Humanities
Why did the war in Vietnam result in such widespread opposition?

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Why did the war in Vietnam result in such widespread opposition?(100 words)

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Final Answer

It might seem strange that the Vietnam War generated so much opposition when the Korean War had not, but by the time young men were being drafted for Vietnam attitudes had changed. A much larger proportion of the population were going to college and the idea of completing their course only to be immediately conscripted did not appeal to many. It was the college generation which led the initial opposition to the war. The poor white and black kids who were most likely to be called up were also more likely to see it as an opportunity.

There was also a new rhetoric in the air. Thanks in part to the communists being able to use the anti-imperialist banner to support so-called liberation wars, many young people throughout the world saw the US as a successor to France in Vietnam, in denying the country true freedom. The US had a bad history of suppressing nationalism where ever it interfered with US interests, such as Latin America.

TV and Newspapers had almost unrestricted access in Vietnam for the first time in the history of warfare. People could see the battles nightly on TV, and the faces of the dead were displayed in news bulletins, and famously in a Life Magazine photo spread. Journalists questioned generals" decisions live from the battlefield, and some were conducting their own propaganda war.

As the war progressed it became clear that the decision making at the top was based on false information. See the Pentagon Papers. Secretary of State Robert McNamara was shown to have consistently misled President Johnson as to the situation on the ground. The CIA was running its own war and organizing the over-throw of South Vietnamese Presidents, who were corrupt anyway.


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Carnegie Mellon University

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