Many individuals of the Vietnam War, argues that the Vietnam War was a “working-class war” because a disproportionate number of soldiers who fought in the war came from lower-income backgrounds. They contends that the draft system, which was used to conscript soldiers to fight in Vietnam, targeted working-class and poor Americans. College students, who were more likely to come from affluent backgrounds and had the opportunity to defer military service, were exempted from the draft. As a result a large number of soldiers who fought in the war came from working-class families. The military offered working-class men opportunities for upward mobility and a chance to escape poverty. For many young men from disadvantaged backgrounds, joining the military was a way to gain job skills, education, and financial stability. They argue that the military exploited the economic vulnerabilities of these young men and promised them a better future in exchange for their service in Vietnam.
Gerard DeGroot, a historian of modern warfare, argues that U.S. troops became demoralized by the late 1960s for several reasons. First, the war in Vietnam was increasingly seen as a quagmire with no clear end in sight. Second, the tactics employed by U.S. forces were often brutal and indiscriminate, leading to civilian casualties and the destruction of villages. Third, racial tensions within the military were high, as African American soldiers were subjected to discrimination and often sent to the front lines in disproportionate numbers.Low morale among soldiers had a significant impact on social relations within the military. Soldiers who felt disillusioned with the war often became alienated from their fellow soldiers and superiors. Additionally, some soldiers began to identify more with the anti-war movement than with their own military unit, further eroding morale and cohesion.As for whether a class divide exists in U.S. military service today, there is some evidence to suggest that this may be the case. Additionally, the study found that officers from lower-income backgrounds were less likely to feel that their opinions were valued by their superiors. However, it is worth noting that the military as a whole is more diverse and representative of different socioeconomic backgrounds than many other institutions in the United States