by Alexander Vazansky
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019. Pp. xxii, 328.
Notes, biblio., index. $60.00. ISBN: 1496215192
The Disintegration of an Army
More than one historian of the Vietnam Era has pointed out that while the United States was engaged in a controversial war against the “Red Menace” in Southeast Asia, it was practicing unilateral disarmament on the main front against the Soviet threat, Germany, as the Seventh Army was reduced to a fraction of its proper strength and starved of equipment. More importantly, as Prof. Varzansky (Nebraska-Lincoln) reminds us, that the Seventh Army developed major morale and discipline problems, mirroring social, political, anti-war, and racial tensions back home that further eroded its capabilities as a combat force. Varzansky divides his study into three parts.
In the first part, certainly the most important, Varzansky addresses how racial tensions back home, including the “Black Power” movement, affected the army, as African American soldiers sought to establish their ethnic identity, resulting in violent clashes between whites and blacks, and instances of serious – often termed ‘mutinous’ -- disorder. Belated efforts by senior commanders to address legitimate grievances, proved inadequate, whether from bigotry or cluelessness,
The second part looks at anti-war and anti-military sentiment in the ranks, also some what related to racial issues and also to war resistance and opposition to the draft at home, and the third looks at the Army’s increasingly serious drug problem, a reflection of the spike in drug abuse nation-wide.
An Army in Crisis is an important read for those interested in the Cold War, the Vietnam era, or the American soldier.
Note: An Army in Crisis is also available in several e-editions.
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