By Michael Stewart Foley
At the peak of the Vietnam warfare, millions of american citizens wrote relocating letters to Dr. Benjamin Spock, America’s pediatrician and a high-profile opponent of the conflict. own and heartfelt, considerate and risky, those missives from center the United States supply an exciting glimpse into the conflicts that happened over the dinner desk as humans wrestled with this divisive warfare and with their consciences.
Providing one of many first transparent perspectives of the house entrance through the struggle, Dear Dr. Spock collects the easiest of those letters and gives a window into the minds of standard americans. They wrote to Spock simply because he used to be customary, reliable, and arguable. His e-book Baby and baby Care was once at the cabinets of so much houses, moment in basic terms to the Bible within the variety of copies bought. beginning within the Sixties, his activism within the antinuclear and antiwar hobbies drew combined reactions from Americans—some questioned, a few supportive, a few indignant, and a few desperate.
Most of the letters come from what Richard Nixon referred to as the “silent majority”—white, middleclass, law-abiding electorate who the president idea supported the conflict to comprise Communism. in reality, the letters show a complexity of reasoning and feeling that strikes a long way past the opinion polls on the time. One mom of youngsters struggles to visualize how Vietnamese ladies may well undergo after their village used to be napalmed, whereas one other chastises Spock for the “dark shadow” he had solid at the state and pledges to instill love of nation in her sons.
What emerges is a portrait of articulate americans suffering mightily to appreciate govt rules in Vietnam and the way these regulations did or didn't replicate their very own experience of themselves and their country.
Read or Download Dear Dr. Spock: Letters about the Vietnam War to America's Favorite Baby Doctor PDF
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Extra resources for Dear Dr. Spock: Letters about the Vietnam War to America's Favorite Baby Doctor
J. 9. We all detest war and its monstrous results, but some wars have to be fought and won. Omaha, Nebraska November 30, 1965 Dear Sir: I realize that my action is about as effective as a fly on an elephant but perhaps if enough flies took aim it might make you realize that in all the years you have been writing books, columns, making speeches, etc, in my book the good has all been undone because of your present stand, politically. I for one have used your advise for the last time, how can a doctor, a well known and much respected authority for so long allow himself to become associated with such questionable personalities.
Gunfire in the Distance, 1965 27 III. Early Misgivings about the War If the writers of the preceding letters expressed more concern for containing communism or supporting American troops in the field, the following writers saw reasons for concern in Johnson’s Vietnam policies. Some expressed pacifist sentiments, urging peaceful resolutions of all conflicts, while others worried about war’s effect on children and the national character. Others took great pains to research the origins of American intervention in Vietnam and, on political and strategic grounds, question the wisdom of the White House’s policies.
I am terrified by the end result of the escalation of the war in Vietnam. It is obvious to me that our national leaders will use the ultimate weapon if it becomes necessary to win the war. They will even act to destroy the world in order to save our face. That shows the madness of the nationalism that is gripping our nation today. I fear that Americanism is becoming the same kind of demonism that German Nazism was 25 years ago. Obviously, the opposition cannot do much to halt the trend. It is just possible that the opposition may modify the madness and keep us from going beyond a semi-demonism.