Vietnam War & Culture By: erin barker

VALUES & BELIEFS: The values and beliefs of many Vietnamese people are highly conservative and straight forward. Vietnamese people are required to follow the four tenets. These "things to live by" include, allegiance to the family, a love for learning, a yearning for a good name in society, and respect for other people. Males are often expected to strive to be the pride in their family, while women strive to serve their families. As beliefs go in Vietnam, Buddhism is the most widely spread religion. Founded in China, and spread to Vietnam in the second century A.D. , the Buddhist religion spread quickly throughout Vietnam families. Buddhism is known for following the path of nirvana, and being able to "rebirth" yourself, through meditation.

TACTICS: The Vietnam Communists are known as the Vietcong and fought in the Guerrilla War. The Vietcong group disguised themselves within the Vietnamese people, endangering society because they placed booby traps and hidden bombs. Vietnam is best known for their bomber planes, and their guerrilla warfare. The People's Liberation Armed Forces provided most of their battle forces with what was needed.

HOME FRONT: The people of America were very unsupportive of the Vietnam war. The world was just calming down with World War ll just ending, and life was finally beginning to go back to normal. Americans did not support the draft, and they thought it was politically wrong for the United States to be involved with Vietnam. This caused many riots, and anti war organizations throughout society. All in all, America was a bit of a mess on the home front, due to differing opinions and the demand for weaponry made economic issues arise.

MUSIC: In the 1950's music flourished, the influence from the radio created a mass market for music. Classic pop, rock and roll, and swing style music became known as "popular". Most would say that without the influence of music in the time of war, societies would fall apart. Music brought a new way to express your thoughts and feelings to the world. With all the riots, shootings, and protests, causing disagreement and negative energy across the two countries, music brought peace throughout the nation. It was a much more peaceful way to share your thoughts and views on certain topics in society without offending anyone or causing death.

PROPAGANDA: In the United States, propaganda was a huge way to help promote the war. Since the citizens of the United States did not support the draft, it was important to use propaganda to help society believe it was better than it seemed. In Vietnam, propaganda was just as powerful, and useful. The overall, goal of propaganda was to gain support for the war.

This is a Vietnam propaganda poster, as you can see its written in Vietnamese. This is promoting the war, and their goal is to gain support from their people.
This is an example of propaganda in America. As you can see, it's trying to persuade people to enroll in the military and be apart of the war.

PROTESTS: Most protests going on at the time were related to how the citizens of the United States didn't want to be involved in the war. Anti-war marches and protests organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) gained a lot of support from the public over the next three years. When Tet Offensive by North Vietnamese troops proved that the war was nowhere near ending, protests in 1968 peaked even higher.

MEDIA: The role of media during the Vietnam War is a subject of controversy. Some say the media was reporting negative aspects about the war, while others say the media was helping promote it. The reason why the media was so important during this time was because the United States needed all the support they could get from their people. The media also had uncensored coverage being reported, which gave information to the enemy, Vietnam. This gave them an advantage, unfortunately.

ECONOMICS: The Vietnam war had some effects on the U.S. economy. The requirements for the war, created a problem with production capacities, leading to imbalances in the industrial section. Factories that were supposed to be making consumer goods, had to make military goods instead. This means that the economy lacked a healthy amount of resources for it's people. The government was having fund issues because all of the government's money had to go overseas. Since no funds were being returned, the economy couldn't fund anything. The value of the dollar lowered, as interest rates sky rocketed. The Vietnam War was a important factor in bringing down the American economy from the growth in the 1960's to the economic crisis of the 1970's.

As you can see through this graph, the demand or military goods continue to increase. The industrial production capacity sky rocketed, with only one short fall in 1968.

GOVERNMENT/FOREIGN POLICY: In 1947 President Harry Truman addressed Congress, saying that we need U.S. aid to be promoted to anti-Communists in Asia. "At the present moment in world history," President Harry S. Truman proclaimed, "nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life." The U.S. government was not favored during the Vietnam War considering most of U.S. citizens didn't have the resources they needed to thrive, due to the high demand for warfare. In Vietnam, nothing was any better. Their citizens were not happy with the government either, and the demand for warfare was so high that resources were too low for the economy. Our goal was so modernize the South Vietnamese society, trying to contain communism.

THE DRAFT: On December 1, 1969, the Selective Service System of the United States conducted two lotteries to determine the order of call for all men born in 1944-1950. These drawings took place just before World War ll all the way till 1973. The draft came to an end in 1973 due to it being abolished. In the Vietnam War, two thirds of the participating American troops were volunteered, while the remaining troops were selected from the draft. Local draft boards had the power to determine who would attend war and who wouldn't. This caused a lot of disagreement and riot in the U.S., because many thought it was wring to take someone out of their path to attend war, and risk their life.

This comic is a visual of how the people felt about the draft. This was publicized in newspapers and magazines.

FAMILY ROLES: In Vietnam culture, family was the first priority. If you were a man, you were expected to represent your family's name in an impressive way. The draft in Vietnam went over much more smoothly, considering Vietnamese families wanted their men to fight and give it their all. It was seen more of as an honor to serve then a negative thing. In America, the draft was not supported but rather necessary. Families wanted their men to stay home and create a living for their future families in America with a substantial job. The draft wasn't the ideal image of the American Dream. All in all, serving in the war wasn't everyone's first choice but it payed off in the end as something honorable and rewarding.

RE-INTEGRATION INTO SOCIETY: When soldiers were sent off to fight for wars, the most exciting rewarding time was when you got to return home. However, most soldiers and families fantasized it more than it should've been. Soldiers/vets, suffered from PTSD and struggled living in a normal, safe environment without having to defend themselves with weaponry. Famous and spouses of the soldiers had to learn how to manage without them for long periods of time so when they came home they felt unneeded and unworthy. This caused depression and anger in many of the vets daily lives. Throughout history, soldiers returning from combat have struggled with reestablishing relationships, and often have to part form their families completely due to their inability to not be traumatized by the combat the experienced. Re-integrating soldiers back into the societies they came from was more than difficult, not only for them but for the families as well.

PURPOSE: The North Vietnamese government and Vietcong were fighting to reunify Vietnam. The U.S. government viewed it's involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was the main purpose of the war, and why the United States wanted to get involved. However, it was one of the most expensive wars in American history, and caused everyone involved mental and physical distress. This war left American people in confusion, but we needed to stop communism from spreading.

RACE EQUALITY: When the Vietnam war escalated, President Johnson failed to realize how the American involvement would create racial nightmares all across Vietnam. Vietnam coincided with the protests from The Civil Rights Movement, and the rise of black power during the 1960's. While African-Americans were discriminated against at home in the U.S., those behaviors transferred to the war zone. This caused more of an issue within the draft, and caused conflict when the war zone needed team efforts. Luckily, black soldiers embraced the movement going on and tried to treat the situation respectfully, and were happy to be involved in something culturally and politically.



Created with images by manhhai - "People & Faces During the Vietnam War" • manhhai - "BEN TRE 1968 - Photo by Wilbur E. Garrett" • manhhai - "Lang Vei 1971" • manhhai - "Vietnam War Era Photo" • manhhai - "1951 Vietnam War Propaganda Poster - Trường Huấn-Luyện KHÔNG QUÂN VIỆT-NAM" • Boston Public Library - "Join the army air service. Be an American eagle!"

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