Gorillas In the Jungle By Chase Matthews

1954 was the day the Vietnam War began. Communism was spreading through southeast Asia and it got to a point where the U.S.A felt they need to step in and they did. The Soviet Union and the U.S.A couldn't risk going into full on war or nuclear war so they fought in a way "through" the Vietnam War. The USSR help by supplying funds for the Vietnamese army who was fighting the U.S.A

Values and Beliefs

Many believed that the U.S.A should have not gone to war with Vietnam for they believed it was not our war to fight. Others believed we needed to get right in there and stand against the oppressing force of communism that was finding its way into Vietnam. Even before war was discussed this time period had a huge movement of peace protest happening. From Woodstock and the Beetles the ideology of no violence and pro peace made many people very against the fact we went to fight. Others believed we had a responsibility to stand up against the communist movement. However with that said after seeing the devastating impact the war had many peoples views changed.

Here are multiple examples of the massive protest that flooded the U.S.A after when entered the war. The reaction was extremely intense.
Protest March

Tactics of Guerilla Warfare

  • Tunnel Cities / Hidden Bases
  • Multiple small attack groups opposed to one large one
  • Stealth Ops (use of camoflauge and natural resources to hide from the enemy and attack them in complete stealth)
  • The U.S.A used the native american soldiers to speak their native language so the enemy could not pick up intel when they tapped the communication lines.
Here are visual examples of how tunnels and fox holes were used to sneak up on enemies. These were very effective and used a lot by the Vietnamese.
This is one example of a booby trap used during war. It is a very simple design but very deadly. When soldiers would hike through the jungle if they were not careful one step could blow them to oblivion.
Soldiers wading through a swamp in Vietnam.

The Homefront

Many soldiers came back from war and were homeless. Businesses did not allow the veterans to work for them and many hotels would not allow to even stay there. The movie "Rambo" shows this first hand. The story shows how a soldier (John Rambo; picture above) when he passes through a small town he is arrested just for the fact he is a veteran. The police officers torture and abuse him. This is an extreme yet realistic example of the rejection these soldiers faced.

Although there was a lot of backlash many people were so excited to have their loved ones home. The soldiers more than anyone wanted to come home and as shown in the picture above, got very creative with counting the period of time they were gone.

Music

The country was completely divided during the war however music brought everyone together, especially the soldiers. From Bob Dylan to James Brown genres differed from dance music to country and everything in between. But no matter the type of music it touched the hearts of soldiers even on the battlefield. They would play guitars and sing or listen to the radio back at base camp to get away from the chaos around.

This was an anthem they came out of the Vietnam War and is iconic today.
This is an amazing tribute to every veteran that served in the Vietnam War and speaks volumes to the importance of music and the large impact it had.

Propaganda

Propaganda was used very much through out the Vietnam War. There was much propaganda put out trying to influence people to support the war and to rise up against it. From getting the boys to believe girls liked the guys who would refuse to fight or saying how we should be spreading love not war it came out in many ways. Then on the opposite side you have Uncle Sam recruiting every young and abled body man around the U.S.A to fight against communism. Either way, no matter what you believed there was constant noise telling you to believe one way or another.

Protest

The protest that happened because of the U.S. going to war was absolutely wild. Over 100,000 people marched on Washington D.C. to speak out against our involvement in the war. Then 50,000 of those people marched all the way to the Pentagon to continue to protest. This one just one of so many protest that filled the country after we entered the war.

Media

  • Radio
  • Newspaper
  • Television
The Vietnam was televised. Families gathered around the TV to watch live coverage of the war. We see a family doing just that along with a field reported above. The LIFE magazine also is a great example of how the war consumed the media.

All of these media platforms were major parts of society during the war. Newspapers constantly came up with new creative titles to create a buzz about the war or certain things about it. Then the radio came more into play as the war progressed. In the beginning media didn't have much interest in the war what so ever. Then as controversy began to build around the war the media latched onto it. This sky rocketed the use of TV's crossed the states. News channels had live coverage of the war itself. This was the first time in history people got to see first hand what the devastation of war looked like.

