REACTIONS TO THE VIETNAM WAR
Few years after the French pulled out in 1954, the South government of Vietnam led by the anti-communist leader Diem seemed to be very close to fall to the Communist block. In fact, it had to face series of overthrow attempt launched by the north communist vietnam government. And when Diem died in a coup in 1963, it alarmed the US government which clearly fearedan another spread of communism at that time. Because South East Asia was then clearly determined to follow that regime, they decided to go into action. But that involvement raised a burning issue in Americans mind : Was the US right or wrong to get involved in such a conflict ? Thus, it is necessary to wonder what sort of consequences can have a situation like this on the concerned population. Whatwere the American reactions concerning the US involvement and soldiers actions during and after the vietnam war ? And what were the impacts of such a war on the American civils and veterans ? All the more so as it seems obvious that Media played a main role in that case.
After the French left Indochina which was then split into two parts in 1954, it seemed obvious that a clash was going tobreak out between the North vietnam communists and the South vietnam government. So we are going to see, in that part, what were the things that urged the US government to get involved into the conflict. In fact, a long time before its involvment , US government already felt threatened by the Communist expansionism in South East Asia. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 can be considered as acontention to intervene in South Vietnam. Moreover, the US president Johnson use the domino theory, as we can see in source 1, as a deciding factor to justify the US military intervention in Vietnam. But there is nothing to indicate in that first document that Americans migth have wanted to control this part of Asia. Actually, Americans might have sent military supports not only to struggleagainst North communists but maybe to settle some military bases so as to keep Asian communists under surveillance. But then we can wonder what were the position of americans concerning that involvement ?
Were the young recruits enthusiast about defending their country's values and were they ready to fight for that ? As far as I am concerned, I think a patriotic feeling may have emerged in newsoldiers' mind before 1968. In fact, when you look at the picture that featured old veterans, probably from the second world war, parading on the 4th of july 1967, you must feel really proud of them and you may probably want to be as much admired as them. It is possible that, when the Johnson's escalation started, young people may have wanted to honour the USA as much as veterans did several yearsearlier. But in 1965 whole young men did not share the same values. In the second document which is an extract from a collection of related stories written by Tim O'brien a former soldier who served during the vietnam war, the narrator tells us that before he was sent to the quagmire, he complained about something : the US government did not let you the choice to defend or not your country ! Every bodycould be called up because the government needed as many people as possible on the field. That's why, tons of student called « the draft dodgers » would rather run away or make doctors declared they were unable to fight than going overthere. But this was before 1968. During that year, considered as a turning point in the Vietnam war, every thing changed.
In january 1968, the Vietcong launcheda series of attacks on American troops. The violence of the attack clearly showed that the Americans were not welcomed anylonger, they were also not as closed to victory as they used to claim. In fact, it turned out that the US intervention in South Vietnam was not as efficient as it had to be and people, thanks to the media, started to have doubts about the legitimacy of the war. But which...
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