The Dividing of America

The events that started the Vietnam War began after WW2. After Japan’s defeat in WW2 it withdrew its troops from Vietnam. Once Japan’s troops left, Emperor Bao Dai stayed in control but shortly after Ho chi Minh saw an opportunity to take control and created a military force. Ho Chi Minh forces took over the city of Hanoi (Located in the north) and declared it as a Democratic Republic of Vietnam. At the same time France was trying to regain control of Vietnam and backed Emperor Bao by setting up a new state of Vietnam (South Vietnam) in July 1949.


On March 8, 1965 American troops had official stepped foot into Vietnam in a city called Da Nang (northern coast of South Vietnam). The people of Vietnam greeted American Marines by placing leis (necklace made of flowers) around their necks after an official ceremony. In the coming years American troops had less warm welcomes after the U.S. Air Force began a major bombing campaign against the North Vietnam called rolling thunder. The main goal of the U.S. government in Vietnam was to prevent the communist takeover of South Vietnam and also to prevent what they called the domino theory which prevented the spreading of communism.

The war had created a divided America. Many American opposed the Vietnam War. Many peace activist wanted to end the war in Vietnam but each group had different arguments of why it should be done. Some say the war was unwinnable while another group said some war tactics were being more hurtful than Vietnam under Communist control.

During this time one of the biggest factors that played in America’s view on the war was the media. Before wars were not photographed often. At the time many Americans received their news from the television. With new technology such as audio and better video cameras journalist were able to publish pictures and videos that were uncensored which showed the brutality of war. With these new ways techniques of reporting it had influenced many Americans opinions about the war.

The war in Vietnam changed America in few was. The war showed for the first time what war is really like and how brutal it was. The war also created many peace activist and groups to come together and protest the war, which was never done before. The war also brought some new policies such as the right to vote at the age of 18, the thought was since they can fight they can vote. The draft had also became very controversial during the war so President Nixon signed a new law which  ended the draft and created the Selective services.



Rohn, A. (2016, May 05). How did the Vietnam War affect America?

Cornell, Saul T., Keene, Jennifer D., O’donnell, Edward T. Visions of America: A History of the United States. (2017). Pearson Education, Inc.

11 thoughts on “The Dividing of America

  1. I agree, there was lots of controversy during the Vietnam war. Some Americans wanted the war and others opposed it and created peace activists. American citizens kept in touch with what was going on in the war through the media and photographs. America was divided during the Vietnam War.

    1. I agree, America was very divided during this war. Photographs showed what some of the war was like but not all. Photographers often displayed false images so that the war didn’t look that bad. Many Americans opposed the war and many Americans supported it.

      1. I think that it’s sad that some of the photographers had the pitiful task of displaying those false images to make the war out to be something that it wasn’t. Can you imagine being the one in charge of changing what Americans thought about the war and trying to make something bad look good? It’s unfortunate but still something that we can all learn from.

        1. This is one of the first situations that the general populace had to actually come to face the horrors of war, before this there were only the tales of survivors but now we had in depth coverage across the country and people were scared, someone had the man the propaganda machine to run damage control, but it just wasn’t good enough. So many draft dodgers had been forgiven for the felony of desertion simply because of the unpopularity of the conflict. I honestly wonder how the war would’ve panned out if the media didn’t get directly involved and simply promoted the war effort.

          1. I too wonder how the war would have planned out if the media didn’t get involved. Seems that the media stirred up the protesters either for or against the war. The media did show how terrible a war could be.

            1. I agree with you that the response at home may have been very different if the war didn’t receive the amount of coverage it did. Its one thing to hear stories, but Americans saw much more of the violence of war then ever previously, I’m sure it had a huge impact on there perception of what we were there for and what was going on.

      2. Unfortunately everyone is out for their own agenda and sometimes the truth is damned. War time propaganda always shifts these conflicts into a positive light, no one wants to enlist to a situation they are expected to die in, I can’t imagine that any of the proprietors of war propaganda over the years actually felt good encouraging these people to go off and die.

  2. I agree with you when you said that the biggest factor influencing Americans was the media. With the new types of media, the Vietnam War was literally in the livingrooms of Americans every night. With everyone seeing the lies told by the Presidents during this time, it is easy to see why they had no trust for those in authority anymore. Although the President was trying to help by not allowing Communism to spread, it would have been better for America to stay out of the Vietnam War altogether rather than providing military and financial aid.

  3. I find it crazy just how much media played in influence during the Vietnam War. During WWII the public was in many ways highly supportive of the war. But during Vietnam, people for the first time truly saw war. The mass public was now fully aware of the brutality and horror of modern warfare, not described in books but upon their very eyes. In many ways it goes to show once people actually have an experience of wars (I’ll never say seeing war on tv is anything like actually being on the battlefield and it would not have the same effect today with all the war movies and war-themed video games we experience daily) we readily oppose it. Most people who go to war and see it’s potential horror will usually stand against it and for good reason. I think Vietnam gives us very good insight into just that.

  4. I think it’s hard to support a war that you are seeing first hand, whether through images through media or for those who are being drafted. In previous wars it was easy to believe the propaganda and trust that we were doing the right thing. This was definitely a change of pace for Americans and affected us for a very long time.

    1. I agree with you 100%! There was no way for Americans to lie to themselves anymore about what was going on overseas because they could view what was happening now from their living rooms. There was no way for them to ignore the fact that this was a very violent situation in Vietnam. In previous wars they saw what they could take from their minds based on what they heard, but now they could actually see it in real life for themselves.
      It is crazy to think that this was when we started to really rely on media and all it can provide for us. Now people do not even read the newspaper because they can access it all on their phone screens and there is no need anymore for the paper copies. However, this is also negative because of how much we rely on media as a whole and how anything can be put online for thousands of people to see.

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