Culture of war |vietnam| Lauren Carmack


  • The practice of self-immolation by Vietnamese monks was not new; for centuries, Buddhist monks had participated in these acts of suicide, often performed in political protest. But in the United States, such self-sacrifice was unimaginable. The American press published graphic images of Thich Quang Duc's charred body enveloped in flames, and Americans were horrified. But many also responded with great sympathy for the martyred monk. For those on both sides of the political debate over American involvement in Vietnam, Quang Duc's protest illustrated the deep divisions within South Vietnam.
  • Though many Americans eulogized the Vietnamese monk for his righteous sacrifice, most did not award the same compassion to anti-war martyrs closer to home.
  • "Great loss of life and human suffering caused by the war in Viet Nam. He was protesting our Government's deep military involvement in this war." ~Morrison
American Protesters
Poster of Monk
Monk sitting in fire


  • Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military.
War Tactics
A Vietnamese Soldier


  • During the Vietnam War major developments occurred in the Executive Branch of the United States government. Toward the beginning of American involvement in Vietnam, a new president took office due to the assassination of Kennedy.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was created as a result of the act and it included gender in the list of categories protected against discrimination. This greatly affected the view of the American people concerning politics for now far more people were able to vote and also blacks were much closer to being equal with whites.
  • The hippie movement was one of the few downsides to the Vietnam War.
  • Another movement taking place in the home front during the Vietnam War was the rise of “Black Power.” (Malcolm X).
American Protesters
American Protesters


  • Bob Dylan recorded the song “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” The lines “There’s a battle outside/and it’s ragin’/it’ll soon shake your windows/rattle your walls” are an obvious reference to the Vietnam War.
  • John Lennon, an ex-band member of the popular rock group The Beatles, recorded a song called “Give Peace a Chance” in 1969.
  • In addition, the August 1969 Woodstock Music festival is arguably the most influential musical event that spread the message of peace towards the close of the decade. Billed as “Three days of peace and music,” the event attracted several thousand concertgoers, mostly due to its vast lineup of several well-known rock artists. Perhaps the most memorable act came from influential rock guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix when he played a searing rendition of America’s national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
  • The August 17 performance, which lasted just under five minutes, featured Hendrix manipulating his guitar’s sound by employing distortion and whammy-bar techniques. The end result was a remarkably realistic imitation of several war sounds, including machine gunfire and explosions. Just over halfway through the performance, Hendrix briefly plays the “Taps,” which is what the American Military plays during an honorary burial. By getting his anti-war message out through the unique manipulation of his guitar, Hendrix appealed to the thousands of concert-goers who came together for peace.
Crowd at Woodstock
The Meaning of Woodstock


  • The Vietnamese would write scripts for their young women to read and broadcast to the American troops.
  • The US dropped billions of anti-communist leaflets over Vietnam. But it could not fully control the western press, and their raw, powerful coverage of Vietnam is credited with swaying US public opinion on the conflict.
  • A 500-W loudspeaker that was used to broadcast propaganda during the Vietnam War was kept as historical relic outside the Headquarter of the Voice of Vietnam in Hanoi
Speaker the Vietnamese used
Propaganda for the War


  • The movement against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War began small, but gained national prominence in 1965, after the United States began bombing North Vietnam.
  • Anti-war marches and other protests, such as the ones organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), attracted a widening base of support over the next three years.
More Protesters


  • The role of the media in the Vietnam War is a subject of continuing controversy. ... They argue that the media's tendency toward negative reporting helped to undermine support for the war in the United States while its uncensored coverage provided valuable information to the enemy in Vietnam.
  • What most undermined support for the war was simply the level of American casualties: the greater the increase in casualties, the lower the level of public support for the war.
  • The Vietnam conflict is often referred to as the “first television war.” Film from Vietnam was flown to Tokyo for quick developing and editing and then flown on to the United States. Important stories could be transmitted directly by satellite from Tokyo. There has been much discussion of the way television brought battles directly to American living rooms, but in fact most television stories were filmed soon after a battle rather than in the midst of one, and many were simply conventional news stories.
Many Americans during the War


  • The Vietnam War had several effects on the U.S. economy. The requirements of the war effort strained the nation's production capacities, leading to imbalances in the industrial sector. 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.
  • In addition, 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 and a weak dollar, since no corresponding funds were returning to the country. In addition, military expenditures, combined with domestic social spending, created budget deficits which fueled inflation.
  • Anti-war sentiments and dissatisfaction with government further eroded consumer confidence. 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.
Industrial Production Index
US Debt
Cost of the War


