Vietnam War

Ben Goff and Ben Salas

Cause

The United States entered that war incrementally, in a series of steps between 1950 and 1965. In May 1950, President Harry S. Truman authorized a modest program of economic and military aid to the French, who were fighting to retain control of their Indochina colony, including Laos and Cambodia as well as Vietnam. When the Vietnamese Nationalist (and Communist-led) Vietminh army defeated French forces at Dienbienphu in 1954, the French were compelled to accede to the creation of a Communist Vietnam north of the 17th parallel while leaving a non-Communist entity south of that line. The United States refused to accept the arrangement.

Immediate Effects

The war killed an estimated 2 million Vietnamese civilians, 1.1 million North Vietnamese troops, 200,000 South Vietnamese troops, and 58,000 U.S. troops. Those wounded in combat numbered tens of thousands more. The massive U.S. bombing of both North and South Vietnam left the country in ruins, and the U.S. Army’s use of herbicides such as Agent Orange not only devastated Vietnam’s natural environment but also caused widespread health problems that have persisted for decades.

Lasting Effects

Because taxes weren't raised, a huge inflation cycle ensued. Armies became volunteer only and stopped drafting. The Democratic Party, internationalism, and military morale were weakened. Also, people became more cynical and less trusting of the government.
Big image