How Public Opinion Changed the Course of the Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War certainly left a distaste in the lives of many who have been affected by the war; scholars have become increasingly interested in the interaction between war and public opinion. There have been many scholarly works published on the Vietnam War, but the issue that will be analyzed here is how public opinion changed the course of the war. The first article by Scott Gartner and Gary Segura is titled, “Race, Casualties, and Opinion in the Vietnam War,” it examined how the diverse races within America in combination with the atrocities in the war led to the formation of opinions that were similar in one race but were different in another race. The second article by Paul Burstein and William Freudenburg titled, “The Impact of…show more content…
The last study that will be analyzed however, does not frame their research in that manner, instead, “the purpose of this study is to assess the impact of anti-Vietnam war demonstrations in the U.S.A. on the changes in the American public’s views about the war.” There is general consensus among Verba, Brody and Schreiber that the polls did not serve as an adequate metric for determining whether the war was truly out of touch with many. Schreiber referred to the demonstrations, noting that “many members of the public simply do not mentally join together” This could lead to the formation of two conclusions according to Schreiber; one being that demonstrations had no effect in altering public opinion, and the other being that those demonstrations had great effect in communicating with the public. “The major point to be gleaned from this review is that there is no evidence that shows an effect of anti-Vietnam war demonstrations on reducing American public support for the war in Vietnam.” Schreiber then goes on to reiterate the point

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