Click here for a timeline of robert mcnamaras legacy. The pentagon papers is the widely used name for a top secret history of us involvement in vietnam from 1945 to 1967, commissioned by robert mcnamara. This memoir reveals a decent, loyal, and able man who struggled to remain loyal to the president and yet to get the united states out of vietnam. Mcnamara, secretary of defense from 1961 to 1967 under both presidents kennedy and johnson, has remained silent about u. Biography of robert mcnamara, vietnam war architect. The cover of the book is a slickly contemporary minimalist design. Mcnamara, once a champion of the escalation of the vietnam war, says in a memoir to be published in the coming week that he has now concluded that the united states could and should. Mcnamara personified the american commitment in vietnam. Robert strange mcnamara june 9, 1916 july 6, 2009 was an american business executive and former united states secretary of defense. The world bank and international development, patrick allan scharma attends to the lesserstudied final act of mcnamara s political career his role as leader of the world bank. Mcnamara was an american business executive and the eighth u.
These extraordinary cautions raised by three of our prime movers of vietnam policy, maxwell taylor, robert mcnamara, and mcgeorge bundy, illustrate the gulf that existed between their inner doubtsas far back as january 1965and the outer confidence they continued to voice for over two years more. Under pressure to win the war before withdrawal, johnson asked mcnamara to step down in 1967. Robert strange mcnamara june 9, 1916 july 6, 2009 was an american business executive and the eighth united states secretary of defense, serving from 1961 to 1968 under presidents john f. The wrong kind of loyalty mcnamaras apology for vietnam. This new edition features a new foreword by mcnamara. Even during the most difficult days of the vietnam warwhich would. Jul 06, 2009 former defense secretary robert mcnamara died monday. The film was directed by errol morris and features an original score by philip glass. Mcnamara was the preeminent policymaker behind the massive buildup of american forces in vietnam between 1964 and 1968. One of the main aims of mcnamaras book is to explore how the exceptionally selected. This book should really be read in conjunction with robert macnamaras in retrospect, which i thought was a fairly honest account of macnamara trying to come to terms with the.
He is best known for helping lead the united states into the vietnam war. He spent his later years as an elder statesman, apologizing for an escalation of the conflict that became known as mcnamara s war. Mcnamara, and thus inevitably called mcnamaras 100,000, the project was a way to meet the manpower demands of an escalating war. Mcnamara, and more will be written now that he is gone.
How robert mcnamara came to regret the war he escalated. At the third national congress of the lao dong communist party in hanoi, september 1960, north vietnam s belligerency was made explicit. Mcnam ara was responsible for the institution of systems analysis in public p olicy. Halberstam correctly concludes that mcnamara s greatest sin occurred when. Former defense secretary robert mcnamara died monday. Washington, april 9 former defense secretary robert mcnamara, who argued successfully to escalate american involvement in the vietnam war, now says in a new book that both the kennedy and.
The tragedy and lessons of vietnam, published by times books. In a 1995 interview with terry gross, mcnamara reflects on vietnam and admits his serious doubts about us policy and the decisionmaking that. Mcnamara writes vietnam mea culpa the washington post. The book has a washington focus rather than an onthefield vietnam focus. He was the cando man in the cando society in the cando era, david halberstam wrote in the best and the brightest, and during the kennedy and early johnson years, he managed americas expanding involvement almost as if he were a desk. Robert mcnamara, redemption denied foreign affairs. His policies changed the way that the military operated and also shaped the strategy of the vietnam war. The papers were leaked to the new york times and published on the papers front page in 1971, precipitating a major first amendment case when the government tried to suppress publication of the. Andrew gawthorpe institute for history johan huizinga, leiden university, leiden, netherlands correspondence a. The definitive insiders account of american policy making in vietnam. Mcmaster analyses the decisions and perspectives of the kennedy and johnson administrations through to 1966, by which time american troops were fully engaged in vietnam.
During the vietnam war, mcnamara s morons as they were called, were barely literate, or could not read or write, or did not speak english. He traveled to vietnam many times to study the situation firsthand. Mcnamara, secretary of defense, 26 march 1964, department of state bulletin, april 1964, p. A selfconfessed stats guy examines the consequences of robert mcnamara s use of performance metrics to support policy decisions. The life and times of robert mcnamara, the former secretary of defense emerges as a man who, despite decades of public service, is unable to out the damned spot of vietnam. His newest book, forthcoming in january 2014, is left brain, right stuff. Mcnamara, and thus inevitably called mcnamara s 100,000, the project was a way to meet the manpower demands of an escalating war. Even in retrospect, he does not associate the drift into war in vietnam with. The book deals with his life and career as a public servant, focusing on his role as the secretary of defense from 1961 to 1968 during the johnson and kennedy administrations. But toward the end of his life, former defense secretary robert mcnamara issued a string of candid mea culpas for misjudgments about vietnam that were made during his 196168 tenure at the pentagon, especially his delay in acting on growing doubts that the war could be won. Kennedy administration of 19611963, robert mcnamara had important influence on the early escalation in. Robert mcnamaras vietnam war policy, 19601968 cambridge studies in us. Mcnamaras controversial book tells the inside and personal. This is what robert mcnamara does in this brave, honest, honorable, and altogether compelling book.
