During the short span of the Vietnamese war, 2.5 million people died, and millions more displaced. More bombs were dropped than all of World War II, and over one quarter of Vietnam’s forests were killed by Agent Orange.
No war has divided the American public like the Vietnam War.The American people wanted nothing to do with the Vietnam war. Having witnessed the unthinkable acts of violence through their TV’s, and the obviousness that the Vietnamese did not want them there in the first place, the majority of Americans distanced themselves from the war. The Vietnam war was also their most debilitating war, costing them more than $167 billion dollars a year. This pushed the US economy to its limits, and resulted in its only defeat thus far. At the start of the war, the US president had the American public believing that they had to go to war.
Vietnam was communist, and that’s all that mattered. They thousands of men, with each of them believing they were fighting to protect their country. Eventually however, they realised that the entire concept of the war was flawed. News from the US didn’t reach the frontline troops in Vietnam quickly. They had no idea about the demonstrations and protests going on in their own country against the War.
When the word finally got to the troops there were mixed reactions. On the one hand they could clearly see why the American public did not like this prospect of war. Yet on the other hand, these men were killing, when they didn’t want to, for their country. They were also being killed in there hundreds each day, and for nothing! While the Universities and the like felt sympathy for the soldiers, they did not feel empathy, and hence could not understand what it must be like fighting, when you didn’t want to, for supposedly nothing. Following the end of America’s combat role in Vietnam, and the ensuing fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army, the prophesied accusations as to “who lost Vietnam?” barely took place.