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Lyndon Johnson and Europe

Lyndon Johnson and Europe

In the Shadow of Vietnam

Thomas Alan Schwartz

ISBN 9780674010741

Publication date: 04/30/2003

Traditionally seen as a master of domestic politics, Lyndon Johnson is frequently portrayed as inept in foreign relations, consumed by the war in Vietnam, and unable to provide vision or leadership for the Western alliance. In this persuasive revisionist history, Thomas Alan Schwartz takes issue with many of the popular and scholarly assumptions about the president seen as the classic "ugly American."

In the first comprehensive study of Johnson's policy toward Europe--the most important theater of the Cold War--Schwartz shows a president who guided the United States with a policy that balanced the solidarity of the Western alliance with the need to stabilize the Cold War and reduce the nuclear danger. He faced the dilemmas of maintaining the cohesion of the alliance, especially with the French withdrawal from NATO, while trying to reduce tensions between eastern and western Europe, managing bitter conflicts over international monetary and trade policies, and prosecuting an escalating war in Southeast Asia.

Impressively researched and engagingly written, Lyndon Johnson and Europe shows a fascinating new side to this giant of twentieth-century American history and demonstrates that Johnson's diplomacy toward Europe deserves recognition as one of the most important achievements of his presidency.


  • An excellent revisionist account of Lyndon Johnson's European policy. Schwartz argues convincingly that LBJ was not the cornpone provincial who neither understood nor cared about other societies. He learned on the job and after concentrating on the domestic successes of 1965, paid careful attention to Europe. This work is the first of several that will begin to place Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam in their proper historical contexts. Clearly and concisely written, this is diplomatic history at its best.

    —Randall Woods, University of Arkansas


  • Thomas Alan Schwartz is Professor of History, Vanderbilt University.

Book Details

  • 352 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press