American Reaction To Involvement In Vietnam Essay — страница 2

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This was partly due to the wealth factor, as more white people could afford to defer the draft, and so the army ended up consisting of the poorer sectors of society. This led to resentment and racism was a strong feature of the war, which increased its unpopularity. People began to see the war as dirty and corrupt.The late 60s showed a real shift in public opinion. The Tet Offensive of 1968 humiliated the government. The army and the public lost respect for their leaders and it lost all credibility. It became apparent to everyone that the USA couldn?t win the war. The previous year, the Defence Secretary, Robert McNamara resigned saying that America couldn?t win, so morale was already low by this stage. It sent an extremely negative message to the army and the public, and they

couldn?t see why soldiers were still being sent in. Another example of government losing confidence was that Johnson, previously one of the main supporters of the war, refused to stand for re-election, which showed everyone that he realised America had made a mistake.One factor that was important in the change in opinion was the media. Vietnam was the only war where the press had total free access. They sent horrifying images into the homes of every American through TV. They could see all the blood and guts, and it brought the war into the public?s faces. This was very damaging to the war effort, and was the first time the Americans had see war without the Hollywood facade. They saw the use of Nepalm, Agent Orange, the devastation of the intensified bombing, night after night,

and it ground on them. In 1969, the media brought the My Lai Massacre to the public?s attention. This shocked the world, and created yet more opposition to the war. America began to realise their unpopularity throughout the world.Also, by the late 60s, the ?Hippies? were becoming more widespread. With their pacifist attitudes, (for example ?Make Love, Not War?), they held more and more protests against Vietnam, for example outside of the American Embassy.Not only that, Vietnam was so expensive that it was sending the Us economy into recession, and people were having to pay higher taxes in order to fund it. Prosperity was in danger, which caused resentment for the war.In 1971, an opinion poll was done in America on whether the public thought that Vietnam was morally wrong. Sixty

percent answered yes, but still forty percent said no. So there was still a large core of the population that believed in the Vietnam War. Therefore, in conclusion, although there was a dramatic shift in opinion, and much opposition to it supported by leading figures in government and pop culture, much of America supported the war effort.