Vietnam was a struggle which, in all honesty, the United States should never have been involved in. North Vietnam was battling for ownership of South Vietnam, so that they would be a unified communist nation. To prevent the domino effect and the further spread of communism, the U.S. held on to the Truman Doctrine and stood behind the South Vietnamese leader, Diem.
Kennedy and Diem were both killed in 1963 and 1964. Johnson took control of the situation by increasing the amount of money and manpower put into Vietnam. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving the president full military power. After Johnson dramatically escalated the amount of soldiers in Vietnam, The North Vietnamese mounted a surprise attack during the Vietnamese new year, and this strike was called the Tet Offensive. It made America more aware of what they were up against, that the communists were capable of fierce, guerrilla warfare, unlike anything Americans had ever fought before. Images of the terror and disarray reached back home, and the U.S. began to wonder how effective their involvement in Vietnam really was.
As we got further and further into the Vietnam War, few lives were untouched by grief, anger and fear. The Vietnamese suffered the worst hardship; children lay dead in the street, villages remained nothing but charred ashes, and bombs destroyed thousands of innocent civilians. Soldiers were scarred emotionally as well as physically, as
The paranoia and fear of death never left them. The My Lai Massacre occurred in 1968, when the village of My Lai was completely destroyed, although it did not contain a single enemy troop. Over a hundred villagers were slaughtered. It became clearer to Americans how soldiers were losing control, and how there was no easy way to win this war.
The draft took more and more people in as the years went on, and in1968 it peaked to over 500,000 soldiers involved in Vietnam. The government was so desperate for troops that even men with poor eyesight fought, and no education was needed. The people began to strike out and a revolution took place to restore peace to the nation. Some key ways to get the movement attention included student activism and anti-war messages present in songs and literature. The National Guard and other patrolmen often became violent in order to gain control of situations, and several people were killed. Growing Protest of the war caused Johnson not to run for re-election in 1968, and Nixon was elected to office.
Nixons policy was called Vietnamization and called for slowly pulling troops out of Vietnam. Even while bringing these soldiers home, Nixon began to spread the war to Cambodia and Laos by bombing where several communist camps were thought to be. Protests continued until 1973, when a cease-fire was finally signed.