American Culture During The Vietnam War

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On December 8, 1941, the dawn of a new era was upon many Americans. After the attack on Pearl Harbor one day beforehand, Americans experienced a new sense of urgency to become entrenched in the war against the Axis powers and the fascism they stood for in Europe and Asia. Public support for the conflict and the soldiers who were drafted to fight in it was high and the war was often sensationalized by American media sources (Chapter 9, Blum, p. 280). This war—full of significant casualties—saw unconditional support for the troops. This, however, was in stark contrast to the war that escalated just 18 years later—the Vietnam War. American sentiment for this war heavily contrasted the support for World War Two, with an evident antiwar counterculture forming in the states (“Counterculture of the 1960s, PPP, Slide 3). Although the wars have stark differences, they were driving forces in significantly molding and defining the American culture for the years between 1940 and 1975. In order to fully examine the impact of these wars on American culture, it is important to examine the incidents that brought the United States into the wars, American objectives of the wars and how they attempted to achieve those objectives through their actions abroad, the domestic impact, who the enemies were and why, and also outcomes of the wars. To begin, it is paramount to understand the reasoning’s surrounding the U.S. initial involvement in the wars. Preceding World War Two (hereby identified as WWII), the United States had taken an isolationist standpoint. In fact, the United States enacted legislation that intended to keep the states neutral from the influence of WWII (Textbook, p. 878). However, the unprecedented and unexpected events of Pearl Harb... ... middle of paper ... ...led by future President, Dwight D. Eisenhower (Textbook, p. 885). The Americans, in yet another show of massive milirary might, were able to help drive back the Germans and help draw WWII to a close. America’s involvement in this war was largely uncontested by not only American citizens but also leaders and civilians around the world. The American military, far more technologically advanced than other militaries of the time, was a much-needed source to win WWII. While our involvement was initially in retaliation to the attack on Pearl Harbor, it became clear that America’s presence was necessary and wanted by all leaders in the Allied forces. The American involvement in WWII was very different than the American involvement in Vietnam. The war in Vietnam saw heavy protests, lack of direction, and general unpreparedness from American Generals and military personnel.

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