During this time, President Dwight Eisenhower and other U.S. leaders believed in the "domino theory." They thought that a victory by Communists in one southeast Asian country would lead to communistic governments in other nearby countries. They believed that they had to stop communism .
The government of North Vietnam decided to try to take over the government in South Vietnam. In 1960 they organized a group of fighters to infiltrate the south (although many of them already lived in the south). This group was called the National Liberation Front. The U.S. called them the “Viet Cong.”
Read more about the draft in 1969.
The draft was unpopular among the young. Many of them did not understand why the U.S. was fighting in the war. College campuses became the centers of protests. Large marches were held in Washington D.C. and other cities. Sometimes the protests turned violent.
Other Americans believed that when the country was at war, all Americans should support the fighting men and women. This led to disagreements between people, and sometimes even families. People in Tennessee also disagreed about the war.
Fighting increased each year until 1968, the year of the Tet Offensive. While the Viet Cong did not win the offensive, the sight of American troops dying under fire on television news broadcasts began to turn the American people against the war. More and more troops were needed, and millions of dollars were spent on the war.
- Photograph of wounded soldier in swamp. U.S. soldiers carry a wounded soldier to safety. U.S. Department of Defense
- Photograph of President Johnson visiting the troops in Vietnam. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s decision to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam eventually ruined his political chances for reelection. He declined to run for the Democratic nomination in 1968. Department of Defense
- Photograph of bomb blasts at night in Vietnam. There is not any information about this photograph, but it is probably a bombing run by U.S. forces. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 2006.16.7.7
- Photograph of U.S. soldiers during the Tet Offensive. U.S. Department of Defense
- Photograph of a Vietnam veteran holding a child during a Memorial Day parade in Chattanooga. Robin Hood took this photograph of the man who had lost both legs. "He was absorbed in the parade and was biting his lip as if he were about to cry," Hood said. Hood won a Pulitzer Prize for the photograph in 1977. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 84.121.51
- Marines riding atop a M-48 tank cover their ears during bombardment. The smoke shows that there are probably several artillery pieces involved. The fact that the Marines are sitting out in the open on top of the tank indicates they are not under fire from the enemy. This photograph was taken in Vietnam on April 3, 1968. National Archives and Records
- Members of the U.S. Navy Seal Team One moves down a river on an assault boat in Vietnam in 1967. National Archives and Records
- Pop-up photograph of Richard Nixon. Official White House photograph, Library of Congress
- Students at Middle Tennessee State University sing at a peace rally held at the university on October 15, 1969. 1970 Midlander yearbook
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