There were many consequences on both sides.
The Americans pulled out of Vietnam in 1973 and the war went on until 1975. I will talk about the consequences in America first then continue onto Vietnam. Firstly, there was a great amount of life lost by the Americans in Vietnam. Although this loss of life was inevitable in a war, it is the amount of life lost which is important. Apart from the loss of life there was another major factor which some of the soldiers experienced, drug addiction is one of these.
Marijuana was the most popular drug.GI’s would smoke it in base camp and during ‘R and R’. R and R was rest and recreation, a period of leave away from the front line. Cocaine and heroin was also used. Amphetamines were used to keep troops awake at night-time ambushes and just to get ‘high’. In 1971 5000 men were treated in hospital for combat wounds and 20,000 for drug abuse. Psychological damage wasn’t unusual, there are many different psychological damage, e. g.
if there was a section on patrol then if they get ambushed then they have to get out of there (which is unlikely), there will be mines and a fire team shooting.So the psychological factor is that the men have to witness their fellow soldiers being shot and blown up and also the loud bangs. People dying and large bangs can have psychological effect on the soldiers. A Veterans Administration survey in 1988 estimated that some 500 000 veterans suffered from ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’. Its symptoms could take ten or 15 years to appear. There were even extreme cases when the troop sergeants would turn on there own men and kill them. The most immediate effect of the war was that President Johnson’s ambitious ‘Great Society’ programme had to be abandoned.
The cost of the war was too great to spend money on improved welfare. This meant that many American’s severe social problems- Poverty, slums, lack of medical care for the poor, racial inequalities- could not be tackled. The war bitterly divided the nation and caused protests and political conflict between supporters and opponents. It ruined Johnson’s chances of being re-elected president in 1968 and even damaged Bill Clinton when he stood for the presidency in 1992.
Clinton had been an opponent of the war at the time and he had avoided the draft.It may be that after more than 20 years the war now causes fewer problems in the United States. But some of the effects of the war remained. The Pentagon Papers proved that American governments had misled the people and even lied to them about the war. As a result, many Americans are much less willing to believe what their government tells them. The government won’t win back the trust of these Americans that easily. The financial cost of the war was easy to add up. Its social cost has been more difficult to judge.
Many Americans shared Pravda’s view that the war was unjust.Those who had protested against the Vietnam War became more confident challenging the policies of their government. Once the war was over their protests. Now their target was American’s nuclear weapons. President Reagan (1981-89) gave them plenty to protest about. He spent vast sums of money on modernising the United States’ nuclear weapons system. The Vietnam War cost the United States $120 billion.
Some of this money would normally have been spent on up-dating America’s nuclear weapons. These, Reagan argued, now needed modernising. The cost was very high in financial and social terms.The United States didn’t have sufficient funds, which meant that the poor would lose out- just as they had during the war when Johnson’s Great Society programme was shelved.
American’s three million veterans of the war would go on paying its cost long after the war was over. A Veterans administration survey in 1988 estimated that some 500 000 veterans suffered from ‘post traumatic stress disorder’. Its could take ten or 15 years to appear. Depression, panic and rage attacks are features of the disorder.
They are often followed by divorce, drug addiction alcoholism and suicide.The long-term effects of the war have been just as important. For a long time the United States was determined to avoid fighting another ‘Vietnam’. This meant that the Americans refused to send troops into any conflict which did not directly affect the United States’ own security. This was known as the Nixon Doctrine. As a result, the Soviet Union’s actions in other countries such as Afghanistan and Angola. They were worried that American troops might get stuck into the conflict, as they had in Vietnam. Eventually this concern that every international crisis was a potential Vietnam for the United States became less of a worry.
Their decisive and speedy victory in the 1991 Gulf War ended the ‘Vietnam Syndrome’. It allowed Americans to believe now that they could fight a war, win it quickly and with very few casualties. An opinion poll in 1990 for Time magazine clearly show clearly showed the differences between the American public and the war veterans who had fought in the war. 57 per cent of the general public thought that the United States was wrong to get involved in the war while 58 per cent of veterans thought that the united states was right to get involved.Americans were embarrassed because they realised that Vietnam was not a ‘good’ war and because it was the first war the United States had ever lost. Hollywood’s treatment of the Vietnam War has reflected the war Americans feel about it. The only film to be made about the war while it was still going on was The Green Berets.
The United States Army enthusiastically co-operated with the film’s director and star- John Wayne. The army also had control over the script. The film made a respectable profit but it was laughed at by the film critics. It was really western.
Wayne and his Special Forces team were the cowboys and the brutal, murdering Vietcong were the Red Indians. John Wayne’s enthusiasm for playing the war hero was, perhaps, intended to make up for the fact that he managed to avoid serving in the united states army during the WW2 between 1941 and 1945. The films which came after the war were very different. Films like Platoon (1986), full metal jacket (1987), and Hamburger Hill (1987) left out the sentimental heroics of the green berets to give a more honest bloody view of the war. Oliver Stone, the director of platoon, fought in the war.
