Dbq Essay On The Vietnam War

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One of the most controversial wars in history and a turning point in American foreign policy, the emotions and events surrounding the Vietnam War capture the essence of the era. The rise of rebellious youth culture and anti-war and anti-draft movements were key social aspects of American life leading up to and during the fighting. (Doc 2, 3) On the political side, Congress aimed to control the Chief-Executive with legislation such as the War Powers Act of 1973, requiring the president to remove all unreported troops in Vietnam and report any further sent. (Doc 7) To say the country was divided would be a massive understatement. Opponents, both political and not, were vocal about their disgust and distrust with the government and presidential …show more content…

Leaders pushed for peaceful opposition but rallies often escalated to violence as government officials were called in to break up protests, similar to the movements of Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi. Not only were these cases of police brutality, but they furthered the credibility of the cause by showing the unnecessarily violent nature of the government. With famous names such as John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan, world-wide attention was brought to the fight to end the war; the rock and roll youth culture birthed in the 50s proved a force to be reckoned with, creating anti-war music such as “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag” by Country Joe and the Fish in 1965. (Doc 2) Slogans such as “Make love not war” are still with us to this day, while others such as “LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” forced the issue into the attention of the presidential administration. While it is true many agreed with the president’s decision, they were less vocal compared to the counterculture and peace hippies of the anti-war movement. The loud majority versus a quiet minority created social tensions between the two groups which can be illustrated with campaign slogans from the 1964 presidential election, “In your guts you know he’s nuts,” but “In your heart, he might be …show more content…

Those still in favor of the war considered it their patriotic duty to enlist and fight for their country, while the opposition came from the lower class groups such as African Americans, “white trash,” Mexican Americans, and other minorities. Because of their lower socio-economic status, they were more often the targets of recruiters and had more difficulty evading the draft. As James Fallows said of his draft experience, “While perhaps four out of five of my friends from Harvard were being deferred, just the opposite was happening to the Chelsea [Boston] Boys.” (Doc 5) Similarly to the civil war era, the majority of the burden of fighting was going to the poor majority as opposed to the privileged few. Other groups, such as the African Americans, were opposed to the draft because of their status at home. Often the question was: why should we fight for rights for foreigners that we don’t even have at home? (Doc 3) “Black Power” groups, such as the Black Panthers and organization led my Malcolm X, used fast action and protest to get their way, while others simply ignored draft summons or joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee with Martin Luther King Jr. Across the country, groups participated in draft card burnings and clear evasion of the draft as a means of protest. The draft was a major topic of protest, sparking the remarks of social commentators

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