Vietnam: A new kind of war

After World War II ended America was more united than ever before. They had won the war and the country was in agreement that life was safe and stable. The Vietnam war changed these attitudes and Americans found themselves in conflict with each other at home as well as across the world.

This war was one of the first wars that people could see. Journalists traveled and took footage and pictures and they were very disturbing. The media covered the war extensively and so people were able to form their own opinions about the war. The government was telling the people victory was “imminent” but the news and the extreme loss of life with no end in sight was giving a different view to Americans.

This war was unlike wars of the past. Guerrilla warfare was not something they had dealt with before. In addition to being in unfamiliar jungle territory they had never experienced these tactics. They could not always tell the enemy from civilians. They believed they were going to fight communism and help the Vietnamese people but they did not know what they would end up going through.

This was the beginning of a distrust of the government for some Americans. With each new president during the more than 20 years the conflict raged the people were promised troops would be pulled out but that didn’t happen. The presidents did have the power to end American involvement but they always chose to keep going. This coupled with many questions about why America was actually involved at all made some people decide to protest.

Vietnam was the first time people in America took such a political stand. They held demonstrations and rallies to protest the war. They shared a message that said the war was immoral and that America could never win so why continue the killing? Even celebrities began to speak out and protest the war. This change in people speaking up occurred at a time when race tensions were high and the civil rights movement was beginning. The message of peace and love was not appreciated by many Americans even if they opposed the war. It could be that some of the movement was too extreme and that people associated it with drugs and free love. In any case it paved the way for people to be more open about their political views.

America lost its idealism after Vietnam. We were no longer the country that could win any war and right any wrong. We no longer had complete faith in our leaders and we realized that we did not have all the answers after all.

2 thoughts on “Vietnam: A new kind of war

  1. I feel it might be safe to say that ever since the Vietnam war, the United States has never felt as United as it probably should. With the political party system, the United States feels more divided than ever. I agree that the media plays a huge part in the division of the country now, just as much as it did back then. The visual aspects and quick spreading of the media certainly helped make the people more informed than ever before, especially about overseas affairs. Perhaps other wars would have also been not so well received had the media been as influential as it is now.

    1. The media has a way of dividing people, but I also think that this was the first time that Americans were getting a look at the reality of war. When people see things first hand instead of just hearing bits and pieces, opinions are going to form. The media has a way of twisting stories to make them more interesting for their viewers.

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