By Michael J. Allen
Fewer american citizens have been captured or lacking through the Vietnam struggle than in any significant army clash in U.S. heritage to that point. but regardless of their small numbers, American POWs encouraged an outpouring of outrage that slowly eroded aid for the warfare. Michael J. Allen unearths how wartime loss reworked U.S. politics good ahead of, and lengthy after, the war's respectable finish. during the war's final years and within the a long time in view that, Allen argues, the trouble to get better misplaced warriors used to be as a lot a way to set up accountability for his or her loss because it used to be a look for solutions approximately their destiny. notwithstanding thousands of usa citizens and Vietnamese took half in that attempt, POW and MIA households and activists ruled it. Insisting that the warfare used to be no longer over "until the final guy comes home," this small, decided crew became the unheard of accounting attempt opposed to these they blamed for his or her affliction. Allen demonstrates that POW/MIA activism lengthy the hostility among the U.S. and Vietnam whilst the quest for the lacking turned the root for nearer ties among the 2 international locations within the Nineteen Nineties. both very important, he explains, POW/MIA households' disdain for the antiwar left and contempt for federal authority fueled the conservative ascendancy after 1968. blending political, cultural, and diplomatic historical past, until eventually the final guy Comes domestic offers the complete and lasting effect of the Vietnam conflict in ways in which are either commonly used and amazing.
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Extra info for Until the Last Man Comes Home: POWs, MIAs, and the Unending Vietnam War
83 The transcript of one such meeting indicates how novel the idea of organizing was for some families. When Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge told them that “to maintain this organization the way you are doing is very good,” a confused audience member objected, “This group doesn’t have an organization. ” Joseph Lelyveld’s 1971 assessment for the New York Times Magazine came closer to the truth. “The Administration did not start—and probably could not have prevented—the campaign by the wives to bring the plight of their husbands into the open.
When proponents of the war tried to equate the two, they faced stiff opposition. On the day before Thanksgiving, Dellinger and Davis produced a list of fifty-nine American POW s in North Vietnam supplied to them by the DRV delegation to the Paris talks. 131 Communist officials did not back down. S. 133 To show their readiness to return the prisoners when peace prevailed, the DRV provided prisoner mail to Cora Weiss of Women Strike for Peace, who was then in Hanoi. Weiss returned on Christmas Eve 1969 carrying the names and letters of 132 American captives.
S. withdrawal. Nixon’s intervention muddied this message, but it did not unite Americans behind his policies. To the contrary, it generated mounting pressure to trade withdrawal for the prisoners’ return. That pressure did not end the war, but it frustrated Nixon’s ambitions and revealed deep disillusionment with the war among its presumed supporters. Overemphasizing Nixon’s role, scholars have confused support for POW s with support for Nixon, just as he hoped when he seized on the POW issue. Such a view flies in the face of evidence that concern over American captives intensified as support for the war declined.