Undeclared War Becomes Hauntingly Real
Vietnam is still with us. It has created doubts about American judgment, about American credibility, about American power..So we paid an exorbitant price for the decisions that were made in good faith and for good purpose.
- Henry Kissinger in Stanley Karnow's Vietnam : A History
Still No Clear Goals For Victory
By 1968, the resolvable Vietnam conflict had become an agonizing, maddening WAR. In a five-year period, troop numbers in South Vietnam rose from 16,000 to over 540,000 and President Johnson's approval rating plummeted from 83 to 39 percent. The superior U.S. war machine faced a new type of war in Vietnam . Isolated ground troops faced the ugly realities of guerilla warfare in tropical jungles. The random destruction of massive bombing campaigns morally distanced America from our allies and hardened North Vietnam 's determination to unite their country. Ultimately, the costs of the Vietnam War would split the nation apart.
Costs of War
Financial Cost: $150 million
Servicemen Put to the Test
Vietnam was a war that asked everything of a few and
-Myra MacPherson, Long Time Passing:Vietnam and
A Young Man's War
Vietnam was an old man's war fought by the young - largely true for any war, but compounded by this war's statistics. The average "grunt" was 22 years old, four years younger than in World War II. Soldiers in Vietnam experienced 200 more days of combat each year than their WWII counterparts. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the 1960s armed forces were the most educated in U.S. history. Two-thirds of the men were volunteers, not draftees. Racial percentages of those who served in Vietnam were approximately 88% white, 11% black, 1% other. But statistics reveal only cold numbers.
A Young Man's Hell
Mutual support was a key to survival. Soldiers shared resources as well as the salvage of their comrades' broken bodies. They shared leech-filled rice paddies surrounded by thick, sharp elephant grass that could hide an entire enemy unit; stifling heat of tropical jungles; ceaseless red muck that never allowed feet to dry out. Pain and fear and isolation; C-rations, friendly fire, recon, R&R, pride and death - this, they all shared. The immense physical and psychological damage for Vietnam War vets is still being measured.
Pivotal Year 1968 Rocks America
January 23, U.S.S. Pueblo : North Korea captured the U.S.S. Pueblo , and held captive 82 Navy Intelligence crew members 11 months for violating territorial waters.
Hundreds of U.S. airmen were captured after being shot down over North Vietnam . Their captors refused to allow Red Cross inspections nor the exchange of mail. In the most notorious prison known as Hanoi Hilton, prisoners suffered isolation, brutal torture, beatings, poor food and insufficient medical care.
|Tales of Camelot
The Cold War Warms Up
Racing To The Moon
Civil Rights On The March
The Swinging Sixties
Sun 'n' Surf Meets London Turf
The Awakening of America
|Something's Happenin' Here
Vietnam : A Young Man's Hell
Rat Race Refugees
Talkin' 'Bout My Generation
Establishment Up Against the Ivied Wall
The Nixon Era Begins
To the Moon
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