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Historian to discuss Vietnam War’s long shadow, Feb. 2

More than 40 years after the end of American involvement in the Vietnam War, the conflict still resonates in U.S. politics, culture and foreign policy.

How the nation contends with and learns from that legacy will be the subject of an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecture at Creighton University. Christian Appy, PhD, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and author of three books on the Vietnam War and its reverberations, will deliver the lecture, “Why the Vietnam War Still Matters,” Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. in Room G04 of the Hixson-Lied Science Building on the Creighton campus.

In his 2015 book, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity, Appy writes about how the war continues to divide and shape American policy at home and abroad, especially in the lens of more recent conflicts in the Middle East. Questions on America’s use of military force still bump up against the weight of even the word, “Vietnam.”

“The Vietnam War still matters because the crucial questions it raised remain with us today: Should we continue to seek global military superiority? Can we use our power justly? Can we successfully intervene in distant lands to crush insurgencies (or support them), establish order, and promote democracy?” Appy writes in American Reckoning. “Is it possible for American citizens… to change our nation’s foreign policy or is it permanently controlled by an imperial presidency and an unaccountable military-industrial complex?”

The Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecture is free and open to the public. The lecture is sponsored by the Henry W. Casper, SJ, Professorship in History at Creighton.

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