University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

South Bend, October 20, 1968

The End of the Liberal Era

The well-known TV Commentator David Brinkley gave a lecture yesterday in South Bend on the present political and intellectual situation. Brinkley, who had called himself a liberal, stated that liberalism in America is about going bankrupt. For 35 years, since the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the liberal conviction and philosophy have dominated the country. But liberalism has worn out; in part it also betrayed itself. Liberalism is about to be replaced by a conservative attitude, as it is represented by Richard Nixon. As a “lame duck” President Johnson is just waiting to be relieved from the burden of his office. He has fulfilled his mission. In Brinkley’s view, the significance of Johnson may be seen in the following: He has tried in domestic policy to finish the social reforms that were still left to be done from the New Deal, and which in fact he has brought to a conclusion. Yet Johnson has failed in the area of foreign policy. The War in Vietnam has brought the Johnson Administration to the brink of disaster. It has been proven that an American president cannot carry on a war without being supported by a majority of the electorate.

South Bend, October 22, 1968

Space Flight - Apollo 7

The spacecraft Apollo 7 with three astronauts (Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham) on board has completed an eleven day flight around the earth with a precision that can hardly be surpassed. The Apollo 7 flight was the decisive test for getting into orbit around the moon, which is expected to take place in December. The tragic setback of the American space program, when the first manned Apollo space flight had ended in a fireball at countdown just about two years ago, has been overcome by the successful flight of Apollo 7.

[The famous words by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, “landing a man on the moon, before this decade is out and safely returning him to earth,” laid down the goal of the American space program. Out of that, the Apollo Program had emerged, which dominated the American space program in the 1960s. Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon before the decade was out was in fact realized on July 20, 1969.]

South Bend, October 27, 1968

10 Days Before the Election

The campaign for the presidential election has now entered its last stage. What only weeks ago may have looked like a burlesque show, has now become a deadly serious matter. The three candidates (Humphrey, Nixon, Wallace) are not exchanging favors with each other. Nevertheless, the campaign remains disciplined, there are no excesses. The rules of a democratic election are being observed. How decisive this election may be, the campaign is following the normal path of American politics.

South Bend, October 31, 1968

Cessation of the Bombardment in North Vietnam

This evening, President Johnson announced on national television a bombing halt, a cessation of air raids in North Vietnam. There is hope that the War may, even though with a compromise solution, be ended. It came as a surprise that this important announcement from the White House was made just an hour before the great rally of the Republicans with Nixon in Madison Square Garden in New York. This is just part of the maneuvering of the political power play in a presidential election year.

Lessons from the War in Vietnam

America has learned some painful lessons from the War in Vietnam, which has already lasted six years. In the future, the United States will engage in regional conflicts overseas with utmost restraint, and only if national interests are directly involved. American ground troops will only rarely be deployed in civil war like situations abroad. It will be firmly asked of those who need help that they should first try to help themselves. A certain return to isolationism will be unavoidable.

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