Logevall’s examination utilizes an international perspective. French, German, Japanese, and British policymakers were all convinced that American effoLogevall’s examination utilizes an international perspective. French, German, Japanese, and British policymakers were all convinced that American efforts in the region were doomed (Australia was an exception). Johnson ignored international input. Domestically, he cites American support of LBJ, his overwhelming popularity after defeating Barry Goldwater (the hard line candidate), and the malleability of the American public, who did not yet hold firm opinions on American involvement in Vietnam. International and domestic pressures, therefore, did not hold Johnson to a policy of escalation, nor, according to Logeval, did structural causes. Containment, the Domino Theory, US International Credibility, Bipolarity, a domestic Cold War Consensus, these structural forces were not pushing America into an inevitable role. Choosing War argues that the administration’s arguments that credibility, prestige and reputation were all at risk in SE Asia were false. Instead, during the “Long 1964” (August 63-Feb 65) the administration actively hurt attempts to criticize Johnson’s policy for Americanization of the war; credibility had much to do with domestic politics as in of the Democratic Party or the personal credibility of McNamara, Johnson, etc... While these policymakers had many options, they remained rigid in their commitment to SE Asia. Escalation was not inevitable. Democratic cabinet members mimicked this stance and put their personal reputations above the considerations of American soldiers. Still, LBJ remained the key pusher for Americanization. He was more concerned for his historical / personal reputation than American lives. Furthermore, LBJs stong personality made it difficult for dissenters to speak against his policies. Vietnam became to Johnson “a test of his own manliness” (383). It was LBJs credibility, not America’s, at stake....more
In A New Deal for the World, University of Utah historian Elizabeth Borgwardt argues that the joint geo-political plans of Franklin D. Roosevelt and WIn A New Deal for the World, University of Utah historian Elizabeth Borgwardt argues that the joint geo-political plans of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, and their respective representatives, were a logical extension of FDR’s New Deal policies. She does so by critically reexamining the political rhetoric of the early 1940s. Furthermore, she argues that proponents of New Deal legislation envisioned a global implementation of their national policies, specifically in regards to social welfare and humanitarianism. According to Borgwardt, a socially-just post-World War II globe would be one where economic justice and political liberalism reigned supreme. Furthermore, that this vision was an explicit goal of “New Dealers” even before the war ended. Borgwardt’s study revolves around three crucial events. First, the August 1941 first meeting between FDR and Churchill and the resulting first discussions that would come to be known as the “Atlantic Charter.” Second, the July 1944 Bretton Woods conference and the resulting post-war global Keynesian economic policies. Finally, the August 1945 Nuremberg trials and their symbolic persecution of war criminals. In each of these seminal events, Borgwardt sees the rhetoric of these events as representing a changing zeitgeist. Gone would be the inter-war politics of isolationism and economic autarky. New Dealers instead pushed for a humanitarian, pro-management style of global liberalism. She argues that it was New Dealers who fought the political battles necessary to envision and construct a new, more socially and economically-just world based on multilateral intervention. Borgwardt’s examination of the construction of the Atlantic Charter sets the tone for the book. She sees the meeting between FDR and Churchill as fundamental to understanding how New Dealers began to globalize their vision of a post-war world. This meeting of national leaders provided an unprecedented opportunity to bridge the gap between national boundaries and forge a nascent multilateralism. By agreeing on (admittedly informal) policies to rebuild a post-war world, the New Deal became international, signaling the death knell for a half-century of hyper-nationalism. Put another way, the management style of the New Deal was being imposed on a global scale. This argument is logical in principal, but the lack of a drawn up document (at least at first) for this “Atlantic Charter” makes it a difficult one to prove. To back her arguments, Borgwardt focuses on the rhetoric of the political characters involved. Such an approach is necessary as the Atlantic Charter began as a loosely constructed agreement between two political leaders, nothing more. But for Borgwardt, the exchanges between these two leaders meant an implicit acceptance of the Atlantic Charter and the “four freedoms.” It was only a matter of time before these ideas became a solidified, coherent statement to guide the post-war world. In sum, the Atlantic Charter did not become, but began as a concrete set of ideas meant to introduce the world to internationalism. But this shift in zeitgeist was seldom explicit or traceable, even via archival rhetoric. Hence, the book’s continual focus on the rich and arguably intentional symbolism of the New Deal era. To Borgwardt, symbols do matter. For example, because the Atlantic Charter did not begin as a strict set of laws laid to parchment, uncertainty regarding its validity arose from politicians and journalists alike. Recognizing the need for tangible representations, Roosevelt has a physical document constructed for public viewing. In short, what begins as an intangible set of proposals becomes a strict set of written decrees, and this symbolic agreement ultimately becomes writ to emphasize and solidify its importance. The examples of symbolism continue with the Bretton Woods conference. For this chapter, Borgwardt again uses two compelling historical figures for narrative polarization: the eminent British economist John Maynard Keynes and his American counterpart Harry “Dexter” White. During their tenuous working relationship, these two did not share the effortless friendship that befell FDR and Churchill. Instead, one sees the constant arguments between the high minded Keynes and the less astute White. Nevertheless, the symbolism of this meeting holds meaning, especially in light of the highly technical economics discussed during these talks escaped the American public (and, it seems at times, White). Such symbolism is even more obvious during the Nuremberg trials. While the punishment of Nazi war criminals may have been a forgone conclusion for much of the world, the symbolic trials and ensuing justice handed down by a multilateral body politic ushered in a new era of international politics represented by the introduction of crimes against humanity. This trial caps the unifying theme of symbolism throughout the book: that each event represents a symbolic shift away from nationalism and towards internationalism and multilateralism.
