The Vietnam War occurred in 1955 in November and lasted until 30 April. The war was between North and South Vietnam that was supported by the United States of America. The main reason why America was involved in the war was to assist in the resistance of communism sovereignty, which was eminent in South Korea.[1] Its main agenda was to focus on putting a stop of the spread of this political ideology amongst the Southern Koreans thus eradicating it. Several consequences resulted out of this involvement. The government was affected, as well as the main combatants who were the soldiers involved in the war.

The first impact was the self-realization and loss of confidence in the American Militia. The United States of America had failed miserably in containing Communism thus abandoning the Truman Doctrine, which was centralized around the Domino effect.[2] The deployment of the troops in Vietnam, the general assumption, was that it was a regular war similar to those fought in Korea. During and after the war, the militia realized that there were in a different territory and thus tactical measures to be implemented should vary. Another realization was there was no available information on the allies that had collaborated with Vietnam against the U.S. The aforementioned factors led to the withdrawal of the support from the government and political leaders. The nation also lost its moral superiority after the many atrocities that happened during the war such as the killing at My Lai were aired in international media. The impact comprised of several war lessons were learnt by both the combatants and the government pertaining to subduing the opposing sides as well as having prior intelligence about the enemy. This was mainly because the army was not suited for the war, which was depicted by their lack of intelligence and strategic military actions.  

The lack of confidence in the government by the citizens was part of this effect. They became more suspicious of the motives of the military. There was fight for the economic resources by the reforms set up by the president and the war. [3]This worsened the condition as both the congress and the citizens turned against the president and his reform program. The baby boomer generation, which constituted the larger part of the population, developed a sense of criticism towards how the government handled the war issue and thus ruled it as untrustworthy.

America found itself in a large financial deficit in terms of the country’s budget. The economy was severely affected by the large amount of money invested into the war. The result was the cycle of inflation due to the resistance by the government to pay war taxes.[4] The money was spent on financing the war. This was a major loss considering the withdrawal of the troops later on. The maintenance of the large military troops in Vietnam, purchasing of ammunition as well as training of soldiers following the conscription process was the main activities that used up the finances. Due to the substantial amount of finances used, the Great Society Reform by President Johnson was cancelled. The next impact was the great loss of life of the American soldiers deployed in Vietnam. It is estimated that 58,220 soldiers had been killed before the war ended. There were other casualties of war with 150,000 wounded and 21,000 permanently impaired persons. This lead to a negative psychological impact on the combatants and Americans related to the deceased soldiers. The country faced one of the saddest moments in history. The veterans were psychologically unstable with an approximated number of 831,000 suffering from Post Traumatic Disorder. There were also Americans that flee to other nations in order to avoid being recruited in the conscription process.  

Politically, the Democratic Party faced a spilt because of the war. Judging from the results of the polls, 60% of the voters turn out categorized themselves as democrats.[5] The following events however segregated the individuals in the blue-collar sector. Due to the prosecution that resulted from the war, this group was alienated thus encouraging their decision. They switched to being republicans hence the split of the Democratic Party. Several issues worked to weaken the party. They included riots, inflation and affirmation action. The previous supporters of the party felt that it was comprised of politicians who were incompetent in implementing foreign policies and uncertain about the role of the nation amongst the ruling powers.

The efforts of the American militia in internationalism, whose aim is to maintain peace and promote good governance, were greatly undermined. [6]The morale of the soldiers was reduced leading to the withdrawal of the states in getting involved with regional wars. Up until the recent day, the effects of the war are still greatly felt. The recent polls show 53% of the American citizens still believe that the government made an intentional mistake while the remainder share the sentiment that the war was morally degrading to the American culture.


Beattie, Keith. The scar that binds: American culture and the Vietnam War. New York: New York University Press. 2000. 

Daum, Andreas W., Lloyd C. Gardner, and Wilfried Mausbach. America, the Vietnam War, and the world: comparative and international perspectives. Washington, D.C.: German Historical Institute. 2003.

Ellis, Sylvia. Britain, America, and the Vietnam War. Westport, Conn: Praeger. 2004. 

[1] Keith Beattie. The scar that binds: American culture and the Vietnam War (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 57.

[2] Andreas Daum, Gardner Lloyd and Wilfried Mausbach. America, the Vietnam War, and the world: comparative and international perspectives. (Washington, D.C.: German Historical Institute, 2003), 23.

[3] Keith Beatie. The scar that binds: American culture and the Vietnam War (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 67.

[4] Sylvia Ellis. Britain, America, and the Vietnam War. (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2004), 33

[5] Sylvia Ellis. Britain, America, and the Vietnam War. (Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2004), 38.

[6] Keith Beatie. The scar that binds: American culture and the Vietnam War (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 80

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