Essay About The Vietnam War
Over a course of several years from 1955-1975, war was being held within a country in Southeast Asia, Vietnam. This was a war between communist North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Once the United States entered the war, the nation was divided about whether it was the right decision. More than 50,000 American souls were lost in this fight and much controversy has been stuck on this topic.
The Americans had entered the war ten years after it had begun in 1965. There is much controversy about this topic and researchers and historians are still debating. After World War II, communism had taken over several countries and was following the “domino effect” (in-text citation). The U.S. essentially entered this war to prevent the world, and themselves, from communism. The U.S. had military involvement with the Southern Vietnamese from 1965-1973. Within this time, military forces were set up throughout the country of Vietnam. The U.S. fought on the side of the Southern Vietnamese as they were trying to drive out communist forces and defeat the communist side of Northern Vietnam. Over 50,000 American soldiers were killed while fighting a war that wasn’t their own. The war eventually concluded in 1975 with the Fall of Saigon.
This war had a big impact on the people fighting it affecting their personal well-being. Being drafted into the war was practically a death wish considering the intensity of the warfare going on. However, the men in Vietnam made friends among themselves. Spending quite a long time with each other, these bonds among soldiers became stronger as time went on. Someone in my personal life who served in the war had experienced a first-hand account of these terrors. Surging through the sweltering heat and the unforgiving monsoons. Being a target in the rainforests and the swampy lands, every moment you feared a bullet would be shot at you. Despite the harsh weather and the fight to make it out alive, the soldiers had friends in their camps. Learning from someone who had friends who had been killed in action, coming back home was harder than expected. My great uncle had several friends who were lost to the war and he had felt as if he left them behind. He had felt that it wasn’t okay that he was shooting aimlessly into the forest. He didn’t feel a cause to be there and as he had stated that that was one of the worst things he had to endure. Leaving his fellow men behind was also a challenge. Seeing a fallen soldier and not being able to do anything ate away at him for years and years after he returned home. The only goal in his mind throughout his time in Vietnam was going home; however, when he returned he felt as if there was a hole in his heart.
In his opinion, some long-term impacts that have been cast upon American society were that a majority of soldiers had suffered from psychological after-effects such as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The U.S. also spent a large amount of money on this project ranging from 350 billion to 900 billion, leaving a hole in the economy. It had also altered the way American forces now approach war.
This war also impacted people at home too. Having to let your loved ones go to the battlefield was one of the hardest things to do. It affected our nation’s outlook on the world and the daily lives of those who had loved ones cast away into the fight. Protests for peace were started in the streets and rallies were brought together. This war even affected pop culture. With popular rock bands giving their opinion on the war through music. Some examples of these bands are Creedence Clearwater and The Rolling Stones.
Creedence Clearwater’s hit song “Fortunate Son” was released in 1969, at the peak of the Vietnam War. This song isn’t really talking about their outlook on the war itself but more about who served in the war. As (intext citation pitchfork.com) states, most of the men drafted were lower class citizens or from a black cultural background. The song presents the idea that men such as Nixon’s daughter’s husband, who was Eisenhower’s son, weren’t being touched because of their standing on the political scale. As pitchfork.com states “It’s about class. Who did the dirty work”. In one line of the song it is sung as “It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son”. This line implies that there was favoritism involved in the drafting system and that influenced people’s opinions.
The second song is “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones. This song conveys a fearful outlook on the war. In one line in the song, Mick Jagger and Merry Clayton sing “If I don’t get some shelter, Lord, I’m gonna fade away”, this line has a lot more to say than just a couple of words. This is telling everyone that our men were stuck at a dead end with nowhere to go. It was also recorded in 1969 when the war was at its peak. Just as (in-text citation vietnamsanitwarmovementintheus.weebly.com) states “This song captures the fear of the American people in a dangerous time”.
In closing, the Vietnam War certainly took a toll on American society to this day.