Populo Summer 2021

This journal is published by students and staff in the Department of Political and Cultural Studies at Swansea University.

The journal is published online at https://projects.swan.ac.uk/populo/

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Chief Editor Rhian Davies American Studies Editors Bethany Civil American Studies Theodore Feyerherm Politics Megan Lazarevic Law and American Studies Isobel Muzzell American Studies and English Literature Owain Phillips History and Politics


Table of Contents

Editors’ Introduction..........................................................................................p.5 Gabriel Chalkley, “Critically discuss the view that poor leadership was the main reason for the defeat of German forces during Operation Overlord” (WS-306)..... ...........................................................................................................................p. 6 Peter Dixon, “What impact did the Watergate Scandal have in terms of undermining confidence in the American political system?” (AM-251).........p. 16 Amelie Higgins, “Do deliberative, sortition based Citizen Assemblies represent ‘a better way of doing democracy’ (as Renwick claims)? Explain and justify your answer” (PO-131)............................................................................................p. 23 Iwan Taylor-Evans, “Why was terrorism such a prevalent force in America between 1906 and 1920?” (AM-338)..............................................................p. 29 Sam Tucker, “Critically evaluate the evolving representation of the gun in Western narratives” (HUA301).......................................................................p. 39 Anna Ustinova, “Globalisation and global issues: what were the main causes of the 1930s economic depression and ‘de-globalisation’?” (PO-222)................p. 49 Elena Volz, “To what extent (if any) can the legacies of colonial rule in Rwanda be held responsible for the eruption of widespread genocidal atrocities in Rwanda in 1994?” (PO-256).........................................................................................p. 56


Editors’ Introduction

Populo has now entered its fourth year as an undergraduate journal presenting more first-class work from students in the Political and Cultural Studies Department at Swansea University despite the challenges of the pandemic. We received many high quality pieces of work and this volume includes an array of fascinating essays from courses in the American Studies, War and Society, Philosophy, and Politics and International Relations programmes. The editorial team consists of six students: Bethany Civil, Isobel Muzzell, Megan Lazarevic, Owain Phillips, Rhian Davies and Theodore Feyerherm. We are also extremely grateful for all the guidance and support from Anna Bortolan in completing this issue of the journal.


Critically discuss the view that poor leadership was the main reason for the defeat of German forces during Operation Overlord

Gabriel Chalkley - WS-306

Poor leadership was not the main reason for the defeat of German forces during Operation Overlord. Germany simply could not match the immensely superior manpower, materiel, and intelligence of the Allies for a significant chance of victory. An ample visualisation of this disparity can be illustrated with comparing the nearly 1,500,000 Allied troops in France to the 380,000 German troops in late July of 1944. 1 Germany was a shadow of its 1941 strength, with the Eastern and Italian Fronts haemorrhaging manpower and resources that the state could not sustain. Regardless of the respectable efforts of its Normandy divisions, the German state was fundamentally unable to wage a modern war to match the resources and materiel of the Allies. This essay proposes that while Overlord’s long term success was nearly guaranteed by this immense strategic advantage, the German defence and ability for an early decisive victory was severely handicapped by the poor leadership. However, it is important to differentiate between Hitler and his competent generals. At vital parts of the defence, Hitler obstructed and waylaid his general’s abilities to maximise the Wehrmacht’s chances at victory. Overlord was an immense event of great detail, and this essay’s scope will be limited to the role of materiel, airpower, intelligence, and leadership as deciding factors for the German’s defeat. Overlord was a tremendously complex operation to plan and execute, but Liddell-Hart proposed that defending from a potential invasion was even more of a formidable task. There was 3000 miles of coastline from Italy to the north of Germany, with only 60 divisions to defend it. 2 From Rundstedt’s own admission, these divisions were low-grade and commonly lacked full strength. 3 The soldiers garrisoned in France worked as little as they could, and were commonly unfit for duty as a result of injury on the Eastern Front. 4 Defending the whole frontage was 1 Stephen Badsey, Normandy 1944: Allied Landings and the Breakout (Oxford: Osprey, 1990), pp. 84-86. 2 Basil Henry Liddell-Hart, The German Generals Talk (London: Endeavour Press, 2014), p. 142. 3 Liddell-Hart, pp. 142-143. 4 Max Hastings, Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy 1944 (London: Macmillan, 1984), p. 64.


impossible with such few numbers, and for the defended stretches the lines were thin so reserves could be kept back for counter-attack. Preventing the initial landing and beach success was naturally implausible in the face of such numerical inferiority. Instead, the beach fortifications and extensive sea mine preparations were meant to delay and impede the invading forces to give German reserves crucial time to respond to the invasion. 5 The Germans were forced into this reactive strategy because of the poor quality of German intelligence regarding invasion sites. While it was clear that the build-up of forces in England meant that France would be the target, Blumentritt argued that the lack of exact German intelligence forced the generals to rely upon their own judgement concerning where. 6 Hitler’s short-sighted preoccupation with fortified ports may have diverted critical resources from an already stretched thin army, but the poor quality of intelligence enabled this diversion by forcing the leadership to rely on speculation. This inability to concentrate forces resulted in the Germans being unable to alleviate their overall strategic numerical inferiority with a tactical superiority at a landing site. While Hastings acknowledges how handicapped the German leadership was without proper intelligence, he blames Hitler for exacerbating this issue. By constantly restraining and acting against the intuition and military expertise of his commanders, the German response could not fulfil its potential. 7 A notable example being how Rommel accurately predicted Normandy as the landing sector, yet Hitler refused to heed his requests for repositioned forces. 8 The stifling German chain of command is most famously exemplified in how Rommel felt forced to return to Germany in order to attempt to convince Hitler in person, a grievous error considering his departure unfortunately coincided with the D-Day invasion and thus resulted in an absence of operational leadership. 9 Requiring Hitler’s agreement for defensive preparations was a limiting factor before D-Day, but it was disastrous once Overlord commenced. His determination that Normandy was a diversionary landing stands as both testament for the ingenuity and effectiveness of Operation Fortitude, and as an example of how debilitating depending on the decisions of a faraway and blind commander could be. 10 Hitler's lack of command delegation and real faith in his tested and experienced commanders diminished the physical military response.

