The Permanent Promise: A Critique of the Liberal Books on Vietnam

Authors

  • Hugh Deane

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14452/MR-019-02-1967-06_8

Keywords:

History, Political Economy

Abstract

"Why we are in Vietnam is today a question of mainly historical interest," Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. declares in the first sentence of his The Bitter Heritage; and in a later chapter on the "inscrutability of history," he imposes limits on this interest. He nevertheless sketches the course of the American involvement, his small view of history enabling him to describe it as a series of decisions which were reasonable at the time, even though expectations were not realized. After Geneva, "the United States went ahead on the assumption that economic and political support alone would be sufficient to assure the survival of South Vietnam as an independent state. This was by no means an unreasonable judgment at the time." And again: "Each step in the deepening of the American commitment was reasonably regarded at the time as the last that would be necessary…The Vietnam story is a tragedy without villains."

Published

1967-06-07

Issue

Section

Reviews