Vietnam War Sarah curtis


  • What is a tactic? an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end.
  • What was the U.S.'s tactic for the war?
  • They fought a hi-tech war, using B52 bombers, artillery, helicopters, napalm and defoliants (Agent Orange). This killed many innocent civilians, and failed to stop the Vietcong guerrillas.
  • They forced the peasants to leave Vietcong-controlled areas and made them live in defended strategic hamlets in loyal areas. This created immense opposition, and allowed Vietcong infiltrators into loyal areas.
  • American troops were sent on patrols, then supported by air and artillery when attacked. This demoralised the soldiers, who realised they were being used just as bait.
  • Search and destroy patrols went out looking for "Charlie", as they called the Vietcong. But the patrols were very visible, and easy to ambush. This led to atrocities such as "zippo raids" to burn villages, and the unprovoked massacre of peaceful villagers at My Lai in 1968.
  • What was Vietnam's tactic?
  • They fought a guerrilla war, ambushing US patrols, setting booby traps and landmines, and planting bombs in towns. They mingled in with the peasants, wearing ordinary clothes. The Americans couldn't identify who the enemy was.
  • They were supplied with rockets and weapons by China and Russia. They used the Ho Chi Minh Trail - a jungle route through Laos and Cambodia - to supply their armies. The Americans couldn't attack their supply routes without escalating the war.
  • Their tactic was "hanging onto the belts" of the Americans - staying so close to the Americans so they could not use air or artillery backup without killing their own men.


Due to the extreme lack of support for the war, life on the homefront was much different than before the war. Polarization was great between supporters and anti-war believers. Many anti-war organizations such as the Committee for Non-Violent Action and the Committee for Sane Nuclear Policy were formed in order to begin an anti-war movement. A majority of college students were pacifists and believed that the war was immoral. The anti-war movement caused a large amount of riots to begin. Rebellions caused violent protests and revolts, and many of American citizens were injured and even killed in these outbreaks. The people believed that the war was unnecessary and pointless, and this caused a large amount of tension and upheaval in the country.


At the time of the war, entertainment was very influential. Meaning at the time, everyone that could listened to the radio, watched the news on the tv, and listened to the songs that people wrote. During the war there were lots of people writing songs and expressing their opinions about the war and the things happening in Vietnam. Here are just a few of the songs written surrounding the war:


Propaganda ~ information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

During the war there was tons of propaganda going on. Most people were wanting to show that they were completely against the war, the army was trying to recruit people. It was all a mess.

Before President Johnson officially dispatched the first U.S. combat troops to Da Nang in March, 1965, the U.S. government had prepared the country for the war in Vietnam for a long time. The “Domino theory” coined by President Eisenhower in 1954 could be seen as the first propaganda effort to justify U.S. assistance for South Vietnamese government.


The protests were some of the worst and didn't help anything with the war. Most of the people that were not heading into the draft were completely protesting the war because they thought there were more peaceful ways to solve all the problems that the world was having. Even if it meant causing more problems, all of these people thought that what they were fighting for was worth it. These protests were called Anti-War Marches. Most of the protesters were colleges kids trying to fight for peace. That was until 1965 when the US started bombing North Vietnam in Earnest. That was when they gained their prominence. It was organized by SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), they kept doing what they were doing for 3 years until they hit their peak in early 1968 when the successful Tet Offensive by North Vietnamese troops proved that war’s end was nowhere in sight.

Here is just an example of what this looked like at the time: In August 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, and President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the retaliatory bombing of military targets in North Vietnam. And by the time U.S. planes began regular bombings of North Vietnam in February 1965, some critics had begun to question the government’s assertion that it was fighting a democratic war to liberate the South Vietnamese people from Communist aggression.

The Draft

The draft was during the war when there were not enough people to send over so they drafted men to go to Vietnam.

To be specific, the draft was 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.

Family Roles

During the war while the men were all at war, life was continuing at home and other family members were taking over and doing the jobs of the soldiers.

In Vietnam when the oldest male went off to war, the second oldest male would then take his place and be the leader of the house.

Re-integration into Society

A lot of these veterans dealt with things that no on should ever deal with and there were things that people misunderstood about how it was for these veterans coming back. Here are some things just clear the air:

PTSD ~ Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something that wasn't brought to peoples attention until the 1980's. So most people just thought that the veterans had more mental issues than they really did.

Mental Health ~ Most of the men that went to war had the same mental issues as some civilians but they were dealt with more of a "told you so" attitude since they were in a war that most of America didn't want to be in, in the first place.

Race Equality

The war was not too long after the civil rights movement and people were still getting used to having colored people in their everyday lives. During this time black people were 11 percent of the American population. It was the highest number of black people to serve in an American war so far. But instead of them making it a fair part on where the black people served they were pushed to the front of the lines to be the first to be killed in battle.

Works Cited


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