Academic journal article Military Review

Telltale Hearts: The Origins and Impact of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement

Academic journal article Military Review

Telltale Hearts: The Origins and Impact of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement

Article excerpt

TELLTALE HEARTS: The Origins and Impact of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement by Adam Garfinkle. 370 pages. St. Martin's Press. New York. 1996. 524.95.

Adam Garfinkle, author and resident scholar at the Foreign Policy Institute, attended Vietnam antiwar rallies as a teenager. Like many who never fully agreed with everything they heard in the speeches, he was ambivalent about the antiwar movement. Telltale Hearts is not only excellent history but also good therapy for anyone who wants to logically and meaningfully resolve emotional ambivalence.

Garfinkle examines important psycho-social antecedents to the antiwar movement and counterculture before 1963 and traces the political and cultural "fallout" since 1973. He closely scrutinizes the years between 1963 and 1973 and makes three compelling arguments. First, turning consensus on its head, he argues that because the antiwar movement interfered with normal political channels, it lengthened, rather than shortened, the war. Effective opposition to the war was developing within the Johnson administration and Congress until radical protests provoked negative government and public responses, reinforcing a failed political and military stasis. Garfinkle argues that political backlash to the movement even contributed to Richard Nixon's presidential victory in 1968 and, later, to Watergate.

Second, Garfinkle argues that the antiwar movement extended the countercultures boundaries. From 1965 to 1968, as the movement grew more radical, the movement became a vehicle for sectarian agendas. Ironically, the war it helped prolong was what gave a common focus to the movement's diverse and competing groups. …

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