Vietnam War remains vastly different from other United States military engagements and warfare. Specifically, the Vietnam War marked the first combat deployment of an integrated military. The Vietnam War saw the highest proportion of blacks ever to serve in an American war, which is due to both the discriminatory draft pick and the individuals willingly to join in hope to increase mobility in social status. Furthermore, African Americans were discriminated at home but also within the United States military, it became a war within a war. The Vietnam War coincided with the protests of the Civil Rights Movement and expansion of Black Power.
Vietnam has more than 100 years of history of resistance to the foreign ruling. Constantly fighting both the imperial and colonial powers before they met the Americans. Vietnam has been a French Colony from the 1880s but the French lost its position of Vietnam during the World War II (WWII) and that is when Japan took over the control of Vietnam. After the surrender of Japan in WWII in 1945, a communist leader Ho Chi Minh’s force started they struggle for Vietnam to be an Independent country. The Vietnamese fought for independence and they claimed it in 1954 but their country was divided into 2 as part of Geneva accords.
The surprise nature of America’s attack coupled with the warfare inexperience of many journalists present in Vietnam saw many of them change their perspectives on their countries involvement in the war. During the war, medias role in the war was changing and this then became another “check and balance” for the United States’ government. (Source B) The Vietnam war was considered as a “living room war” in the sense that the battles and casualties were being shown everyday on American television screens as daily television programs. Source B states that the fact that violence was viewed in the homes of many Americans made the anti-war protests to follow “extremely personal and surreal”. This affected many Americans in their views of the war and the public started to doubt the success of America in Vietnam.
Media Coverage in the Vietnam War The media played a big role during the Vietnam War and their coverage has greatly affected how the media can cover modern wars. During Vietnam, the media were given almost full access to everything from battlefields, gunfights, the wounded, the dead, and interviews with the soldiers themselves. This was also the first war that was able to be viewed on TV; over 90 percent of Americans had TV’s, and 60 percent used TV as their main source of news (Hillsheim). The “gruesome showing of death and pain” made many Americans squirm on their couches (Burns). This forced the US government to put laws into place to limit what the media can and cannot show on TV during times of war.
The people of the United States wanted to end the Vietnam War and so they began protesting. They began ignoring what the officials wanted and worked towards organizing sit ins to allow freedom of speech whether it was in a work place or a school. The people of the organization (typically a school) would request all participants in the Vietnam War in whatever way they were involved, they had to stop and allow the student to speak their mind and ensure that there would be no behavior that would lead to the Vietnam War developing further. Although the US government had to stay involved, as they did not want North Vietnam to take over South Vietnam through the spread of communism. The previous conflict that the US had with the USSR about the spread of communism was already lost and a great deal of tension for the US.
However, the lack of material covered on the Vietnam War further proves that the war remains an event Americans attempt to forget. In America today, the Vietnam War continues to be looked at negatively, which provides further proof of why we must learn about American troops’ ethical lapses in war and how this affected world power and human rights. In the My Lai Massacre, platoon leader LT William Calley Jr. and his men of Charlie Company murdered a village and gang-raped the population. It was not until helicopter pilot; Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Hugh Thompson landed his helicopter and stopped the killing of the innocent civilians by Calley and his men. This event is referred as, “the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War.” By adding the My Lai Massacre to the Naval Vignettes students will meet the required learning objective of identifying factors that shape change over time.
His reasoning was that it would be worth the cost in the end. Phase two of the plan was very spread out attacks by the Viet Cong all over the South Vietnam's cities. This made the people go into a full on revolt against the South Vietnamese government and Americans that everyone hated. Because the South Vietnamese government was overthrown, the Americans would have had no choice but to go to the coast, clear out, and go home. Phase three would start as the Viet Cong and NVA were to defeat the Americans that were
The Vietnam war was a very long, costly conflict to stop the communist of North Vietnam spreading to southern Vietnam. The United States got wrapped up in this war because they wanted to prevent communism spreading to different areas in the world. As stated above, one of the sources of media used was the
The war stories told through each individual soldier’s perspective, but more significantly, with their own emotions towards the war and the events which occurred during the war. O’Brien writes, “You can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil” (76). Regardless of the changes within the narrations, the fact remains, that these soldiers are in the middle of battle and the emotion that follows differ for each person. As Kaplan states in his writing, “the most important thing is to be able to recognize and accept that events have no fixed and final meaning and that the only meaning that events can have is one that emerges momentarily and then shifts and changes each time that the events come alive as they are remembered or portrayed”
The idea Pyle implies that they’ll be forced to believe is communism, an idea that Pyle thinks is awful enough to justify American intervention to save the Vietnamese people. Although Pyle’s intentions may be right, the point he fails to address is that the Vietnamese people would not be affected enough by a central government in order to justify intervention. A majority of the Vietnamese people are local farmers working day to day trying to survive and feed their family, the last thing they would want would be a war that could cost possibly millions of lives for a purpose that none of them cared about. In Lessons of Vietnam, when explaining the viewpoint most Vietnamese held, it stated that “Most Vietnamese did not develop a strong sense of participation in the political process”(Lessons 7). When lessons states that most Vietnamese didn’t develop a sense of participation in the political process, this can be largely attributed to the fact that a majority of the Vietnamese people were farmers so they had no reason to care about the political process.