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Reaction to the Vietnam War in the Unites States

  • Date Submitted: 10/01/2011 06:34 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43.8 
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Reaction to the Vietnam War in the United States:
In the United States, a nationwide debate ensued over participation in the war. The government's official position was that it was involved in Vietnam at the request of the government of South Vietnam and was helping to repel Communist aggression from the north. Its only avowed objective was to secure a settlement that would allow the people of Vietnam to decide their own form of government. To achieve this end, it was using only carefully controlled military measures so as not to take innocent lives or bring about active participation by China or the Soviet Union.
As United States involvement continued, however, Americans grew increasingly dissatisfied with their nation's war policy. Some, described as "hawks," argued that the United States should use maximum military force to gain a quick victory. Others, called "doves," argued that the conflict in Vietnam was essentially a civil war in which the United States had no right to interfere. Some of the doves demanded immediate American withdrawal, while others called for a gradual disengagement from the war.
Some critics of the war charged that American use of bombers and of artillery was too indiscriminate and that many innocent civilians had perished. The revelation that United States troops in 1968 had massacred the entire population of My Lai, an enemy-held village, caused much controversy over the way in which the war was being fought. Demonstrations were held in the United States, especially in 1969 and 1970, to protest the war.

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