The Vietnam War and America
America was entering the war with Vietnam after America’s intense victory over the Axis Powers. To this point in history America had been undefeated at war; but that was about to change. The Vietnam war not only divided America of opinions, but had a major impact on the economy, culture, and foreign policy. The Vietnam War would change history for America even to this day.
Role of Media
Since the creation of electronics, the media has changed the course of history with instant news whether it’s for an election or a war. In 1964, a survey was conducted and produced the statistics that 58% of Americans get their news from television. Then, just a couple years later in 1966, 93% of Americans had a television available in their home. With this new technology, the reporters were now able to publish to the public uncensored pictures and videos of the war. These pictures and videos showed the gruesome effects of the war and changed the way most Americans thought of the war. At the beginning of the war, the media wasn’t focused on the war until many civilians were killed. After the Tet offensive the media’s popularity increased and the American view of the war completely changed. The media started producing more gruesome and negative photos. This highly decreased the support from American citizens. The main thing that came to mind when they thought about Vietnam was why we were helping a country across the globe. I believe that the American people deserve to know the facts of the war and how gruesome the war was. When this finally happened, it completely changed the way they felt about the war and started to protest to get their voices heard. This is the way I think every issue should be dealt with. The media today is all about censoring out things to the point where we, American citizens, don’t know the true story on issues.
Throughout the Vietnam War politics was constantly changing; whether it was presidential powers or foreign and domestic policies. Before the Vietnam War, the power of the president was increasing and continues to increase throughout the war. One example of this it the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. In this resolution, the legislative branch showed the increasing presidential power by granting President Lyndon B. Johnson use of conventional military force at his discretion. Contrary to this, later Congress passed the War Powers Resolution that stated the president couldn’t send troops into combat for more than 90 days without Congressional consent. I believe that the president should be able to make instant decisions like this without confronting the congress unless America is declaring war or is “fighting” with another country for more than 90 days. Throughout this time, America’s foreign and domestic policies were changing. Towards the beginning of the war Congress lowered the voting age to 18 to try and help implement the draft. This does not work however, draft dodgers and protesting against the draft increased until Congress changed the military to completely pure volunteer based. The American people also grew major distrust in their government and was protesting the war. To make matters worse was the abrupt ending of Nixon’s presidency due to the Watergate Scandal only proved that officials couldn’t be trusted. The American people were also seeing the negative of war and being more cautious of going into war with other countries. Finally, the defeat in the Vietnam war greatly decreased moral and humiliated the United States.
Protest and Tensions
At the beginning of the war there was very little protest against the war and didn’t get serious until 1965. This was when the United States started regular bombings of Vietnam. The anti-war movement was held mostly on college campuses by student organization like the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). An example of these protest is the Kent State Protest of 1970. During this protest, four students were killed and nine injured when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a group of protesters. This shows the tension and dangers of protesting against the government during this intense time in history. At the same time there was a war within the war itself between white and black soldiers. This was the very first war in American history where white and black soldiers fought together as the same rank. This caused major conflict between the soldiers and even fighting at times. Even after these courageous black soldiers came home they were treated poorly. This made them question why they were fighting for a country that didn’t treat them equal to other white soldiers. I believe that this is very wrong and that no matter your race or religion everyone should be treated equally.