Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Tracy Campbell


This dissertation looks at the International War Crimes Tribunal (IWCT) as a vessel for human rights’ ideas during the Vietnam War. I argue that the IWCT supported a transnational advocacy network that used the language of human rights to oppose the Vietnam War and rally support from those around the world who stood against American imperialism. On the one hand, the tribunal precedes the institutionalization of human rights in the 1970s. On the other, it is an extension of the human rights norms that emerge after World War II through the passage of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the Nuremberg Trials. By framing the Vietnam War as a human rights crisis during the Cold War, the tribunal infused the anti-war movement with a moral authority that allowed activists to proselytize in the name of humanity. And although they cannot claim credit for the end of the war, the global movement that emerged under the guidance of Bertrand Russell’s organizations exerted tremendous pressure on U.S. officials and America’s allies. For these reasons and more, after the tribunal ended, U.S. anti-war activist and tribunal members like Carl Oglesby could boldly claim that the IWCT “played an important role in the developing of the consciousness” that helped mobilize public opinion against the Vietnam War.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by:

American Historical Association Annual Meeting Travel Grant, AHA, 2020.

Annual Conference Travel Grant, University of Kentucky, 2020.

Dean’s Competitive Fellowship, University of Kentucky, 2019.

William T. Bryan Fellowship, University of Kentucky, 2018.

Dissertation Research Grant, Charles Koch Foundation, 2017.

James R. Reckner Grant, Vietnam Center & Sam Johnson Archive, 2017.

Presidential Fellowship, University of Kentucky, 2016.

Dissertation Enhancement Grant, University of Kentucky, 2016.

Professor Larry beck Memorial Research Grant, University of Kentucky, 2016.

Samuel Flagg Bemis Dissertation Research Grant, SHAFR, 2015.

Leslee K. Gilbert and Daniel E. Crowe Fellowship, University of Kentucky, 2014.