• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain why there were such different reactions in the USA to the country’s involvement in Vietnam in the 1960’s.

Extracts from this document...


Explain why there were such different reactions in the USA to the country's involvement in Vietnam in the 1960's. As the USA's involvement in Vietnam escalated during the 60's, the reactions of the USA and its people changed dramatically throughout the decade. The time of 10 years proved to be a decade split into several segments of public reactions. In the early years of 1960, the American public considered price, inflation and racism as the most important issues facing their country. However it was not until 1965 that the people of America finally realised that in actual fact Vietnam was the main threat to their countries well being. Nonetheless by 1960, there were barely any American troops in Vietnam and in fact there were less than 50 thousand troops fighting. The fact that the US death rate was very low ensured that the American public was not too concerned with events in Vietnam. However they were instead more interested in celebrating the glory of war and the government's actions towards defending the principle of democracy in Vietnam. The youth of America or "Kennedy's Generation" in particular, when asked what they could do for their country became excited at the prospect of fighting and representing what their nation stood for. As they thought the superpower of America could not be defeated. ...read more.


The right wing view of the "Hawks" showed no sympathy with communism and was convinced that America would remain undefeated in modern war. They believed communism had to be defeated and the war had to continue for the sake of the free world. As Philip Caputo wrote, the USA had never lost a war and was destined to "play cop to the communist robber". This in effect shows that the Hawks viewed the USA as the first line of defence against Communism in the world and therefore could not stand down. Nonetheless, the political views swung towards the left wing view during the 60's as America realised that the war was being lost and America was defeated. The reactions of the USA were also split by racial differences. Black Americans were outraged by certain facts about Vietnam. For example, more black than white soldiers were dying in Vietnam, in proportion to their numbers in the US. This sparked outrage amongst black people who thought black soldiers were being used as pawns in Vietnam. Hugely prominent black icons such as Martin Luther King instructed black people not to fight in Vietnam. He felt that black soldiers should not risk their lives for a country that deprives them of their human rights. He believed that the true fight for black people was at home in the USA. ...read more.


This was impossible, as this was the 1st war to be shown live on television and in colour. The exposure America received from Vietnam was enough to disgust the country. In 1965 viewers saw a GI set fire to a peasants hut with his cigarette lighter. In 1968, they saw a Vietcong prisoner shot dead. Television also showed American GI's being shot to pieces and in 1969, the truth about the My Lai massacre was revealed along with footage of women and children being stripped and murdered by American GI's. In all, 58,000 US troops were killed, a huge loss of young life. This figure was enough to justify America's exit from a war they could not win. All off this proved to be far too much exposure than the American people were ready for and the media proved to be a huge factor in changing the reactions of people towards Vietnam. It brought the war into the living rooms of the American people. They saw the savagery that their own boys were committing in Vietnam and were disgusted. Reactions to Vietnam were different in the 60's because the war escalated during the decade. At first, the war was unimportant until the US people realised they could not win the war. Generations, politics and race split the country and this meant reactions would be different depending on where you stood. Because America was so diverse, and the land of "freedom", reactions would always be different. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. My Hero-Muhammad Ali

    Ali has the courage to stand up and fight for what he believed in because he became a muslim whilst getting alot of criticism off muslims themselves, and changed his name to Muhammad Ali to suit his religion even when his own family disapproved of it.

  2. Muhammed Ali - write about who you admire most in life any why

    Stay out of Atlanta!" This was a warning from the far right possibly from an organization like the Ku Klux Klan. Muhammed Ali showed huge bravery in carrying on, most people would have run a mile if such organizations as sick and twisted as the KKK made threats to their safety.

  1. America In Vietnam, 1953-73

    March 10, 1968 a New York Times story revealed to the public that Westmoreland was requesting an additional 206,000 troops. A March Gallup Poll showed that 67% of Americans no longer believed the government knew what it was doing in South Vietnam and if the United States was winning the

  2. The Sino-Soviet Split

    The Chinese invented commune, for instance, a structure that reaped better results than the Russian collective farming system, was the focus of extensive Soviet censure throughout 1958 and early 1959, to which Mao responded by supporting derogatory references to Khrushchev in the national press.

  1. How did the USA escalate their involvement in Vietnam?

    At this time, most of Eastern Europe had become communist under the influence of Russia. America believed that communism was a threat to democracy. Therefore the Truman doctrine was set up to contain communism and not let it spread to other countries.

  2. 'To what extent had the USA become two different societies by the eve of ...

    over the issue of slavery: 'I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with slavery in states where it exists'10. The process of industrialisation and the subsequent consequences to society due to immigration in northern towns of America did increase the diversity in society between the north and the

  1. American Involvement in Vietnam.

    After placing Diem in power he was unwilling to be a "puppet" ruler over Vietnam. Much like the Soviets did in Eastern Europe the Americans had planned to influence Vietnam through Diem. He was seen by the people as different and not fitting into the mould of the typical Vietnamese.

  2. Explain why there was such different reactions in the USA to the country's involvement ...

    Young people in America had more of a say in everything due to Americas wealth. The politics of the war was not something they were going to be excluded from so now they voiced their opinions by protests. Teenagers and students were fighting against authority.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work