The Vietnam War Tara Trap

American Beliefs

America's Views

The American government wanted to prevent other areas of the world to fall under communist influence.

Most people liked the idea of American troops in Vietnam until what was actually going on started to become televised. This was the living room war fought. Living room meaning everything about the war was being documented and sent back home for families across the country to watch.

People began to protest the war because of the endless violence and devastation it brought upon the citizens of Vietnam and American troops. This was the first chemical war as well. Most people in the U.S. saw the war as aimless and unwinnable.


Guerrilla Warfare

Map of a section of Vietnamese guerrilla tunnels

The Vietnam war was the first war we as Americans saw Guerrilla Warfare. Guerrilla warfare refers to small conflicts in which small groups of soldiers ambush and eliminate their enemy. Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese revolutionary leader who ordered a 200 mile long tunnel system to be dug in order to aide the guerrilla fighters to ambush the American infantry without being detected before hand.

The American government thought they could win the war using traditional tactics. They started the war out thinking they would win by conquering the most land. They discovered that this was not the way the Vietnamese were fighting. They found that whomever killed more troops would win the war. American troop excelled with these tactics. They killed almost twice as many men as they lost. Although they excelled at this, it raised a lot of protest back home.

A trap used by the Vietnamese guerrilla fighters


As the war escalated, so did the tensions at home. Most people agreed with the America government's reasoning for sending troops into Vietnam, but as the war progressed, anger about the tactics used by both sides began to manifest. This anger lead to (often ill-led) protests about the tactics being used in Vietnam.


Many Americans protested the Vietnam war because of the draft, the endless violence, and the unimaginable devastation it brought upon American troops and Vietnamese citizens.

The protests started small among small groups of peace activists on college campuses, but gained public momentum in 1965. These protests started when the American government started bombing Vietnam. Chemical warfare was also being used and this was yet another thing to fuel the fire that was America's anger and rage about the seemingly unwinnable war.



The media in the United States became filled with propaganda against the Vietnam war as the war progressed. There were marches being help that were televised as well as the terror being brought upon everyone in Vietnam.

Everything that was happening in Vietnam was being mainstreamed straight back to the United States for families to witness right in their living rooms. This was the first "living room" war and that made it one of the most protested wars in American History.


Economic Consequences

While the Gross debt in percent of the GDP of the United States spiked during the war years, the Gross Debt in millions gradually rose years after the war.

The Vietnam war was cheaper than both World War II and the Korean War.

Factories that would have been making consumer goods, were manufacturing weapons for the war, causing a lot of controversy about the government's handling of economic policies.

Because funds were being sent overseas with no return of these funds, it made for a weak dollar. This war contributed greatly to inflation and the unraveling of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson's economic policies. This also lead to the decline of the American economy from the growth of the early 1960's to the rising economic crises of the 1970's.


Policies Changed

American foreign policy with any allies of the Soviet Union began to change during the Cold War. As the Cold War intensified, the American government hardened its foreign policies.

By 1955 President Eisenhower had pledged his firm support of south Vietnam.

Why We Entered the War

The American government entered the Vietnam war in order to prevent another region from falling into communist control. This reason was supported until the war tactics progressively escalated into something that was against the American moral compass.

The draft


To be eligible for the draft, any male from the ages of 18-25 had to register with the Selective Service Program. This was in case a draft needed to be instituted.

How and Why the Draft was Dodged

People would do practically anything to avoid getting drafted into the Vietnam war. Some would go without sleep for days and or take illegal drugs to make themselves looks entirely unhealthy. The American military is surprisingly strict about medical clearance. Men who didn't want to serve, would make up any kind of medical condition to get out of the draft

Men who had children and a family were lower in draft priority than those who were single and without children

Men would literally do anything to avoid being drafted. Anything includes being, or pretending to be homosexual. Those men who were afraid they would not be asked their sexuality, would wear woman's underwear to medial exams.

