Culture of War By: Nicholas Neate

The Vietnam Was was the second longest war in the United States history, after the war in Afghanistan. But this war was different from all the others. This time the US lacked the support from their own public. As the war waged on and lives were lost with almost no progress to be seen the public became cautious of how America moved forward in the war. American soldiers on the other hand were going into someone else's home turf. And the public at home had to watch their soldiers go into battle and risk their lives as they sit down and eat dinner with the family. They had no other thought but trust no one and kill the enemy. American soldiers were reckless and began to bomb innocent people's lives.

The Americans fought a hi-tech war, using B52 bombers, artillery, helicopters, napalm, and defoliants. While Vietnam fought whats called a guerilla war, ambushing US patrols, setting booby traps and landmines, and planting bombs in the near towns. Vietnam was supplied with rockets and weapons by China and Russia. American troops were sent on patroles, then were supported by air and artillery when they were attacked and were forced to call for backup. The soldiers began to question their worth when they realized this tactic used them just as bait to draw out the enemy.

The movement against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War began small with peace activists and intellectuals on college campuses but only gained national attention in 1965, after the United States began bombing North Vietnam. Anti-war marches and other protests, attracted a widening base of support over the next three years, peaking in the late early 60s after the successful Tet Offensive by North Vietnamese troops proved that the war’s end was nowhere in sight.

The Vietnam War was accompanied by an anti-war soundtrack that touched on every tones like melancholy and touching, enraged and sarcastic, fearful and resigned, which captured the long demoralizing impact of this war. And like the anti-war movement itself, it began without a significant audience in the early sixties, but grew to a critical mass by the war’s termination. The vast majority of Vietnam War songs fell into the category of anti- rather than pro-war songs.

In the time of the war, people looked up to propaganda for a sense of direction. The posters broadcast party lines and government directives often about ideas, issues or events off-limits to the man on the street. Propaganda posters carried an immense spiritual value to the whole society and the community given the time period and the war that was happening. Propaganda was also used to sway the public one way or another. Making the public believe one thing to gain support was key.

Throughout the war, American never fully had the support of the American people. The reasons behind American opposition to the Vietnam War fell into several main categories such as the opposition to the draft, moral, legal, and arguments against U.S. intervention, and the reaction to the media that ended up portraying the devastation in Southeast Asia. Beyond opposition to the draft, anti-war protesters also made moral arguments against the United States' involvement in Vietnam. This argument against the war was popular among American college students, who were more likely than the general public to accuse the United States of having unreasonable goals in Vietnam and started to criticize the war as immoral.

The Vietnam War was one of the most publicized wars in all of American history. Thousands watched on their television as news anchors showed film and photographs of American and South Vietnamese soldiers fighting the Vietcong. Families in America would sit down to a family dinner and turn the television on and would be able to watch our American soldier get shot in battle and die on camera all while being in the comfort of their own home. Television, became the most important source of news for American people during the Vietnam era. As new technology progressed journalists and reporters were now able to take much more photographs and record video materials. At the beginning of the war, there was very little interest in the subject of the war but as the war raged on and more and more Americans were dying, the war seemed to find a new interest in the subject.

Vietnam War and the American Economy. 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. In addition, the government's military spending caused several problems for the American 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. Military expenditures, combined with social spending, created budget deficits which fueled inflation. 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 1960's to the economic crises of the 1970's.

As we take a look back on how the war went for America we are left with many questions such as what happened? What could've we done differently? Where did we go wrong? We realize that this loss was self inflicted and we completed played this the wrong way. The US government never fully used all of its assets. We held America back and never tried applying it's full range throughout the war. We now use the war as a tool in today's issues and use the war to get better in our strategy. We call it the "Vietnam Syndrome". We use it as a tool so we are remembered how the war ended and where we went wrong and how we look forward to fix all those problems

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. 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. Local draft boards had an enormous power to decide who had to go and who would stay

Once again, as the men go off to war many of the women and all of the children were left at home. The women would have to do anything they possible could to help support the family and the life that the men left behind. The children were also forced to flee to the streets for work to help mom out back at home. Families at home had to deal with the fact that their men may never come home to them again. They were faced with the cruel reality that they were to fiend for themselves until their men walked through that front door again. Children and women employment rates increased rapidly throughout the years and struggled to change as the war waged on and more and more American lives were being taken.