5 Erwin Rommel, The Rommel Papers , ed. By Basil Henry Liddell-Hart and Paul Findlay (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co, 1953), p. 460. 6 Liddell-Hart, p. 146.

7 Hastings, p. 223. 8 Rommel, p. 475. 9 Rommel, p. 474. 10 Liddell-Hart, p. 180.


Homage must be paid to the Allies as an invasion of this magnitude is a difficult task. While the Allies had the resources to field a second invasion in case of military failure, the political threat of failure was a strong motivator in ensuring copacetic planning. 11 These commanders understood the valuable lessons of previous amphibious assaults at Gallipoli, Dieppe, and Salerno, and Hitler’s fortified port strategy reveals a glaring underestimation of his foe's capacity to learn. 12 The beach assaults and Mulberry harbours demonstrate the dexterity and shrewdness of the Allied commanders in overcoming the difficulties of invading Normandy. A fundamental reason for the success of Overlord should be attributed to James Stagg, the Chief Meteorological Officer, who gave Eisenhower assurances that the 6th of June would be a safe invasion date. 13 The safety of the initial channel crossing and the required weather for safe logistics for embarked forces necessitated accurate forecasts, and it held the success of Overlord in the balance. His work was doubly effective considering the poor quality of the German weather assessment, which had convinced Rommel it was safe to travel to Germany. 14 Allied excellence was repeated in the espionage field, with every German agent sent to Britain having turned themselves in or been captured. 15 Combined with the significant advantage garnered from the Ultra program and cracking Enigma, the Allies dominated the intelligence sphere. 16 While Keegan appreciates how facilitating intelligence is to commanders, he reiterates the important point that war is still a physical activity rather than an intellectual one. 17 It set the Allies up for success, but it still relied on a physical victory, one that the Germans were poised to take if the fragile initial beachheads were not secured before the Allies could flood Normandy with superior manpower. It would be superficial to assume Operation Overlord’s success by reducing it to a contest of available manpower between the Allies and Germany. Considering the overwhelming power differential between the Germans and Allies, the only path to victory lay in an early tactical victory at a decisive juncture. Panzer Lehr Operations Officer Kurt Kaufmann argued that an early ‘determined thrust’ would have been successful in halting Overlord before it got off the beaches. 18 This claim is based on the effectiveness of the Panzer divisions of Lehr and Jugend as an offensive force, and the fragility of the initial footholds secured on the American, British and Canadian beachheads. As Caddick-Adams 11 David Wragg, Operation Neptune: The Prelude to D-Day (London: The History Press, 2014), p. 120. 12 John Keegan, Six Armies in Normandy (London: Pimlico, 2004), p. 120. 13 Wragg, p. 150. 14 Rommel, p. 470. 15 John Masterman, The Double-Cross System in the War of 1939 to 1945 (Australian New University Press, 1972), p. 20. 16 John Keegan, Intelligence in War (London: Pimlico, 2004), pp. 370-371. 17 Keegan, Intelligence in War, p. 369. 18 Hastings, p. 223.


notes, the Panzer Lehr division were elite soldiers from experienced units of the Panzerwaffe. In the face of Allied superiority, the Germans identified their strongest remaining point of defence, supporting the Lehr with superb materiel and armour compared to regular divisions. 19 Kaufmann’s faith in the Panzer Lehr was sensible considering how well the division later fought the British at Caen. 20 The specific targeting of the Lehr division by 1600 Allied Bombers on 25 July reveals how much of a threat they were considered to pose by the Allies. 21 The excellence of the Lehr division makes the fact that they were positioned 110 miles away from the beaches on D-Day even more alarming. Only the 21st Panzer was nearby the beaches, a division whose mediocre performance in Normandy made Hastings dismissive of their ability to seriously threaten the Second Army, even if Rommel could have been present to give the order. 22 On the 6th June, the initial beachheads were fragile. The Allies were separated and lacked supply. Most importantly, they did not have sufficient armour or anti-tank weaponry. Pegasus Bridge was defended by only one anti-tank gun, and Omaha beach had seen the majority of its tanks destroyed, reinforcing the threat posed by the Panzer divisions, especially if the Allies believed Rommel was commanding. 23 This hypothetical threat makes Hitler’s poor leadership stand out as a deciding factor in the success of Operation Overlord. However, it is important to remember that this would have only given the Germans a chance, and one can not assume German victory. Instead, analysis should focus on the tangible and certain factors which contributed to the success of the Allies. The Allies had overwhelming aerial superiority. On D-Day, the Luftwaffe were outnumbered 30:1 and flew under 100 sorties on the 6th June in comparison to the 15,000 Allied sorties. 24 Due to their inferior numbers, each fighter and his aircraft was indispensable to the Luftwaffe. Unfortunately, this meant that the Allied aerial offensives before and during the initial landing was unsustainable for the Luftwaffe, quickly turning aerial superiority into supremacy. 25 A frustrated Rommel argued that this disparity in air power between the Allied forces and the German Luftwaffe had a paralysing effect on the infantry and armoured divisions ability to operate offensively or to maintain defensive positions. 26 The Panzer Lehr losing 50% of their strength to one intense bombing 19 Peter Caddick Adams, Snow & Steel: Battle of the Bulge, 1944 - 1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 111. 20 Gordon Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack: Official US Army History of Operation Overlord (Washington: Center of Military History for the United States Army, 1993), pp. 372-4. 21 Keegan, Six Armies in Normandy , p. 200. 22 Hastings, p. 220. 23 Hastings, p. 64. 24 Richard Hallion, Strike from the Sky: The History of Battlefield Air Attack, 1910-1945 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 2010), p. 190. 25 Chris Goss, ‘D-Day and the Luftwaffe’, Iron Cross: German Military History 1914-45 , 1.1 (2019), p. 20. 26 Rommel, pp. 481-484.


