American troops were sent to Vietnam in 1968. The war was highly controversial and led to protests and social unrest in the US. In 1973, a peace agreement was signed and US troops were withdrawn. The war officially ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces.
Christian Appy has described the war in Vietnam as “war of the working-class”. He argues that it is a war meant for those who were young and had no careers and education. After interviewing veterans who served in the war, he concluded that the Vietnamese war should be called the working class war. Appy claims that 80% of those who were enlisted belonged to the working class. The war was fought by young men of waitresses, factory workers, clerks and those who can not afford an education. However, wealthier youth is less likely to get enlisted. Those enlisted soldiers are rather motivated by the lack of educational or economic options. The Vietnam War saw a disproportionate number of uneducated and poor soldiers from the United States participate. This was due to a number of factors, including the draft system which primarily targeted lower-income individuals, as well as the lack of educational opportunities available to these individuals. Additionally, many of these soldiers saw military service as a means of escaping poverty and improving their economic situation.
During the Vietnam War, the demographic enlistees in the United States were primarily young men who were disproportionately from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and minorities. African Americans, who made up roughly 11% of the U.S. population at the time, accounted for approximately 12.6% of the enlisted soldiers in Vietnam. Additionally, the majority of soldiers were unmarried and had not completed a college education.
The war in Vietnam had a profound effect on the U.S military, leading to changes in tactics and strategy. The use of guerrilla warfare by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces challenged traditional American military tactics. The war also highlighted the importance of technology and intelligence in modern warfare.
Gerard DeGroo argues that the U.S troops became demoralized by the late 1960s due to a few factors such as the unpopularity of the war, the lack of clear objectives, the high casualties, and the breakdown of discipline within the military ranks. Most importantly is the division within American society. The rise of citizens’ dissatisfaction and protests across the country has prevailed. A large amount of the population believed that they are fighting a useless war. A war that has given them nothing in return but a divided nation, and high casualties. Protestors of the war were deeply in opposition of the lack of true conviction in the government’s explanation for getting involved in Vietnam. The strong presence of protests has divided America’s youth. Furthermore, The draft system, used to recruit soldiers, was widely criticized and led to anti-war sentiment.
Class divide still exists within the U.S. military service. Despite efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, there are still disparities in pay, promotion opportunities, and access to education and training based on socioeconomic status. These inequalities can have a significant impact on the well-being and success of service members. the military’s hierarchical structure and emphasis on rank and status can perpetuate class divisions. While progress has been made in addressing these issues, more work needs to be done to ensure equal opportunities and representation within the military.