Why Was It That A Great Many Of Americans Opposed Us Involvement In The Vietnam War?

989 words - 4 pages

The Vietnam War was one of the most time-consuming, energy, money and manpower consuming wars to the US. There were many reasons why a lot of Americans oppose their country's involvement in this war in the late 1960s and early 70s. Ranging from military to social and economic factors, and the propaganda in America also played a significant role in influencing the general public's opinion of the war.Militarily, many US citizens were disillusioned with the war and lost their faith in the government after the Tet Offensive launched by the North Vietnamese in 1968. Ten weeks before the Tet Offensive, the senior military commander of the US forces in Vietnam, General William Westmoreland said in a televised new conference that he had seen 'a light at the end of the tunnel' implying that the end of the war was soon to come. Television, back at that time, was one of the very few media that the general public had accessed to, and it was one of the very few ways the general public could get the news of what was going on during the Vietnam War from. Consequently, many Americans believed in General Westmoreland's 'prophecy' of the end of the War, considering he was the commander of the US forces in Vietnam. However merely after 10 weeks, the North Vietnamese launched a surprise attack on all the significant cities in South Vietnam, which was the famous Tet Offensive. Even the US embassy in Saigon, which was considered as the safest place in South Vietnam was attacked during this offensive. Tet Offensive was the turning point of the whole Vietnam War. Even though in terms of military, US seemed to have the victory over North Vietnam, at least 37,000 North Vietnam soldiers were killed whereas only 2,500 American soldiers were killed during Tet , it was a psychological defeat for the US. It showed the inexhaustible North Vietnamese manpower, which was willing to sacrifice their lives just to overthrow the unified Vietnam. This was when the Americans realized that if they decided to continue the fight, they were pretty far from the "light of the tunnel." Also, the discrepancy between what they were told by a very respectable officer and what the fact showed them, the Americans could not help but to lose faith in the government. Furthermore, as the casualties of the US soldiers raised from 5,008 to 14, 594 in 1966 to 1968 , the US citizens were very disillusioned, the end of the war was yet to be seen. The disillusioned of the general public and the losing faith in the government helped to strengthen the voice of opposing the US's involvement in the War.Economically, the American government spent a huge proportion of money that could be used to increase the domestic social welfare on the War, and thus raised the endless complaints of its citizens. The USA spent...

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