raid exemplifies how unsustainable combat was for the German forces under Allied air supremacy. 27 Simultaneously, the lack of Luftwaffe aircraft hindered the German ability to field defensive sorties against Allied bombers, resulting in an eviscerating effect on German transportation, communication, and reserve lines. Rommel insinuates that Hitler was at fault for allowing this aerial supremacy by denying his request to transport anti-air to a more favourable position. 28 While a reasonable criticism and another example of poor leadership, this focuses on minute elements of the wider operational reasons for failure. Rommel’s criticisms are the exasperated expressions of a defeated general put in an almost unwinnable position. Hitler’s poor decision-making does not detract from the reality of the immense resource and manpower imbalance that faced the Germans defending Normandy. Harrison argues that the Atlantic Wall and Normandy defensive preparations were not up to strength to pose an effective resistance to the Allied landings. 29 This failure to prepare properly is attributed to the intensive Allied bombing campaign throughout early 1944. By impeding the transportation of critical building resources, such as cement, the fortifications lacked structural integrity against explosives, or were simply not built in time. At the Cotentin, the 709th division had only been able to prepare one out of forty two planned positions. Additionally, only 15% of the 352nd Division’s installations were bombproof, with the rest unprotected against aerial assault. This is a glaring issue considering the aerial supremacy of the Allies and the importance of the Cotentin during Overlord. At Cherbourg, the Seventh Army was only able to build 65% of their planned defences. 30 In Operation Deadstick, the Airborne encountered few obstacles and stakes due to the German army not having had the time to install them. 31 Cases like these were endemic throughout the German defensive lines, and Generalmajor Buttlar-Brandenfels noted that if the Allies were able to break through the main line at Normandy, their advance would be unhindered for several kilometres. 32 If the Germans could not rely on their defence, then this only strengthens the argument that the Germans only chance at victory was an aggressive action against the early invasion footholds. In April, Rommel decided to abandon the Zweite Stellung and instead re-focus his few available resources on the front line. 33 Rommel’s decision to abandon the Zweite Stellung and a proper defence in depth wasn’t due to misplaced strategic logic, but a reaction to the reality of available German resources. This exemplifies a core problem with

27 Keegan, Six Armies in Normandy , p. 235. 28 Rommel, p. 474. 29 Harrison, p. 264. 30 Harrison, pp. 261-2. 31 Stephen Ambrose, Pegasus Bridge (London: Pocket Books, 2003), p. 40.

32 Harrison, p. 263. 33 Harrison, p. 263.


the German defence. Although Rommel and Rundstedt recognised that they needed a flexible, in depth defence, they didn't have the means to create this vision. Allied deception and sabotage played a key role in creating disorder within the German forces during D-Day. Operation Titanic involved dropping five hundred dummy parachutists near Normandy to draw the Germans away from the real landing areas for the Airborne. In order to sell the deception, gunfire was simulated by attaching fireworks to the dummies. 34 Rundstedt ordered the 12th SS Panzer division to Lisieux to engage with a fake landing, and the 352nd infantry division was diverted from the Omaha and Gold beaches to the southern woods to search for these fake paratroopers. It was made more effective when Spiedel cancelled the mobilising alarm after finding out they were fake. 35 This was a reasonable reaction to the news, and although it was his fault, he can not be charged too harshly. His decision resulted in the real landing of paratroopers adding to the mass confusion. Their dispersion only strengthened this confusion and fear as to the direction and scale of the allied attack, especially with the Germans lacking the manpower to respond in strength to every instance of a reported drop. 36 This deception was assisted by the bombing efforts of the USAAF on German communication, so there was a lack of clear intelligence and communication for their response. The role of the SOE and French resistance should not be ignored. While there was extensive sabotage and clandestine acts committed across German territory for widespread detriment in the months before D-Day, transport and communication sabotage on D-Day and throughout Overlord was on an unprecedented scale. 37 Dozens of railways and hundreds of communication lines were sabotaged in harmony with Allied bombing. While this disorganised German forces at Normandy, it also delayed the deployment of crucial troop reserves from Germany by weeks. 38 This is significant as the Germans would have otherwise had a rapid ability to direct reinforcements to the front in comparison to the initially slower transportation of the Allies over the channel. While not as blatantly decisive as Allied air supremacy, it reduced the already small chances of the Germans for an effective German counter-attack. Hitler maintained a severe dissonance between personal political objectives and military logic. Borne from sound Clausewitzian theory regarding the culminating point, Manstein’s proposal to engage in a strategic withdrawal

34 Mary Barbier, D-day Deception: Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion (Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2009), p. 36.

