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Explain Why There Were Such Different Reactions Amongst Americans To The Country's Involvement In The Conflict In Vietnam In The 1960's?

1761 words - 7 pages

The USA is a large country with such a diverse population that when it went to war it was inevitable that there would be such mixed reactions from the American public. Although, to begin with, a lot of the Americans agreed with the war because it stood for a common belief in America at the time - that communism was evil and that the country should do whatever it could to protect itself and other countries from the domino effect. They believed it was their patriotic duty to go to war. Not only did they think the country should go to war they thought that it would be over in a short time and with the country never having lost a war the American public had every right to feel confident. In the 1950's and 1960's America was very confident and were convinced that its economic and military power would be enough to sway other countries away from communism, just like the Marshal Plan had done in western Europe. President Johnson told people that to prevent a bigger issue and a bigger war the country would need to fight a small war. Therefore the American people believed that the Vietnam War would be a small war and the country needed to fight a small war in order to prevent a larger war. Therefore the Americans entered war with very high morale, however this soon changed due to a number of different reasons.One of the reasons why some American people didn't agree with the war was because they were afraid of more young men being killed. The US army had already suffered quite a severe loss a few years before in Korea where 30,000 men were killed and the Americans didn't want to see any more of their men killed. The young soldiers that were sent off to Vietnam to fight were also in fear of being killed; they didn't really understand or agree with the reasons for the country going to war so they lacked motivation for fighting, and when they arrived in Vietnam they saw that the ARVN weren't particularly motivated to fight either. By 1967, 160 men a week were being killed, so the people's fears at the beginning of the war were becoming a reality. Eventually there were so many troops needed in Vietnam that young men were sent with less than a years training, therefore they were at a disadvantage and extremely vulnerable because they didn't have enough experience and were very young, the average age of a soldier in Vietnam was 19 compared to World War 2 which was 26.A lot of young people opposed the war because they were the generation that was being made to go and fight in Vietnam when they didn't really think that it was a worth while war. Many young men refused the draft and staged public burnings of their draft cards in the United States. Also some young men went to Canada to escape the draft; this meant that not enough men of draft age were being conscripted, so in July 1965 President Johnson doubled the number of men to be drafted per month from 17,000 to 35,000 and in August he signed a law making it a crime to burn draft cards.World War 2 was still very...

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