The War's Impact on the Nation The war also left its mark cm the nation as a whole. In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Act as a may to reestablish some limits on executive power. The act required the president to inform Congress of any commitment of troops abroad within 48 hours and to withdraw them in 60 to 90 days unless Congress explicitly approved the Moils commitment.
The legislation addresses the struggle between the executive and legislative branches over what checks and balances are proper in matters of war and foreign policy. No president has recognized this limitation, and the courts have tended to avoid the issue as a strictly political question. In general, the war shook the nation's confidence and led some to embrace a new kind of isolationism. In the years after the war, many Americans became more reluctant to intervene in the affairs of other nations.
On the domestic front, the Vietnam War increased Americans’ cynicism about their government. Many felt the nation's leaders had misled them. Together with Watergate, a scandal that broke as the war was winding down, Vietnam made Americans more wary of their leaders.
Reading Check Describing How did the Vietnam War elect Americans' attitudes toward international conflicts?
The War's Refugees
Another of the Vietnam War's enduring legacies was the wave of human migration and resettlement it prompted. From the mid-1970s through the 1980s, between 1.5 and 2 million people fled the newly installed Communist regimes in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. These men, women, and children became known as "boat people' because their main route of escape was by sea. More than half of these refugees came to the United States. Between 1980 and 1990, the Vietnamese population of the United States more than doubled from about 245,000 to almost 615,000. Why do you think the United States was willing to accept so many refugees from the Vietnam War?
Visit the American Republic Since 1877 Web site at tarvol2.glencoe.com and click on Student Web Activities—Chapter 25 for an activity on the Vietnam War.
SECTION 4 ASSESSMENT
Checking for Understanding
1. Define: linkage, Vietnamezation.
2. Identify: Henry Kissinger, Pentagon Papers, War Powers Act.
3. Describe what happened in Vietnam in WS after the United States withdrew.
4. Government and Democracy Why did Congress pass the War Powers Act? How did this act reflect a struggle between the legislative and executive branches?
5. Analyzing Why did the invasion of Cambodia cost President Nixon congressional support?
6. Organizing Use a graphic organizer similar to the one below to list the effects of the Vietnam War on the nation.
7. Analyzing Photographs Study the photograph on page 793 of South Vietnamese citizens attempting to enter the U.S. embassy. How do you think this image affected American attitudes toward the war? Why do you think so?
Writing About History
8. Descriptive Writing Imagine that you are a college student in 1970. Write a journal entry expressing your feelings about the events at Kent State University and Jackson State College.
Conducting an Interview
Why Learn This Skill?
Suppose that your friends went to see a concert, hut you were unable to attend. I low would you find out how the show was?
Learning the Skill
You probably would not normally think of asking your friends questions about a concert as conducting an interview, but that is exactly what you are doing. Interviews are an excellent may of collecting important facts and opinions from people. Interviews allow you to gather information from people who witnessed or participated in an event firsthand. For example, William Prochnau interviewed many different people and used the results to write his book Once Upon a Distant War, which examines the way the press covered the Vietnam War. To conduct an interview with someone, follow these steps.
• Make an appointment. Contact the person and explain why you want to conduct the interview, what kinds of things you hope to learn, and how you will use the information. Discuss where and when you will conduct the interview, and ask if you may use a tape recorder.
• Gather background information. Find out about the education, career, and other accomplishments of the person you want to interview. Research the topics you wish to discuss.
• Prepare questions. Group questions into subject categories. Begin each category with general questions and move toward more specific questions. Formulate each question carefully. If the answer could be simply yes or no, rephrase the question.
• Conduct the interview. Introduce yourself and restate the purpose of the interview. Ask questions and record responses accurately. Ask follow-up questions to fill gaps in information.
• Transcribe the interview. Convert your written or tape-recorded notes into a transcript, a written record of the interview presented in a question-and-answer format.
Practicing the Skill
Imagine you are assigned to interview someone who participated in or is old enough to remember the events that occurred during the Vietnam War.
1. What kind of background information might you gather?
2. What are some broad categories of questions you might ask based on what you know about the person you are interviewing and what you know about the war?
3. What are some general questions you might want to ask within these broad categories? Consider the responses you might get to these general questions, and formulate follow-up questions for each.
Complete the Practicing Skills questions on page 797 and the Chapter 23 Skill Reinforcement Activity to assess your mastery of this skill.
