In 1965, the United States of America launched strikes on North Vietnam causing a war there to erupt. It was not until 1973 that the U.S. withdrew its forces from the region after numerous protests around the country urging for an end of what was labeled an unjust war.
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In tangible facts, the conflict in Vietnam left the United States with the loss of 58,000 American lives and 350,000 casualties. It also resulted in approximately 2 million Vietnamese deaths. These numbers alone are overwhelming facts of the impact this particular war has had on America.
In more abstract analysis of the War in Vietnam it becomes clear that its impact has lasted beyond the initial losses. This war lasted for almost an entire decade and was the longest war of the 20th century. It was also, not surprisingly, the most unpopular war of the century.
Due to the public perception of the Vietnam War, its consequences have been immense. Most significantly because of its unpopularity, it raised certain doubts about how Americans viewed themselves. It allowed room for a certain sense of fallibility in the collective American psyche that perhaps did not exist originally.
It also gave rise to anti-government movements that instilled a certain distrust in the government as well as the army itself because of its excessive drafting, common drug use among soldiers and disproportionate number of minority recruits.
A more extensive consequence of the war is the impact it had on Vietnam War veterans. Reportedly, more veterans died of suicide after the war than of killings during the actual war. Alarming figures as such also contributed to the long-term perceived notion of anything related to that chunk of American history.
It may even be safe to say, it might have humbled communal American self-perception. Johnson and Nixon were accused of abusing their power which led to even greater distrust in American power. This distrust was encouraged by the fact that a number of big names were involved in the anti-war protests at the times. Such names include Bob Dylan and Mohammed Ali.
This distrust eventually manifested in an outright suspicion of anything, related to government and its leaders. Asides from this distrust, it suddenly became clear, as previously mentioned, that America was not an unbeatable superpower but was actually prone to mistakes, grave ones at that.
The reason why it may have been a humbling process for American sensibilities was because people began questioning the very motivations behind the war itself. Was it a simply an evil step to take? Or was it just a mistake? Or was it merely a course of action the U.S. had to take for noble causes to help the South Vietnamese?
These questions in retrospect are difficult to answer and that lies directly in how this particular war affected America's role vis-à-vis the rest of the world. The general world perception of the U.S. certainly did change; the Vietnam War may be viewed to represent tarnish on American record. It was not until 1991 that the U.S. fought in another war.
In conclusion, the Vietnam Conflict had an enormous impact on American perception; it became a fallible nation. It also lessened the world's view of the superpower.
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