America’s Resistance


The Vietnam War was a long, lasting war. America put in time, money, and, at some point, soldiers to help fight against the spread of communism in Vietnam for about thirty years. The war was the largest air war; America dropped nearly five billion tons of bomb (Keene 26.2). With Vietnam being close to China and the Soviet Union, the United States feared that Vietnam was going to become communist and create a domino effect with the surrounding countries. America and France supported anti-communist South Vietnam, while the Soviet Union, China, and other smaller communist-supporting countries supported the north. Both North and South Vietnam wanted something of the same: a unified Vietnam.

The Vietnam War affected America in many ways including economic changes and trust in the government. To begin with, the United States kept funneling money to finance France’s efforts in the war. This, in turn, damaged America’s economy greatly. According to Keene, the United States payed about 80% of all the war costs for France (Keene 26.1.2). Johnson wanted to increase the amount of taxes to support the war.  Over time, Americans became less trusting of the government. As written by Keene, “They (the American people) noted violations of American democratic values: going to war without a formal declaration of war from Congress, presidential secrets and lies, FBI surveillance of peace protesters, and unjust draft deferments for middle- and upper-class men who could afford to go to college.” In addition to that piece of evidence, Americans became less trusting after the horrific story of My Lai spread. That being said, the Vietnam War had a huge impact on the United States in many different ways such as the economy, draft and trust in the government.

Over time, several different dilemmas become noticeable in America. The media became very troubling during this time. Television became more prominent as about 96% of Americans had TVs in 1966 (Evolution 1). About 60% of Americans relied on the television for their news (Keene 26.2). To begin, America supported the war and watched the news regularly. Over time, though, the war became less popular. The people of the United States were able to watch footage of the war in Vietnam and were disgusted. When Nixon came to power in 1969, he executed the Vietnamization. He put this into place in hopes that the footage of the war would be erased by videos of troops getting sent home (Keene 26.4).

Additionally, the president’s power kept expanding during the war. Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, the first two presidents involved, supported the Vietnam War and gave money to France. When JFK took power, he put more troops into Vietnam in hopes of ending the war. On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. After the presidential induction, Lyndon B. Johnson took office after JFK. Johnson didn’t want to take America out of Vietnam because he feared that it would make the United States look weak. LBJ used Gulf of Tonkin to win congressional approval of further action. Without a declaration of war, LBJ sent more troops into Vietnam. Johnson also asked for more taxes to support the war. When Nixon took power, he wanted to end the war and keep America’s reputation. American protesters also became a big problem during the Vietnam War. With everything being televised, Americans became disgusted with. Anti-war protests were common for college students. Many of these protests were non-violent, except for a few. At Kent State, guardsmen shot their guns, killed four people, and injured nine.

Along with that, there were several different domestic changes. The draft soon became obsolete as the United States moved from forced soldiers to volunteers. Americans fought for the right to vote at 18. They could fight for their country at that age, but still couldn’t vote. In 1971, Nixon – with pressure for younger people – created the 26th Amendment (Rohn 1).

With a war that wasn’t ours to begin with, America put in money, supplies, and troops to a fight that we ultimately lost. The Vietnam War drastically changed the way things were done at the time. Americans taxes became higher, the draft was diminished, and we became less trustful of our government.

Keene, Jennifer D. Visions of America: A History of the United States. 3rd ed., vol. 2, Pearson, 2017.

Rohn, Alan. “Media Role in The Vietnam War.” The Vietnam War, 2 Mar. 2014, thevietnamwar.info/media-role-vietnam-war/.

9 thoughts on “America’s Resistance

  1. Great blog! Although the war included many different countries, I liked how you added the affects the Vietnam War had on America alone. You mentioned how not only did the War put the United States into extreme debt, but many citizens began to lose trust in the government. Personally, I had family members serve during the Vietnam War, so it makes me wonder if they were victim of the unjust draft deferments. Your points also raise the question of, “Is this still prevalent in our government today?” More likely than not, there are still violations of democratic ideals in the American government.

  2. I liked your inclusion of the 26th Amendment in your discussion about the effects of the Vietnam War on America! I cannot fathom being drafted without being able to vote on the politicians that implemented the draft. There is not any justice there. This move was one of the few positives to come from the war, especially domestically. It has had long lasting impacts on the political landscape of America, even though the demographic that earned the right to vote, 18-21 year olds, are not always as eager to use it as older ages.

    1. I agree completely! The inclusion of the twenty sixth amendment in your blog was a great point to bring up. To be drafted and not have any way to be represented in the government is a strange concept to me. The war had many unfortunate outcomes, but this is one of the few silver-linings to have been brought about by the war. The impacts of this war can not be overstated, as it changed American politics greatly and influenced the generations taken up in the war.

  3. I enjoyed your blog! I was shocked reading that America financially supported 80% of the war costs for France; I knew they most definitely contributed but I did not realize how significantly. I agree that the Vietnam war drastically changed America in so many ways but, financially, it left a lasting impact.

  4. Good blog! I agree with you on what you said about how the war wasn’t ours to fight. We shouldn’t have had anything to do with Vietnam. The war drained us financially and spiritually, and we didn’t even get anything out of it. As you said, It is because of this war that the American people lost much of their trust in the government.

  5. Great post. One of my favorite facts is that the reason young people get to vote is because they could be drafted into the armed forces but could not vote for their commander in chief. I am very passionate about voting and I always like to know why I have the rights that I do! Again, nice post!

  6. My grandpa, who has now passed away, served in this war. I can remember I how interested I was in his war stories as a child. He never went into much detail and I understand why now. He did always stress to me that I have a right to vote an I should always exercise that vote, which I do! I have also herd from many veterans that fought in this war who said they fought in a war for this country that was not ours to fight. Your blog gives a very clear realization of why I have been told different things, like i have stated in this blog, while I was growing up by veterans.

  7. Great and thorough blog! Very informative. This was one of those wars that nobody really likes to talk about. There were so many bad decisions made that didn’t paint a very good picture of the “American” beliefs on how things should be done. The Vietnam War was one of those wars that left a very bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Too may lies and not enough truths between the governement and the American People.

  8. I agree that the Vietnam war tarnished Americans’ view of the government. They spent too much money on a war that we didn’t need to be a part of and technically we shouldn’t have been there in the first place. The Vietnam war is not technically a war since congress never approved it and that’s why it’s often referred to as a conflict. The U.S. hasn’t been in a proper war since World War 2 and this angered many Americans since they were fight only because the president said we should.

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