Civil Rights / Cold War

Read more about the legacy of the war.

Some historians say the Vietnam War contributed to the American people’s distrust of government. American leaders had continued to fight in an unpopular war. People felt that U.S. leaders had misled them about the cause of the war, and the progress towards winning it.
Even supporters of the war were disillusioned because they felt the U.S. did not support the troops and do more to win the war.  In the late 1950s, 75 percent of the American people said they trusted their government to do what was right. By 1994, that number had dropped to 21 percent. Some of this distrust may also be linked to the Watergate scandal in 1975 that forced President Richard Nixon to resign from office.
Vietnam also continues to influence policy makers. President Bill Clinton would not commit American ground troops in Yugoslavia. Instead he relied on airborne bombs and missiles. President Jimmy Carter also never dispatched American soldiers to conflicts in other countries. However other modern-day presidents such as Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush all sent American soldiers into combat areas.

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