Catalogue


Vietnam's second front : domestic politics, the Republican Party, and the war /
Andrew L. Johns.
imprint
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c2010.
description
x, 434 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0813125723 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9780813125725 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c2010.
isbn
0813125723 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9780813125725 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction : Ares, Virginia, and the myth of the water's edge -- Trapped between Scylla and Charybdis : JFK, the GOP, and domestic politics -- The Cassandra conundrum : GOP opposition to LBJ's Vietnam policy, 1963-1965 -- Opening Pandora's box : escalation and domestic politics, 1965-1966 -- Confronting the hydra : LBJ on the defensive, 1966-1967 -- Sisyphus and Tantalus : the political impact of the war, 1967-1968 -- The Zalmoxis effect : Vietnam and the 1968 presidential election -- The Icarus agenda : Vietnamization and its political implications -- Whither Ariadne? Domestic politics and Nixon's search for peace -- Conclusion: sowing dragon's teeth -- Appendix: Republicans, 1961-1973.
catalogue key
7098356
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
The Vietnam War was fought on two fronts: in the jungles and rice paddies of Southeast Asia and on the political battlefields of the United States. Ultimately, the administrations of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon failed to achieve victory on either front, but why? The answer lies in an overlooked factor in American history: the role of domestic political considerations in the creation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of foreign relations on the American political process. In Vietnam's Second Front: Domestic Politics, the Republican Party, and the War, Andrew L. Johns examines the relationship between foreign policy and domestic politics during America's longest war, assessing the influence of the Republican Party -- including the congressional leadership, state and local politicians, grassroots organizations, and the Nixon administration -- on the escalation, evolution, and resolution of the conflict. This groundbreaking work also sheds new light on the institutional tensions that existed between Congress and the president as they struggled to formulate and implement U.S. foreign policy. Beginning his analysis in 1961 and continuing through the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, Johns argues that the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations failed to achieve military and political victory in Vietnam because of their preoccupation with domestic politics. Johns details the machinations and political dexterity required of all three presidents and of members of Congress to maneuver between the countervailing forces of escalation and negotiation while they grappled with electoral and partisan concerns. He offers a provocative account of the ramifications of domestic political pressure on American foreign policy. He demonstrates the power, consequences, and centrality of this pressure, the constraints -- both real and perceived -- it placed on U.S. presidents and politicians during the Vietnam conflict, and the degree to which it irrevocably altered the course of the war. In clear, incisive prose based on virtually unprecedented research in more than eighty congressional and presidential archives, Vietnam's Second Front covers the broad range of the Republican Party's impact on the Vietnam War, offers a compelling reassessment of responsibility for the conflict, and challenges assumptions about the roles of Congress and the president in U.S. foreign relations.
Flap Copy
The Vietnam War was fought on two fronts: in the jungles and rice paddies of Southeast Asia and on the political battlefields of the United States. Ultimately, the administrations of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon failed to achieve victory on either front, but why? The answer lies in an overlooked factor in American history: the role of domestic political considerations in the creation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of foreign relations on the American political process.In Vietnam's Second Front: Domestic Politics, the Republican Party, and the War, Andrew L. Johns examines the relationship between foreign policy and domestic politics during America's longest war, assessing the influence of the Republican Party -- including the congressional leadership, state and local politicians, grassroots organizations, and the Nixon administration -- on the escalation, evolution, and resolution of the conflict. This groundbreaking work also sheds new light on the institutional tensions that existed between Congress and the president as they struggled to formulate and implement U.S. foreign policy.Beginning his analysis in 1961 and continuing through the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, Johns argues that the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations failed to achieve military and political victory in Vietnam because of their preoccupation with domestic politics. Johns details the machinations and political dexterity required of all three presidents and of members of Congress to maneuver between the countervailing forces of escalation and negotiation while they grappled with electoral and partisan concerns. He offers a provocative account of the ramifications of domestic political pressure on American foreign policy. He demonstrates the power, consequences, and centrality of this pressure, the constraints -- both real and perceived -- it placed on U.S. presidents and politicians during the Vietnam conflict, and the degree to which it irrevocably altered the course of the war.In clear, incisive prose based on virtually unprecedented research in more than eighty congressional and presidential archives, Vietnam's Second Front covers the broad range of the Republican Party's impact on the Vietnam War, offers a compelling reassessment of responsibility for the conflict, and challenges assumptions about the roles of Congress and the president in U.S. foreign relations.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-01-01:
Johns (Brigham Young Univ.) contributes greatly to understanding the Vietnam conflict. His wonderfully written examination explores how domestic political considerations, especially those posed by hawkish Republican conservatives, made it highly unlikely, if not impossible, for Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon to disengage in Vietnam by deescalating or negotiating an end to the war with North Vietnam. In effect, even Nixon's "peace with honor" ploy, stepped-up bombing, and Vietnamization attempted to negate any appearance of abandoning Southeast Asia to communism. Johns focuses on hawks--Eisenhower, Goldwater, and Nixon, for example--but some of the best passages discuss the dovish positions and influence of Republicans like Mark Hatfield and presidential candidate George Romney. The author is insightful about hawkish congressional Republicans supporting Johnson more than congressional Democrats, as long as Americanization of the war was not too gradual. Republicans complained that Johnson's approach was too limited to defeat North Vietnam; yet even Eisenhower rejected a declaration of war for fear of direct intervention by the Chinese and Soviets. One reservation: Johns' analysis tends to deemphasize geopolitical considerations in an effort to make his case. Summing Up: Recommended. Most levels/libraries. T. Zoumaras Truman State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
""Prodigiously researched, convincingly argued, and engagingly written (with plenty of mythological allusions to please the classicists), Vietnam's Second Front will be of enormous interest to scholars of American politics, foreign policy, and the war in Indochina." --The Review of Politics" --
"Splendidly researched and insightful in its analysis, this important and timely book makes clear the influence of domestic politics on foreign policy and the impact of foreign policy on domestic politics. A major contribution to the historical literature on the Vietnam War." -- George C. Herring, author of From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776
""If instructors teaching Vietnam history seek to highlight American domestic politics during the Vietnam era, they will find no better resource."--Teaching History" --
""Deftly explains how Nixon mastered -- and Romney mishandled -- the war as a campaign issue. Prodigiously researched, convincingly argued, and engagingly written."--Review of Politics" --
"It clearly will become the best book on the topic and a much-needed addition to the literature. The book is meticulously researched and well written and argued.... Scholars of the Vietnam War will find this a must read." -- Kyle Longley, author of Senator Albert Gore, Sr.: Tennessee Maverick
"Johns came up with a unique way to look at the politics of that most political of wars." -- Vietnam Magazine
""Vietnam's Second Front challenges historical accounts of the Vietnam War that focus exclusively on national security considerations and demonstrates the continuous role of domestic politics in defining the context in which policy was formulated." --Cold War History" --
""His wonderfully written examination explores how domestic political considerations, especially those posed by hawkish Republican conservatives, made it highly unlikely, if not impossible, for Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon to disengage in Vietnam by deescalating or negotiating an end to the war with North Vietnam...The author is insightful about hawkish congressional Republicans supporting Johnson more than congressional Democrats, as long as Americanization of the war was not too gradual...recommended"--Choice" --
""Andrew Johns' highly sophisticated and richly documented account of the Republican Party's actions during the Vietnam is enormously welcome. A.... Vietnam's Second Front makes an importantcontribution to our understanding of the Vietnam War, Cold War foreign policy, and executive-legislative relations in the foreign policy arena."--H-Diplo" --
