American Public Opinion of the Vietnam War Essay

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American Public Opinion of the Vietnam War

At the beginning of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, in 1965, the American Public favored the idea of war because they feared the threat of communism. Polls conducted in 1965, showed 80 percent of the population agreed with President Johnson and were for the war (Rousseau 11). The U.S. got involved with the war to stop communism from spreading throughout South Asia. Americans were afraid if one country on South Asia turned to communism, it would extend to other countries, which is known as the "Domino Theory". The United States thought if they stopped communism in Vietnam, it would stop the spread of communism. At this time, America saw itself as
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Which would create a large threat to the United States and the amount of power they held. They felt Vietnam would create a blockade and stop the spread of communism. The American people were upset because they were being sent hundreds of miles away to fight a war, which had nothing to do with America.

The media played a large role in turning Americans against the war. This war was the first was in which the media had no restrictions on what they could show the

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people. It is known as the T.V. War. Marshall McLuhan, a journalist from Regent's School of Communication and the Arts, said, "Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam"(Patterson). This was the first war to have been filmed. It was shown daily on the television and in the newspapers. The American government decided not to censor it and let the press have free access. Pictures of Vietnamese children burning alive from American napalm, and the executions of Vietnam people were aired on the nightly news. The news also showed pictures of wounded U.S. soldiers and civilians. This portion of the news became commonly known as "Steak and potatoes with body counts," (Patterson, 80). The pictures showed the American public just how cruel war could be, and portrayed the U.S. as
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