This book filled in some of the blanks about the mismanagement of the vietnam war not found in previous readings. Robert mcnamara believes that american leaders acted out of honorable principles, as he argued in his 1995 book, in retrospect. At various times in its history, the us military has recruited people who measured below specific mental and medical standards. Nov 29, 2016 smart news keeping you current how robert mcnamara came to regret the war he escalated the architect of the vietnam war never formally apologized, but struggled with its consequences for the. Robert mcnamara was an american business executive and the eighth u. Mcnamaras book on the vietnam was should have mentioned that excerpts appear in this weeks issue of newsweek. High government leaders arent generally known for flaunting their errors. Mcnamara s controversial book tells the inside and personal story of. In the book, he identified eleven reasons for the outcome in vietnam and six stages at which the u. Although he loyally supported administration policy, mcnamara gradually became skeptical about whether the war could be won by deploying more troops to south vietnam and intensifying the bombing of north vietnam. Department of defense in the 1960s and the chief architect and most vocal defender of the vietnam war. Mcnamaras controversial book tells the inside and personal story of. The world bank and international development, patrick allan scharma attends to the lesserstudied final act of mcnamaras political career his role as leader of the world bank. It will first take a brief look at this book s purpose, main ideas and aims, together with some relevant background and evaluation.
Mcnamaras controversial book tells the inside and personal story of americas descent into vietnam from a unique point of view, and is one of the most enlightening books about government ever written. Mcnamara at long last offers the public a glimpse of his. Mcnamaras book reminds us that they even repeated the litany in memos to their presidents, to inoculate them against any temptation to retreat from vietnam. Robert mcnamara 1916 during the late 60s, many americans change their opinion of the vietnam war, gradually becoming opposed to the policies they once supported. Even more than mcnamara, draper misrepresents how we went to war with north vietnam. He is best known for helping lead the united states into the vietnam war during the kennedy administration, an act for which he spent the remainder. I have read extensively about this war with most finding fault with why it was undertaken and a few finding it a necessary war. Mcnamaras controversial book tells the inside and personal story of americas descent into. Written twenty years after the end of the vietnam war, former secretary of defense robert mcnamaras controversial memoir answers the lingering questions that surround this disastrous episode in american history. Mcnamara has 22 books on goodreads with 5502 ratings. North vietnam, a claim he would publish in a book years later.
The book deals with his life and career as a the book. Mcnamara no longer believed in the vietnam war came not from anything he said publicly, but. As much as any other individual, secretary of defense robert s. At the third national congress of the lao dong communist party in hanoi, september 1960, north vietnams belligerency was made explicit. Defense book takes a deeper look at robert mcnamara the. This thoroughly researched book offers a detailed and memorable account of both mcnamara and this vital moment in the history of global economic development, yet. Mcnamara later published a number of books, including his memoir entitled in retrospect, in which he reflects on american foreign policy mistakes in vietnam. On robert mcnamara plenty of words have already been written about former secretary of defense robert s. Smart news keeping you current how robert mcnamara came to regret the war he escalated the architect of the vietnam war never formally apologized, but struggled with its consequences for the. Mcnamaras morons vietnam was war for profit, american.
Robert mcnamara s laudable goal, to put the past behind us, will only be achieved by understanding history, not by rewriting it. Washington, april 9 former defense secretary robert mcnamara, who argued successfully to escalate american involvement in the vietnam war, now says in a new book. Unwilling to fill the ranks through politically risky policies such as drafting college students or deploying large numbers of national guard and reserve personnel to vietnam. The tragedy and lessons of vietnam gives a unique inside perspective at the thought process behind the policy regarding the united states decision to escalate the vietnam war from the perspective of robert mcnamara, secretary of defense for both the kennedy and johnson administrations.
Robert mcnamara and the ghosts of vietnam the new york times. Written twenty years after the end of the vietnam war, former secretary of defense robert mcnamara s controversial memoir answers the lingering questions that surround this disastrous episode in american history. Mcnamara points to vietnam map, shows machine gun, shows photo of destroyed bridges, speaks that more north vietnamese regular troops being sent into south, communists have lost 89,000 in last 4 years partial newsreel. Mcnamara, clifford, and the burdens of vietnam, 19651969 by edward j drea illusions of choice.
By thomas miller, president, national research center, inc. The tragedy and lessons of vietnam university of california television. After being an executive at ford motor company, mcnamara served as defense secretary from 1961 to 1968, during the vietnam war under presidents john f. The world bank and international development by patrick allan scharma share this. Mcnamara illustrating his observations of the nature of modern warfare. Robert strange mcnamara, one of the most recognizable and controversial figures of the vietnam war, served as the secretary of defense under both john f. On 8 march 1964, mcnamara visited south vietnam to report. Aug 10, 1997 robert mcnamara believes that american leaders acted out of honorable principles, as he argued in his 1995 book, in retrospect. The disgusting and shameful project 100,000 of robert mcnamaras invention clearly shows just how little the us leadership cared about the successful conduct of the war, they knew sending lowiq moron into battle was sheer folly, that they would simply be slaughtered, but no matter, better to have our morons slaughtered than lose some. Unwilling to fill the ranks through politically risky policies such as drafting college students or deploying large numbers of. The passing decades have dimmed mcnamaras recall of specifics, and so like other historians of the war, he is dependent for his account of events on the pentagon.
Former defense secretary robert mcnamara offers a mea culpa in 1995 for the united states actions in the vietnam war. Thoughts engendered by robert mcnamaras in retrospect. Robert strang e mcnamara june 9, 1916 july 6, 2009 was an american business executive and the eighth united states secretary of defense, serving from 1961 to 1968 under presidents john f. Mcnamara, in full robert strange mcnamara, born june 9, 1916, san francisco, california, u. From the time the young california native left a teaching position at harvard business school to join the army air corps during the second world war, mcnamara has been a tireless improver and rationalizer of military and industrial institutions, even of the world. Mcnamara is a 2003 american documentary film about the life and times of former u.21 866 1494 352 724 538 581 1180 847 507 1360 1189 1125 218 1253 1020 918 1009 608 994 503 561 1360 175 268 733 555 1490 674 1193 1374 826 1516 463 188 434 995 735 1008 1113 45 638 1234 250