The opposition to the Vietnam War began in 1964 with students from various colleges in the United States participating in protests aimed at pressing the governing authority to end the war. The mounting number of US troop casualties in the war was a key factor contributing to student protests. Compared to World War 1 and World War 2, the public had better access to information concerning the war from TV coverage and print media.
Increased protest by students and other members of the public sends the wrong signal to the official in the US government. This led to formation of House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) which was charged with the investigation aimed at establishing the connection between the student protest and the National Front for the liberation based in South Vietnam. (NFL). It is at this pointing time that legislation was introduced making all protests illegal and increased crackdown of NFL members in Vietnam.
As the war in Vietnam intensified, so did the need to send more troops to Vietnam. In 1965, President Johnson increased the number of young men and women to be sent to fight in Vietnam to 35,000 from 17,000. This led to more protests as students started burning draft cards in public as a display of anger. A protest march was held in New York on 15th October 1965 to start protest against conscription. Many young men ran away in exile in Sweden and Canada to avoid being sent to the war in Vietnam.
The more the students protest, the more president Johnson introduced harder policies. 1967 would see the president increase the number of men conscripted from 35,000 to 40,000. There was civil obedience everywhere with more than 11,000 would-be soldiers in Vietnam returning their draft cards. Civil disobedience called for speedy prosecution and imprisonment. Many student leaders were prosecuted.
By 1968, war protest has reached the climax. President Johnson had to pull out of the presidential race after Eugene McCarthy ran against him on anti-war policy. Richard M Nixon would be the man who takes over the presidency, running on anti-war platform.
Political and Social Outcome at the End of Vietnam War
The end of war was a political failure to the United States as it failed to establish its foreign policy on Vietnam. Prior to going to war, the United States failed to come up with a clear strategy aimed at accessing their enemies on matters related to tactics, weakness and strength. The United States Army did not have the required tactics to fight in Vietnam. The result was the biggest political and military humiliation. Lack of public support and the growing protest contributed to the US failure in the Vietnam War. President Johnson’s hard stanch on war robbed shows him lose his political career. The Vietnam War saw America spend over $120 billion resulting in budget deficit for many years that followed.
The United States failure in Vietnam War saw president Richard Nixon and his advisor Henry Kissinger reconsider their cold war approach. The US started warming up to the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. A concept of Interdependence was introduced by Kissinger as a display of the US commitment to co-operating with less powerful nations like China. This move was taken was welcomed by China but with a lot of caution.
The Vietnam War had major impact on the daily life of every American. A lot of young men were forced to run away from United State to Sweden and Canada to avoid being sent to Vietnam. Many young men died in the war for a course they did not believe in. Those who made it back from the war suffered from physical and emotional wounds. Many of those who suffered emotionally decide to end their life while other ran away to the street as a result of war trauma, where they lived as outcasts. In almost every American home, a brother, a father, a sister and/or a close relative suffered from the war directly.
The Vietnam War was the longest battle between the United States with the support of Republic of South Vietnam against the Northern, Democratic Republic of Vietnam backed by their communist allies. The war led to massive protests by students in the United States who were against the war. These protests were occasioned by the rising number of American troop casualties and the forced conscription of young men and women in to the war. Increased student protest saw increase in the number of young men sent to the war. This forced many young people to run to other countries to avoid being sent to the war.
The end of war was a political and military failure to the United States. The US failed to implement its foreign policies on Vietnam. The military failed to strategize resulting in a huge blow and a lot of casualties. The war had a far-reaching on American social life. Each and every family suffered directly from the Vietnam War.
Andrew A. Weist and Andy Weist (2002) The Vietnam War: 1956-1975, United Kingdom, Osprey Publishers.
Linda Churney. (2000) Student Protest in the 1960, Web.
Mary Susannah Robbins (2007) Against the Vietnam War, United States, Rowman & little field Publishers.