TheVietnam War severely damaged the U.S. economy. The war also weakened U.S. military morale and undermined, for a time, the U.S. commitment to internationalism.
The Vietnam War was the longest warin American history and the most unpopular American war of the 20th century. It resulted in nearly 60,000 American deaths and an estimated 2 million Vietnamese deaths. It was the first war to comeinto American living rooms nightly, and the only conflict that ended in defeat for American arms. The war caused turmoil on the home front, as anti-war protests became a feature of American life.Americans divided into two camps--pro-war hawks and anti-war doves.
It was during Kennedy’s presidency that the United States made a fateful new commitment to Vietnam. The administration sent in 18,000advisors. It authorized the use of napalm (jellied gasoline), defoliants, free fire zones, and jet planes.
The government’s efforts, however, weren’t working. By July 1963, Washington faced a majorcrisis in Vietnam. Buddhist priests had begun to set themselves on fire to protest corruption in the South Vietnamese government.
Numerous factors contributed to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam: theCold War fears of communist domination of Indochina; a mistaken belief that North Vietnam was a pawn of Moscow; overconfidence in the ability of U.S. troops to prevent the communist takeover of anally; and anxiety that withdrawal from Vietnam would result in domestic political criticism.
In the 1968 election, Republican Richard Nixon claimed to have a plan to end the war in Vietnam, but, in...