By Robert R. Tomes
Prior to the Vietnam struggle, American highbrow lifestyles rested conveniently on shared assumptions and sometimes universal beliefs. Intellectuals mostly supported the social and fiscal reforms of the Thirties, the warfare opposed to Hitler's Germany, and U.S. behavior throughout the chilly conflict. by way of the early Sixties, a liberal highbrow consensus existed.
The battle in Southeast Asia shattered this fragile coalition, which briskly dissolved into quite a few camps, every one of which puzzled American associations, values, and beliefs. Robert R. Tomes sheds new mild at the loss of life of chilly warfare liberalism and the improvement of the hot Left, and the regular progress of a conservatism that used Vietnam, and anti-war sentiment, as a rallying element. Importantly, Tomes offers new facts that neoconservatism retreated from internationalism due mostly to Vietnam, in basic terms to regroup later with considerably decreased objectives and expectations.
Covering big archival terrain, Apocalypse Then stands because the definitive account of the impression of the Vietnam battle on American highbrow existence.
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Additional resources for Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975
Its bitter reassessments provided a sharp contrast to the liberal history of the day, which so often celebrated American exceptionalism. 49 It is important to recognize that radical antipathy toward the liberals preceded the Vietnam crisis. In this discourse, the editors discussed the contingency of cooperation with liberals as part of a joint effort to ward off a common enemy—the radical right. ”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.
Port Huron was a call to political action, a position paper, and a party platform all at once. It declared its intellectual and political independence, and was intended to summon the young to action in the same way that Thomas Paine’s Common Sense had mobilized popular colonial support for the American Revolution. As a summary thesis and propagandist tool of the New Left in 1962, Port Huron identiﬁed two speciﬁc problems—racism at home and the prosecution of the Cold War abroad—as the most important targets for activists.
Liberation’s editorial board also included Bayard Rustin, David Dellinger, Staughton Lynd, Paul Goodman, Sidney Lens, and Barbara Deming, all of whom achieved much greater prominence and admiration from the New Left in the 1960s. Bertrand Russell, James Baldwin, and Albert Camus also contributed to this publication in its nascent period. Another radical publication which deserves mention is the Catholic Worker. Under the inspiration of Peter Maurin and the leadership of Dorothy Day, this daily tabloid combined selected tenets of socialism and A Long Time in the Comin’ | 27 Catholicism.
Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975 by Robert R. Tomes