If We Knew Our History - Zinn Education Project Monthly Column
Presented by the Zinn Education Project
A Collaboration between Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change

Bill Bigelow Camouflaging the Vietnam War: How Textbooks Continue to Keep the Pentagon Papers a Secret  
By Bill Bigelow
Curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools, co-director of the Zinn Education Project

Pentagon Papers collage
In the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, Daniel Ellsberg, who secretly copied and then released the Pentagon Papers, offers a catalog of presidential lying about the U.S. role in Vietnam: Truman lied. Eisenhower lied. Kennedy lied. Johnson "lied and lied and lied." Nixon lied.
Ellsberg concludes: "The American public was lied to month by month by each of these five administrations. As I say, it's a tribute to the American public that their leaders perceived that they had to be lied to; it's no tribute to us that it was so easy to fool the public."   
In June of 1971, Ellsberg surrendered to federal authorities at Post Office Square in Boston. Forty-two years later, few of the historical secrets that Ellsberg revealed----especially those that focus on the immediate post-World War II origins of U.S. involvement in Vietnam----appear in the school curriculum. Read more.
"Camouflaging the Vietnam War: How Textbooks Continue to Keep the
Pentagon Papers a Secret" is the newest article in the Zinn Education Project's column
If We Knew Our History, posted on GOOD magazine and Common Dreams.
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Related resources at the Zinn Education Project website 
Most Dangerous Man in America Teaching Guide
By the Zinn Education Project. Eight lessons for use with the documentary film about Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers, the Vietnam War, and whistleblowing.
Teaching About the WarsTeaching About the Wars
A Rethinking Schools publication. A collection of articles and lessons for K-12 on U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
See more related resources
BU Speaks poster "BU Speaks" Raises Funds for the Zinn Education Project
Event organized by students and members of the Anti-War Coalition pays tribute to Howard Zinn

"Howard Zinn was a professor here, but in addition he was a huge activist and a huge inspiration to many of his students. He inspired them to protest against South African apartheid, to really not just be a cog in the machine, to really stand up and resist," Kristen Martin, the director of the Anti-War Coalition explained. "Many of us who've read his books and read about his presence here on campus also want to push forward that spirit of resistance he embodied... He actually has influenced me to become a high school teacher." Read more.

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