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Christian Appy - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Christian Appy

Professor of History and Director of the Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Christian Appy has written three books on the Vietnam War and heads the Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy

Expertise (6)

The Vietnam War


Daniel Ellsberg

U.S. Foreign Policy

20th and 21st Century U.S. History

Nuclear Weapons


Christian Appy is the author of three books about the Vietnam War and leads the The Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy at UMass Amherst, which promotes public understanding, scholarship and activism in support of compelling, realistic, democratic, and sustainable alternatives to militarism, authoritarianism, and environmental degradation. The Initiative was established in honor of American's most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg.

Appy is s now writing an Ellsberg biography with the working title "Ellsberg’s Mutiny: War and Resistance in the Age of Vietnam, The Pentagon Papers, and Nuclear Terror."

He has received the UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Medal, the Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award.

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The Vietnam War and American Veterans (Christian Appy) Christian G. Appy - Why the Vietnam War Still Matters Ordinary People Do Extraordinary Things


Education (2)

Harvard University: Ph.D., History of American Civilization

Amherst College: B.A., American Studies

Select Media Coverage (6)

Ordinary People do Extraordinary Things

VTV4  online


Chris Appy, professor of history and director of the Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy at UMass Amherst, is interviewed about the 49th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. “The American War in Vietnam created a kind of national identity crisis. Never before in our history had so many Americans questioned the use of American military force overseas,” he says.

Chris Appy

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Dr. Ira Helfand & UMass. Prof Chris Appy (Ellsberg Initiative Dir): Back from the Brink

WHMP  radio


Christian Appy, professor of history and director of the Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy at UMass Amherst, and Ira Helfand, the initiative’s inaugural activist-in-residence, discuss a week of training in anti-nuclear activism, which runs through March 1. “We’re really excited to actually talk to students about things they might concretely do to address this really existential threat of nuclear weapons,” Appy says.

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Daniel Ellsberg Is Dying. And He Has Some Final Things to Say.

Politico  online


Christian Appy comments in a story about Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower whose papers were acquired by UMass Amherst in 2019. Ellsberg, in poor health at age 92, is reflecting on his possible legacy, and Appy is currently working on a book about him.

daniel ellsberg

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Christian Appy on Protest in 1969

The Nation  online


The largest anti-war demonstrations in American history were the protests in the fall of 1969—with more than two million people in the streets demanding, “End the war in Vietnam!” But did those demonstrations help end the war? Historian Chris Appy comments on the new documentary, The Movement and the “Madman”, out on PBS’s American Experience on March 28.

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Daniel Ellsberg, Christian Appy: Peace, Democracy And UMass

06880  online


Appy — one of America’s foremost Vietnam scholars — is an apt choice to oversee the institute named for one the most historic figures from the Vietnam era.

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A famous light on secrets: UMass examines legacy of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Daily Hampshire Gazette  print


Christian Appy, a UMass history professor who has led that seminar and is also a principal organizer of the conference, says the class — the only one in the UMass History Department this year that’s taken place in person — has also given students the opportunity to look at the ethical questions surrounding whistleblowing

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Select Publications (3)

‘Courage is contagious’: Daniel Ellsberg’s decision to release the Pentagon Papers didn’t happen in a vacuum

The Conversation

Christian Appy


In 1971, when Daniel Ellsberg arrived at a federal court in Boston, a journalist asked if he was concerned about the prospect of going to prison for leaking a 7,000-page top-secret history of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg responded with a question of his own: “Wouldn’t you go to prison to help end this war?”

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Abandoning Afghans from the Start

Boston Review

Christian G. Appy


"Some said the military should have stayed to finish creating a state that could defend itself. Others advocated redeploying troops to forestall defeat or defend a few cities. Some claimed that twenty years of war had created enough hope and opportunity—especially for Afghan girls and women—to justify indefinite continuation."

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Opinion | What Was the Vietnam War About?

The New York Times

Christian Appy


Was America’s war in Vietnam a noble struggle against Communist aggression, a tragic intervention in a civil conflict, or an imperialist counterrevolution to crush a movement of national liberation? Those competing interpretations ignited fiery debates in the 1960s and remain unresolved today.

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