The Tet Offensive During The Vietnam War

Decent Essays
The draft lottery during the Vietnam War was detrimental to the Army and its personnel. Coming off the heels of World War II, The American Public held Soldiers in high regard and that perception continued through the Korean War. The Soldier was a hero who was fighting for freedom against a common enemy. Americans aggressively supported the cause of destroying communism wherever it hid. However, that perception shifted. The public no longer considered Soldiers heroes but rather pitied.

Out of the 1.6 million Soldiers that fought in Vietnam, 684,500 of them were draftees. (Starr, 1997) The Selective Service agency would broadcast the lottery live on television and radio. They would draw blue plastic capsules filled with birthdays
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By the mid-1960’s, it was by far the most important source of information. To give a comparison, 9% of households owned television. (Rohn, 2014) By 1966, televisions in the household exploded to 93%. (Rohn, 2014) The average American household owned television and watched the news. Many saw the war for what it was—hell. Public support continued to wane. In January 1968, the Vietcong launched a surprise attack called the Tet Offensive. Although US Forces repelled the ambush, they were surprised that the Vietcong were capable of an ambush four years into the war. This was officially the turning point of American morale towards the war. This along with the My Lai massacre exacerbated the growing anti-war sentiment on the home front and further divided the nation over the continuing American presence in Vietnam. Americans felt the war was lost.

The war officially ended in April 30, 1975. 1.6 million Soldiers served in combat; 300,000 came home physically wounded with many more mentally broken (Chambers, Whiteclay, & Anderson, 1999). The returning Soldiers did not receive the welcoming fanfare as their WWII brethren did. Things were different now. The American public shunned the Soldier. Soldiers came home to an America that saw the atrocities of war on television news right in their living rooms every night. That post combat prestige was
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Many lost faith in the United States government. The treatment of the Soldier by the government was an embarrassment. The treatment of the Soldier by the public was shameful. Since then, the US Soldier has been reaching to attain that post WWII level of prestige. We have many programs to help Soldiers returning from combat to help homelessness, mental, and physical disabilities. The media is still at the forefront of what the military does. They depict Soldiers as professionals now. The military is an all-volunteer force. Due to that, it is full of people who want to protect the nation, serve the people honorably, and defend our freedoms. Today we are very aware of our public sees us because without public support, the war is
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