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Allies at Odds examines America's Vietnam policy from 1961 to 1968 in an international context by focusing on the United States' relationship with its European partners France, West Germany, and Great Britain. The European response to America's Vietnam policy provides a framework to assess this important chapter in recent American history within the wider perspective of international relations. Equally significant, the respective approaches to the "Vietnam question" by the Europeans and Americans reveal the ongoing challenge for nation-states of transcending narrowly defined state-centered policies for a global perspective pursuant of common goals among the trans-Atlantic allies. Blang explores the failure of France, West Germany, and Great Britain to significantly influence American policy-making.
Eugenie M Blang —
Eugenie M. Blang is assistant professor of history at Hampton University.
Blang, Eugenie M. Allies at odds: America, Europe, and Vietnam, 1961-1968. Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. 274p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781442209220; ISBN 9781442209237 e-book. Reviewed in 2011dec CHOICE.
This well-organized, ably written book delivers what the title promises. Blang (Hampton Univ.) examines US relations with France, West Germany, and Britain during the Kennedy-Johnson escalation of the war in Vietnam. All three European powers saw folly and danger in the US's Southeast Asian war, but diplomatic opposition to US policy was more the product of self-interest than moral outrage or any other factors. The impact of European opposition to US war policy was greatly lessened by the failure to formulate a mutual response to US Vietnam policy due to conflicting state interests. Unsurprisingly, de Gaulle's France was most critical. West Germany's leaders were more circumspect, due to the Federal Republic's reliance on US support in the Cold War. Accordingly, LBJ was ruthless in pressing the Bonn government for greater support in Vietnam, even asking for German troops. British political leaders found US policy in Vietnam often inexplicable and tried to push the US toward a negotiated settlement. US relations with the European allies were less fractious once a military drawdown began in the late 1960s. An epilogue examines US relations with western European allies in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Iraq War.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Public libraries and undergraduate collections. -- B. T. Browne, Broward College