The Vietnam War had a large effect on American citizens. The Vietnam war lasted 10 years, over 2.5 million people died and millions were injured. There were more bombs dropped in the Vietnam War than in all of WWII. There has yet to be another war that has caused Americans to lose confidence in the national government and become as divided as the Vietnam War did. The Vietnam War changed the lives of the American soldiers and citizens’ like no other war has. The Vietnam put America under complete chaos, it caused citizens to lose pride and trust in the government.
The Vietnam War was a war that many Americans did not believe in. The war had begun due to a claim that North Korea had attacked us at the Gulf of Tonkin. Although there was no proof that they had done this Kennedy decided to push towards war. There were 2 major groups during the war. Hawks, were a group of people that supported the war, they wanted to fight to destroy communism. The Hawks included people that wanted to fight for a limited purpose, peace, rather than a victory in Vietnam (Brigham). The second major group was the Doves. The Doves were a group of people that were against the war, they believed that none of this was America’s problem. The Doves included antiwar protesters, college students and faculty, liberal Democrats, and many other people in various walks of life who felt that the war was immoral. They felt that the war had no benefit to the US, and that it only caused high casualty rates (Brigham). At the start of the war, the US president had the American people believing that they had to go to war. Vietnam was communist, and that's all that mattered. America had thousands of men and each of them believed that they were fighting to protect their country. However they eventually realized that the entire reason behind the war was flawed (Brigham).
The US was under complete chaos. There were riots and protests bursting out left and right. Each of them was ending in a bloody mess. The soldiers were unaware of this. They had no idea that these protests were going on in their own country against the war that they were fighting. The troops had mixed reactions. (Hickman)
The war was not only affecting Citizens still in the US but the US soldiers as well. The soldiers witnessed the most frightening images imaginable. They often suffered from a problem known as Survivor Guilt. Survivor Guilt is when a solider begins to ask himself “why is it that I survived and no one else did? (Calahan).” Many veterans also found it very difficult and extremely uncomfortable to feel love and compassion for others, even though it might have been their family. To actually feel love and compassion for others they it was almost as if they would have to thaw their numb reactions to the all of the death and horrors that had surrounded them during their combat years. Some veterans actually believe that if they once again allow themselves to feel, they may never stop crying or may completely lose control of themselves (Calahan).
Many Americans wanted to forget about the war. Many formed amnesia of the war, they didn’t want to talk or think about the most crippling war that had just taken place. It was not until the early 1980’s that Americans accepted the fact that the war actually taken place (The Bitter End).
America lost their first war. The US soldiers underestimated the Vietnamese army. American soldiers were unaware that Vietnam had such a high powered military. They used skilled jungle fighters called Viet Cong (The Bitter End). The most significant factor in the US losing Vietnam was Walter Cronkite and the American press. They became invested in defeat. A prime example is the Tet Offensive. North Vietnam attacked South Vietnam in a wide spread attack. The US jumped in and stopped it all. But what was reported was the US suffered a enormous defeat (Woods).
Following the defeat American people were down in the dumps....