Economics

The war critically hurt the U.S.A in an economic sense. It cost $770 billion for the entire war. Due to the high demand of so many things the capacity of what we could make was overflowing. This made the whole industrial sector unbalanced.

These charts help us understand the huge impact the Vietnam war had on our economy.

Government and Foreign Policy
  • The U.S.A stood against the USSR and communism
  • Communism was an oppressing force that was led by dictators unlike the democracy the U.S.A had and fought for where the people are the ones with the power and choice
  • "Vietnam Syndrome" was born. Which was the belief how the U.S. government should not be getting involved in wars that they are not directly related to. People were very worried if we continued to fight every time something happened we didn't like, we would need up becoming destroyed ourself.
An example of the large group of people who stood against the U.S.A. going to fight in the Vietnam War. These same people were the same people who protested against the government, worried this would be a repeating occurrence.

The Draft

366 blue plastic capsules contained the birthdays that would be chosen in the first Vietnam draft lottery drawing on December 1, 1969. The first birth date drawn that night, assigned the lowest number, “001,” was September 14.
This was how they chose who would be drafted and in which order. Find your birthday in the chart below to see what order you would have been called to service. ( I would have been the 201st)

The draft was sadly not new to the United States. WW1 and WW2 both had a draft which took every able bodied young man and placed a rifle in his hand and dog tags around his neck. These men were from so many different walks of life but they all met on the front lines. 25% percent of our forces were draftees.

Draftees getting physicals done

Family Roles

  • Anyone that was male and over the age of 18 in good health went to fight
  • 90% of females became nurses, air traffic controllers, etc
  • Those who were too young or too old stayed home and continued work
  • Lastly if you chose to go to college you did not have to be drafted. Many found this to be a much better option than fighting.
No matter which side you were on families were directly impacted by this horrific war.

Getting Back Into Society

After the horrific events the soldiers had seen and things they had been through getting back to normal society was very difficult for them.

Going from jungles filled with booby traps and enemy soldiers ready to do whatever they need to do to hurt you to the streets of America where everyone cares more about the way they look than anything else was very difficult. No one understood what the men saw who served in Vietnam. They treated them terribly which is terrible because they choose to serve for the country and all of the people hating on them for it.

Purpose

It was a much easier war for the men who wore suits and ties than it was for the mean who wearing fatigues and carried a rifle. For the men in suits sitting in the comfort of the offices were quick to say let's fight communism. However the men who were on the front lines actually fighting communism thought very differently. These men are shown in the middle photo and to the right is President Johnson.

Robert W. Welch, was an American businessman, political activist, and author. He was independently wealthy following his retirement and used that wealth to sponsor anti-Communist causes. This video displays him talking about the purpose and meaning behind our involvement in the war.

Race Relations

Many of the African American community was very upset that we spent so much time fighting people who never had messed with us oppose to fighting the racism that had flooded the U.S.A.

Black soldiers were the ones sent to the front lines but still looked down upon by many white people. These men served the country just as much if not more as the white soldiers. Here is an interview with the soldiers who experienced this first hand.

Citations

  • History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
  • Spector, Ronald H. "Vietnam War." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 09 Mar. 2017. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
  • Hale, Mike, Jan Barry, Maurice Isserman, James Wright, Ronald Steinman, DAVID J. GARROW, Julia Wallace, Wayne Schell, Elizabeth Herman, As Told to TONG THI XUYEN, Hedrick Smith, Maureen Ryan, H.D.S. GREENWAY, ROBERT J. THOMPSON, Mark Atwood Lawrence, Sean Fear, Amber Batura, and MARK K. UPDEGROVE. "Vietnam War." The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Apr. 2017. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
  • PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
  • Guerrilla Warfare and War of Attrition - The Vietnam War. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
  • "Vietnam War Fast Facts." CNN. Cable News Network, 27 Apr. 2017. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
  • "Statistical Information about Casualties of the Vietnam War." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
Created By
Chase Matthews
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