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American Experience; Nixon; Michael Mansfield speech, 1971

Part of The Vietnam Collection.


Mike Mansfield speech at Boston College commencement. Mansfield in academic robes and mortar board, after receiving honorary degree. _-_ 1. Cut story, "What is needed... is a redoubled effort to terminate the military involvement...My hope that the President...would immediate cease fire in Indochina on the basis of...phased United States withdrawals in return for phased releases of United States prisoners of war..."(63', sound on film) _-_ 2. "Whatever may have led us into the conflict in Southeast Asia...clear now that it hit us where it hurts most, in the nation's inner unity... In the end, the restoration of the nation's unity may come only in the common revulsion with the war." (32', sound on film) _-_ 3. "We know now what we did not know at the outset. The involvement... does not serve the interests of this nation, or the interests of the Vietnamese people. That is the bitter reality of this frustrating experience. (Camera cut, flash.)… It is pointless to try to point the finger of responsibility on one president or another, on one party or the other, on the Defense Dept., the State Dept, or some other. We are all involved, and there is no evading a national responsibility... Democrats... Republicans...There are many today who are disenchanted with the conflict. There were very few at the outset...Indeed, who did not support or acquiesce in it? (Camera cut)...We went into Vietnam...on the wheels of the same policy and for many of the same reasons we had gone into Korea...with far less understanding of the actual situation in Indochina, unmindful of the change in this nation, in Asia, in the world. Vietnam was a mistake, a tragic mistake...the need is to terminate the mistake, not to prolong it." (130', sound on film) _-_ 4. Silent, cutaways, students seated, jeans, sneakers, robe. Rear shot, graduates seated outdoors. Side view, Mansfield at podium. More, students listening. (56', silent. Last shots are a bit light)

License Clip
American Experience
Program Number



Michael Mansfield speech, 1971

Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

In this three-hour presentation, Richard Nixon's life and political career are reassessed primarily by those who knew him best. The program chronicles his life from boyhood in Yorba Linda, California, through his days as a young Congressman to his presidency where he astounded the nation with his foreign policy initiatives and then left office in disgrace.



Asset Type

Stock footage

Media Type


Mansfield, Mike, 1903-2001
United States--History--1945-
United States--Foreign relations--1945-1989
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Prisoners and prisons, American
United States. Congress. Senate
Military policy
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
Prisoners of war
Boston College
United States. Congress
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--History, Military--20th century
Escalation (Military science)
Vietnam (Republic)
Vietnam (Democratic Republic)
Boston (Mass.)
Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam (1973)
Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
Paris (France)
United States--Foreign relations--Asia
Boston College
Legislators--United States
Democratic Party (U.S.)
Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts
Mansfield, Mike, 1903-2001 (Speaker)
Publication Information
ABC News VideoSource
Rights Summary

Footage courtesy of ABC News Rights Holder: ABC News VideoSource (

Chicago: “American Experience; Nixon; Michael Mansfield speech, 1971,” 06/01/1971, GBH Archives, accessed December 6, 2021,
MLA: “American Experience; Nixon; Michael Mansfield speech, 1971.” 06/01/1971. GBH Archives. Web. December 6, 2021. <>.
APA: American Experience; Nixon; Michael Mansfield speech, 1971. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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