Social Climate During the Vietnam War
American involvement in Vietnam initially enjoyed strong support in the United States but as the conflict continued without signs of an eminent conclusion, public opinion changed. Disapproval of President Johnson's limited approach to fighting increased. For the first time television brought the war to the "living rooms of America". And the constant coverage of the war and of injured and killed young American soldiers and civilian Vietnamese spurred protests against the war. President Johnson was soon fighting a war on two fronts, an internal domestic war and the war in Vietnam. Some individuals labeled "doves", thought America should negotiate a quick settlement with the Communists in order to get out of Vietnam. Others, nicknamed "hawks" believed the war should be waged more vigorsly to bring the Communists to their knees.
The growth of anti-war movement was composed of a variety of groups; some radical, some more moderate and with a variety of conflicting demands and objectives. Dissension and violence within the movement repulsed many sympathizers but despite these shortcomings, growing numbers of ordinary Americans participated in the protests as the years passed. Controversy over the war in Vietnam brought vast changes to the United States in the 1960s. The war profoundly affected every institution in American life: Universities, Congress, the presidency, the Democratic Party, the armed forces, labor unions, religious organizations and the mass media.
By 1968 the social landscape had changed beyond recognition. A sizeable portion of the public no longer believed that government waged the war properly. Many thought that the war in Vietnam had become a burden which the country could no longer afford. Labeled, "doves" by the media, these people wanted the US to reduce its role in Vietnam and reach a negotiated settlement with the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front. Many other, often a...
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