Cultural Impacts of the Vietnam War on America
In the spirit of hippie antipolitics and the all too familiar phrases of “make love not war” and “bring our boys home!” everything from sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to corrupt politicians, American soldiers dyeing in Vietnam; the period between 1960-1975 forever changed American culture. The Vietnam War had a direct impact on American society, and left a cultural legacy on the country indefinitely. The changes are evident as the United States experienced a second inner revolution creating anti-war protests and demonstrations that helped create a new generation or free loving, expressive, radical “hippies.” The Vietnam War has left legacies in American music, art, literature and politics.
To understand the legacies and impacts that the Vietnam War left on American culture it is necessary to first examine the context of the war itself. After World War II the world was in a sense recouping from the distress caused by the war, as well as building new relationships and allies internationally. When the United States joined the French and invaded Vietnam no one would have imagined what was going to come of it. Whatever the United States reasons for bombing were; the action catalyzed an American and international war movement.1 The images of a modern air force raining down death on helpless peasants who were not engaged with comparable attacks on Americans took away the moral high ground from the United States, and started the inquiries about the role of the US in the Vietnam War.2 For much of the time the United States was in Vietnam the American media generally supported their government’s position.3 The year 1963 was one of the major exceptions as journalists on the scene reported back home about the corruption, incompetence and unpopularity of the Diem regime.4 This is how the anti-war idea was first brought to the American people.
When children ask their...