35 Barbier, p. 37. 36 Barbier, p. 38. 37 Roundell Palmer, War Cabinet Memo on the SOE , 13 October 1944, p. 10. 38 Palmer, pp. 12-3.


on the Eastern Front in 1944 was refused by Hitler. 39 Hitler made empty promises to Manstein about troops which would never arrive. His political machinations for Lebensraum failed to acknowledge the military reality that the German army could barely afford to sustain the Eastern Front with commitments to Italy and France. While the overstretched Eastern Front already sapped critical manpower from Normandy, Keegan highlights the role of Operation Bagration in further diverting German manpower and resources. On the 12th July, Rommel was given only 6000 men to replace the 97,000 lost in five weeks of fighting. 40 The German forces simply did not have the attritional capabilities to continue fighting. When Operation Epsom failed, fresh Eastern Front Panzer divisions were forced to act as defensive units due to the inflicted losses. 41 The fact that Montgomery attacked again, only twelve days later and with a fresh offensive, demonstrates how unsustainable this conflict was for the Germans, regardless of tactical successes from their experienced men. They could only delay Overlord, not stop it. Along with the insanity of maintaining forces near unchallenged naval gun fire, this fundamental difference in attritional capabilities led Schweppenburg and Rundstedt to suggest another strategic withdrawal to Hitler. 42 A logical suggestion by competent generals, but it was again refused and they were fired. Both of these cases testify against Hitler’s generalship, demonstrating how his denial of the physical reality of German weaknesses significantly contributed towards them. It also reinforces an important split in the German leadership between the idiocy of Hitler and the sensibility of his generals. Hew Strachan states that technological innovation and incorporation is a key element of defining a modern war. 43 While the German state was mobilising its full economy for a total war in 1943, their lack of mechanization and reliance upon labour put them in stark contrast to the American’s capital-intensive modern war. 44 This resulted in a clear superiority of materiel, most clearly illustrated in the aftermath of the Battle of the Falaise Gap. The ruins of the fleeing German troops show an overwhelming reliance on horses or pack animals for transport, with a distinct lack of mechanized equipment. 45 As Strachan highlights, around ninety percent of the German army was dependent on horses throughout the war. A lack of industrial capabilities also resulted in German production being unable 39 Erich von Manstein, Lost Victories , edited and translated by Anthony Powell & Basil Liddell-Hart (London: Zenith Press, 2004) 40 Keegan, Six Armies in Normandy , pp. 238-240. 41 Ian Carter, ‘The German Response to D-Day’, 2018 <https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-german- response-to-d-day?fbclid=IwAR0hFDlE-pSE- BluttcTTIPyuFDQn9E0FUkw73l6TkiYXsdNP78pLjnotms> [accessed 03/05/2020] 42 Hastings, p. 211. 43 Hew Strachan, ‘Essay and Reflection: On Total War and Modern War’, The International History Review , 22.2 (2000), p. 351. 44 Strachan, pp. 351-3. 45 Lucas Barker, The Killing Ground: Battle of the Falaise Gap (London: Batsford, 1978) p. 20.


to meet the loss of equipment, with Panzer units rarely achieving full tank strength. 46 This reliance on manpower is an evident disadvantage in comparison with the Allied exploitation of technology. Looking at the wider picture, this contributed to the Germans not fighting the Allies on the same level. The Allies brought well-equipped and highly functioning combined arms with the industrial strength to support it, while Germany could barely maintain its decadent and patchwork assortment of last resources. 47 Operation Overlord was for the Allies to lose, rather than for the Germans to win. In conclusion, the German High Command should be partially exculpated from being the main reason for the defeat of the Wehrmacht. Instead, Hitler should carry the weight of the blame for poor leadership. Nonetheless, while one can identify several salient points where Hitler’s decision-making significantly hindered the German defence, it does not make his poor-leadership more of a determining factor than the materiel and manpower differential which the Allies used to dominate the Wehrmacht. Almost lacking a dimension in warfare, the near absence of the Luftwaffe restricted the land forces to a defensive role, where they acted as carrion for the Allied bombers. The Wehrmacht’s state of disarray was significantly contributed to by the Eastern and Italian Fronts, which minimised their available initial manpower, and destroyed their hopes of reinforcements. This numerical superiority for both the Allied land and air forces effectively determined Allied victory after their forces could be sufficiently established within Normandy. Allied intelligence and deception played impactful roles in empowering the initially frail invading forces, but it was still the gumption and fortitude of the Allied armed forces which ensured the physical victory. The sole hope for the largely second-grade German troops was in their esteemed panzer divisions, but even the most fearsome soldiers can not overcome overwhelming physical realities. The Wehrmacht’s failure to capitalise on the early vulnerabilities of the Allied beachheads enabled the Allies to bring their combined modern force against the outdated and outgunned Wehrmacht. From there, German victory was implausible. Bibliography Primary Sources Manstein, Erich von, Lost Victories , edited and translated by Anthony Powell & Basil Liddell-Hart (London: Zenith Press, 2004)

