Background to the Vietnam war



America's policy of containment ensured that they would protect the spread of communism to avoid the "domino theory", the domino theory is the theory that once one country falls to communism, many more will follow. The war in Vietnam was between the south and the north (the north contained Viet kong which was the opposing army). The war in Vietnam did not begin because of communist threat, but slowly started to show that a communist takeover was completely possible. America had army advisors looking out for the south Vietnam government and giving them support, but when the threat of communism grew, americans where entitled, if not obligated to step in and support south vietnam. Right away this was an unpopular war with american citizens, they believed that it was a civil war and America had no business getting involved, but because of the containment policy, they really did.


America's reaction


President Johnson was the president at the time, and his name had become so tarnished because of the war, that in the late 1960's when and election was to be held, he withdrew his name from the running. He was quickly and easily replaced by Nixon, a republican and anti-communism activist. The war had begun escalating so quickly that by late 1969 the anti-war movement had retired from just students and hippies, and was now preceding in full fledge protest. The war was so unpopular that full of riots would occur in the streets during the time, mass arrests where enforced and draft notes where burned. In the month of October 1969 over two million people across the country joined in anti-war protests, later in november over 500,000 people protested in washington DC for government to see. The war was getting more media coverage than any other war in history, and families where able to see the horrors that where occurring everyday in their living rooms, this contributed a great deal towards the negativity the war received. In the spring of 1970 president Nixon invaded Cambodia, this caused the largest student strike in history, over 500 universities and colleges shut down across the United States, the passion that young people where thrusting into sopping this war was incredible.

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This video is a little insight into the protesting efforts that where taking place



In the video you can see the outright anger and frustration people had with the war, and they where not afraid to stand up for what they believed in. Many people protested because they did not appreciate the way the war was being fought, they did not like the massive bombing and innocent savillian killings that where taking place.

As vietnam veterans began to return to America, they began rebelling against the war (not all of them, of course), they had to watch their friends die as they awaited the next attack, fighting hard and staying loyal to America proved to be very hard for soldiers when they returned, this caused many to lash out. The riots and protests where starting to lose meaning,where beginning to become alcohol and drug abusive sights, and people would gather angrily to "protest" under the influence. Police where having a hard time controlling the unruly masses, they where a strong force.


America returning home


When America had finished their role to the best of their ability they began to return home, and protests began to die down. Some still raged away but the groups where smaller, and more conserved. Anger filled many American citizens as the men started arriving home. Some American citizens treated the soldiers return very poorly, they demonstrated hate towards the men and treated them as if they had started the war. America did hold off the north Vietnamese troops for a long time, but eventually they broke down the south and took over. It seemed as though the lost lives had been for nothing, and that was another thing people voiced their opinion about. To this day many people disagree with the Vietnam war and believe it was a useless waste of American lives.




Page by Jennifer Hughson