Cultures of War - Vietnam By: Mads Armstrong

Donald Weiser - Vietnam War Veteran - Navy

REINTEGRATION INTO SOCIETY - Racism was a problem with the Vietnam War. Soldiers returning from the war were shunned, spit on and at, and were not welcomed very well back into society. My grandfather, Donald Weiser(pictured above) was in the Navy and a respected man. Upon returning home to my mother, uncle, and grandmother, he was shunned by neighbors, mailmen, grocery store staff and more. But how is any of this fair? He protected his country. He put his life on the line for his neighbors who spit at him when he walked down the street. But why? The Vietnam War was considered a disaster.

RACE EQUALITY - An decorated, African American war vet? Yes, this is real. 75 year old Melvin Morris was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. He was part of the Third Company, Third Battalion of the IV Mobile Strike Force Unit. He was awarded in 2014 with a Medal of Honor, presented to him by former president Barack Obama. He was presented this medal for rescuing an injured comrade and being shot three times while in the process of retrieving his fellow soldier. Sergeant Morris along with 21 other African Americans were Medal of Honor recipients in the Vietnam War. All recipients were Private First Class, Colonels, Lieutenants, Staff Sergeants, Captains, and more.

TACTICS - In terms of tactics, Americans used B-52 bombers, artillery, helicopters, napalm, and defoliants which failed to stop the Vietcong guerrillas and killed innocent civilians. Everybody knows about search and destroy tactics. And that is another thing the U.S. used. It was a search and destroy tactic and this led to “zippo raids” which led to burning and destroying innocent people and villages. These raids were all unprovoked and caused massacres of innocent people and villagers.

PROPAGANDA - Propaganda didn't get super involved in the Vietnam war until 1954 when President Eisenhower presented the "Domino Theory". This was seen as the first act of propaganda. The "Domino Theory" was a theory that speculated that if one country in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world.

PROTESTS - Protests happened quite frequently during the war. Anti-war protests and movements became fairly popular on college campuses. In the Gulf of Tonkin, after North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked two U.S. destroyers in August of 1964. Also, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the retaliatory bombing of military targets in North Vietnam.

MEDIA - At the beginning of the war, the press and media wasn’t too involved in The Vietnam War. Media got more involved with the war in 1960. From 1960 - 1964 the media got more into the war and when it reached the homes of people, it was rare that there was good news. Media during this time wasn't too helpful. With all of the media, it started to impact society, and not in a positive way. This turned into a matter of the government. And, after the Tet Offensive, military casualties became very aggressive and televised very often.

THE DRAFT - The draft was a system that boys of ‘draft age( 18-25)’ had to register for and were basically thrown into war. The draft system was abolished in 1973 but still today men have to register 30 days prior to turning 18 to the Selective Service System. Though all young men had to register for the draft, only one third of the men involved in the Vietnam War were selected and brought into the war by the draft - two thirds of them volunteered.

MUSIC - One of the most memorable moments of music during the Vietnam War was when Jimi Hendrix played the national anthem. In 1969, former Beatles member, John Lennon produced a song called “Give Peace a Chance”. Bob Dylan also produced a song called “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. In the 1960s, music was used as a forefront to speak out against war.

HOMEFRONT - People were not supportive of the Vietnam War. When soldiers would walk down the street, people would spit at and on them. The Vietnam War caused riots and antiwar organizations

PURPOSE - The Vietnam War caused riots and antiwar organizations. Viet Cong and North Vietnam were in a fight about reunifying Vietnam.

GOVERNMENT/ FOREIGN POLICY - The Vietnam War influenced foreign policy changes. Congress passed the War Powers Resolution in 1973. The War Powers Resolution or War Powers Act was and is a federal law that was put in place to check the president’s power to commit to the U.S. to an armed conflict without Congress Consent.

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