The Hostage Crisis By David Farber

1038 Words5 Pages
When a group of radical Islamic students stormed the U.S. embassy in Iran and took the Americans working there hostage during the fall of 1979, the nation reacted with shock and outrage that far outweighed the necessary emotion for the situation. As David Farber writes in his book Taken Hostage, “The Iranian imbroglio, in fact, affected the American people less directly than any of the others…it happened faraway, and caused little immediate pain to any but the hostages…Yet, as measured by public concern, emotional outpouring, and simple fascination, the Iran hostage crisis captivated the American people more than any other of the era’s difficulties (1).” Why were Americans so impassioned about the crisis if it didn’t really affect them?…show more content…
The Vietnam War birthed the majority of the problems that Americans faced during the decade, and was itself a product of America’s intense abhorrence of Communism coupled with the nation’s desire to impose its will on countries that it thought needed help. The war, simply put, was a disaster. Those who insist that America has never lost a war are putting too much faith in the fact that we didn’t technically surrender, instead choosing to abandon the war effort and leave the South Vietnamese to their fate. Their fate was the Communism that America went to war to prevent in the first place. Needless to say, the Vietnam War left a bad taste in the mouth of the American majority. “America’s failed war in Vietnam,” Farber writes, “had, obviously, done much to break the ideological spell of anti-communism (16).” The loss in Vietnam was humiliating; citizens who had grown used to America being a world superpower watched in abject horror as the U.S. was sent running home by a third world country. America’s sense of superiority vanished, and the “victory culture” that emerged due to World War II was “largely discredited (16).” A fear that was born out of the Vietnam War came to life during the hostage crisis—the United States was no longer a formidable opponent in the eyes of many nations. The Iranian hostage crisis was “an obvious symbol, an easily understood example of the nation’s inability to control its own fate,
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