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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 84–103 | Cite as

‘Fantastic and absurd utterances’: the Vietnam War and misperceptions of anti-Americanism in US–French relations, 1966–1967

  • Douglas J. SnyderEmail author
Article

Abstract

This study examines the extent to which policy-makers in the Lyndon Johnson administration relied upon the trope of anti-Americanism to discredit the strong criticism of the Vietnam War that French president Charles de Gaulle delivered in a speech in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in September 1966. It seeks to demonstrate that those in power suffered from what US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara later acknowledged was a ‘failure of imagination’ towards de Gaulle’s suggestions about the war. Instead, the Johnson team wrongly attributed his critique to an anti-American agenda that they believed stemmed from his tight control over foreign policy, his purported disconnect from the wishes of the French people and his supposed bitterness over both France’s experience in the Second World War and, especially, the end of the French empire in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

Keywords

Franco–American relations Vietnam War anti-Americanism Charles de Gaulle Lyndon Johnson administration 

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Notes

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© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

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