46 Strachan, p. 352. 47 Rommel, p. 481.


Masterman, John, The Double-Cross System in the War of 1939 to 1945 (Australian New University Press, 1972), available from <https://openresearch- repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/115063> [accessed 02/04/2020] Palmer, Roundell, War Cabinet Memo on the SOE , 13 October 1944, available from Blackboard [accessed 03/05/2020] Rommel, Erwin, The Rommel Papers , ed. By Basil Henry Liddell-Hart and Paul Findlay (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co, 1953), available from <https://archive.org/details/THEROMMELPAPERS/page/n375/mode/2up> [accessed 02/04/2020] Secondary Sources Ambrose, Stephen, Pegasus Bridge (London: Pocket Books, 2003) Badsey, Stephen, Normandy 1944: Allied Landings and the Breakout (Oxford: Osprey, 1990) Barbier, Mary, D-day Deception: Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion (Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2009) Barker, Lucas, The Killing Ground: Battle of the Falaise Gap (London: Batsford, 1978) Caddick-Adams, Peter, Snow & Steel: Battle of the Bulge, 1944 - 1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) Carter, Ian, ‘The German Response to D-Day’, 2018 <https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-german-response-to-d- day?fbclid=IwAR0hFDlE-pSE- BluttcTTIPyuFDQn9E0FUkw73l6TkiYXsdNP78pLjnotms> [accessed 03/05/2020] Goss, Chris, ‘D-Day and the Luftwaffe’, Iron Cross: German Military History 1914-45 , 1.1 (2019), 12 - 21 Hallion, Richard, Strike From The Sky: The History of Battlefield Air Attack, 1910-1945 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2010)


Harrison, Gordon, Cross-Channel Attack: Official US Army History of Operation Overlord (Washington: Center of Military History for the United States Army, 1993), available from <https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/7-4/7- 4_Contents.htm> [accessed 01/05/2020] Hastings, Max, Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy 1944 (London: Macmillan, 1984) Keegan, John, Intelligence In War (London: Pimlico, 2004) Keegan, John, Six Armies in Normandy (London: Pimlico, 2004) Liddell-Hart, Basil, The German Generals Talk (London: Endeavour Press, 2014) Strachan, Hew, ‘Essay and Reflection: On Total War and Modern War’, The International History Review , 22.2 (2000), 341 - 370 Wragg, David, Operation Neptune: The Prelude to D-Day (London: The History Press, 2014)


What impact did the Watergate Scandal have in terms of undermining confidence in the American political system?

Peter Dixon - AM-251

The Watergate Scandal has been called the ‘most serious Constitutional crisis since the Civil War’. 1 The scandal had a seismic effect on the moral and political foundations of the United States, and in this essay, I shall examine the ways in which public opinion towards its government morphed over the years, and what the effects of these changes in perceptions were. I shall structure my argument in three stages. Firstly, even before the Watergate Scandal in its totality emerged to the public, deceitful machinations and actions with ulterior motives were being committed by those in the upper echelons of government, particularly regarding the Vietnam War. I shall explore Rudalevige’s notion that an ‘Imperial Presidency’ had taken root in the government, and what role presidents such as LBJ played in perpetuating an atmosphere of deceit and political espionage. I aim to posit the view that even before Nixon took office, and the events of Watergate were made known to the public, there existed an undercurrent of malevolency in the executive branch of government. Secondly, I shall examine the ubiquity of paranoia that came to characterise Nixon’s government, with attention placed on his own mistrust towards his peers and enemies. The fear that pervaded Nixon and his administration will be examined here also, and how this paranoia planted the seeds for the ensuing fallout from the Watergate scandal. I shall also examine the effects resulting from the leaking of the Pentagon Papers, and how the public’s traditional perceptions of the Presidency were changed for the worst. People began to see for the first time, the full extent of the artifice that had taken control of the country’s highest office. I shall end by examining the various arguments put forward by authors who suggest that Watergate and its conclusion actually had a beneficial effect on the public, as it proved that the American political system was able to survive times of constitutional crisis. Indeed, one could view the conclusion to Watergate as a time for recuperation and rebuilding of American institutional trust. Despite these arguments however, the pardoning of Nixon had an effect that was almost catastrophic on the psyche of the American people, who came to understand that in place of traditional presidential virtue,

