Vietnam has always been a question mark for me. I have never really understood all that unfolded during that era. All I knew is that a lot of people were dying, and people back home were outraged by our involvement in this war specifically. All of that being said it was awesome to be able to read about the reality of this war. It was rather disturbing unfortunately. I realized that the reason I was never taught about the Vietnam War was probably because the United States lied about much of what was unfolding in hopes of conveying the importance of our role to help calm the outraged citizens and protestors on the streets of America.
On top of this, the troops themselves were at a disadvantage. Much of the time spent in battle was spent under ambush attack. A major issue within the logistics of this war was that American troops didn’t know where or even who they were fighting a lot of the time. Making their performance and effectiveness plummet. President Nixon might be the most distasteful aspect of this tragic era in American history. Nixon ran on the promise and idea that if elected, he would get the US out of Vietnam and out of the war. Which once elected, proved to be a lie. The lives of thousands continued to be lost and the frustration and anger that Americans felt grew. I understand that it is our duty as a democracy to fight communism, but I don’t see how that can be an essential behavior when the efficiency in which you are fighting communism is so low. From my perspective, and I think the perspective of many Americans during the war it appears as though the Vietnam War was nothing more than a blood bath that resulted in lives lost and morale shattered.
I do think that the Vietnam war is a dark mark on the United States’s history. It was an unnecessary war that did not really help stop the spread of Communism and generally wasted American lives. Additionally people in the US like to say that they have never lost a war but from my perspective we lost the Vietnam war.
I completely agree with Margot’s comment. In addition to that, I too didn’t know about the horrendous acts that the US imposed on the Vietnamese. I also didn’t know about how much the American government lied to the people. One of the most shocking points is that Nixon ran, promising that he would bring an end to the war by pulling US soldiers out of Vietnam; however, it was later found that he lied. I had no idea that Nixon had lied to the American people.
I really enjoyed your point in the first paragraph about never really going in-depth into the Vietnam War in school. It was hard to find a valid positive angle to turn to justify this war because it was so widely unsupported. I remember learning that it was a proxy war against the Soviet Union, which in a way it was, but that takes away all of the destruction and death we caused to the Vietnamese people.
The vagueness of our knowledge on the Vietnam War is disappointing, but it is also an opportunity for development of our curriculum regarding war. If we focused on strongly emphasizing the fact that we lost the war, new generations may grow up with a more productive perspective on unnecessary foreign involvement (especially in instances where American lives are lost).
I am in the same boat as you. My knowledge of the Vietnam war is very limited. However, as I learned more I am proud of the people who stood up against this unjust war but disappointed in our officials for not listening.
Similarly to most American citizens that are still alive, I too am unfamiliar with the Vietnam war. The only teachings of the war allude to the fact that many Americans were unhappy about fighting it, but that was the largest extent of my knowledge. I am proud that people at the time pushed so hard against the war because after reading into what truly went on, it is clear that Vietnam was a blood bath that benefitted effectively nobody.
I agree I feel as though I was not taught that much about the Vietnam War as we should’ve been through the American education system and I feel it’s because so much was hidden about the war behind the scenes. It seems to me that this is a reoccurring theme that textbooks avoid details about important events in America’s history.