American Public Opinion of the Vietnam War
At the beginning of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, in 1965,
the American Public favored the idea of war because they feared the
threat of communism. Polls conducted in 1965, showed 80 percent of the
population agreed with President Johnson and were for the war
(Rousseau 11). The U.S. got involved with the war to stop communism
from spreading throughout South Asia. Americans were afraid if one
country on South Asia turned to communism, it would extend to other
countries, which is known as the "Domino Theory". The United States
thought if they stopped communism in Vietnam, it would stop the spread
of communism. At this time, America saw itself as the "good guys" of
the war. By 1969, the supposed quick war was not over, the amounts of
American casualties were rising, and the cost of War had increased the
amount of taxes, which frustrated the American people. The
participation of the United States in the Vietnam War was
the subject of much debate with the American Public throughout the
duration of the war.
The war in Vietnam did not cause any direct harm on the United States.
The conflict was between the Vietcong, rebel communists in North
Vietnam, and the South Vietnamese. The U.S. became involved to prevent
the spread of communism. America had confidence they could go into
Vietnam and stop the communist with no problem, because they had won
every war they entered, they had the best army and air force, and were
the richest country at the time. The USSR was also a communist country
at the time. The U.S. disliked the USSR, because they had different
beliefs than the United States. The American government felt if more
countries turned to communism, the more power the USSR would have.
Which would create a large threat to the United States and the amount
of power they held. They felt Vietnam would create a blockade and stop
the spread of communism. The American people were upset because they
were being sent hundreds of miles away to fight a war, which had
nothing to do with America.
The media played a large role in turning Americans against the war.
This war was the first was in which the media had no restrictions on
what they could show the
people. It is known as the T.V. War. Marshall McLuhan, a journalist
from Regent's School of Communication and the Arts, said, "Television
brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room.
Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the
battlefields of Vietnam"(Patterson). This was the first war to have
been filmed. It was shown daily on the television and in the
newspapers. The American government decided not to censor it and let
the press have free access. Pictures of Vietnamese children burning
alive from American napalm, and...