1 James Cannon, Gerald R. Ford: An Honorable Life, (University of Michigan State Press, 2014), p. 4.

there existed a separate model of justice, which saw those in power escape the full extent of the law at the expense and rage of those over whom they governed. Even before the events of Watergate came to light, and Nixon had been implicated in the biggest political scandal in US history, presidents and other politicians had exploited their powerful positions to conduct hidden operations with regard to foreign and domestic policies. Gould writes that: ‘Both [JFK and LBJ] conducted their administration in a manner that rejected the institutional precedents set under Dwight D. Eisenhower’ 2 , indicating that the notion of presidential authority was changing, not always for the best. Rudalevige identifies this change in attitude as symptomatic of an ‘Imperial Presidency’, which he defines as ‘the absolute power of modern presidents but also their relative power, as altered by the office’s predilection for expansion across the constitutional map’. 3 Rudalevige goes on to cite the example of LBJ’s use of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as a ‘functional equivalent of a declaration of war’ 4 without the facts of the matter being established or the true extent of the engagement being made clear to Congress, and with the intention of escalating US troop levels in the area. There is further evidence for the undercurrent of deceit that ran through Washington prior to Watergate, with Hitchens citing Nixon’s sabotage of the Paris Peace talks, and the subsequent decision by the Democrats to keep it out of the public eye: ‘It would have created a crisis of public confidence in United States institutions. There are some things the voters can’t be trusted to know’. 5 Public opinion about the Vietnam war also helped to further degrade the waning sense of confidence towards government, as Patterson notes: ‘many Americans… believed that the United States had been not only foolish but also morally wrong to engage in that bloody prolonged conflict’. 6 Indeed, Rudalevige argues that ‘Vietnam and Watergate were tightly linked; the latter, at least in its broadest sense, could not have happened without the former’. 7 Kalb notes that the war’s ‘legacy was left to haunt and bewitch the White House’. 8 The Vietnam War therefore played a large role in establishing a malaise of deceit within government which would engender public outrage. It was under Nixon that these revelations would be exhumed, and public confidence in government would reach its nadir. 2 Lewis L. Gould, The Scouring of the Modern Presidency: John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson (University Press of Kansas, 2009), p. 125. 3 Andrew Rudalevige, The New Imperial Presidency: Renewing Presidential Power after Watergate (The University of Michigan Press, 2006), p. 57. 4 Rudalevige, p. 79. 5 Christopher Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger (Verso, 2001), p. 10. 6 James Patterson, Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush vs. Gore (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 5. 7 Rudalevige, p. 5. 8 Deborah Kalb, Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama (Brookings Institution Press, 2011), p. 14.


With his election to the White House, Nixon brought with him an effluvium of paranoia that corrupted his allies and enemies, the American people, and himself. Even those who worked in the White House during Nixon’s term were aware of ‘some kind of separate morality about things’, 9 and the so-called ‘Opponents list’, ‘underscored how the administration transmuted “opponents” into “enemies” in a manner that pervaded its policies and politics’. 10 Firstly, suspicions of Nixon’s ulterior motives were compounded when, despite signing the bill, Nixon declared the Defence Authorization Act as being ‘without binding force or effect’, as ‘it does not reflect my judgement about the way in which the war should be brought to a conclusion’. 11 One can derive from this statement that Nixon was intent on carrying out his own plans, rather than acting in the best interests of the nation. Mieczkowski highlights a further implication to the Presidents image: with the secret Watergate tapes revealing to the public their President’s true character, Nixon would ‘disgrace not only himself but the presidency, an office that Americans revered’. 12 This reaction highlights the public’s changing attitudes towards the executive, and how it was no longer considered a position of integrity. Nixon’s fear of his political opponents was released into the public sphere with the leaking of the Pentagon Papers through various media outlets. The devastating power these papers had over the public’s trust in government was highlighted by Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker of the documents, who is quoted in an interview that: ‘[the Pentagon Papers] made people understand that presidents lie all the time, not just occasionally, but all the time. Not everything they say is a lie, but anything they say could be a lie’. 13 To compound mistrust in Nixon’s government, Ellsberg’s sentiments were echoed somewhat bluntly by the Assistant Secretary of Defence, who is quoted by Mieczkowski as saying: ‘if you think any American official is going to tell the truth, you’re stupid’. 14 In addition to the undercurrent of doubt that surrounded Nixon and his decisions, there was also backlash from university students after revelations of the covert bombing raids in neutral Cambodia were revealed, and Brown notes the inflammatory reaction from protestors, who had been ‘revived overnight by the news’. 15 Emery writes of Kissinger’s response, warning Nixon not to awaken ‘the dormant beast of public protest’. 16 Both Brown and Emery provide evidence of the contempt and mistrust that the Nixon administration held towards those who dared to dissent, and the President’s wishes to tarnish the 9 Arthur Schlesinger, The Imperial Presidency (Mariner Books, 2004), p. 380. 10 Rudalevige, p. 65. 11 Rudalevige, p. 63. 12 Yanek Mieczkowski, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s (University Press of Kentucky, 2005), p. 20. 13 Christian Appy, Vietnam: The Definitive Oral History Told from All Sides (Ebury Press, 2008), p. 436. 14 Mieczkowski, p. 19. 15 Seyom Brown, The Crisis of Power (Columbia University Press, 1979), p. 58. 16 Fred Emery, Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon (Pimlico, 1995), p. 9.


