Values and Belief
Towards the beginning of the war the public was against the was but wasn't outspoken about it. It was only over time that people were outspoken and violent about the war. America wasn't too fond of the war because men were being randomly drafted for a war they didn't want to fight. The war was televised and broadcast throughout Americans homes showing them the harsh gruesome truth behind the war. People of all ages and ethnicity protested the war mainly at universities.
America took an approach of technology into the war. They were using a search and destroy tactic as apposed to Vietnam's Guerrilla Warfare tactics. Troops traveled on foot looking for the Vietcong while being watched over head by aircraft's in case they were ambushed which they frequently were, being easily visible. The US fought using B52 bombers, artillery, helicopters, Napalm B and Agent Orange. These tactics lead to the loss of many innocent Vietnamese citizens lives. The Vietcong used a more discrete approach ambushing Americans, setting booby traps, bombs, and even dressing up as civilians surprising the US. The Vietcong had an advantage of knowing the area so they had an easier time getting weapons to their army.
Americas home front was very unsupportive of the war. They were just adjusting back to normal life after the second World War. They felt that the draft wasn't right and shouldn't take place because people were finding ways out of it making it unfair. This was also the first war that required a draft to recruit soldiers. The war organized many riots, anti war organizations and protests
During the war times music became another form of protests. Artists felt they could express their feelings in a more influential and entertaining way through their music. Many anti-war rock bands grew to fame during these dark times of war. In 1969 the Woodstock Music Festival was one of the most influential music events that spread the message of peace.
President Eisenhower set up the Domino Theory to be a main propaganda to fire up US citizens for the war. The Domino Theory basically said that if one country came under communist influence or control, its neighboring countries would soon follow in a domino effect. It convinced everyone that the fall to communism would we a big threat to the world. Live debates were held and war posters were posted everywhere as well as this being the first war to be publicly broadcast. As well as propaganda to join the war their was also anti-war propaganda from the public. The infamous Uncle Sam saying, "I want you," was used in this wars propaganda.
This was the first war where people felt that they actually had a voice and they could stand up for what they believed in. Many anti-war protests and riots were held at universities mainly held by Students for a Democratic Society and all over cities by the public because they apposed the war. Anti-war music, posters, and groups were very famous during the war giving people a voice to stand up for what they believed in.
The Vietnam War was the first war to be publicly broadcast. It showed all the family's back home what war life was like and all the hardships our soldiers were going through. Soldiers who didn't all voluntarily join the war but were chosen by the draft. People back home were able to see how the war was going and how the US wasn't doing well.
The wars need for products strained our production factories. Factories that were meant to make other products such as goods and foods were now being used for the war. The money spent on the war also affected our economy taking away money we needed for other things. The Vietnam war completed got rid of our economic boom we had from the second World War.
Government and Foreign Policy
The US government believed that the key to winning this war was media control and propaganda. They didn't have the support of the public which may have been a factor to why we didn't win. The war made the public distrust the government and the draft had the public furious.
During the Vietnam war about one third of all American troops were drafted and not volunteers. Because of this, most of all Americans were against the draft especially because they were against the war. Some even tried getting out of the war through injuries or other excuses such as marriage, children and college. This outraged other citizens and the people trying to avoid the war were called, "Draft Dodgers". Draft lotteries were also held by selecting people based on their birthdays.
Back home the war was being televised in homes nationwide terrifying families. Families put a lot of pressure on their sons to stay out of the war anyway they could. They were also holding protests against the war back at home doing everything they thought they could to end it. Families were less likely to be split up by the war because if you were married or had kids your chances of being drafted significantly dropped.
Re-integration into Society
War veterans had a tough time adjusting back into society having witnessed deaths and losing loved ones with a total of 58,226 deaths in the war. Many veterans struggled from mental and physical injuries after the war that were sometimes permanent. Many of the veterans also became drug addicts during the war and began relying on them to feel normal when they arrived back home. Everyday life was hard because they were used to being on edge at all times and even slight noises could trigger their past or make them duck and cover.
The Vietnamese war started over a conflict of Communism in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese Communist government and Vietcong were fighting for communism while the non Communist South Vietnamese government and the US were fighting against Communism. There was a struggle between French colonial forces and native Vietnamese citizens supported by Chinese communists which also sparked the Vietnam war. The US joined to help the French fight against Communism but when the French backed out the US were forced to fight alone.
African Americans were being discriminated against back at home but were also a large part of the war. Black soldiers embraced black power culturally and politically. The Vietnam war was the first war that races fought together and not in segregated groups even thought there were still a few. Black Americans consequently trusted that if they defended democracy abroad they were more likely to receive it at home. African Americans decided to forget the past and their differences while fighting in the war and fight as a family not as segregated groups. Some even thought that the U.S. government was using the war as a for of genocide for African Americans.