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What were the main arguments for and against the Vietnam War?Hawk or Dove? If you had...

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ipmlz101 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted May 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM via web

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What were the main arguments for and against the Vietnam War?

Hawk or Dove? If you had been alive during the Vietnam War, would you have been a hawk supporting the war or a dove opposing the war? Explain your position using specific facts about the reasons for U.S. involvement in the war and about the way the war was fought.

 

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:19 PM (Answer #1)

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The Vietnam war was pivotal in U.S. policy regarding its role as “policeman” to the world; two important terms during the Cold War are “area of influence” and “domino effect.”  Some U.S. decision-makers in the Nixon administration argued that if Vietnam turned communist, thereby coming under the Soviet area of influence, all the other small Eastern countries would fall “like dominoes” into the Soviet camp—Cambodia, Indonesia, etc.—and that intervention in Vietnam would prevent such a “domino effect.”  This argument raised the stakes and convinced many older generations, who had seen the victory of WWII as proof that force was the only international language, that the tiny country was worth “saving.”  But the U.S. was not prepared for the kind of ground offensive/ jungle fighting the intervention would take—long-distance bombing of naked targets was more the style of the military after the Korean conflict.  Immediate needs included a swelling of “grunt” troops, warm bodies, what is now called “boot on the ground.”  When a draft-by-lottery system was put in place, youth protested, not only for their personal inconvenience, disruption of education plans, etc., but because they were not sympathetic to the notion that the U.S. should be a “police force” in the world, nor that the Vietnamese people wanted to be "saved."  The arguments for and against the war were emotional and personal, not logical and political.

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