The Vietnam War Era Of American History

1700 Words Oct 26th, 2015 7 Pages
Stanley Karnow describes the Vietnam War era of American history as “…a tragedy of epic dimensions…”1 and it is fair to postulate that this is no understatement. One of the more pertinent ramifications of the Vietnam War was the deconstruction of fundamental, if somewhat illusory, American conceptions and ideals. The war shattered America’s hitherto unshakeable “confidence”2 in its political hegemony, military prowess and assumed authority in world order, i.e. “…its moral exclusivity, its military invincibility and manifest destiny…”3 The war that was never officially declared is one that American society and culture would rather unofficially forget. Karnow argues: “…in human terms…the war in Vietnam was a war that nobody won - a struggle between victims…”4, moreover to augment this standpoint, I would argue that another significant and concurrent victim of the Vietnam War was, and still is, the truth. Memory is an intrinsic and integral facet of human existence, crucially affecting every aspect of our character, actions, emotions and experiences. Furthermore, as Marita Sturken suggests, “…memory establishes life’s continuity…and provides the very core of identity….”5, furthermore cultural memory is “…memory shared outside the avenues of formal historical discourse yet is entangled with cultural products and imbued with cultural meaning…”6 Therefore, it would be logical to assume that American cultural memory innately presupposes American cultural identity. In the…

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