To say the Vietnam War had an impact on America is a gross understatement. With this being the longest war in the history of the United States and the fourth highest in American casualties, this war had Americans wonder if they could trust their government. America was number one, right? How could it be losing to communism? Why were American soldiers killing innocent civilians? As the questions all piled up, the people of this country wanted answers.
When the war first began, Americans had been promised a fast and easy war. As the war waged on, however, America soon realized that this was far from the true. After Kennedy’s assassination, Vice President Johnson immediately grabbed the reins a drove America head first into the conflict by starting a bombing campaign. “The American bombing campaign was the largest air war in world history, with American planes dropping nearly five million tons of bombs in eight years” (Keene, pg. 793). The idea was to pressure North Vietnam into surrendering but the Vietnamese just dug holes and tunnels underground and learned to live with heavy showers of bombs. Cloudy with a chance of napalm folks, stay indoors today.
Because the bombs weren’t doing the job, LBJ sent in the ground forces. No one expected them to have so much trouble but with the guerrilla warfare and the fact that the Americans couldn’t tell the innocent civilians from Vietnamese soldiers, America struggled to fight the enemy. Soon the war because unpopular in the states. The people saw no reason for American blood to be spilled over this war. Citizens also saw the rape and slaughter of innocent Vietnamese women and children. That got America’s attention. Protesting started up and some turned violent and some left people, students, dead. With all this chaos, Nixon was able to convince America he would be a great president. He said he would stop the war but he didn’t do it very fast. Eventually, Nixon’s scandals caught up to him and he had to step down. American’s didn’t know would to trust.
In the end, America pulled out of Vietnam and it fell to communism. That’s so sad that so many lives had to be wasted just so the thing that we wanted to stop happened anyway. But what we feared would happen never did. So was there a point to all that fighting? Did America do anything? Was this the right thing to do or the worst mistake in America’s history?
Keene, Jennifer, Cornell, Saul, and O’Donnell, Edward Revel Visions of America: A History of the United States, Volume 2, 3E.
16 thoughts on “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”
It is difficult to imagine having to live during the time of the Vietnam War. In a sense to the Vietnam War tested the United States beyond its limits in more ways than one. Like you said, “the Vietnam War had an impact on the war…” American’s began to question their involvement with the war, and they also began to question whether or not the government had their best interest in mind. The war was supposed to over fast and with few casualties, however, the opposite happened. The war lasted roughly 20 years, and during that time over 58,000 American soldiers lost their lives. The mishap with President Nixon also increased America’s distrust of the government.
It’s amazing how many people died and how long this war actually carried on and how little there was to show for it. I agree that the Nixon incident increased Americans distrust of the government and I think prior to these events most Americans actually trusted the government and their elected officials.
America as a whole has always had trust issues with our government. The truth of it is they can’t please everyone. No matter what they do someone will be upset with them. It also doesn’t help when the government gets involved with scandals even further lessening the trust of the American people.
I couldn’t imagine living underground the way they did. I have a fear of claustrophobia, so if the tunnels collapsed and I was trapped, I would be panicked. It’s sad to think that we put so much trust in the people who run our country, and they just turn around to be involved with so many different scandals that not only ruin their reputation, but the image of the entire country.
The Vietnam War was definitely one that caused many people so much pain and suffering, yet is not talked about very often at all. A lot of things that went on during this war were so much more than morally wrong. People who fought in this war experienced such horror that it is painful for them to even think about and try to share to this day. My grandfather fought in this war with his closest friend. He does not like to think back to it, and has hardly ever shared a single piece of information about it with our family. He says that it is too painful to think about, and the feelings he had while fighting there were some of the scariest and most worrisome moments of his life. As you state in your blog, “Americans had been promised a fast and easy war,” however this war quickly turned to the worst and was drug on for far longer than it should have been, putting many people through the hardest and most devastating moments in their lives.
I think the worst part of it all is that it’s still affecting Vietnam today. The chemicals from Agent Orange continues to leave many of Vietnam’s newborns with debilitating birth defects. Also, many landmines, undetonated bombs, and other traps remain a threat to civilians. All because the United States couldn’t leave a nation to decide for itself. (Something it still seems to be unable to do.)
Your title is perfect. I would have to agree with your passion about how this war affected America. I can not imagine living in a time where all of these events have taken place. “Citizens also saw the rape and slaughter of innocent Vietnamese women and children. That got America’s attention.”, this has to be one of the hardest realizations of America saying we have gone too far. America decided to protest after hearing about this? That is what it took for us to take action against ourselves and say enough is enough. How sad. It’s especially sad that we are not able to trust those who are in power, those who are supposed to keep us safe and grounded. But at what cost? This was a really good post! I really loved reading your passion about the subject,
First off your title caught my attention instantly, very well thought out. I really liked the humor side of this piece, only because you are taking the gruesome, heartbreaking and emotionally waging side of the war and shedding light on how it impacted us as both Americans and the Vietnamese. Not knowing who we could trust or rely on to keep our government and it’s citizens running correctly. Having the fear of communism in our mist we a country so divided would be enough to drive anyone to the point of breaking.
Your title really caught my eye and to me, explained Vietnam War very well. Not only was Vietnam a very deadly war for American Soldiers, it all was deadly for innocent citizens. Mother and kids were amongst the innocent citizens that unfortunately were killed. Once the United States citizens heard about that, a handful of them instantly became antiwar. They found the war completely pointless (which I agree with). What is even more upsetting is a lot of the antiwar citizens protested which then that even led to deadly protests. Overall, this war impacted many lives and lost many as well. It was an unnecessary war that caused a lot of damage. After WW2, it was good to be American everyone got along meanwhile the Vietnam War was the opposite.
There were many problems that took place throughout the Vietnam War, and some of these include the amount of bombing, guerrilla warfare, and lack of attention drawn to these issues. Americans were kept out of the loop for the most part. America was heavily involved in the Vietnam War, and some of their involvement was kept from American citizens. This makes me wonder what information citizens are missing throughout the news today, and what information isn’t being shared. This lack of being informed throughout the war led to the Americans not trusting their government. Another aspect that led to this was the Watergate Scandal that surrounded Nixon. It would be difficult to trust anyone after something like this happened.
The title for this is piece is amazing. Anyways, Nixon was not very good with his word. He promised many things and did not stand with them. Telling America that he would pull us out of the war and then continue to allow are soldiers to continue to fight in this war was a waste. He continued to allow Americans to get injured or die in a war that did not matter. This move here by him was one of many factors that hurt his reputation.
Your title was a good attention grabber. The citizens have never had a completely healthy relationship with the government.
First off, nice title. It gave me a good laugh when I read it, but it also imposes the very great question of how many kids have now had their lives taken due to his decision? During the fight of communism, Americans were rabid and wanted to stop the spread of that type of government. While trying to not let the animals thrive, they became animals themselves. While in their beastly mindset, they killed and raped women and children like you stated in your post. Not only did they ruin lives then, but how many lives have been affected due agent orange causing those birth defects? America made a terrible decision entering, and staying in this war. To this day we have created a struggle for the Vietnamese.