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Blog post for 10/28- Isa Keetley

The Vietnam War is somewhat of an enigma to me as I never really learned about it. In highschool my teachers tiptoed around the subject and only gave us bits and pieces; and I now understand why. The Vietnam War was very controversial and divided the United States even more than we already were at the time. And of course, in reading Zinn, it is expected that some of these hidden war truths were brought to the light.

Our entrance into Vietnam began eerily similar to our entrance to World War I, the enemy had displayed aggression towards us by “attacking” one of our ships. Thus, it was time to send troops over. However, Zinn challenges if this even happened, questioning LBJ’s ulterior motives to entering into this war. Especially because LBJ had deployed troops without asking Congress for approval, something that every president has to do before entering into war.┬áIn addition to this, the sentiment for fighting was to prevent the communism, however Zinn states that LBJ again, had other motives that had to do with the great amounts of natural resources in Vietnam. From the moment the US entered into the war, there was immediate backlash and resistance. Many men refused to enter the draft because they would be fighting a war that was not “their war”. In fact, the earliest opposition came from the Civil Rights movement, as Black men were dying at disproportionate rates to their white counterparts.

The war caused unrest in the states. Protests were happening everywhere, especially among students on university campuses. However, much like today, they often saw peaceful protests quickly turning violent. Whether this violence came from the police or people that believed opposing the war was treasonous, is hard to say. Despite this violence, people continued protesting. Nixon ran on the platform that he would end the war. While he did not end it, he brought home US troops. This can in part be a response to the seemingly never-ending protests that were still continuing throughout the country. Therefore, I ask, can protests still continue to influence change as they did during Vietnam? Or are they a hopeless cause with our current government and state of our nation?

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4 Comments

  1. Margot Roussel Margot Roussel

    I had a very similar experience to you when I learned about the Vietnam war in high school. My teachers tip toed around what happened during the actual war and when they made it sound like when the protests started happening the war immediately ended. I was very surprised to hear about the “never ending protests” that you described. Additionally, I was surprised to learn about how much destruction was targeted at civilians in Vietnam.

  2. Zariah Chiverton Zariah Chiverton

    To answer the question that you asked, I don’t think it’s useless, and I do think that protesters can still make a difference like they did years ago during the Anti-War movement. Things have definitely changed since then but that shouldn’t be a deterrent from opposing views that we think are wrong. I think it is a lot harder now than it was before because when the killing is being down by our own government on our own people, it changes things. But at the same time, if we agree that it is a hopeless cause, things won’t change and it’ll only get worse from here.

  3. Charley Blount Charley Blount

    US interventionism in the latter half of the twentieth century was often related to resources while hidden under the guise of anti-communism. The most notable examples of this are in Iran (1950s) and the Gulf Wars. If there was no oil in these regions, the United States would have very little incentive to invest military resources in these conflicts.

  4. Alexandra Oloughlin Alexandra Oloughlin

    I think that you made some really good points, and I wanted to throw in my opinion about your question. I think that protests can absolutely make a change. As we are seeing right now, Americans have recognized actions that are wrong, and protests such as BLM have managed to make changes in our country. People, corporations, and even the government are being held accountable by a large voice, for harmful actions, and so I think that protests would still hold power like they did in Vietnam

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