Borgwardt's methodology is decidedly traditional (i.e. political in nature). The historical characters involved are big names: FDR, Churchill, Keynes and White; the subject matter is political in nature. Borgwardt utilizes a captivating narrative that gives the reader familiar footing, a reliable approach for finding important points in the otherwise complex world of foreign policy. For example, regarding the August 10th 1941 meeting of FDR and Churchill, Borgwardt analyzes the unwritten, informal discussion between these two leaders and how their idealized visions of a post-Fascist world, however vague, shared western ideas of free trade and social justice. Left to an ideological explanation, this argument would lose steam; the reader interest. For the characters involved, anecdotal quips are given perhaps greater weight than necessary outside the context of New Deal idealism. Such an approach to analyzing rhetoric makes Borgwardt’s book somewhat neo-diplomatic in its methodology. Diplomatic History purists will enjoy the fixation on these compelling historical figures, while proponents of hybridized-diplomatic history will endorse the use of rhetorical and cultural analysis. Yet, for its admittedly hybrid of methodologies, there is no real deconstruction of texts or rhetorical exchanges, and the cultural milieu upon which Borgwardt bases her analysis never leaves the idealized paradigm of the New Deal, closing the door to potentially more innovative types of analysis. Such an approach also neglects other historical approaches, and this book will undoubtedly arouse criticisms from those disposed to alternate historical methodologies. Neo-Marxist scholars, world-systems historians and those interested in dependency theory will not simply find fault in this overtly celebratory history, but will likely take offense to the usually requisite (however brief) admission of these methodologies and their importance. The Cold War’s absence from this examination is a tidy omission for her New Deal-centric argument, Cold War historians are sure to take notice. Finally, for economic historians, the glossing over of the seminal Bretton Woods conference will leave much to be desired in the way of analysis and implication. Larger methodologies aside, Borgwardt research method is nonetheless impressive. While she relies on an unusual number of secondary sources for a monograph focused on political history, with a 30 page bibliography it is hard to argue for a lack of depth in her research. Yet Borgwardt’s constant infusion of anecdotal remarks not only by historical actors but by historians themselves has a polarizing effect: on the one hand, readers may enjoy how inclusions humanize the larger than life characters involved in this study and adds depth to their historical relevance. Conversely, it also sometimes seems as if though Borgwardt picks and chooses choice selections for her argument’s sake. This approach does not detract from the overarching argument per se, but the reliance on this overwhelming number of historians makes A New Deal for the World read like a historiography at times and not a work of original insight. Regardless of how readers take to this quasi-historiographic approach, they should expect very few pages that neglect a quote not from the historical actors involved but from historians. Such verbatim analysis might have been better utilized via paraphrases, interjections and footnotes. This reliance on quips by secondary sources also leaves something to be desired in the way of contextual analysis. Not surprisingly one of the book’s main omissions is that of context. Looking at the New Deal as a snapshot in time leaves out important comparisons, and other historians will be quick to point this out. The strength in historical analysis is often in the findings of parallels, sometimes comparing the past to the present. It is not as if Borgwardt is left without opportunity to do so. There are obvious parallels between the idealism of the Wilson administration and FDR’s four freedoms. Also, the crisis of modernity that arose from the first shots of WWI met a second examination with the discovery of the holocaust. This is not to say that such a history can (or should) include each and every side of an argument. But it is important to note that for a book that emphasizes the culture of the New Deal, that the possible misgivings of its proponents—many of whom lived though other world wars and a great depression—might have added more depth to this book.
All over the globe, ’68 marked a year of riots that sparked global concern. In France, Germany, China, and America, protest movements worried global lAll over the globe, ’68 marked a year of riots that sparked global concern. In France, Germany, China, and America, protest movements worried global leaders about the possibilities of revolution. Jeremy Suri’s Power and Protest argues that these events led to the era of détente, or lessening of global tensions amongst the superpowers and other nuclear powers. In short, he is arguing that domestic strife can influence and shape diplomatic relations. Suri’s argument is wide—and perhaps too wide—but convincing. He argues that intellectuals such as Jean Paul Sarte (France), Alexander Solzeneytzian (USSR), J.K. Galbraith, Herbert Marcuse (Frankfurt School) and Mao (China) published influential works that questioned capitalism. These works were translated into a number of languages and absorbed by would be protesters. Dissent of capitalism was noting new, but questioning the materialism of the post war world threatened cold war consensus. The Vietnam war then acted as the solidifying act, an event that gave dissent purpose and direction. Facing a “global revolution,” governments colluded to quell revolutionary fervor and regain order. They responded with détente, a conservative approach to international relations that stressed the easing of nuclear tensions and warfare. Critics of Suri point out that correlation does not lead to causation. Because the Prague Spring, the Cultural Revolution, the Chicago Riots of ’68, and French protests happened in close temporal proximity does not mean that they followed a similar pattern. Still, mass media’s ability to connect these global protests should not be discredited. Protests in Czechoslovakia, France, the United States, and elsewhere, were seen around the globe through satellite or video. Television captured these protests in ways that brought them into the homes of common people, diplomats, and presidents alike. What they saw influenced the future of the political groups involved in these movements as well as public opinion home and abroad. ...more