President Lyndon Johnson's visit to Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam. [LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto. #C3598-22]

Why Vietnam? Explaining the War with Fredrik Logevall

Sep 18, 2012

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law invites you to "Why Vietnam? Explaining the War" with Fredrik Logevall, the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, on Tuesday, September 18 at 12:15 pm in Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ 2.104. Refreshments will be provided.

Why did Vietnam became the setting for one of the longest and bloodiest struggles of the entire post-1945 era, and why did two western powers, first France and then the United States, lose their way there? In this lecture, Fredrik Logevall, author of the just-published Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam, considers these contentions questions anew. Logevall will explore the importance of World War II in laying the groundwork for the French Indochina War that followed, and the major role played from an early point by the United States. American leaders, he will suggest, were never blind to the obstacles that stood in the way of victory against Ho Chi Minh's revolutionary forces, yet they failed to heed the lessons from France's disastrous defeat. Instead, they made the fateful decision to build up and defend South Vietnam, thereby putting the United States on its collision course with history.

Fredrik Logevall is John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and Professor of History at Cornell, where he serves as director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. His recent published works include America’s Cold War: The Politics of Insecurity (with Campbell Craig; Belknap Press/Harvard UP, 2009); and A People and a Nation: A History of the United States, 9th ed. (with Mary Beth Norton et al; Cengage, 2011); and Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977 (co-edited, with Andrew Preston; Oxford UP, 2008). A former Leverhulme Professor at the University of Nottingham and Mellon Senior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, Logevall has also taught at Yale University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.