By Robert R. Tomes
Prior to the Vietnam struggle, American highbrow existence rested conveniently on shared assumptions and infrequently universal beliefs. Intellectuals mostly supported the social and fiscal reforms of the Thirties, the conflict opposed to Hitler's Germany, and U.S. behavior throughout the chilly battle. by way of the early Sixties, a liberal highbrow consensus existed.
The warfare in Southeast Asia shattered this fragile coalition, which rapidly dissolved into various camps, each one of which wondered American associations, values, and beliefs. Robert R. Tomes sheds new gentle at the death of chilly battle liberalism and the improvement of the hot Left, and the regular development of a conservatism that used Vietnam, and anti-war sentiment, as a rallying aspect. Importantly, Tomes offers new proof that neoconservatism retreated from internationalism due principally to Vietnam, in simple terms to regroup later with considerably reduced targets and expectations.
Covering colossal archival terrain, Apocalypse Then stands because the definitive account of the influence of the Vietnam conflict on American highbrow lifestyles.
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Extra info for Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975
However, by the end of the decade, several notable thinkers such as C. Wright Mills, William A. Williams, Paul Goodman, and Herbert Marcuse appeared to be forging the way to a new brand of American radicalism. American involvement in the Vietnamese conﬂict was both perceived and evaluated from this complex intellectual framework as the events of the 1950s unfolded. At ﬁrst, the American liberal intellectual outlook colored the American response to events in Vietnam. Two decades later, the nature of that outlook changed dramatically—also in response to what happened in Vietnam.
Liberalism rationalized and perpetuated the standing economic and political order, while the radical right, with its often irrational and paranoiac tendencies, could achieve only limited popular support. Prior to the Southeast Asian crisis, Studies on the Left called on prospective radical intellectuals to “consciously develop an ideology with man and his social needs at the center . . ”52 The Vietnam War later provided the left with an inexhaustible whipping post, and a tangible symbol of liberal ideas gone haywire.
Although it quickly became the powerhouse of the intel- A Long Time in the Comin’ | 23 lectual right, as late as 1962 the journal still had only reached a circulation of 20,000 per issue, despite the fact that Buckley’s eclectic format and personal skill had managed to enlist contributions from virtually all of the well-known conservative intellectuals in the country at the time. Rightwing philanthropic sources also provided lucrative ﬁnancial support to keep the magazine going. As a dissident minority group well outside the mainstream of the country’s intellectual life, conservatives were quite self-conscious, seeming to realize their lack of continuity with the American past and its traditions.