Vietnam Culture of War

Values/Beliefs

Americans were not supportive of the idea of a war and they believed it was morally and politically wrong to be involved with Vietnamese affairs. They believed the Vietnam war was a conflict that did not need to be fought about.

Tactics

The Vietnam tactics mainly consisted of harassing the U.S. forces in the southern areas of the country to weaken the morale of the American troops. The American tactics consisted of searching out and destroying controlled towns and taking out any insurgents who posed a threat. The Americans fought using better technology and better weapons, but the Vietnamese fought using ambushes and traps that were built up around there towns and would only fight head-on when victory was certain. Many of the U.S. soldiers could not tell the difference between the civilians and the enemy.

Homefront

Life on the home front was very tense and chaotic. There were a lot of anti-war organizations and protests. The United States did not think that they should be involved in the war and they thought it was pointless. A lot of people also didn't agree with drafting.

MUSIC

During the Vietnam war the music style ranged from protest music to music about peace love and harmony because of all of the disapproval towards the war. A popular song was “The Times They Are A-Changin’” written in 1963 by Bob Dylan who was a highly influential folk musician during this time.

Propaganda

Most of the propaganda during the Vietnam war was to get people to join the war. A lot of posters and political cartoons were used to persuade common opinions. Propaganda was part of the reason the U.S. lost the war because the Vietnamese had significantly more propaganda and so they had more soldiers fighting in the war.

Protests

"The anti-war movement began mostly on college campuses, as members of the leftist organization Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) began organizing “teach-ins” to express their opposition to the way in which it was being conducted. Though the vast majority of the American population still supported the administration policy in Vietnam, a small but outspoken liberal minority was making its voice heard by the end of 1965. This minority included many students as well as prominent artists and intellectuals and members of the hippie movement, a growing number of young people who rejected authority and embraced the drug culture."

Boxer Muhammad Ali was one prominent American who resisted being drafted into service during the Vietnam War. Ali, then heavyweight champion of the world, declared himself a "conscientious objector," earning a prison sentence (later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court) and a three-year ban from boxing.

Media

Many movies, video games, and books were based off of the war. Such as: Heart and Minds, Apocalypse Now, and Coming Home.

Economics

The Vietnam War had several effects on the U.S. economy. Factories that would have been producing consumer goods were being used to make items from the military, causing controversy over the government's handling of economic policy. The government's military spending caused several problems for the American economy. The funds were going overseas, which contributed to an imbalance in the balance of payments since no corresponding funds were returning to the country. In addition, military expenditures, and domestic social spending, created budget deficits which caused inflation. Interest rates rose, restricting the amount of capital available for businesses and consumers. Despite the success of many Kennedy and Johnson economic policies, the Vietnam War was a important factor in bringing down the American economy from the growth and affluence of the early 1960s to the economic crises of the 1970s.

Government/Foreign Policy

The Vietnam War spurred policy changes in the United States. The US ended the military draft and switched to an all-volunteer army. Congress passed the War Powers Resolution in November 1973. The resolution limited the president's ability to send troops into combat without congressional consent. Its passage reflected legislators' desire to restrain presidential power and to prevent U.S. involvement in a war like that in Vietnam.

The war increased caution about involvement in foreign affairs. After Vietnam, Americans more carefully weighed the risks of intruding in another nation's problems. Being defeated in the war shattered American confidence in the country, both moral and military. Defeat in Vietnam was a humiliating national experience.

The war increased mistrust of government and its officials. A chain of events beginning in the 1960s—such as the way Johnson obtained the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, revelations of secret bombings of Cambodia under Nixon, and the Kent State tragedy—these events shattered the trust of government officials in the US.

THE DRAFT

During the Vietnam War, about two-third of American troops were volunteered, the rest were selected for military service through the drafts. In the beginning of the war, names of all American men in draft-age were collected by the Selective Service System. When someone’s name was called, he had to report to his local draft board, which was made up of various community members, so that they could begin to evaluate his draft status. Then, local draft boards had an enormous power to decide who had to go and who would stay. Draft board members were often under pressure from their family, relatives and friends which decisions regarding potential draftees.

Family Roles

Women had a large role in the Vietnam war as well as men. The men most commonly were in combat during the war fighting for the country, and the women helped out by doing the other jobs necessary to the war besides fighting. Most women were nurses but some also served as traffic controllers, intelligence officers, physicians, or as foreign correspondents for various organizations. Since both parents were working in the war, many children didn't have the care and support they need from their parents.

The children that were born during the Vietnam War often times did not have the quality of life that they deserved. "They grew up as the leftovers of an unpopular war, straddling two worlds but belonging to neither. Most never knew their fathers. Many were abandoned by their mothers at the gates of orphanages. Some were discarded in garbage cans. Schoolmates taunted and pummeled them and mocked the features that gave them the face of the enemy—round blue eyes and light skin, or dark skin and tight curly hair if their soldier-dads were African-Americans. Their destiny was to become waifs and beggars, living in the streets and parks of South Vietnam's cities, sustained by a single dream: to get to America and find their fathers."(Lamb).

children at the Saigon orphanage

RE-INTEGRATION INTO SOCIETY

After the war many people married and continued their lives happily, but many people had to deal with PTSD, from all of the traumatic experiences they lived through during the war.

Purpose

The Vietnam war was fought because the South didn't want a communistic government. United States forces entered the conflict in support of the French in order to fight communism.

Race Equality

The Vietnam War was the first war that African Americans did not have to find in segregated units, however a small section of segregated units still existed. There were more African American soldiers in this war than in any previous war that the United States fought in. During the Vietnam war, Protest groups were formed such as the Congress of Racial Equality.C ORE initially embraced a pacifist, non-violent approach to fighting racial segregation, but by the late 1960s the group’s leadership had shifted its focus towards the political ideology of black nationalism and separatism.

Bibliography

Works Cited

The Causes of the Vietnam War. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

Gallagher, Brendan. The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

History.com Staff. "Congress of Racial Equality." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 02 May 2017.

History.com Staff. "Women in the Vietnam War." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2011. Web. 02 May 2017

"New American Nation." Encyclopedia of the New American Nation. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

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