Logevall's Choosin War

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In the book Choosing War, author Fredrik Logevall's thesis is that the Vietnam War was not a necessary war and could have been averted. Logevall, while agreeing that the Vietnam War is a huge part of our nation's past that had a great impact on the world, believes that the Vietnam War should never have taken place. He starts off the book by explaining the events that led up to the beginning of the war. Logevall then discusses his belief that the war was a mistake, and finally claims that the war could have been averted.

When describing the events leading to the Vietnam War, Logevall (1999) refers to a time period he calls the Long 1964, which he dates from August 1963, to late February 1965. The author claims that this period “is the most important in the entire thirty-year American involvement in Vietnam”(p. Xiii). During this time, Logevall claims that Vietnam was a top priority topic that required day to day discussion. It is also in this time period that President Lyndon Johnson decided to “Americanize” the war, meaning America was going to take control of the fighting.

To answer the question of whether or not the war was necessary, or if the war was avoidable, Logevall says that you need to look at the war from a broad perspective. He believes that if you look at the war from an American perspective, you will always side with America's actions and justify it because you are only seeing America's side of the story and no one else's. He mentions how many people believed that an early exit from the war would cause America to lose its credibility. He also discusses how many people believe that the majority of America wanted to defend South Vietnam from Communism. Logevall also says that the Vietnam War could be seen as unavoidable because American leaders did not really have any freedom to make real choices on the matter. However, Logevall then puts all these theories to the test and begins to disprove them. He mentions how American leaders always did have...
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