John M. Barr History 6393

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John M. Barr

History 6393

Dr. Buzzanco
From my viewpoint, foreign policy is, or should be, based primarily

upon one consideration. That consideration is the need for the U.S.

to obtain certain raw materials to sustain its economy and, when

possible, to preserve profitable foreign markets for our surpluses.

Out of this need grows the necessity for making certain that those

areas of the world in which essential raw materials are produced

are not only accessible to us, but their populations and governments

are willing to trade with us on a friendly basis.
Dwight David Eisenhower, 19511
We have 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3 percent of

its population. . . . Our real task in the coming period is to devise

a pattern of relationships that will allow us to maintain this position

of disparity.

George Frost Kennan2
Abraham Lincoln, in the middle of the Civil War, characterized the United States as “the last best hope of earth.” Many, if not most, Americans see their country in such terms. However, as the war in Iraq persists and the “War on Terrorism” continues into its sixth year, Americans are as interested and worried as ever in the roots of American foreign policy. How did America become such a world behemoth? And how should exercise its power? There is a growing sense in the country that in a deep and profound way something is amiss in America foreign relations. Few disputed, for example, John Kerry’s recent assertion, for example, that the United States was “an international pariah,” although they did challenge the wisdom or prudence in uttering such words overseas, since American politics is supposed to “stop at the water’s edge.”

Three eras of American history and historiographical debate illuminate very well how America has arrived at this current impasse, and can provide guidance for citizens in the future regarding whether to support American officials and their foreign policy adventures. The three periods under examination here are American expansionism in the 1890s and the motives and rationales for such imperialism, the Cold War and the responsibility of the United States and the USSR for that conflict, and the Vietnam War and its legacies for American society. Each of these fields point to the inseparable relationship between foreign and domestic policy in the United States, the difficult but necessary task of applying an honest yet critical spirit to American foreign policy and the ubiquitous possibility of distorting or falsifying the past to suit those in power, or “Clio Deceived” as the historian Holger Herwig has labeled it, and, perhaps most importantly, the importance of material interests in determining the nature and extent of American involvement overseas.3


In 1959, at the height of the Cold War, William Appleman Williams published his seminal work The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, which was in a sense the foundational work in the study of the history of American foreign relations. Williams, a scholar in the New Left tradition of American historiography, argued in Tragedy that America’s increasing economic and industrial output, or surplus, required overseas markets as a dumping ground. Consequently, the United States never acquired an empire in the traditional manner of the British or French, but rather an informal one based on the need for open markets and economic dominance. U.S. imperialism was, according to Williams, “Open Door” imperialism, or empire by invitation. Thus, what the United States sought in the twentieth century was not necessarily democracy or human rights or self-determination for oppressed peoples, but new markets and investment outlets for its industrial surplus. A belief in the need for overseas markets was widely shared across the political spectrum, ranging from government officials like Republicans William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, to intellectuals such as Alfred Thayer Mahan and Frederick Jackson Turner, and even including the Populist “Sockless” Jerry Simpson. Numerous and influential U.S. officials viewed expansionism overseas as a safety valve for the surplus of American products and domestic pressures here in the United States. Williams contended, in addition, that this “Open Door” approach to foreign policy by the United States had negative consequences. It led to indifference for the internal developments of countries in which the United States had investments, and, just as important, it fostered the idea that the lack of a good life in America can be traced not to our own deficiencies but to foreign sources instead.

Published just as Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and as Nikita Khrushchev was prophesying to Americans that their grandchildren would live under communism, Williams’s arguments challenged traditional assumptions about American expansionism and were understandably controversial. Williams displayed enormous courage in advocating his ideas and they caused a firestorm of controversy in the historical community. Nevertheless, Walter LaFeber published in 1963 The New Empire, which supported Williams’s basic contention, and was “an early elaboration on the market thesis,” which “showed the influence of Tragedy and seemed to support its claims.”4 Other historians such as Lloyd Gardner, Gabriel and Joyce Kolko, and Arno Mayer very quickly elaborated on and confirmed Tragedy’s arguments.

