Course and Course Code:
About the Vietnam War
Overview of the Vietnam Civil War, what it involved, when it took place and where
Supporters of Communism (North Vietnam, China, Soviet Union and many other communist friends)
Anti- Communism supporters (South Vietnam, USA and many other anti-communist friends )
Causes of the war
The fear of the spread of communism The U.S government considered American participation in the war as a strategy to preclude a communist seize of South Vietnam.
Impact of the war on the parties involved
high death toll – more than 2 million people lost their lives, and several injuries
Public suspicion of the U.S government
the war also influenced the American popular culture, particularly music and film
shaped the manner in which the U.S dealt with military action in later years
Civil rights and the Vietnam War
Young African Americans struggled to safeguard the liberties of Southeast Asians and lost their lives in large numbers likened to their white peers. Regardless of their sacrifices, black Americans were not able to get equal rights not only at work but also at home, and since the meaning of the war eclipsed the civil rights movements in the agenda of the public as well as the politicians, it looked as though further developments might never be realized. The civil rights movements were chiefly endeavors towards attaining true fairness for African-Americans in all aspects of society.
Involvement in the Vietnam War certainly increased black consciousness, and assisted in politicizing black Americans’ plight. The increasing successfulness of the whites, while African Americans were dismissed and treated unfairly hence remaining on the edge of American society led to the issue double consciousness: that part of bearing an African past, as well as being American citizen. Regrettably, racism is a major issue in America today and blacks are still unfairly treated not only in the army but also generally in society.
Civil Rights and the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War that according to Eldridge (2012) is also the Second Indochina War was an antagonism war that took place in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia for around 20 years – 1954 to 1975. This war was between South Vietnam backed by the United States of America and many other countries that opposed communism ideologies, and North Vietnam backed by China and the Soviet Union besides many other supporters of communism. As from 1945 to 1954, the Vietnamese carried on an anti-colonial battle against France, which received financial back up from the United States of America. Following the French overpowering was a peace convention in Geneva. As the outcome of the convention, Cambodia along with Vietnam and Laos gained their independence, and Vietnam was briefly split up into a communist north and an anti-communist south. By 1958, the communist-headed rebels – Viet Cong, had started to fight the South Vietnamese government (Wiest, 2009).
To back the South Vietnam’s government, the United States dispatched several military advisors to Vietnam. However, the military state worsened and by 1963, some parts of South Vietnam regions such as the Mekong Delta were captured by the anti-communists. In 1965, the then US President, Lyndon Johnson intensified the war, starting airstrikes on North Vietnam and deploying ground forces. By 1968, after the Tet Invasion by the North Vietnamese, most Americans started opposing the war citing various reasons. As the war went on, the South Vietnam and U.S forces depended on very intense firepower and air superiority to carry out search as well as destruction activities. Also, the US directed mass strategic bombing efforts against North Vietnam, and in few years time the North Vietnamese airspace became a highly guarded region (Foley, 2013).
Afterwards, Richard Nixon during his term as president of the U.S started pulling out American troops, leaving South Vietnam more in charge of the war. In 1970, President Nixon strived to reduce the number of soldiers along with supplies to Vietnam by authorizing American forces to demolish communist supply bases in places such as Cambodia. This move contravened Cambodian neutrality and triggered antiwar campaigns on USA’s college campuses. At the start of 1973, there was a consensus the U.S forces be removed from Vietnam, and US detainees were freed. In April 1975, South Vietnam turned over to the North, and Vietnam was unified (Lucks, 2014).
The reason for the start of the Vietnam war rotates around the notion then held by America that communism was extending to all parts of south East Asia. The U.S government considered American participation in the war as a strategy to preclude a communist seize of South Vietnam. This was a component of a broader restraint strategy, with the declared aim of blocking diffusion of communism. Some of the effects of the war were; one, the most straightaway result of the Vietnam War was the astonishing death toll of not only the supporters of communism but also those opposed to communism. More than 2 million people lost their lives, and several were left with various injuries (Eldridge, 2012).
Two, the Vietnam War instigated far-flung public suspicion of the U.S government and caused the military unappreciated, basically in the short-term. Three, the war also influenced the American popular culture, particularly music and film. People focused on the adverse outcomes of the war and many other related challenges Vietnam veterans had readapting to American society. Four, while smaller and more geographically restricted compared to the great world wars earlier in the 20th century, the Vietnam War totally shaped the manner the U.S dealt with military action, and helped determine the functions of the U.S within the modern society (Wiest, 2009).
