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Leading historical scholars term the Vietnamese war an accident while accusing United States for its contribution. The war did bring controversies nationally and internationally. The controversy was because of some faction supporting it whiles the rest opposing it vehemently.
Interestingly, majority of the people who opposed the war were college students simply because, in one way or another, it affected their lifestyles. Unluckily, the war in Vietnam occurred during the periods when colleges and universities across Europe and America experienced unprecedented student unrest over social, political and economic issues affecting their respective countries.
In many occasions, the government forced many students out of school and go to fight their enemies. Ultimately, they realized how wasted they had become due to lack of education. The paper examines what conspired college students to go on rampage because of the Vietnamese war. Additionally, the paper will also examine the social and political outcomes from the Vietnam War whether it was for good or the worst. (Student Unrest, (n.d.), Para. 1-3).
Student Unrest and the Vietnam War
There are numerous reasons that led to the war in Vietnam. Other than nations fighting for supremacy, the concept of one nation targeting to be a superpower clearly depicted out. Many American felt that the involvement of United States in Vietnam War was an ill motive meant to subject Americans into social and economic hardships. The American government drafted a military paper, which became an official government policy demanding all male persons who are over eighteen years old to offer military service to their country.
Further, the policy continued by setting up a time framework of two years that all new recruits would serve as United States soldiers. Nevertheless, there was one exemption from serving as a soldier. This was only a short-lived period because, the draft allowed college students to finish their education first and then enter the military. This increased tension among students especially when they neared graduation date. The fear to go to Vietnam and participate in a war that many believed America will inevitably lose, continued to engulf their life even more. The policy had become a law and no male person of over eighteen years old, was exempt to fight in Vietnam.
The law of casualty applied heavily in that, as one became older and older, the chances of going to Vietnam continued to increase. This left then with only two options. The first one was of course to run away from their countries to evade this dilapidating government responsibility.
In fact, many students after completing college moved to Canada to seek refuge instead of going to Vietnam to fight a war so controversial. The second option available for students to choose was to participate in national protests, as a way of forcing United States Congress to change the policy draft. (Marc, 2001, pp. 1-53). Interestingly, many students who decided not to flee to Canada to seek asylum opted to cause unrest to achieve their mandate. (Pike, 2009, Para. 1-37).
For example, in states like San Francisco, many students went into the streets holding peaceful demonstrations. However, the demonstrations turned student rioting where police officers dispersing the protesters decided to kill some. No sooner had police officers killed student protesters, than the war escalated even more. It had now become an internal war, which many believed would not end soon.
The protesters continued to carry out their protests as normal just because; they had a strong believe that they were not supposed to die for something, which majority of Americans rejected vehemently. Student unrest continued each day drawing more support from the public.
The number of young men and women, who did not attend colleges due to financial hardships, was thrice that of college students thus, many went to fight in a war they had little faith. Statistics indicate over two million youthful Americans participated in the Vietnamese war leaving about 58, 000 of them dead. Financial costs soared to the highest level leaving many Americans to languish in poverty. As a result, government ratings declined heavily thus affecting its popularity.
Political and Social Outcomes of the War
United States suffered greatly from the war in Vietnam. So many Americans died in Vietnam while politically, America became more sidelined by many countries. United States Treasury under the direction of President Johnson spent more and more money without providing a tangible solution on how the government will meet the expenses.
Although he created many national programs, federal deficit and high inflation rates resulted, leading to slouching of American economy. Many Americans lost confidence in their leaders and the government in general. To many Americans, political leaders had become liars and elements of dishonesty never to entrust with high positions. For example, the emergence of President Nixon’s scandal and the appointment of Ford as the President increased public distrust even more to unprecedented scales.
It reached a point where Congress had to save the public from similar political and social abuses. For example, Congress enacted a bill requiring the executive first, to inform Congress before sending troops to participate in any war. Moreover, Congress must first analyze the situation within two months before vetoing any go ahead to the executive. Although many Americans had died in Vietnam, United States Congress dodged the draft saving many young Americans who would have died in the war. (Zelizer, 2007, Para. 2-22).
In conclusion, soldiers who survived from Vietnam War did not receive finicky recognition at home because; many Americans never liked America’s involvement in Vietnam War. The society despised these soldiers although forced by the government to go and fight in Vietnam.
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Even up to today, many Americans still do not understand why America decided to fight in Vietnam. Nevertheless, Vietnam War still serves a lesson to any American government and the public at large, with optimism of learning from past slip-ups, which led to political and social problems.
Marc, J.G. (2001). The Vietnam War on campus: other voices, more distant drums. New York: Praeger Publishers.
Pike, J. (2009). Vietnam War. GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved from <https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/vietnam2.htm>
Student Unrest. (n.d.). Retrieved from <http://scholar.library.miami.edu/sixties/studentUnrest.php>
Zelizer, J. (2007). How Congress Helped End the Vietnam War. The American Prospect. Retrieved from <https://prospect.org/>