Vietnam was an entirely new type of war for the United States. It still remains morally and historically problematic in today’s society. The Vietnam War had a tremendous impact on American society and culture, primarily because it was the first war to be televised. The American press played a significant
The Vietnam War was a conflict, which the United States involved itself in unnecessarily and ultimately lost. The basis of the conflict was simple enough: Communism vs. Capitalism, yet the conduct of the Vietnam War was complex and strategic, and brought repercussions which had never been seen before. The struggle between North and South had an almost inevitable outcome, yet the Americans entered the War optimistic that they could aid the falling South and sustain democracy. The American intentions for entering the Vietnam conflict were good, yet when the conflict went horribly wrong, and the resilient North Vietnamese forces, or Viet Cong' as they were known, refused to yield, the United States saw they were fighting a losing battle.
After a disastrous battle in 1963, in which the U.S. had lost numerous helicopters and their aboard crew, the press identified strategic blunder and saw “reluctant Vietnamese infantrymen” as the reason for the failed mission. The U.S. government tried to depict the mission as successful, indicating a major point of divide between the government and the media, the media turned to “the word of angry South Vietnamese officials, angry U.S advisors, and hostile American pilots who risked their lives daily without recognition” as their basis of evidence regarding the incident and incidents to come. Another question was left to be raised, where were these televised materials coming from? In accordance with the actual content; much of what was recorded was done by the US Army photographic agency beginning after much controversy caused by the filming of burning the village of Cam Ne by American troops.
Howard Zinn says it best when he writes that “from 1964 to 1972, the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of the world made a maximum military effort, with everything short of atomic bombs, to defeat a nationalist revolutionary movement in a tiny peasant country – and failed” (Zinn, 460). Zinn does not mince words when expressing his thoughts about the Vietnam War, because as Zinn says, Vietnam was basically a modern portrayal of David vs. Goliath. One could even go as far as to say that Vietnam was in essence a case of mass genocide in Vietnam. Thousands and thousands of Vietnamese and America soldiers were killed along with thousands upon thousands of innocent, Vietnamese citizens. War is an infectious disease and the Vietnam War is a perfect example of how deadly of a disease war can be. Everybody involved in the Vietnam War was affected, whether it was Vietnamese citizens, Vietnamese soldiers, American soldiers, or even American citizens back home. The disease that was the Vietnam War infected the hearts and minds of two countries half way across the world from each other.
The Vietnam War was certainly controversial. There were many protests that erupted across college campuses and throughout numerous town and cities. Many individuals viewed the war as unnecessary and unwinnable. The draft was also very widely criticized and seen as a negative point in the war. The draft was forcing young college students to go fight in dangerous territory. The most controversial aspect of the Vietnam War is certainly that it was deemed unwinnable by the US government, but they still chose to remain in Vietnam and fight. Why was the Vietnam War unwinnable though? Was it actually unwinnable or did the US government
“War does not determine who is right - only who is left.” ~ Bertrand Russell. The famous quote from Bertrand Russell describes the reality of war. War only lets the powerful and the wealthy side win and not the righteous side. On an average 378,000 people die each year at war while 1,450,000 people died in the Vietnam war. The Vietnam war started on 1 November 1955 and lasted until 30 April 1975. The war was fought between the North Vietnamese Communist government and the South Vietnamese Communist rebels known as the Viet Cong against the non-Communist South Vietnamese government and their ally U.S.A. The war destroyed the life of both, the North and South Vietnamese along with the other nations that took part in it. More than 1 million people were killed including civilians and over 3 million injured. Thousand were wives were left widows and hundreds of kids orphans. After consistent protests by the Americans, U.S.A withdrew from the later stages of war. The Vietnam War is a depiction that wars are murky and filthy and should be circumvented as they bring agony and desolation to the people. To show this I used three different mediums which are - Political Cartoon “Name a
Throughout America’s history, few things have left the nation in such controversial turmoil as the Vietnam War. With an American death toll of almost 60,000 troops, the Vietnam War has gone down in infamy as one of the most tremendous struggles Americans have faced both overseas and on the home front. Because of the tumultuous controversies caused by the war, Americans split into two social factions – those against the war and those who supported it. During the years of 1961-1975 - the era in which the war had its greatest effect on Americans - the population of citizens from 18-35 years old and the Presidency were both affected irreversibly.
For many in the United States "Vietnam" is a term which conjures up visions of war, anarchy, and finally defeat and humiliation. It was a war that many felt the U.S. should never have gotten involved in, and was a waste of more than 50,000 American lives. And for many years after the war ended the prevailing wisdom remained that the U.S. had failed. But as years turn to decades, and Vietnam is fading into the recesses of history, one can begin to look at the war in an objective manner; as just one part of the larger "Cold War." When viewing Vietnam as part of the larger Cold War, one can see that the United States should not only have been there, but it was necessary as part of the overall strategy to defeat Communism world wide.
The ‘Tet Offensive’ showed the first signs of the effect the media had in Vietnam, which led to the the question of “why did the audience see what they saw?” Firstly, unlike previous wars journalists had “extraordinary” freedom to cover Vietnam without any direct government intervention. Overtime this noticeably created a problem where the harsh brutal accounts from journalists differed from the positive optimism that United States Officials portrayed. The media was simply the messenger to the American people. But this was the first instance where technological advances had allowed a war to be played out on your own television screen every night of the week. The journalists reacted in the same way as the American public; they too were shocked beyond belief at the constant scenes of burning villages, bloody soldiers and lifeless bodies. These feelings came across in the broadcasts and like the ‘media effects theory’ explains, naturally Americans took up that same belief. This was the first time that the American public showed collective beliefs opposing to the war. To further push public opinion against the war, Hallin suggested that there was a “…declining morale among American troops in the field…”. The thirty-minute nightly
Secretary of State John Kerry once said “I saw courage both in the Vietnam War and in the struggle to stop it. I learned that patriotism includes protest, not just military service.” The Vietnam War was a conflict that lasted from 1956-1975 which the United States participated in along with the South Vietnamese who fought against the Communist North Vietnamese. Many Americans strongly disapproved of the war which caused many protests and riots. The war lasted 25 years killing many people and eventually the North Vietnamese won. The Vietnam War was important to Americans back home because it tested the citizen’s right to free speech, effected future foreign policy, and created many issues for returning veterans.
Initially, the first reports stated that over 100 Vietcong were killed along with 22 civilian casualties caught in the crossfire during the fierce firefight. The operation was seen as a military victory and a strategic success. General William C. Westmoreland even congratulated involved forces for doing an “outstanding job.” However, letters of distraught and remorse from servicemen and soldiers that were previously engaged in the My Lai operation revealed the true nature
The Vietnam war exposed a generation of Americans to the fallacy of American exceptionalism by exposing the magnitude of grievances the Government was willing to commit at the expense of Human lives. “For nine years victory wavered [in the Trojan War]” (Hamilton 261), for nearly twenty years media claims of American victory in Vietnam remained unfounded .”[Trojan] Men sickened and died so [often] that funeral pyres were burning continuously (Hamilton 261) as did their modern American counterparts.Both wars ended in part to the deviation of its constituents, anti-war movements eventually influenced Government as did the secretive actions of the few (the Trojan Horse) constrain further conflict. As, the current President continues to augment the U.S., seemingly in preparation for conflict, it is imperative that we remember from experience that swift revolutionary civil disobedience rather than reactionary civil obedience after grievances have been committed will ensure that the lives of Millions do not become