Focusing primarily on politics and foreign policy, America at War since 1945 analyzes America's involvement in its several wars since the end of World War II. The main questions asked are: How did the U.S. become involved in these wars? How were the wars conducted? And how did the U.S. get out of these wars?
In Korea and Vietnam, the US fought to show the world that it would stand up to the evils of communismthat it could be counted on (with money, advisors, or even a major military effort if necessary) to halt the advance of communism. But in both wars, the US showed itself to be militarily vulnerable. In its wars against radical Islam since 9/11, the United States has made use of its military to protect its interests in the Middle East, particularly its oil interests, while trying to spread its ideas of democracy, constitutionalism, and the rule of law. The lessons are clear: America's values often do not translate into the less-developed world.
In 2016, as the debate over ISIS intensifies, America at War since 1945 reminds us that the history of US postwar military conflict has seldom been marked by clearly defined goals and outcomes.
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About the Author
Gary A. Donaldson is the Keller Family Foundation Chair in American History at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. He is the author of numerous books on American political and diplomatic history including Liberalism’s Last Hurrah: The Presidential Campaign of 1964; The Secret Coalition: Ike, LBJ, and the Search for a Middle Way in the 1950s; The Making of Modern America; The First Modern Campaign: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960; and Truman Defeats Dewey.
Table of Contents
Part I Korea 5
1 Origins and Involvement 7
2 Across the Parallel and into Stalemate 29
3 Changing Objectives and the Accordion War 51
4 Fighting While Negotiating 69
Part II Vietnam 89
5 Postwar Politics, Foreign Policy, and the French Interlude 91
6 The Long Road to Intervention: Vietnam Policy under Eisenhower and Kennedy 111
7 The Legacy Passes to Johnson 127
8 Johnson's Fall and Nixon's Rise 149
9 The Last Act 171
Part III America in the Middle East 181
10 The First Gulf War: Background for Conflict 183
11 "The Liberation of Kuwait Has Begun" 201
12 Desert Storm: The Air War 221
13 Desert Storm: The Ground War and the Triumph of Lessons Learned 231
14 Afghanistan and Iraq, Post 9/11 251
About the Author 299