Vietnam War: America Wants Peace


The Vietnam war affected the United States tremendously! Considering the war was so lengthy, they suffered many, many casualties to the point where they could not keep track of who the deceased bodies were. According to the reading, 47,415 people died due to battle and 10,785 died of other causes (26.16). The war cost the nation $173 billion (26.4.3). This war lasted through five presidencies and really had a significant impact on America.

Individual views of the Vietnam war were easily formed based on the role of the media. Americans watched the war from home while sitting in the comfort of their own living room which deeply influenced their feelings towards the war. The news would show photos of civilians suffering in Vietnam that were taken by photographers that went overseas. The media had the ability to show these images and express them in a way that showed an altered meaning than what the photographer intended (Images of History 26.2). Famous celebrities even joined in on press coverage which undoubtedly help shape the public’s opinion.

Additionally, American protesters also had formed their opinion and organized a peace movement in opposition of the war. Public opinion polls showed that from 1965-1973 most Americans disliked the war but also disliked the peace movement (26.3). It was the “silent” few that believed America did the right thing, approximately 40% of the population (26.4.1). However, some American’s claimed that it was an unjust draft for middle-class boys that could afford college which also further lead to protests. Draft cards were burned in attempt to end the war. Unfortunately, some protests turned deadly such as the Kent State University when the National Guardsman open fired on students rallying, shooting nine people total and killing four. They claimed it was an act of self defense but the four people that were killed, were simply innocent bystanders that could not have harmed guards with anything less than a pebble (26.4.2).

Throughout the five presidents that served terms during the Vietnam war, Johnson was the most aggressive and really pushed for America to do whatever it took to win the war. The largest search-and-destroy mission was implemented by Johnson which altered the public’s view of him. The My Lai massacre had American’s questioning the mission in Vietnam which further pushed for ending the war and finding peace (26.3.2). It was not until Nixon came into office that there was legitimate hope at the war ending. Although he promised it would end, it continued to go on for four more years until the 1973 peace treaty was implemented and American troops were sent home.

 

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

 

9 thoughts on “Vietnam War: America Wants Peace

  1. You mentioned in the first paragraph that the war in Vietnam cost the U.S. $173 billion dollars. After reading that, I started wondering about war profiteering and the Vietnam War and how war and profits are often interrelated. Have you thought about this at all? Does America need war? Do companies exist solely to make money off of war?

  2. People in America were sick of the war, like you stated, the war lasted through five presidencies. They saw the horror that was going on in Vietnam from the media, soldiers were dying, and the war costed billions of dollars. Peace movements were formed all around the country in an effort to end the war. This was a very great blog post full of great information.

  3. I did not know that this war lasted through five presidencies. I had no idea! You learn something new everyday! Isn’t it ironic how we fight for peace? All America wants is peace and we have to fight for things we want sometimes. I mean, it makes sense, but at the same time, it is ironic. While the media had a large influence on people felt about the war, there is no question that people were thrilled when it was over. Great blog, well written. Great job.

  4. This war was one of the toughest the United States faced. It’s insane how expensive the war was. It would make us sick to Know how much this most recent war cost. Veterans of this war where often forgot about when they returned and never received proper care for switching back into civilian life. A lot of veterans lost there life after this war.

  5. Good read! I realized that the media affected America during the time, but never really understood why so many people were interested in it. For thirty years people of the US stayed interested in the war and many didn’t do much to stop it. Like you said only about 40% of Americans supported the war. Why did it last so long if the majority was against it?

  6. I liked reading you post. I think that it is important to show that when the media would show the pictures from photographers, they would often distort the meaning from the original photographer’s. This helped make people think what the media wanted them to, whether the outlet was for or against the war. Something else that you included was that 40% of Americans were for the war. I believe that the media had a heavy influence of people and that without it, that percentage would be drastically different.

  7. The media can have all kinds of impacts on public opinion. You could watch one news story and feel a certain way about the war and then you could see another one ten minutes later and feel completely different. The media deffinitely played its part on making the american people feel a certain way about the vietnam war but when it comes down to it there were many things that really did take place that were horrific. It almost makes you wonder if the media wasn’t involved would the war have ended sooner or would it had gone on even longer? Food for thought!

  8. The peace movement of the Vietnam war was (at the time) a phenomenon since the general populous supported the previous wars of the United States. Many were against the war due to the draft as they saw it as forced servitude and that we weren’t selling willing people who were willing to die for the country but boys that were randomly picked from a list and forced to fight and die for it.

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