In 1976 he wrote a script for the film but none of the major Hollywood film studios would agree to make it. Stone’s view of the war was too bleak and depressing. It wasn’t until 1986 that he found the money to begin work on the film.
The US army, though, refused to offer help in the making it. I now go on to talk about the consequences after the war on civilians in Vietnam. Up to the time of the cease-fire, an estimate 1 million communist fighters had been killed while almost 660 000 South Vietnamese soldiers had died in the Second Indochina War (the French Indochinese War was the first).In addition, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese civilians were dead and almost one half of the population of South Vietnam had lost their homes. Despite the terrible costs and disregarding the cease-fire, the fighting continued at low levels (in one year 50 000 Vietnamese were killed). Government troops controlled much of South Vietnam (estimates differ between three-quarters and two-thirds of the territory) and its population.
Both sides used the cease-fire period to prepare for the inevitable outbreak of full-blooded hostilities.The communists infiltrated reinforcements of men and material down the Ho Chi Minh Trail while the South Vietnamese received enormous aid from the US in military supplies (South Vietnamese Air Force became the fourth largest world). America pulled out of the war in 1973, but the war went on until 1975, so Vietnam had much more life loss. In addition to the great amount of life lost Vietnam had also physical and psychological troubles. The physical trouble was the effects of the defoliant Agent Orange. It was later discovered that Agent Orange contained a dioxin, which cause cancer among those that used it or were affected by it.
It also led to pregnant woman giving birth to terribly deformed children. Traces of the chemical got washed by the rain into streams from which soldiers on both sides drank. Also other physical problems was the massive amount of casualties which the soldiers and civilians had. Chemicals were also sprayed in jungle areas to kill off vegetation, so now the guerrilla forces and civilians were starved. They also had many cases of psychological problems, which much of it came from the zippo raids, which the soldiers would set alight villages.The people would be distort as all there possessions and there home has bee destroyed.
Some of the people couldn’t take any more of the war, so they left on boats to another country, and try make a living there. These people were known as boat people. They wanted to get away from communism. The Vietnam War ended in 1975, but the problems facing the nation certainly did not. In 1981, Vietnam’s leader Pham Van Dong commented: ‘Yes we defeated the US. But now we are plagued by problems. We do not have enough to eat.
We are poor, undeveloped nation… waging war is simple, but running a country is very difficult. ‘The scars of 30 years could not be healed overnight and would stand in the road of recovery for years to come. Some of the problems caused by the war are: The bombing had inflicted enormous damage on the nation’s economic infrastructure (buildings, roads, rail, bridges etc.
). Large areas of forests and cropland had been destroyed or were unusable. Sixty per cent of rubber plantations and 60 000 hectares of mangrove forests were destroyed, for example. Tens of thousands of agricultural animals had been destroyed. The cities of the south were enormously overcrowded as a result of the refugee flood in the last days of the war.Unemployment and inflation were rifle in the south, and withdrawal of US aid had ruined the economy. The war had used virtually all stocks of oil and petrol, products necessary to power machines on farms and in factories.
In the ensuring years hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese would flee to other nations to seek a better life and to escape the communist dictatorship. Probably the greatest problem faced by the Vietnamese nation since the end of the war has been so ravaged by was as Vietnam (except the other nations of Indochina), and for recovery to begin the generous assistance of the international community was required. After World War ll. the nations of Western Europe would not have been able to rebuild without the financial aid of the Marshall plan). But tragically for Vietnam, the United States cut off all financial aid and trade with Vietnam after 1975, thereby creating an enormous obstacle to Vietnamese recovery. The US did this partly because of the humiliation it suffered due to its defeat in Vietnam and partly in response to Vietnam off from other advanced capitalist nations and from other advanced capitalist nations and from desperately needed funds.Vietnam also earned the enmity of its traditional enemy, China, who throughout the 1970s drew closer to the US.
Vietnam was forced to rely more and more on the USSR for aid and assistance. All this has changed, of course, with the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, the subsequent end of the Cold war and the more recent cessation of the US trade embargo on Vietnam in February 1994.Vietnam is struggling still to rebuild its economy. Up until 1989 Vietnam relied very heavily on aid and assistance from the USSR. Its economy was a Soviet-style communist economy with agriculture and industry owned and run centrally by the government.
With the collapse of the USSR, the subsequent ending of Soviet aid and the continuing poor performance of the Vietnamese leaders decided to make major reforms to the economic system.The US policy of isolating Vietnam financially and the cost of the Vietnamese troops in Cambodia added to the economic crisis. In 1986, the Communist Party announced widespread reforms which echoed changed in communist-run economics across the globe. This policy, called Doi Moi or ‘Renovation’, moved away from the traditional reliance on central planning, fixed quotas and collectivised agriculture towards a free market approach encouraging profit-making and production incentives.It has moved towards what the Chinese have called ‘Free market socialism’. In he political sphere, the Communist Party remains firmly in control. Small signs of improvement in the Vietnamese economy emerged in the late 1980s.
In 1988, many foreign companies were expressing an interest in doing business in Vietnam. Samsung television sets were already being made in Ho Chi Minh City and a British company was assembling aluminium windows in Vang Tau.