Why was there opposition to the Vietnam war?
Kerrie Jordan 12C
There were many different effects that created opposition for America duing the Vietnam war. The biggest effect was the intense media coverage of the war. The two main news channels in the US, NBC and CBS, sent reporters with the marines into the centre of the war, as this was the first war that reporters were actually allowed into the battlegrounds. They broadcast the full horror of what was going on in Vietnam, the footage was never censored. At the beginning of the war, the media fully supported the war, but as it progressed, they captured more and more footage of soldiers dying, villages being burnt to the ground and distressed peasants being tortured and killed, and they turned against the war. Americans developed napalm, a jelly bomb where the jelly would explode, stick to the victims skin and severely burn them. The media covered all of this, and all of the TetOffensive. The Tet is a religious time for the Vietnamese and during this time it was tradition not to fight, but the Vietnam surprised the Americans and fought them. As all of this was broadcast, it gave the people back in the US evidence that America was not winnning the war. This was emphasised when the media broadcast the My Lai massacre, when marines attcked a village on a destroying mission, and killed 400 eldery, women, and children, to then discover it wasnt a Vietcong village. All of this gave a lot of negative images and had a very bad effect on public opinion, and Americans grew to hate the war.
Another effect was the human cost of the war. There was rising concern about the numbers on young soldiers being killed. It was nicknamed 'Body Bag Syndrome' as the more people dead, the more body bags were being used. The mortality rates peaked in 1968, with 400,000 dead and 250,000 injured. Ths raised the arguement of how America was losing. This was a war taking place 1200 miles away and a war America didnt know very much about. The people began to think it was just not worth it. Many people started to wonder why America, a superpower, declared war on a peasant country 1200 miles away, when there was no direct threat from them.
In 1965, a draft law of consription was passed, which means young american men were required to serve one year of duty. The average age was 19 but college students were exempt. So, the 'rooky army' consisted mainly of young, poor and uneducated men. US college students started to protest agaisnt conscription as they said it was 'immoral.'