This paper will explain the crisis of confidence the end of Vietnam war created. The Vietnam war is a commonly used name for the second Indochina war, 1954-1975. It refers to the time when countries like the united states and other nations members of the SEATO ( Southern Asia Treaty Organization) joined the forces of the republic of south Vietnam to contest communist forces ( Warren, p. 1997). This forces comprised of South Vietnamese guerrillas and regular units, they were generally referred to as Viet Cong (VC) and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA).
The main intent the United States joined the war was to restrict communist takeovers in countries that were close to Vietname like Thailand and Laos plus all of what later became Vietnam. (Richard, F. 1966). The expansion of communism was seen as a threat to the national security of the United States and western European countries which saw the interests being marginalized and thus it strived to take measures to restrict the expansion.
On April 30, 1975, the war had ended the invincibility of Americans had been shattered and moral confidence shaken, more than 58,000 Americans, and as many as 3 million Vietnamese had died in the conflict. This war for the Americans went into history as the most consequential event that undermined the country;s faith mostly on its presidency and military. ( Marvin, K & Kalb, D 2012). The three men who are mostly responsible for the war held the office of president which due to the failures recorded in Vietnam created a crisis of confidence as these institutions tarnished they trust. For most of the citizens of the United States that office conveyed authority, dignity, and some measure of trust upon its occupant. The citizens could only envision the great presidents who came to be viewed as selfless, noble, godlike like Washington, Jeffers, and Lincoln. But as late as the middle of the century the public trusted Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower to always tell them the truth and put the interest of the nation above their own.
To understand the war in Vietnam and the crisis of confidence it created to its citizens you have to go the beginning it all began with a lie, initially certain that the war in Vietnam could be won in six months, Johnson administration downplayed the war at every critical juncture, neither acknowledge that the president had committed ground forces to Southeast Asia. (Gregory, T. 2014). The state Department answered casually insisting that the mission was to protect key installations. On June 1965 is when the department spokesman Vietnam War
acknowledge that the government had committed to lend combat support to the Vietnamese forces. “But when
asked if the president had granted the authorization, he answered, “I couldn’t be specific, but its something that has developed over the past several weeks.’’The white house soon had lost credibility as Johnson couldn’t disclose the cost and so he buried Vietnam expenditures-which totaled roughly $ 5 billion in the Pentagon budget. (Gregory, T. 2014)
The administration of Johnson was caught in a lie and lost confidence as the assistance of Medicare and Medicaid for primary and secondary education was a great threat since the government was struggling to pay for both guns and butter with large deficits a spiral of inflation undermined much of the administration;s domestic policy and political standing. (Russel, T. 2002). While the communist side didn’t have a strong army the American people who had been told they forces will soon be heading home were stunned to see fighting taking place on the grounds of the U.S. embassy. Despite the many assurances from the government at the time, the Tet offensive led many Americans to begin seriously questioning truly if the forces would prevail on foreign shores.
Americans had supported the war on communism but later felt increasingly doubtful about the efficacy of the war tactics being done at the time, the support for the U.S. effort in Vietnam began to steadily decline as the public opinion turned on president Johnson, who never run for re-election. For the millions of Americans, the war has been long forgotten only told by veterans who have never forgotten, The results the presidency had been affected as no credible presidents after were able to explain what happened in the Vietnam war the erosion of America pride and confidence amid a growing feeling that America’s best days might indeed be behind it.
In his speech as president carter saw the erosion of confidence on the presidency had truly decline as the government actions and legislation didn’t go hand in hand with the promises made during election time, he saw people were losing faith not only in government itself but its ability to serve its citizens as the ultimate rulers and shapers of democracy(Carter, J. 1979).