In late 1966, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, growing concerned that the war in Vietnam was utterly unwinnable, first considered commissioning a study of the history of United States decision-making in Indochina. He then decided to proceed with the study by June of the next year. The Secretary claimed it would be an “encyclopedic history of the Vietnam War.” He thought that a written record of the key decisions that led to the United States involvement in Vietnam would be of great value to scholars. The study staff that was hired was given full access to Robert McNamara’s personal files, memoranda from the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, State Department records, and to specially requeste...
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...n complained to his former chief of staff H. R. Haldman: “The sonofabitching thief is made a national hero…The New York Times gets a Pulitzer Prize for stealing documents…They’re trying to get us with thieves” (The Pentagon Papers Trial, An Account, Background: The Pentagon Papers Study, pg. 11).
In conclusion, the "Pentagon Papers" had an incredible effect on American Society. Published during a period when support of the United States association in the Vietnam War was relentlessly declining, the Pentagon Papers affirmed numerous individuals ' suspicions about the active role that the United States government had taken in building up the conflict. In spite of the fact that the study did not cover the strategies of President Richard Nixon 's organization, the disclosures included inside of it were humiliating, especially as Nixon was up for reelection in 1972.
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