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American Responses To Vietnam War History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Response to the United States involvement in Vietnam caused a national discussion over participation in the war. The U.S. governments official stance on the war was that it was immersed in Vietnam at the wish of the South Vietnamese government and was helping to prevent Communist hostility from the North Vietnamese (Vietnam War, 2008). The U.S. government’s lone admitted goal was to secure a community that would let the people of Vietnam choose their own way of government. It was using only cautiously organized military methods so as not to take innocent human beings or bring about active participation via China or the Soviet Union in order to achieve this goal (Vietnam War, 2008).

Conversely, Americans grew progressively unhappy with their country’s war strategy as United States involvement carried on (2008). Most individuals, labeled as “hawks,” claimed that the “United States should use maximum military force to gain a quick victory”. Another set of individuals, named “doves,” contended that the conflict in Vietnam was really “a civil war in which the United States had no right to interfere”. A number of the doves wanted direct American departure, whereas others called for a steady detachment from the war. (2008).

American responses to the war changed over time due to the usage of imagery through the medium of the movies. According to University of Virginia professor Sylvia Shin Huey Chong, “violent images over the course of the war and in later films depict the shifting roles of perpetrators and victims, especially as the course of the war changed” (Chong, 2011). Movies telling the story of the Vietnam War, for example “The Deer Hunter” as well as “Apocalypse Now,” which began to come out in the late 1970s, represented how the war devastating American soldiers just like it did the people of Vietnam. This comparison was influential for anti-war protestors; however, it was also very troubling for ethnic activists (Chong, 2011).

The war shaped the U.S.’s domestic politics was being affected by the war. President Johnson’s letdown to bring together the American people around the pledge in Vietnam led to the expansion of the biggest and most successful antiwar faction in the history of the United States. Established in 1966, by means of mass protests, petitioning, teach-ins, electoral politics, civil defiance, and numerous other individual and shared forms of demonstrations, millions of Americans questioned government policies. As stated by Small (1999), even though a preponderance of the population found portions of the campus-founded movement disgusting, it did attract backing in many vital areas of the culture and added to the fall of the bipartisan Cold War accord that had held ever since 1947 (Small, 1999).

The antiwar movement considerably affected policy on at least two circumstances. Following 35,000 mostly young people overwhelming the Pentagon in October 1967, Lyndon Johnson launched a public relations crusade that focused on how fine the war was going. According to Small (1999), when the Communists launched their apparently thriving national Tet Offensive in January 1968, the majority of Americans felt that they had been mislead by their own government. That extensive public hostility led to Johnson’s decision in March of 1968 not to raise more and not to stand for reelection (Small, 1999). In addition, Johnson faced severe confrontations for the Presidential nomination from antiwar senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy (Small, 1999).

A little over a year later, newly elected Republican president Richard M. Nixon sent an ultimatum to Hanoi to modify its bargaining point at the Paris Peace Talks by November 1, 1969 or deal with a major increase. The North Vietnamese government called President Nixon’s bluff, and he did not rise the troop levels for the reason that of the deepness and width of antiwar response reflected in the biggest antiwar movement of the period, the October 15, 1969 halt, a peaceful and dignified protest including many middle-class adults. President Nixon’s decision was too subjected by his advice-givers’ willpower that no matter what shape the anticipated intensification “Operation Duck Hook” took, it was doubtful to end the war.

In the end, Presidents Johnson and Nixon were certain that the alleged status of the antiwar movement prejudiced the Vietnamese Communists. Therefore, both presidents’ courses of action were affected, to some extent, by how they thought Hanoi translated the triumph of the movement.

In closing, the responses to the Vietnam were mixed with great contention in terms of the United States unfairly invading Vietnam to the use of military to get in and get out of the region. Politics were greatly shaped by the Vietnam War, mostly in part of President Lyndon Johnson’s perceived view of the war. His views caused mass riots and protests spanning the nation, causing great tension in his own Democratic party. When Nixon took over the nation, it was more of the same; however, both Presidents views were greatly affected in that they banked Hanoi equating to success in the antiwar movement.

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