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Vietnam and the Presidency by David Halberstam

Vietnam and the Presidency

Keynote Speaker

by David Halberstam


Title Details

Running Time
58 Min.


The Viet Nam War was the longest and most controversial war that the United States ever fought. It claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and over three million Vietnamese. From the arrival of the first US military advisors in the 1950s to the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, US involvement in Viet Nam was central to the Cold War foreign policies of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. The war has continued to affect the policies of subsequent presidents, and its legacy is particularly relevant today during America's war on terror.

'Viet Nam and the Presidency' is the first national conference sponsored by all the Presidential Libraries, from Hoover to Clinton, and the National Archives and Records Administration. Leading historians, key policymakers of the era, and journalists who covered the war examine the antecedents of the war, presidential decision-making, media coverage, public opinion, lessons learned and the influence of the Viet Nam experience on subsequent US foreign policy.

Among those participating in the historic two-day conference are General Alexander Haig; Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Special Counsel to President Kennedy Theodore Sorensen; Special Assistant to President Johnson Jack Valenti; Senator Chuck Hagel; New York Times columnist Bob Herbert; Ambassador Pete Peterson; former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark, professors George Herring, Robert D. Schulzinger, and Marilyn Young; journalists Steve Bell and Dan Rather; Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David Halberstam and Frances Fitzgerald; and historians David Kaiser, Jeffrey Kimball and Timothy Naftali. Former President Jimmy Carter speaks via video and NBC Nightly News anchorman Brian Williams moderates.

'It is our hope and expectation that this conference will reveal a wealth of new information on the history of the Viet Nam War and its impact on the office of the President,' says Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein. 'As keepers of the nation's official history, the National Archives and the Presidential Libraries are uniquely positioned to provide a forum for examining the effect of the war in Viet Nam on our nation and its citizens.'

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