Vietnam War

Brittany Smith, Period 4

What Was It?

The Vietnam War took place in Vietnam between November 1, 1955 and April 30, 1975. During this period, The United States was in the midst of a Cold War against the Soviet Union. With this being said, the United States made multiple policies against the SU themselves and their allies. Vietnam has been separated into the North and South. The North had the support of the Soviet Union in order to back their beliefs about communism. Eisenhower immediately pledged his support for the South. With growing tensions, the South began arresting people in the South that were considered to be Viet Cong (communist supporters). As many of them were arrested and even tortured and killed, the North began to retaliate and so forces from the US were implemented to fight back.
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For The War!

Many people were in support of the Vietnam War, because we were fighting the idea of communism. In the United States, we are very patriotic about our beliefs, and fought for South Vietnam because they were proposing democracy. There were also major theories (the Domino Theory being the most common) that if Vietnam fell to be a communist country, then many other countries would also fall to communism and the US thought that the world would fall apart like this. Support for the was also increased after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in which North Vietnam fired torpedoes and gun fire at the Destroyer US Maddox after the US shot off three warning shots. This became a sea battle and ultimately led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which allowed the president to place more troops in South Vietnam.
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"Make Love Not War"

Protests to the Vietnam War were not immediate, but they began to pick up faster and faster as the war progressed. For starters, nearly 3,000 men were drafted a month, but that quickly increased in the first few years to 33,000 men a month. This raised many questions, because the US told the public that this war would be over quickly with minimal costs. However, the was kept getting dragged out and more and more bodies were returning home. Media coverage was especially prominent in this war, which allowed the public to see photos and see the terrors that the troops were facing daily. Lindon B. Johnson ordered bomb raids which killed many innocent civilians in the North and the South. Protests took place in many cities, one of the most famous took place in Washington D.C. Roughly 300,000 people took part in it, including veterans that had taken off their medals and threw them on the steps of the Capital building. Another key issue, was that so many young men at the age of 18 were being drafted, however they were not old enough to vote against the issue. During this period, the voting age was still 21. The government was putting people into the war that had no choice against it.

We Wade Deeper Into War (page 22)

The title of the article already shows bias towards the anti-war. Many people thought the war was going to be quick, but every day it seemed as if we were getting more involved, and then people began to question why we should stay there. The first paragraph talks about how awful it is to be in Vietnam by stating things like "steaming air," "stench of cloying jungle mud," and "parasitic infestation." By starting the article off with this, it sets the mood that we don't want out soldiers over there, because of the awful conditions they are having to fight in. The second paragraph begins talking about all the lives that are being lost. It stated how many people died in the last week, how many were injured, etc. By immediately jumping into this, it gives the readers a sense of sadness and frustration. It makes them think, "Why are we putting them in these conditions, and why are so many people dying?" The article clearly shows bias towards the anti-war through its title, placement, and key wording.

Feminist Criticism

Many anti-war movements included a lot of women, however, many of the leaders of the groups thought of women to no be smart enough to be involved and also said they did not have a reason to protest since they were not directly affected by the draft itself. During this time, a lot of men thought that women were mostly just sex objects and their only purpose was to clean the house and reproduce, but as women began to revolt, it became very clear to everyone that they were fully capable of thinking for themselves and being involved in politics. Due to the oppression, this led many women to start their own organization for just women against the war.

Marxist Criticism

During the war, many men were drafted, but it seemed as if only the poor were going to fight and coming back home in body bags. Why was this? Upper class men often paid the military money for weapons and gasoline. This got them out of the draft and they didn't have to go and fight. John D. Rockefeller, who was a billionaire because of his monopoly in the oil industry, gave the military money to get out of having to fight. Also, because the war was causing a great burden on the economy, many people in the lower class were losing their homes, because they could not afford them. Solution? When an upper class man got a draft card, they would often times pay a man to take their place. Andrew Carnegie, a billionaire during this time due to his monopoly in the steal industry, paid a man $850 to take his place in the war.


Vietnam War, 1970: CBS camera rolls as platoon comes under fire