The Vietnam conflict impacted veterans in a variety of ways. Most combat soldiers witnessed violence and lost friends to the horrors of war. Some American veterans bore emotional and physical injuries that they would carry for the rest of their lives. According to a survey by the Veterans Administration, some 500,000 of the 3 million troops who served in Vietnam suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and rates of divorce, suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction were markedly higher among veterans. In contrast to World War II, American soldiers in Vietnam served individualized tours of duty rather than remaining attached to their units throughout the war. Which cause problems when they looked to be integrated back into society. The harsh realities of war were beamed in to households across America and around the world, and the resulting public backlash against governments and the veterans who fought under their instruction was identified as something to be avoided at all costs in the future.

The causes of the Vietnam War were derived from the symptoms, components and consequences of the Cold War. The causes of the Vietnam War revolve around the simple belief held by America that communism was threatening to expand all over south-east Asia. The Vietnam War was a long and costly conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Vietnam Cong, against South Vietnam and its ally, the United States. The war began after the rise to power of Ho Chi Minh and his communist Viet Minh party in North Vietnam and continued against an intense Cold War between two global superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. Neither the Soviet Union nor the United States could risk an all-out war against each other, such was the nuclear military might of both. However, when it suited both, they had client states that could carry on the fight for them. In Vietnam, the Americans actually fought that the USSR could not. However, to support the Communist cause, the Soviet Union armed its fellow Communist state, China, who would, in turn, arm and equip the North Vietnamese who fought the Americans.

The Vietnam War saw the highest proportion of blacks ever to serve in an American war but Vietnam began to coincided with the protests of the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Black Power during 1960s America. Before 1960, racial animosity had been negligible: black soldiers were professional and seeking a career. Moreover, for some Black soldiers, Vietnam provided an opportunity for escape from poor economic and social conditions at home. After years of discrimination, they viewed fighting in the war as an opportunity to prove their worth to their country. Draft boards themselves were, by their very nature, divisive and discriminatory: in 1967 no black Americans were present on the boards in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. But once black soldiers hit the grounds in Vietnam, they began to identify with the enemy: they saw the Vietnamese as, like themselves, victims of white colonial racist aggression. The participation of Americans of African descent in the U.S. military has a long and distinguished history. But although African Americans have participated in all American wars, they have sometimes faced almost as bitter a hostility from their fellow Americans as from the enemy.

Credits:

Created with images by dennisflarsen - "vietnam memorial soldiers bronze" • jensjunge - "military cemetery war memorial memorial" • manhhai - "Vietnam War 1966" • manhhai - "Vietnam War Era Photo" • manhhai - "Vietnam War - 1975 Soldier Ride Bike Saigon Fun Relax - Press Photo" • manhhai - "Vietnam war 1972" • manhhai - "1968 U.S. 1st Cavalry Trooper Reading Book near Phu Phuong" • manhhai - "Vietnam War Era - Photo by Bruno Barbey" • manhhai - "1969-1973 Vietnam War Peace Talks & Conferences" • manhhai - "1965 - U.S. Marine Carries Wounded Vietnamese Ranger" • manhhai - "Miscellaneous Photos Vietnam War" • Bernt Rostad - "Vietnam War Memorial Wall" • manhhai - "1966 U.S. 1st Infantry Soldier Kneels by Buddy's Pack on 4th of July" • manhhai - "Machine gunner scanning for hostiles while his helicopter is on patrol over the Mekong Delta. 1967 Long An"

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