  • The Vietnam War affected the United States in many ways. Most immediately, it spurred policy changes. The United States ended the military draft and switched to an all-volunteer army. Congress passed the War Powers Resolution over Nixon's veto 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.
  • Beyond policy changes, the war in Vietnam changed the attitudes of a generation. First, the war increased caution about involvement in foreign affairs. After Vietnam, Americans more carefully weighed the risks of intruding in another nation's problems. Second, defeat in the war diminished American confidence in U.S. superiority, both moral and military. Defeat in Vietnam was a humiliating national experience.
  • Finally, 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—shattered a faith in the state that had prevailed since World War II. These events left citizens with a sense of cynicism: Government leaders were no longer credible. The abrupt end of Nixon's presidency only confirmed this sentiment.
Protesters of the Governemnt
JFK talking to Robert McNamara
Protesters describing the government


  • On December 1, 1969, the Selective Service System of the United States conducted two lotteries to determine the order of call to military service in the Vietnam War for men born from 1944 to 1950. These lotteries occurred during a period of conscription from just before World War II to 1973.
  • Men of draft age (between 18-25 years) still have to register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of the 18th birthday so a draft can be readily resumed if needed.
  • 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.
Young men protesting
Draft Lottery


  • "Although countless women served in the military during the war, no accurate record was kept so it is impossible to even begin to know the real number." (Vietnam Veterans of America, 1985)
  • The vast majority of women in the military served as Army nursed and other medical personnel.
  • As women were left home alone from men who were drafted or fled the country in order to escape the draft, suffered loneliness, anxiety and temporary loss of communication with their loved ones.
  • Many peoples families life suffered in the following years of the Vietnam war due to violence, lack of trust and PTSD of the veterans.
Family Roles
Women in the Vietnam War


  • When the American soldiers returned home from World War II in 1945, they were greeted as heroes in the United States. Cities and towns across the country held parades to honor the returning veterans and recognize the sacrifices they had made. But the homecoming was very different for most Vietnam veterans. They came back to find the United States torn apart by debate over the Vietnam War. There were no victory parades or welcome-home rallies. Instead, most Vietnam veterans returned to a society that did not seem to care about them, or that seemed to view them with distrust and anger.
  • "Men who fought in World War II or Korea might be just as haunted by what they had personally seen and done in combat," Arnold R. Isaacs writes in Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts, and Its Legacy. "But they did not come home, as the Vietnam vets did, to a country torn and full of doubt about why those wars were fought and whether they had been worthwhile. Nor did they return as symbols of a great national failure.
Soldier Wall
We Dem Boyz


  • The Vietnam War was the longest and most expensive war in American History. The toll we paid wasn't just financial, it cost the people involved greatly, physically and mentally. This war caused great distress and sadness, as well as national confusion. Everyone had that one burning question being why?
  • On the urging of the Soviet Union, Ho Chi Minh initially attempted to negotiate with the French, who were slowly re-establishing their control across the area. In January 1946, the Viet Minh won elections across central and northern Vietnam. On 6 March 1946, Ho signed an agreement allowing French forces to replace Nationalist Chinese forces, in exchange for French recognition of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a "free" republic within the French Union, with the specifics of such recognition to be determined by future negotiation. The French landed in Hanoi by March 1946 and in November of that year they ousted the Viet Minh from the city. British forces departed on 26 March 1946, leaving Vietnam in the hands of the French. Soon thereafter, the Viet Minh began a guerrilla war against the French Union forces, beginning the First Indochina War.
  • The war spread to Laos and Cambodia, where communists organized the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Serei, both of which were modeled on the Viet Minh. Globally, the Cold War began in earnest, which meant that the rapprochement that existed between the Western powers and the Soviet Union during World War II disintegrated. The Viet Minh fight was hampered by a lack of weapons; this situation changed by 1949 when the Chinese Communists had largely won the Chinese Civil War and were free to provide arms to their Vietnamese allies.


  • When the Vietnam War escalated and was wholeheartedly backed by the White House, President Johnson failed to realize the racial nightmare that American involvement in Vietnam would create. Vietnam coincided with the protests of the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Black Power during 1960s America. Whilst African-Americans were discriminated at home but also within the U.S. armed forces, the effects of black power, the impact of the Civil Rights struggle.
  • Amidst increasing tension, black soldiers embraced Black Power: culturally and politically. Vietnam was America’s first racially integrated conflict. Black soldiers had fought in all of America’s previous military encounters, but in segregated units.


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  • Staff. "Vietnam War Protests." A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 04 May 2017.
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  • "Vietnam War Draft." The Vietnam War. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017.
  • Spector, Ronald H. "The Vietnam War and the Media." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 04 May 2017.
  • Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Vietnam War Timeline of Important Dates." Shmoop. Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 04 May 2017.
  • "Foreign Policy, Vietnam War, and Watergate, The Impact of Vietnam." The Impact of Vietnam - Foreign Policy, Vietnam War, and Watergate - History - USA - North America: Usa History, Kent State, Shattered Faith, First War, Foreign Policy. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017.
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  • Gallagher, Brendan. The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017.


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