Still, Williams was not without his critics. Some historians questioned whether the American desire for overseas markets was really that significant, arguing that in fact foreign trade was only a tiny share of American output. Others, such as Alfred A. Ecke, questioned whether all of American diplomacy could truly be reduced to economic or material interests, and chided Williams and his disciples because they “magnify economic factors at the expense of other policy objectives and thus wrenched history out of perspective.”5 More current historians, perhaps, emphasize more race or gender or ideological motivations for American expansionism. However, even one of Williams’s most strident critics, Robert W. Tucker, has said of Tragedy, “If nothing else, the radical critique has forced us to acknowledge the extent to which an obsessive self interest has been central in American foreign policy.”6 Still others, such as Robert Buzzanco, although conceding Williams basic point that material interests are primary in shaping American foreign policy objectives, have questioned whether American diplomacy was truly a tragedy, or, as Buzzanco asserted in his 1999 Bernath lecture “a roaring success.”7 Even so, “within only a few years Tragedy was definitely in the mainstream.”8

Currently virtually all historians are arguing over the terrain that Williams has marked out. They are not debating if the United States is an expansionist nation, or assuming American innocence in world affairs, but instead grappling with how much of a role economic and other less than idealistic motives played in such imperialism. Thus, in a sense, they have conceded Williams main point, that while the United States has conceivably at times been guided by humanitarian ideals and the principle of self-determination, this was allowed only if other countries solved their problems in a manner similar to the United States and allowed an Open Door for its products. The conservative writer Frederick Kagan, perhaps inadvertently, agreed with Williams in an October 2006 essay in The New Republic when he penned the following description about American foreign policy:

But that self-image, with its yearning for some imagined lost innocence,

is based on myth. Far from the modest republic that history books often

portray, the early United States was an expansionist power from the

moment the first pilgrim set foot on the continent; an it did not stop

expanding – territorially, commercially, culturally, and geopolitically – over

the next four centuries. The United States has never been a status quo

power; it has always been a revolutionary one, consistently expanding

its participation and influence in the world in ever-widening arcs. The

impulse to involve ourselves in the affairs of others is neither a modern

phenomenon nor a deviation from the American spirit. It is embedded in

the American DNA.9 (emphasis mine)
The esteemed historian Gordon Wood, moreover, previously voiced similar opinions in 2002, claiming that for the founding generation “commercial interest and Revolutionary idealism blended to form the basis for much American thinking about foreign affairs that lasted well into the twentieth century; to some extent this blending is still present in American thinking about the world.10 (emphasis mine)

Hence, historians will continue to grapple with Williams’s ideas, for The Tragedy of American Diplomacy is in the field of American foreign relations, analogous to what one philosopher averred Plato was to philosophy; everything written afterward is but a footnote. As the historian Bradford Perkins wrote twenty-five years after the publication of Tragedy, “Tragedy challenged traditional views and laid out alternatives.”11 Tragedy exemplifies very well an idea of Charles Darwin’s, who thought all observation must be based on some theory if it is to be of any use whatsoever. Perhaps this is the most important aspect of Tragedy, in that it has provided historians with a serviceable and workable theory by which to evaluate American foreign policy. As Charles Darwin wrote in 1859, exactly one-hundred years before the publication of Tragedy:

About thirty years ago there was much talk that geologists ought only to observe and not theorize; and I well remember someone saying that at this rate a man might as well go into a gravel-pit and count the pebbles and describe the colours. How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!12

Assuredly, more work remains for historians in demonstrating how a desire for markets influenced expansionism prior to 1898, and in today’s global marketplace as well. Walter LaFeber, mentioned earlier, has recently sketched ideas for a new field of “post-imperialist” study in his 1999 book Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism. LaFeber argues that transnational corporations such as Nike, although not entirely novel, are suggestive of “something new and most significant in American history: a corporation [Nike] that made nearly all its products abroad and sold half or more of those goods in foreign markets. In other words, although known as an American corporation, most of its laborers and its sales were abroad.”13 LaFeber then makes the following ominous prediction:

