University of Vermont

Center for Research on Vermont

'Let's Declare Victory and Get Out!': Vermont Senator George D. Aiken and the Vietnam War

Annual Sam B. Hand Lecture       

“'Let's Declare Victory and Get Out!': Vermont Senator George D. Aiken and the Vietnam War."

Mark Stoler, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Vermont

Link to Talk on RETN

Memorial Lounge, Waterman Building, University of Vermont

The war in Vietnam, which lasted at least 25 years, had a huge impact on the psyche of the nation and has informed approaches to foreign policy ever since. This fall, Vermont PBS will be airing a 10-part series produced by Ken Burns on the Vietnam war and its on-going repercussions. Vermont’s Senator George Aiken was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee during 21 of these critical years and is famous for saying: “'Let's Declare Victory and Get Out!.” But did he say that? What was Senator Aiken’s role in ending or prolonging the war? What does our longest war (yes longer than Afghanistan) say about events today?

Sponsored by the Vermont Historical Society and the Department of History at UVM with support from Arthur & Cindy Miller, ’75.

About Mark Stoler

Dr. Mark A. Stoler, who holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin, is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Vermont, where he taught from 1970-2007, and editor of the George C. Marshall Papers. An expert in World War II and the origins of the Cold War as well as U.S. diplomatic and military history in general,  Professor Stoler has also held teaching positions at Williams College, Washington and Lee University, the United States Military Academy, the Army Military History Institute, the Naval War College, and-as a Fulbright Professor-the University of Haifa, Israel. He is the recipient of the University of Vermont's Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award, and the University Scholar Award, as well as the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Lecture Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Teaching. Professor Stoler also has been honored as an author when his Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U.S. Strategy in World War II received the Society for Military History's Distinguished Book Award for 2002. The book is one of several he has written, edited or co-written, including Allies in War: Britain and America Against the Axis Powers, 1940-1945; Debating Franklin D. Roosevelt's Foreign Policies, 1933-1945; Major Problems in the History of World War IIGeorge C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century; The Politics of the Second Front: American Military Planning and Diplomacy in Coalition Warfare, 1941-1943; and The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vols. 6 and 7.

PBS Vietnam Series: THE VIETNAM WAR, a new 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, which will premiere September 17. More information here

About Sam Hand

Samuel B. Hand, born in New York City on August 20, 1931, earned his BA from New York University, and after serving in Korea, a PhD from Syracuse University. After a short period of teaching in Pennsylvania at Slippery Rock State College, Sam and Harriet Hand navigated their way to the University of Vermont (UVM) in 1961. They settled into life in Burlington in the 1960s, raising three daughters and joining the local synagogue.

Hand started teaching European and American history courses but became increasingly interested in Vermont and eventually took the reins of a Vermont history class (from fellow historian H. Nicholas Muller III). As he turned to teaching about Vermont, his attention and scholarship shifted to learning more about his new home. For the next forty years he produced hundreds of articles and research projects on Vermont topics. 

By the time of his passing in 2012, Dr. Hand enjoyed the reputation as the foremost scholar of Vermont’s past. Among his many achievements, he co-founded the Center for Research on Vermont (1974), and he also played a critical role in the growth of the Vermont Historical Society, where he served as president.