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America’s aggressiveness in the Vietnam War was mainly ignited by their intensive attempts to restrict and stop spread of communism to the untouched countries in Asia. The US had already realized the contagious characteristic of communism ideologies in that if the communists managed to establish themselves in a country, they proceeded to influence the neighboring nations eventually taking them over. The writer depicts that there was an existing aggression within Vietnam that led to political division into the communist north and the capitalist south, where the communists fought to bring the south under their control. Since 1954, the US placed economic and political interests over Vietnam, alongside a call by the President Diem, who ruled the south, to assist him fight the surging north. The US government advanced into establishing operation bases in southern Vietnam. At first, American influence in the Vietnam conflict was indirect and it only offered military training to the southern forces to assist in retaliating against the north. And only afterwards there was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, when the US government, under President Lyndon Johnson, declared a direct combat in the Vietnamese war (Foner 539).
The move of America’s involvement in the war stirred tremendous opposition back home, with different groups and liberal movements protesting in mass demonstrations as millions of dollars were assigned to the war, leading to economic constrains on taxpayers who were paying very high taxes in order to sustain the war (Foner 540). The government had also neglected the role of implementing the policies of the Great Society, putting all its attention and funds into the war. Later in 1975, the US had to call it quits through seeking peace terms with the northern Viet Cong’, after a long and expensive, but unsuccessful struggle.
Political impacts of Vietnamese War on Americans
The US incurred intense and severe political, economic, social and cultural consequences out of the Vietnam War. It was described as a watershed undertaking, ever experienced in the American history. Politically, the results of the war led to the public losing faith in the government and its leaders` truthfulness and competency. In fact, the public was filled with uncertainty and distrust (Foner 549). There was a high extent of skepticism and mistrust among the large number of envoys from all over the country. Subsequent to the war, the masses were unable to neither esteem nor have confidence in the US public institutes.
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The painful effects of the war were also displayed through what came to be known as “Vietnam syndrome”. The term is used to describe blame and doubts that followed the war, and which kept lingering in Americans’ minds that it could be an attempt to engage in any other abroad conflict. In fact, Foner states that the public strongly felt that the government should cease involving the country in any martial conflict. It was hence agreed that the US should only engage their military as the last option when all the other forms are un-applicable, or where factors of national importance are clear, and only in a case where the decision received total pubic support and only when such a decision is made on a short-term basis and the victory is cheaply attainable (Foner 553).
Cultural impacts of Vietnamese War on Americans
The effects of the War on the US people concentrated on four main dimensions. One of the affected cultural aspects was literature. The Vietnam War became a major theme among novelists in their literature work. According to Foner, they referred their audience to the war by relating its influence and experience with different social or political phenomena. Scholars championed the prevailing distressful atmosphere to instill hope to the public by providing appropriate approaches for the future. It also became a subject to address political upheavals in different governments.
Music industry also had a major impact, as different artists used the variation of different society aspects of that time in their music production. The War occurred when activists were strongly advocating for equal civic rights in the US, and fighting the racism. The tension intensified even more due to the negative economic effects of the warfare (Foner 578). Some music artists composed their art to address the situation of a soldier in the war; meanwhile others directed their work to the desperate situation at home, e.g., combat music or protest music.
In the mass media sector, televised productions changed to those related to culture, general public view of the political arena and entertainment. There was diverse coverage of news, theatrical performance, soap operas and documentaries which dramatized daily lives of the soldiers in Vietnam battlefield. There was a gradual development of martial themes in the society, as they were broadly televised (Foner 578). Different media companies instilled varied opinions about the condition in Vietnam. Some of these perspectives later led to social isolation of war veterans when they returned home. Film production also provided a wider means of documenting the war topics, as actors displayed both positive and negative sides of the conflict. This posed varied feelings and opinions, as the nationals saw both white and black soldiers dying in defense of their country`s interests and superiority. To some extent this created social cohesion and brotherhood, making it easier to eliminate social discrimination and injustice.
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The sexual interaction between the Vietnamese women and the American soldiers in Vietnam led to children of Asian descent being born , and they were later recognized by the US government as American citizens. A great deal of US culture was also influenced by soap operas, as they enabled the public to manage and handle the prevailing political, economic and social atmosphere. The nation was able to relax in reflection to the distressing tension (Foner 593). Although the TV companies were reluctant to air precisely the major themes in Vietnam War, it was clear that the timely production of the operas and TV serials related to the war and the consecutive development of the public’s perception and attitude about the conflict showed that the Americans were finally in a position to accept it and even talk about it.