The battlefields ahead, then, will revolve not around imperialism versus anti-imperialism, or civilization versus civilization, but capital versus culture. The Cold War between American capitalism and Russian Communism dominated much of the twentieth century. At the end of that day, the West had adjusted to post-1970s technology and Communism had not. America and capitalism stood triumphant. After 1991, the nature of the struggle noticeably changed. It was now between new, technological forms of capitalism versus cultures pressured to adjust to changes demanded by the capital. As the Economist phrased it with slight exaggeration, the “1,000 . . . people who run the world” do “not mind whether an idea, a technique or a market, is . . . Sinic, Hindu, Islamic, or Orthodox. If an idea works or a market arises,” these one thousand people “will grab it.”
Capital will ultimately win this new contest, just as it has broken down political, economic, social, and geographical barriers since its appearance in a recognizable form five hundred years ago. At the end of the millennium, as Masao Miyoshi observed, the new transnational capitalism “converts most social and political issues into economy, and culture into a commercial program. Arts and architecture are absorbed into business.” Sports can be added to that list. Unless controlled, this contest between capital and culture will not be orderly and peaceful. It is an irony that Americans love order and seek stability, but insist on expanding a capitalism that often undermines order and generates violent instability. This is precisely what occurred during the first great wave of U.S. corporate expansionism abroad after the 1880s, and on a much larger scale it is occurring a century later.14
Historians of American foreign relations in the future, therefore, must eschew triumphalism and easy assumptions of American innocence and unselfishness. They must investigate closely and critically how material interests, in addition to other factors, have shaped and will likely continue to shape American foreign policy. For if they do not, a problem awaits, as Robert Buzzanco warns: “The way we examine our subjects goes a long way in determining what our conclusions will be.” If Americans want a relationship with the rest of the world based on mutual respect, at the very least an honest appraisal by historians of American motives in foreign affairs – selfish or unselfish – is required.15


A related and vitally important theme of Williams’s Tragedy of American Diplomacy was where blame rests for the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. In fact, Williams was one of the first American historians to question American blamelessness in the conflict, and to argue that the United States was partially responsible for starting the Cold War.

The first stage of Cold War historiography emphasized American innocence in the conflict with the Soviet Union. This traditional or “orthodox” viewpoint saw the Soviet Union as the aggressor in the long economic and ideological conflict after World War II. Following on the heels of World War II, these historians viewed American reactions such as the Truman Doctrine, Containment, the Marshall Plan, NATO, and NSC-68 as legitimate American responses to Soviet expansionism. The United States reacted to Soviet aggression, as Edward Crapol characterizes this viewpoint, “in defense of democracy, the free world, and free men” and America was, therefore, largely guiltless for the beginnings of the Cold War.16 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., to cite another example, wrote that “the Cold War was the brave and essential response of free men to communist aggression.”17 Written in an atmosphere of Cold War hysteria or, if you will, paranoia, historians such as Schlesinger and Louis Halle published work that, while valuable in certain respects, neglected key aspects of the origins of the Cold War in their service to a patriotic state ideology of American purity and virtue in the world. New Left historian Robert Buzzanco, for instance, has described their work as bordering on court history.

Affected by the upheavals of the fifties and sixties, particularly the civil rights movement and war in Vietnam, the next stage in Cold War historiography was significantly altered, as noted, by the publication in 1959 of William Appleman Williams The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. Williams and other “revisionists,” especially Gar Alperovitz, Noam Chomsky, Gabriel and Joyce Kolko, Lloyd Gardner, and Walter LaFeber stressed that American officials bore at the very least some, if not all, responsibility for the problems and tensions of the Cold War; dating the seeds of its beginning all the way back to 1917 and shortly thereafter, when the U.S. refused to recognize the new Soviet government and even sent troops to aid Czarist forces in the Russian Civil War. Hence, the United States was not an innocent bystander in the Cold War, and, in places like Iran or Latin America its policies were downright hypocritical. The Soviet Union, these historians contended, was not solely responsible for the beginning of the Cold War. Thus, the Soviet Union was largely defensive in nature, not expansionist, and after World War II it simply sought legitimate security concerns in Eastern Europe after a conflict that devastated their country. Publishing their work in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the “revisionists” argument that the historical record of the Cold War was much more complex than the “orthodox” school thought required great courage to publish.18

Two topics of revisionist writing on the Cold War were particularly noteworthy. One was Gar Alperovitz’s influential and controversial Atomic Diplomacy, which contended, with convincing and irrefutable evidence, that the atomic bombs which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945 were dropped not solely to save American and Japanese lives, as Truman and other American officials claimed, but instead to intimidate the Soviet Union and make them more manageable in Europe. “Among the ranks of revisionist historians,” Edward Crapol laments, “there is virtual unanimity that atomic diplomacy was a failure, perhaps singularly notable for its counterproductive capacity to exacerbate tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.”19

Other revisionists, argued that after World War II the Soviet Union was a largely broken and defeated nation after its brutal four year struggle against Nazi Germany. The Allied nations, other than the United States, were either bankrupt or lay in ruins. So, the United States policies in years immediately following World War II were designed to use “its vast economic predominance to achieve its foreign policy objectives.”20 Therefore, American officials hyped the Soviet threat for domestic reasons rather than out of legitimate concerns for Soviet expansionism and world domination. Perhaps this is nowhere more apparent than in the persecution of real and imagined Communists in the United States during the McCarthy era.

