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Psychological Effects of the Vietnam War on Gi's

Essay by   •  March 30, 2011  •  Essay  •  391 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,526 Views

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It is believed by the majority, that one of the chief downfalls of the American occupation in Vietnam was the underestimation of the resilience of the Communist Vietcong in the north. It was believed by most analysts, at the time, that the North Vietnamese could easily be brought to negotiate. President Johnson, along with most of his advisors, believed that once the North Vietnamese saw the enormous power of the U.S. military that they would ultimately capitulate. This was also the general consensus of those men that were on the front lines of the first occupation, “When we marched into the rice paddies on the March afternoon, we carried, along with our packs and rifles, the implicit convictions that the Vietcong would be quickly beaten and that we were doing something altogether noble and good.”(Hess, P. 89) This general philosophy was far from the truth. It would take over 10 years to come to this resolution; hundreds of thousands of lives lost and would ultimately cause a huge blunder on the part of the United States. Another reason for the prolonged status of the war was the unfortunate tactic the enemy had of being not easily identifiable. This development, as well as others, would turn out to have severe psychological implications for those soldiers that believed in the cause they were fighting for; to detour the spread of communism throughout Southeast Asia. Past previous wars have been known to cause great trauma in the returning soldiers, however the fact that the Vietnam war was fought on such an unusual battleground, under such unusual circumstances and under such inhumane conditions, suggest that the effects of this war were perhaps more profound than those in the past. By 1968, three years after the beginning of the American occupation in Vietnam, the Johnson administration was beginning to be discredited as well as deep divisions within the support group surrounding the president. By the time that Nixon took office in 1969, he was resolute in putting an end to the war. While the U.S. could not just pull forces out of Vietnam without totally devastating the government of Saigon, the U.S. began negotiations with the North. However the North Vietnamese would not even begin to think of negotiations until the U.S. halted the bombings. The U.S. agreed, however with the outgoing Johnson administration not



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