Family ROles

Wife's Role

"The waiting wife" is what many women felt they turned into when their husbands left for the Vietnam war. It was hard for women to do day to day activities without the company of their husband. They had no one to confide in that would understand what they were going through.

The abrupt change of having a husband come home everyday to not being able to roll over in bed and see his sleeping face when you've had a bad dream is unimaginably hard for a woman to go through.

One woman wrote about her experiences. The only advise she could get was from well meaning neighbors and a husband some 9,000 miles away. She felt helpless and frustrated with her husband across the globe.

Reintegration into society

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Vietnam veterans saw some pretty nasty, barbaric things happening during their service in Vietnam. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the triggering of flashbacks and or anxiety in someone after seeing something that reminds said person of some terrifying experience. This disorder is also classified as the failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.

The Vietnam war has long since been forgotten for many Americans along with the Veterans that fought in Vietnam. Imagine just graduating from high school, being shipped off to see guerrilla warfare, far from anything you had ever known. You are exposed to suffering, pain, stress, and hatred during the war. You've lost comrades in horrific ways during combat. You see all of this, get ripped from it and sent back home to be portrayed to the public as a deranged killer.

There was no "welcome home" parade for you or your comrades. There was no readjustment or deprograming of everything you were conditioned to do whilst at war. Instead you get spit on and discriminated against because "you can't control you aggression and you posses no morals."

This is what our veterans who had no choice but to serve came home to.


Why did we go to Vietnam?

The American government entered the Vietnam war because they feared the communist reign over another region. The American government had complete intentions of helping southern Vietnam. The American people were all for that idea in the beginning, but as the war escalated, so did the tactics used and this resulted in the growing anger at home.

Race equality

Civil Rights Movement

The Vietnam war had the most African American service men that any American fought war. 12.6 percent of the American army was made up of African American men, while 11 percent made up the American population. Most of the 12.6 percent made up infantry.

Many of the soldiers that went to Vietnam were frustrated by the slow progress of racial equality in the United States. The frustration of those draftees and volunteers led to many race riots on many ships and military bases. These riots resulted in interracial councils and racial sensitivity training.

Many of the African Americans soldiers believed that if they fought for democracy abroad they would receive it at home. The struggle had not only been seen with the Vietnam war, but it was more prominent than any other war waged by the American government.

Rumors began to circulate that the United States government was using the Vietnam war as a form of genocide. This was because people began to get frustrated with the money being pumped into Vietnam, leaving none for the poor black communities of the United States.

Although the American society has taken large steps to end discrimination, the steps have not been big enough. African Americans and all other minorities still endure discrimination to this day both in the armed forces and in everyday life.

Works Cited

Berry, Rachel. "Beliefs, Values and Lifestyles in Vietnam." N.p., 10 Dec. 2012. Web. 02 May 2017.

Bich Ngoc, Phá Giám Đốc at Tại Gia Pama Làm Giám đốc :v Follow. "American Belief and Values." LinkedIn SlideShare. N.p., 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 02 May 2017.

Guerrilla Warfare and War of Attrition - The Vietnam War. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017. Staff. "Vietnam War Protests." A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 02 May 2017.

"11 Ways People Dodged the Vietnam Draft." We Are The Mighty. N.p., 25 May 2016. Web. 02 May 2017.

News, ABC. "What Is the Draft and How Does It Work?" ABC News. ABC News Network, 23 June 2005. Web. 02 May 2017.

Vietnam War and the American Economy. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

"I Was a Waiting Wife during Vietnam War 40 Years Ago." Daily Kos. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

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

African Americans in 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.

Created By
Student Tara Trap


Created with images by manhhai - "1966 Crew Chief Mans Machine Gun Aboard U.S. Helicopter" • bill.showalter - "Amity Presbyterian Church" • manhhai - "US military casualties at Hue during the VC Tet offensive - Jan-Feb 1968" • Seattle Municipal Archives - "Mr B's Hamburgers, 1954"

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