Recently there has appeared a potential synthesis or reconciliation of these views, labeled “post-revisionism.” “Post-revisionists” blame the Soviets for the Cold War and proudly proclaim not only American victory in the struggle, but Soviet complicity in its beginnings. Still, the synthesis may be more apparent than real, as “postrevisionists” largely accept the criticisms that revisionists have made of their work, conceding, for instance, “the existence of an American empire, although . . . it was primarily a defensive empire, erected by invitation and not through coercion,” and accepting “that the United States used economic instruments to secure political ends,” while acknowledging “that Stalin had no ideological blueprint for communist world revolution,” and agreeing, finally, that “the United States government did at time exaggerate the external danger of Soviet communism in order to achieve certain internal political objectives.”21 The foremost scholar of this “postrevisionist” viewpoint is John Lewis Gaddis, whose current book The Cold War: An New History is in actuality nothing more than a recycling of traditional thinking about the post-war conflict. Tony Judt, in a scathing review of Gaddis’s book, unhappily concludes the following about Gaddis’s work:

Thus while it may seem tempting to dismiss John Lewis Gaddis’s

history of the cold war as a naively self-congratulatory account which

leaves out much of what makes its subject interesting and of

continuing relevance, that would be a mistake. Gaddis’s version

is perfectly adapted for contemporary America: an anxious country

curiously detached from its own past as well as from the rest of the

world and hungry for ‘a fireside fairytale with a happy ending.’ The

Cold War: A New History is likely to be widely read in the U.S.: both

as history and, in the admiring words of a blurb on the dust jacket,

for the ‘lessons’ it can teach us in how to ‘deal with new threats.’

That is a depressing thought.22

Clearly this is a debate that is not going to end any time soon. It may, rather, be enlivened as more Soviet or Eastern European and even Chinese archives are opened to scholars and as cold war historiography assumes more of an international bent.23 The Englishman Geoffrey Roberts, for example, has recently published a work entitled Stalin’s Wars, which challenges and refutes Gaddis’s work, arguing that American policy makers were much more inflexible in places like Iran or Guatemala than Stalin was in Eastern Europe, and that Stalin actually sought to avoid the Cold War.24 Similarly, Thomas McCormick presents an alternative to traditional Cold War historiography, in what Edward Crapol labels a “corporatist synthesis,” that would examine all of American diplomatic history, not just the Cold War, through a lens of “productionism” whereby American officials sought to “mitigate class warfare at home” by “continually enlarging the economic pie into more equal segments.”25 Finally, disillusionment about the war in Iraq may well lead to a more skeptical spirit among present and future scholars about past American actions, including the Cold War. Perhaps Cold War historiography will be influenced by the Iraq War in the same manner that the conflict in Vietnam changed Cold War scholarship.


A third important and vibrant field in American foreign relations concerns the disastrous American involvement in Vietnam. The vast majority of historians contend quite effectively that the U.S. intervention in Vietnam was neither noble in intent nor execution. Scholars such as Robert Buzzanco, Noam Chomsky, George Herring, the Kolko’s, Andrew Rotter, and others persuasively argue that Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist and communist who by 1945 represented the legitimate aspirations of the Vietnamese people for independence. Enduring centuries of conflict with China, a long occupation by France in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century, and then a brief period invasion by the Japanese during World War II, the Vietnamese people sought self-determination after the war.

Consequently, on September 2, 1945 in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam an independent nation; with assistance in translation from Americans, Ho quoted from Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, declaring to the crowd that “We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal.” Shortly thereafter, American warplanes flew overhead and a band played the “Star-Spangled Banner.”26 Thirty years later, when the United States left Vietnam it had, in the words of Robert Buzzanco, “dropped 4.6 million tons of bombs on Vietnam and another 2 million tons on Cambodia and Laos (compared with a total of 3 million tons dropped by Allied forces in World War II). American forces additionally sprayed 11.2 million gallons of the dioxin-carrying herbicide Agent Orange, and dropped over 400,000 tons of napalm.” Furthermore, Buzzanco continues, “the United States destroyed over 9,000, out of 15,000, southern Vietnamese hamlets, 25 million acres of farmland, and 12 million acres of forest, while creating over 25 million bomb craters. The human toll was worse: about 2 million Vietnamese, and another 300,000 Cambodians and Laotians, died in the war, while over 3 million Indochinese were wounded.”27 The Vietnam War was a humanitarian, environmental, and political disaster for the United States, not to mention the Vietnamese, and historians have devoted a lifetime cataloguing how and why such a catastrophe occurred.28