reputations of those ‘who have tried to do us in’. 17 However, exacerbating Rudalevige’s theory of the ‘Imperial Presidency’ would be the actions and words of President Nixon himself. Nixon admits to turning a blind eye to morals and manipulating the power of his executive position, writing the following passage in his memoir, regarding the leaking of the Pentagon Papers: ‘I could not accept that we had lost so much control over the workings of a government we had been elected to run – I saw absolutely no reason for that report to be at Brookings, and I said I wanted it back right now – even if it meant having to get it surreptitiously ’. 18 This quote from the President’s own hand acts as evidence to support Rudalevige’s view that the Nixon presidency was defined by a willingness to undermine the laws and values of the nation in order to gain a foothold over its perceived threats or to gain an advantage. The negative fallout out resulting from Watergate was, according to White House Counsel John Dean: ‘an inevitable outgrowth of a climate of excessive concern over the political impact of demonstrators, excessive concern over leaks, an insatiable appetite for political intelligence…’. 19 Therefore, where the past dealings of presidents such as LBJ were conducted largely in secret, it was during the Nixon administration that the American people suddenly saw their government for what it was. Nixon operated with the belief that any action was permissible in pursuit of his own political safety, and was not able to hide it from his people, who quickly turned on him and his administration. When the full revelations of Watergate had been made public, and with the news that President Nixon was to resign the office, an ensuing calm began to settle after an era of mistrust and suspicion. The reasons for this tempering of emotion is down to what Patterson argues as ‘relief that the nation’s political institutions had managed to survive a constitutional crisis as grave as Watergate’. 20 For many Americans, the tumultuous period of political scandal seemed to be nearing an end, and the ‘national nightmare’, as President Ford put it, was coming to a close. Furthermore, not only had the political institutions held fast, but as Hoff notes: ‘Watergate offered an unusual opportunity for the country to re-evaluate its political system and reinforce its democratic principles’, 21 thereby generating further support in the eyes of the public for the checks and balances of the government. An emotional catharsis amongst Americans began to take hold, with Rudalevige writing that the sordid archetype of the ‘Imperial Presidency’ had begun to appear like ‘an outdated period piece’. 22 Vice President Ford, upon hearing the news from Nixon himself that he would resign, ‘felt a 17 Rudalevige, p. 64. 18 Richard Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (Grosset & Dunlap, 1978), p. 512. 19 Presidential Campaign Activities of 1972 (Senate Resolution 60), p. 2419. Google ebook. 20 Patterson, p. 2. 21 Joan Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered (Basic Books, 1994), p. 329. 22 Rudalevige, p. 7.


sense of liberation, of deliverance… the government and the people could soon move past Watergate to a better time’. 23 With these views in mind, Watergate’s conclusion appeared initially to have soothed the rage and mistrust that came to characterise the presidency described above. Unfortunately, whatever successes that may have been achieved in suturing the wounds inflicted by those previous acts, the ‘full, free and absolute pardon’ 24 of Nixon by President Gerald Ford saw those same scars reopened. Initial suspicion towards the government had been replaced by optimism following Nixon’s resignation, but many scholars argue that his pardon only illuminated deeper problems. For one, Patterson cites Ford’s plummeting approval ratings to show public reactions of surprise and outrage: A Gallup poll reveals that a 71 percent approval rating was slashed by 16 points overnight and continued to decline until hitting a low of 50 percent by the end of September. 25 Hoff writes that at the heart of the public’s outrage was the notion that Watergate, and more pertinently Ford’s pardoning of Nixon, seemed to imply that ‘our highest officials of government are above the law and that there is no single standard of justice’. 26 To further compound this argument and counter the previous view on how political institutions held fast during the Watergate era, Kim McQuaid writes: ‘[the American political infrastructure] worked not in the sense of accomplishing greatness but, rather, in the sense of avoiding catastrophe’. 27 However, it could be argued that not all optimism was extinguished. One should be aware that Ford did not make his decision to bestow the pardon without a lot of soul searching, and his reasoning was finally secured by the belief that ‘I think it’s right for the country, and because it feels right in my heart’. 28 This provides a refreshing change to the introverted paranoia of his predecessor, and perhaps gives weight to Rudalevige’s view that the old ways were indeed in remission. Furthermore, Hoff posits the theory that the American people used Nixon as a target upon which to project their own insecurities and faults, and that America would ‘continue to lament rather than learn from Watergate and the Age of Nixon’. 29 Ultimately, the ignominious end of the Watergate scandal had provided Americans with an initial sense of peace toward the nature of their government and hope for the future of democracy. Whilst I respect the view that Ford’s decision was made with the best of intentions of the nation at heart, as opposed to saving his own skin, I concur with both Hoff and McQuaid that Ford’s pardon was flagrant evidence that a double standard of justice was at work, much to the American people’s chagrin.

23 Cannon, p. 6. 24 Cannon, p. 247. 25 Patterson, p. 5. 26 Hoff, p. 330. 27 Kim McQuaid, The Anxious Years (Basic Books Inc., 1989), p. 307. 28 Cannon, p. 245. 29 Hoff, p. 346.


In the final analysis, an undercurrent of deceit had been festering in the president’s office since at least the times of JFK and LBJ. By examining Rudalevige’s notion of the ‘Imperial Presidency’, we see that Nixon and his administration had allowed themselves to turn a blind eye to morals, if it meant the President was protected. I maintain that this is critical to understanding why the Watergate Scandal and Nixon’s absolution had such a jarring effect on the American psyche. I believe that previous acts of deviancy set the precedent in Nixon’s view that it was necessary for him to act subversively and nefariously in order to succeed, something to which he himself admits. Not only this, but I have also shown how the release of sensitive material such as the Pentagon Papers fundamentally altered the American peoples’ perceptions of their leader’s character, and how such revelations expressed for the first time the surreptitious intentions of the President. For Americans, Nixon was the antithesis to what a President should be - a paragon of virtue with the people’s interest at heart. Indeed, the actions and words of Richard Nixon and his administration towards both the Vietnam War and Watergate opened America’s eyes to the artifice that had pervaded the political landscape for decades; his own paranoia towards his peers and enemies grew out of control, and would eventually consume him. This feeling of public mistrust was not rescinded by Watergate’s ignominious conclusion, where despite Nixon’s resignation and the ensuing catharsis that occurred, as argued by Patterson and Hoff, I have posited McQuaid’s argument that the institutions in place to provide checks and balances had been deliberately subverted. The American people were thus left to ruminate on the double standard of justice that was all too pellucid in the wake of the scandal. Bibliography Appy, Christian, Vietnam: The Definitive Oral History Told from All Sides (Ebury Press, 2008) Brown, Seyom, The Crisis of Power (Columbia University Press, 1979) Cannon, James, Gerald R. Ford: An Honorable Life (University of Michigan State Press, 2013) Emery, Fred, Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon (Pimlico, 1995) Gould, Lewis L., The Scouring of the Modern Presidency: John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson (University Press of Kansas, 2009) Hitchens, Christopher, The Trial of Henry Kissinger (Verso, 2001)


