The Vietnam War And Its Impact On American Society

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The Vietnam War
Millions suffered. Nearly sixty thousand died. Hundreds of thousands protested. The Vietnam War, an event considered to be one of the most important in U.S. history, became one of the most controversial as well. It was the longest battle fought in American history, lasting from Nov 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975. The Vietnam War tainted America’s prideful self-image, becoming the first time the United States had ever failed in accomplishing its objective in war – preserve an independent, noncommunist government separate from the U.S. This war also had a heavy impact on the American public. It was the first to be nationally broadcast on television, allowing civilians to witness the horrors of the battlefield, skewing their
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As a result, the U.S. government sent financial aid to the French, in an effort to help eliminate the Vietminh, as well as to South Vietnam to help build the Army Republic of Vietnam. With the growing threat of communists taking over all of Indochina, the United States was gradually pulled further into conflict, eventually sending in troops to aid South Vietnam’s army, and fully engaging in what would become America’s longest-lasting war.
Despite decades of effort, billions upon billions of dollars, and the lives of 58,000 soldiers (and countless more injuries), the United States was not able to achieve its objective. A number of factors contributed to this failure. The enemy was difficult to identify, combat was not fought between conventional forces. The Viet Cong struck by ambush, often at night, and blended in with Vietnamese peasants. Although they hit their target, American bombing campaigns were ineffective and failed to convince the North Vietnamese to surrender, also causing the death of innocents. However, by far the largest influence was a lack of support from the public. When the war first began, it was mostly agreed that defending South Vietnam from communist forces was in the nation’s best interest. In fact, only two members of congress voted against waging war in Vietnam (“The Vietnam War”). As the war dragged on and the number of
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