Academic journal article Military Review

The Vietnam Lobby: The American Friends of Vietnam, 1955-1975

Academic journal article Military Review

The Vietnam Lobby: The American Friends of Vietnam, 1955-1975

Article excerpt

THE VIETNAM LOBBY: The American Friends of Vietnam, 19551975, by Joseph G. Morgan. 229 pages. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1997. $39.95.

Joseph G. Morgan examines the role the American Friends of Vietnam (AFV) have played in influencing and shaping US public and government opinion about that country. Although he calls the organization "ineffective," he writes that it "is a group that merits attention." He gives four reasons:

* It provided "insights into the problems a private association faces in persuading the government and public to accept its views."

* It provided answers to questions about the influences the two governments were able to exert on each other through the organization.

* It shed light on the activities of citizens who supported US intervention in Vietnam.

* It provided "an opportunity to examine assumptions" that guided US policy for several years.

All of these are worthwhile goals. Unfortunately, examining the activities of the AFV is a slender reed on which to rest their attainment.

Morgan's conclusion is that the AFV was part of a broad, societywide coalition, stretching from the far right to the moderate left, that supported the Cold War in all of its manifestations. The coalition's backers were anti-communists who regarded the Cold War as a continuation of the ideological war with Fascism and Nazism. …

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