Hoff, Joan, Nixon Reconsidered (Basic Books, 1994) Kalb, Deborah & Kalb, Marvin, Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama (Brookings Institution Press, 2011) McQuaid, Kim, The Anxious Years (Basic Books Inc., 1989) Mieczkowski, Yanek, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s (University Press of Kentucky, 2005) Nixon, Richard, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (Grosset & Dunlap, 1978) Patterson, James T., Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush vs. Gore (Oxford University Press, 2005) Rudalevige, Andrew, The New Imperial Presidency: Renewing Presidential Power after Watergate (The University of Michigan Press, 2006) Schlesinger, Arthur M., The Imperial Presidency (Mariner Books, 2004)


Do deliberative, sortition based Citizen Assemblies represent ‘a better way of doing democracy’ (as Renwick claims)? Explain and justify your answer

Amelie Higgins - PO-131

Although citizen assemblies (CA) can be traced back as far as Athenian democracy, it is only from the early 1990s that they have gained momentum, aiding the shift from participatory democracy to deliberative democracy. Citizens assemblies involve deliberation of contemporary issues populating the political agenda by ‘non-politicians’, who are randomly selected from a sample representative of the wider voting demographic. Ireland has been at the forefront of citizens’ assemblies, taking the form of two deliberative mini publics (DMPs). The first, the convention of the constitution, took place in 2012 and deliberated topics such as a review of the Dail electoral system, and provision for same-sex marriage. The wake of this assembly led to the Irish citizen assembly in early 2018 which is most well-known for its recommendation to repeal the 8th amendment, which protected the life of an unborn baby. In September 2017 Alan Renwick directed a citizen’s assembly on Brexit and later published a report claiming sortition based citizen assemblies represent 'a better way of doing democracy'. Despite such positive headlines, citizens' assemblies are not absent from academic debate. Sample selection as well as representation and how outcomes are implemented have been scrutinised in opposition to Renwick’s claim. It is such criticisms of sortition based citizen assemblies that have supported my conclusion that citizen assemblies do not represent 'a better way of doing democracy'. In this essay I will explain and justify my response to Renwick’s claim. To a certain extent, deliberative sortition based citizen assemblies do represent a better way of doing democracy. Through inviting stakeholders and communities to have a direct say in the deliberation process members are likely to feel valued and take ownership to help find solutions. The inclusion of representative parities brings together diverse cognitive sets, which offer unique ideas and different perspectives, ultimately improving the quality of decisions made. Through the inclusion of citizens in the deliberation process, outcome legitimacy is likely to improve. Increased validation of the decisions made will

in turn help reduce conflict allowing for a cohesive and constructive democracy. Research done by Torgler explores fiscal benefits of involvement in decision making such as willingness to pay tax 1 . Further social benefits such as increased political awareness could bring about positive externalities for the whole of democracy as political literacy gained from informed speakers at assemblies would allow for more informed decisions to be made outside of the assembly environment which would aid in the flourishing of democracy. Despite this, there is no evidence implying that participation in sortition based citizen assemblies leads to a sustained increase in engagement, suggesting benefits of citizens assemblies to democracy may be bounded to the short term. A further strength in support of Renwick’s claim regards the construction and design of DMPs. Firstly, assemblies are often funded by impartial associates. (Renwick’s assembly on Brexit was funded by ERSC) 2 . This helps to eliminate any alternate motives. Secondly, the discussion is moderated by trained facilitators allowing for everyone’s opinion to be voiced and to ensure respectful, on-topic discussions. This is backed up by a survey carried out by Renwick’s assembly members where the overall rating of the event and opportunity to express their views was scored on average, 4.6 out of 5 3 . Finally, representative random sampling and stratification grid filling has been used to select participants to ensure members are representative of the wider voting demographic. If designed in the ‘correct’ way there is no doubt that Citizens assemblies would represent a better way of doing democracy. However, establishing what this ‘correct’ way is, is challenging. For example, simple questions such as who counts as a citizen, are still widely debated. Moreover, there are no laws on how citizens assemblies are to be conducted, only guidelines, which point to subjective standards including sufficient time, and generative learning which are vulnerable to interpretation. These ambiguous standards could be abused by politicians looking to boost their political agenda. The primary predicaments against Renwick’s 4 claim regard the sample of participants, who they are, and how they are selected, the implementation of outcomes and the deliberation process. Deliberative assemblies are reliant on citizenry participation. However, as public goods are often central to deliberation, we are faced with the collective action problem meaning that “any rational individual will seek to forego the 1 Benno Torgler and Friedrich Schneider, ‘The impact of tax morale and institutional quality on the shadow economy’, Journal of Economic Psychology , 30.2, (2007), 228-245. 2 Alan Renwick, ‘Citizens’ assemblies: a better way of doing democracy?’, Political Insight , 8.3 (2017), 24-27 <https://doi.org/10.1177/2041905817744632> [accessed 14 July 2021].

3 Ibid. 4 Ibid.


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