietnam in the late 1940s. Mark Atwood Lawrence deftly explores the process by which the Western powers set aside their fierce disagreements over colonialism and extended the Cold War fight into the Third World. Drawing on an unprecedented array of sources from three countries, Lawrence illuminates the background of the U.S. government's decision in 1950 to send military equipment and economic aid to bolster France in its war against revolutionaries. That decision, he argues, marked America's first definitive step toward embroilment in Indochina, the start of a long series of moves that would lead the Johnson administration to commit U.S. combat forces a decade and a half later. Offering a bold new interpretation, the author contends that the U.S. decision can be understood only as the result of complex transatlantic deliberations about colonialism in Southeast Asia in the years between 1944 and 1950. During this time, the book argues, sharp divisions opened within the U.S., French, and British governments over Vietnam and the issue of colonialism more generally. While many liberals wished to accommodate nationalist demands for self-government, others backed the return of French authority in Vietnam. Only after successfully recasting Vietnam as a Cold War conflict between the democratic West and international communism--a lengthy process involving intense international interplay--could the three governments overcome these divisions and join forces to wage war in Vietnam. One of the first scholars to mine the diplomatic materials housed in European archives, Lawrence offers a nuanced triangulation of foreign policy as it developed among French, British, and U.S. diplomats and policymakers. He also brings out the calculations of Vietnamese nationalists who fought bitterly first against the Japanese and then against the French as they sought their nation's independence. Assuming the Burden is an eloquent illustration of how elites, operating outside public scrutiny, make decisions with enormous repercussions for decades to come.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520251625
(229mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 4-Mar-2005
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Mark Atwood Lawrence
America in the World, Paperback (May 2014)
How should America wield its enormous power beyond its borders? Should it adhere to grand principles or act on narrow self-interest? Should it partner with other nations or avoid entangling alliances? This book deals with these questions.
Beyond the Cold War, Hardback (January 2014)
As globalization has deepened in recent years, historians have begun to see that many of the global challenges we face today first drew serious attention in the 1960s. This book examines how the Johnson presidency responded to these problems and draws out the lessons for today.
Nation-states and the Global Environment, Paperback (May 2013)» View all books by Mark Atwood Lawrence
Nation-states are failing to resolve global problems that transcend the abilities of single governments or even groups of governments to address. This book argues that this dilemma is not as new as is sometimes claimed. It offers crucial context and even lessons for present-day debates about resolving the most urgent environmental problems.
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Author Biography - Mark Atwood Lawrence
Mark Atwood Lawrence is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin.
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