""If instructors teaching Vietnam history seek to highlight American domestic politics during the Vietnam era, they will find no better resource."--Journal of Teaching History" --
"Basing this excellent book on exhaustive primary research, Johns has written a cogent and compelling account of the Republican Party and the Vietnam War. Since there is no comparable book for either major U.S. party, this volume fills a yawning gap in the literature and significantly enhances our understanding of the influence of domestic politics on American policymakers." -- Joseph A. Fry, author of Debating Vietnam: Fulbright, Stennis, and Their Senate Hearings
""[A] splendid, deeply researched account of the war and its partisan components. It is a powerful reminder, if one still needed it in this day and age, that politics do not stop at the water's edge."--American Historical Review" --
"An excellent addition to the literature on American politics in the Vietnam era. Johns explains in graceful prose how the war fractured the bipartisan Cold War foreign policy consensus. This book carries many implications for understanding the partisan divisions over foreign policy in the twenty-first century." -- Robert D. Schulzinger, author of A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941--1975
""A cogent examination of the Republican Party's roiling contribution to the tragic progression of the Vietnam War.... Powerfully demonstrates the Vietnam War's political complexities and price, all of which was paid for by generations of Americans and Vietnamese."--On Point" --
""Offers a unique look at the politics of the war... [a] well-written, exhaustively researched book."--VVA Veteran" --
""Andrew Johns' highly sophisticated and richly documented account of the Republican Party's actions during the Vietnam is enormously welcome. As all the reviewers point out, Johns has made a major contribution to the study not just of the Vietnam War but also of the partisan political context within which U.S. foreign-policy decisions are made...Just when one is fairly convinced there is little new scholarly ground to break regarding the Vietnam War, someon demonstrates otherwise...Vietnam's Second Front has gone beyond that to offer a comprehensive examination of an aspect of the War heretofore largely untouched at least to my knowledge: the Republican Party's response to the Vietnam War...Johns offers a fine analysis of the Republican Party response to the Vietnam War. He does so admirably and without getting bogged down in politics and absent any overt partisanship. I suspect it will be universally welcomed as an important contribution to literature on the War...Andrew Johns contends that historians of U.S. involvement in Vietnam have given decidedly inadequate attention to domestic politics, Congress, and the Republican Party. He is correct on all counts, and Vietnam's Second Front successfully addresses these historiographical deficiencies. Having mastered the secondary literature and done exhaustive primary research in manuscript collections housed across the country, in government documents, in appropriate oral histories and memoirs, and in a broad array of both national and local newspapers, Johns has written a cogent, forcefully argued, and compellingaccount. In short, this is a highly impressive and informative book...A field that too often in recent years has chosen to ignore the intersection between domestic politics and the making of U.S. foreign policy is, alas, less and less likely to produce books that ask the needed questions explored in Vietnam's Second Front...The book carefully recontructs how the GOP responded to the escalation of the war-a topic that to date had not recieved such a comprehensive treatment in any scholarly monograph...Vietnam's Second Front makes an importantcontribution to our understanding of the Vietnam War, Cold War foreign policy, and executive-legislative relations in the foreign policy arena."--H-Diplo" --
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2011
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Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction: Ares, Virginia, and the Myth of the Water's Edgep. 1
Trapped between Scylla and Charybdis: JFK, the GOP, and Domestic Politicsp. 11
The Cassandra Conundrum: GOP Opposition to LBJ's Vietnam Policy, 1963-1965p. 43
Opening Pandora's Box: Escalation and Domestic Politics, 1965-1966p. 79
Confronting the Hydra: LBJ on the Defensive, 1966-1967p. 119
Sisyphus and Tantalus: The Political Impact of the War, 1967-1968p. 159
The Zalmoxis Effect: Vietnam and the 1968 Presidential Electionp. 195
The Icarus Agenda: Vietnamization and Its Political Implicationsp. 237
Whither Ariadne?: Domestic Politics and Nixon's Search for Peacep. 279
Conclusion: Sowing Dragon's Teethp. 325
Appendix: Republicans, 1961-1973p. 341
Notesp. 345
Bibliographyp. 395
Indexp. 427
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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