In line with the civil rights, throughout the Vietnam War, young African-Americans struggled to safeguard the liberties of Southeast Asians and lost their lives in large numbers likened to their white peers (Eldridge, 2012). Regardless of their sacrifices as noted by Foley (2013), black Americans were not able to get equal rights not only at work but also at home, and since the meaning of the war eclipsed the civil rights movements in the agenda of the public as well as the politicians, it looked as though further developments might never be realized. For most African-Americans, the killings, losses and distress of the war turned out just another era in the experiences of the civil rights movement. These civil rights were legal entitlements of individuals to get equal treatment in different settings such as employment, education and education among many others. The civil rights movements were chiefly endeavors towards attaining true fairness for African-Americans in all aspects of society.
The remarkable concurrence of the civil rights movement with the Vietnam War made it easier to change African-American soldiers in not only Vietnam, but also on their return to America. At the time the Vietnam War intensified and was deeply supported by the White House, the then president – Johnson Lyndon ignored the probable racial agony that American involvement in Vietnam issues would trigger. The Vietnam War coincided with the demonstrations of the civil rights groups and the emergency of black power in 1960s. While African-Americans were treated unfairly at home, they were equally treated differently in the United States military. It led to the reawakening of black sub-cultural system along with the repercussions of black power, whereby the effects of the civil rights strive had been shifted to the war zone. Surrounded by the rising agitation, black soldiers championed for Black Power, not only politically, but also culturally (Lucks, 2014).
The Vietnam War according to Wiest (2009) was America’s first racially mixed battle. Black soldiers had taken part in all of America’s earlier military struggles, however, in divided units. Still, a small number of divided units still prevailed. More than one million African-Americans had taken part in the Second World War and came home drenched with the wish to enjoy all the rights of liberation so long turned down for them. In the earlier wars likewise, African-Americans had struggled for both for their freedom and steadfast view on democracy. Vietnam was a battle opposed to socialism: it was a struggle waged to advocate for liberal democracy in place of dictatorship. Black Americas hence hoped that if they fought for democracy outside the United States they were most likely to get it at home. Nonetheless, laws still separated blacks in learning institutions, in places of work and even socially. The irony, the United States was confronting enemies who declared the right to oppress inferior races. Undoubtedly, Americans came together detesting such beastly ideas; however, American minorities at home were unfairly treated.
Prior to 1960, racial hostility had been insignificant: black soldiers were skilled and sought to develop their careers. The Vietnam War created a chance for the black soldiers to get away from poor social as well as economic state at home. However, because of the great knowledge of black struggle and recognition created by media, and widespread television reporting, Vietnam turned out the black man’s issue. The national procession to Washington in 1963, whereby more than 200,000 people, majority blacks, happened amidst extensive media reporting, identified as one of the most influential demonstrations in American history led by Martin Luther King. King demanded that black Americans be part of the American Dream (Lucks, 2014).
King’s dream was that black people just like the whites in America be completely accepted and incorporated into American society. Afterwards, in 1964, a law on civil rights was enacted, bringing legal discrimination to an end; and, in actuality stopping discrimination in places of work and public places. In 1965, a protest arising from voter registration exercise in Alabama took place, from Selma to Montgomery after two earlier tries were subjugated by unfriendly local law officers applying excessive power. Under government protection accompanied by international news reporting, the marchers made it to Montgomery. Later, the Voting Rights Act was adopted into law, enabling African-Americans in the southern states to enroll to vote. The civil rights movements by 1965 had made great gains particularly for the African-American civil rights; unfortunately, there were resisting voices indicating that black had still gotten little economic fairness. Later on after 1965, issues of equal employment opportunities and education started being addressed following protests by blacks demand civil rights in America (Wiest, 2009).
Involvement in the Vietnam War certainly increased black consciousness, and assisted in politicizing black Americans’ plight. The increasing successfulness of the whites, while African-Americans were dismissed and treated unfairly hence remaining on the edge of American society led to the issue double consciousness: that part of bearing an African past, as well as being American citizen. Regrettably, racism is a major issue in America today and blacks are still unfairly treated not only in the army but also generally in society. Even though the economic state of a number of U.S blacks is better, the large disparity between whites and blacks is there, and has triggered racial conflicts that have yet to be addressed. Even so, strives for civil rights at home, and on the war fields such as Vietnam, underscored a new consciousness represented by Black Power. A significant change had taken place: Vietnam helped diffuse African-Americans with a new idea for freedom, they from then had a common identity fired by awareness of their own disaffection (Lucks, 2014).
Eldridge, L. (2012). Chronicles of a two-front war: civil rights and Vietnam in the African American Press. Missouri: University of Missouri Press.
Lucks, D. (2014). Selma to Saigon: the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky.
Wiest, A. (2009). The Vietnam War, 1956-1975. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.
Foley, M. (2013). Chronicles of a two-front war: civil rights and Vietnam in the African American Press. Journal of American History. 100 (2), pp.597.