President Ronald Reagan, in contrast to a generation of scholarship on the war, claimed in the 1980s that Vietnam was a “noble cause,” igniting a pseudo-debate about the nature and results of the American war in Indochina. “Revisionist” historians such as Michael Lind, Ed Miller, Mark Moyar, and Keith Taylor, in essential agreement with Reagan and in direct contrast to those historians they label “orthodox,” have argued in recent years that the U.S. war in Vietnam was indeed righteous, South Vietnam was in fact a viable state with an effective leader in Ngo Dinh Diem, the war was not fought disproportionately by the poor, and the U.S. won in the jungles of Vietnam but lost the war here at home because of poor political leadership, especially the decision of John F. Kennedy to allow the coup against Diem in 1963 to proceed. Such disagreements, however, contain no surprises for the “orthodox” George Herring:

Indeed, viewed from the longer perspective, the Vietnam War, as

perhaps no other event in U.S. history, caused Americans as a

nation to confront a set of beliefs about themselves that form a

basic part of their character: the notion that in their dealing with

other peoples they have generally acted nobly and benevolently;

the certainty that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

The war ended with most of the major issues unresolved, thus also

contributing to its influence. Was it a good war or a bad war? A noble

cause, or essentially immoral? Was it necessary in terms of the

national security, or basically needless and senseless? Was it a

good war waged poorly? Was it a war that could and indeed should

have been won, a war lost only by the timidity and/or stupidity of

America’s leaders? Or was it a war that could not have been won at

a price the nation was willing to pay? We were bitterly divided on these

issues while the war was going on, and have continued to be so since.

These divisions have contributed to the profound impact the war has

exerted on the national psyche for the quarter century after its end.29
The “revisionists,” nonetheless, have much and yet little to with which to contend. On the one hand, they are arguing against a generation of outstanding scholarship on the Vietnam War, detailed evidence surrounding the corruption and malfeasance of Diem’s regime, and the less than savory methods by which America conducted the fighting. On the other hand, the “revisionist” narrative will appeal to many Americans, especially those with an ingrained belief in American exceptionalism and a credulity concerning America’s innocence in world affairs. As Noam Chomsky has observed, “dissidence” about American goodness in the world “carries personal costs” and thus the “revisionist story” of Vietnam may well gain make important inroads into the American public consciousness, if not into American scholarship.30 Still, revisionists have never addressed, to cite one example, Buzzanco’s scholarship detailing the military opposition to the war in Vietnam, and they will soon have to argue with forthcoming works like James Carter’s Inventing Vietnam, which depicts a state in South Vietnam virtually created from scratch by the United States government with American taxpayer money. Nor have the revisionists sufficiently addressed the work of Andrew Rotter, whose book The Path to Vietnam examines how a U.S. desire for markets and stability in postwar Japan and all of Southeast Asia were decisive factors leading to American involvement in Vietnam. Perhaps the “orthodox” school can take heart from the evolutionists who have been under attack by creationists and intelligent design theorists for over thirty years. The anti-evolutionists have given their best intellectual and political shot at discrediting evolution, but instead have prompted a counterattack and a multitude of excellent works on evolutionary theory from Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, E.O. Wilson, to name just a few. Thus Buzzanco, Chomsky, Herring and others might find that attacks on their “orthodoxy” will only crystallize their thoughts on the war and make their arguments even stronger. In any event, all scholars have the duty, indeed “the responsibility,” as Noam Chomsky wrote in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War, “to speak the truth and to expose lies.”31

