National Security adviser McGeorge Bundy claimed in Foreign Affairs (January 1967) that the bombing of the North was “the most accurate and restrained in modern warfare.” Eyewitnesses, however, pointed to the bombing of hospitals, schools, Buddhist pagodas, agricultural cooperatives, administrative buildings, fishing boats, dikes, and a leper colony and sanitarium, resulting in the death of an estimated 52,000 to 180,000 civilians. Nam Dinh, Vietnam’s third largest city in North Vietnam, was “made to resemble the city of a vanished civilization,” according to New York Times reporter Harrison Salisbury, despite being a center for silk and textile production, not war-related production. In Vinh (population 72,000), the destruction was akin to the German city of Dresden in World War II. This included nearly all homes, thirty-one schools, the university, four hospitals, the main bookstore and cinema, two churches, an historic 18th century Buddhist pagoda that served as the cultural center of the city, a museum of the revolution, and the 19th century imperial citadel.
The general consensus among American historians is that the American War in Vietnam was a “mistake,” although interpretations differ as to what exactly this means. This essay takes the view that the ‘mistake” was a product of U.S. global ambitions and misperceptions that developed in the aftermath of World War II and were compounded over time. It probes deeply into the origins and nature of the war, making it a long article for a website (about 70,000 words), with about one-third devoted to the antiwar movement at home (Part IV). A half-century of excellent scholarship on the Vietnam War is drawn together and frequently cited in this essay.
Hammer, Langdon. "A representative sample of English poetry of World War One is surveyed. War rhetoric and propaganda are examined and challenged in Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Strange Meeting.' The relationship between home front and battle front is explored in Thomas Hardy's 'Channel Firing,' 'In the Time of 'the Breaking of Nations,'' and 'I Looked up From My Writing'; Edward Thomas's 'Adlestrop'; and Siegfried Sassoon's ''Blighters.'' Isaac Rosenberg's 'Louse Hunting' is discussed as a poem of ordinary experience in the trenches." [1 lecture]. Audio, video, and transcript from Professor Hammer's class at Yale, ENGL 310: Modern Poetry, Spring, 2007.
World War I was a transformative moment in African-American history. What began as a seemingly distant European conflict soon became an event with revolutionary implications for the social, economic, and political future of black people. The war directly impacted all African Americans, male and female, northerner and southerner, soldier and civilian. Migration, military service, racial violence, and political protest combined to make the war years one of the most dynamic periods of the African-American experience. Black people contested the boundaries of American democracy, demanded their rights as American citizens, and asserted their very humanity in ways both subtle and dramatic. Recognizing the significance of World War I is essential to developing a full understanding of modern African-American history and the struggle for black freedom.
This modern equipment, in plenty, was used by the German military in World War 2, and in the invasion of France, two German armor divisions were using solely Czech tanks, and the Czech military industry was producing plenty more for Hitler's army.
Making the carnage of World War I still more inexcusable was the fact that the Britishhad a full-scale dress rehearsal 15 years earlier. When diamonds were discovered in thethen-independent Dutch-speaking Transvaal, South Africa, the British simply moved in tooccupy the region. They expected no problems; they were not facing professional soldiers,but farmers. But they overlooked a few small details. These farmers were used to fighting,having fought several wars with local Africans. They knew the terrain intimately (likeAmerican frontiersmen, they faced adversaries who used terrain instinctively). And theywere armed with the most modern repeating rifles. The British suffered a series ofhumiliating defeats resulting from incompetence (like failing to secure a key railroad)and arrogance (failing to post guards). They finally won the war, but it took four yearsand 22,000 casualties to do it. The Boer War was the first battle experience as ajournalist for young Winston Churchill. (He previously served in the Sudan, where he observed "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.")
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After the first world war, modern philosophy looked farther into that question by stating that, all humans were bad and evil and that there could not be a God because no God would allow such violence to occur....