Hence as Americans near the second decade of the twenty-first century historians need to apply what Noam Chomsky calls “the most elementary of moral truisms,” that is “the principle of universality: we must apply to ourselves the same standards we do to others, if not more stringent ones.”32 Nowhere is this standard more needed than in the area of writing about American foreign relations. Historians need to apply the same critical spirit to American actions that they would to the Soviets, Chinese or Iraqis, thereby avoiding the pitfall of becoming court historians, or as Holger Herwig has put it, “patriotic self-censors” wittingly or unwittingly promoting “a national-conservative version of history.” “Does a perverse law operate,” Holger asks, “whereby those events that are most important are hardest to understand because they attract the greatest attention from mythmakers and charlatans? And,” he continues, “ is a nation well-served when its intellectual establishment conspires to obstruct honest investigation into national catastrophes, upon which past, present, and future vital national interests can be reassessed?” How historians of American foreign relations answer these questions will determine whether in the future Americans will breathe the polluted intellectual air of happy history or the cleaner, but colder and starker atmosphere produced by a honest, critical, and skeptical spirit, always keeping in mind, as the British historian Sir Lewis Namier once put it, that “history writing is not a visit of condolence”33

1 Eisenhower quoted in Michael T. Hayes, “The Republican Road Not Taken: The Foreign-Policy Vision of Robert A. Taft,” The Independent Review, v. VIII, n. 4, Spring 2004, 518.

2 Kennan is quoted in Robert Buzzanco, “What Happened to the New Left? Toward a Radical Reading of American Foreign Relations,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Fall, 1999) , 592.

3 Buzzanco, “What Happened to the New Left?” Diplomatic History, 598-99; See also Holger W. Herwig, “Clio Deceived: Patriotic Self-Censorship in Germany after the Great War,” International Security, Fall 1987, (Volume 12, No. 2).

4 Bradford Perkins, “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy: Twenty-Five Years After,” Reviews in American History,” March, 1984, 4.

5 Ecke quoted in Perkins, “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy” Reviews in American History, 6.

6 Tucker quote in Perkins, “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy,” Reviews in American History, 7.

7 Robert Buzzanco, “What Happened to the New Left?, Diplomatic History, 607.

8 Perkins, “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy,” Reviews in American History,” March, 1984, 1.

9 Robert Kagan, “Cowboy Nation,” The New Republic, October 23, 2006.

10 Gordon Wood, The American Revolution: A History, (New York: A Modern Library Edition, 2002) , 107.

11 Perkins, “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy” Reviews in American History,” 3.

12 Charles Darwin is quoted in Michael Shermer, "Colorful Pebbles and Darwin's Dictum: Science is an exquisite blend of data and theory," Scientific American, May, 2001; Also see Michael Shermer, Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design, (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006) , 1-4.

13 Walter LaFeber, Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism, (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1999) , 55-58.

14 Ibid. 162-63.

15 Buzzanco, “What Happened to the New Left?” Diplomatic History, 576; See also Herwig, “Clio Deceived,” on the dangers of historical distortions and the adverse effects on Nazi Germany.

16 Edward Crapol, “Some Reflections on the Historiography of the Cold War,” The History Teacher, Volume 20, Number 2, February, 1987, 252-54; I am heavily indebted to Crapol’s article for this discussion of responsibility for the Cold War.

17 Ibid. , 253.

18 Crapol, “Reflections” The History Teacher, 256-57.

19 Crapol, “Reflections,” The History Teacher, 256.

20 Ibid.

21 Crapol, “Reflections,” The History Teacher, 258.

22 Tony Judt, “A Story Still to Be Told,” The New York Review of Books, March 23, 2006, 11-15.

23 See the essay by Rachel Donadio, “The Iron Archives,” New York Times Book Review, April 27, 2007, 35; Donadio describes the closing of archives to scholars under Vladimir Putin, but contends that “Documents off limits in Moscow . . . can often be found in the archives of former Warsaw Pact allies.”

24 See the interview with Geoffrey Roberts on on February 12, 2007.

25 Crapol, “Reflections,” The History Teacher, 259-60.

26 See George Herring, America’s Longest War: The United States in Vietnam, 1950-1975, (New York: McGraw-Hill, Fourth Edition, 2002) , 3; Also read Robert Buzzanco, Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life, (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1999) , 48, for the irony of this scene; This paragraph is excerpted from my book review of Buzzanco’s Masters of War.

27 Buzzanco, Masters of War, 351.

28 See my book review of Buzzanco, Masters of War, from which this paragraph is taken.

29 George C. Herring, “9/11/01: The End of the Vietnam Syndrome?” unpublished paper 4-5; See also Herring’s comments in the Preface to the Fourth Edition of America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002) in which he states that recent events “have not altered my basic interpretations of the war.”

30 Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions, (Boston: South End Press, 1989) , 10.

31 Noam Chomsky, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” The New York Review of Books, February 23, 1967.

32 Noam Chomsky, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006) , 3-4.

33 Namier is quoted in William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1959) , 16.

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