Applying the Skill
Conducting an Interview The Vietnam War probably included some people you know—your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or neighbors. Even if they were not directly involved with the conflict, they probably remember what the United States was like during the war. Use the questions you developed above to interview one or more of these people. Ask about their experiences regarding Vietnam, including their attitudes toward the war and its many related issues, past and present. Summarize your findings in a short report or in a comparison chart.
Glencoe 's Skillbuilder Interactive Workbook CD-ROM, Level 2, provides instruction and practice in key social studies skills.
ASSESSMENT and ACTIVITIES
Reviewing Key Terms
On a sheet of paper, use each of these terms in a sentence.
1. domino theory
5. credibility gap
American Involvement in Vietnam
Roots of the Conflict
• Eisenhower financially supported French war against Vietnam
• Geneva Accords established North and South Vietnam
• U.S.-backed leader of South Vietnam refused national elections, fearing defeat by Communist opponent
• Kennedy sharply increased military aid and presence in South Vietnam
• Johnson escalated U.S. involvement and gained war powers after the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin
• President Johnson responded to a Vietcong attack with aggressive airstrikes; American people applauded his actions
• U.S. committed over 380,000 ground troops to fighting in Vietnam by the end of 1966
Opposition to the War
• American people questioned the government's honesty about the war, creating the so-called "credibility gap"
• Wartime economy hurt domestic spending efforts
• President Nixon was elected largely on promises to end the war and unite the divided country
The End of the War
• Nixon withdrew troops but increased airstrikes
• American troops pulled out after a 1973 peace agreement
• Congress passed the War Powers Act to limit the power of the president during times of war
Reviewing Key Facts
11. Identify: Ho Chi Minh, Tet offensive.
12. How did President Eisenhower defend American policy in Vietnam?
13. When did the number of American military personnel begin to increase in Vietnam?
14. How did Vietnamese peasants respond to the strategic hamlets program?
15. What actions made Ngo Dinh Diem an unpopular leader in South Vietnam?
16. What was the effect of the Tet offensive on Americans?
17. How did Richard Nixon benefit from the chaos in the nation in 1968?
18. What did the Pentagon Papers reveal?
19. Analyzing Themes: Civic Rights and Responsibilities How did Americans show their frustration with the direction the country was taking in 1968?
20. Analyzing How do you think the use of chemicals such as Agent Orange and napalm by the United States affected Vietnamese feelings toward Americans and the war?
21. Organizing Use a graphic organizer to list the reasons the United States became involved in Vietnam and the effects the war had on the nation.
22. Interpreting Primary Sources In the 1960s many young Americans enlisted or were drafted for military service. Some believed they had a duty to serve their country. Many had no clear idea of what they were doing or why. In the following excerpt, a young man interviewed for Mark Bakers book Nam presents his thoughts about going to war.
“I read a lot of pacifist literature to determine whether or not I was a conscientious objector. I finally concluded that I wasn't....
The one clear decision I made in 1968 about me and the war was that if I was going to get out of it, I was going to get out in a legal way. I was not going to defraud the system in order to beat the system. I wasn't going to leave the country, because the odds of coming back looked real slim....
With all my terror of going into the Army ... there was something seductive about it, too. I was seduced by World War II and John Wayne movies.... I had been, as we all were, victimized by a romantic, truly uninformed view of war.”
—quoted in Nam
a. What options did the young man have regarding going to war?
b. Do you think World War II movies gave him a realistic view of what fighting in Vietnam would be like?
23. Conducting an Interview Review the material on page 795 about interviewing. Then follow these steps to prepare for an interview with President Johnson on his Vietnam policies.
a. Study Section 2 of this chapter on the presidents Vietnam policies and conduct library or Internet research on this subject.
b. Prepare a list of 10 questions to ask the president.
Geography and History
24. The map on this page shows supply routes and troop movements during the Vietnam War. Study the map and answer the questions below.
a. Interpreting Maps What nations besides North and South Vietnam were the sites of battles or invasions?
b. Analyzing Why did the Ho Chi Minh Trail pass through Laos and Cambodia instead of South Vietnam?
25. Evaluating Bias A person's life experiences often influence his or her arguments one way or another, creating a biased opinion. Reread the speeches in Different Viewpoints on pages 778-779. What might have influenced the points of view of George Ball and George Kennan? Create a cause-and-effect chart showing possible reasons for their biases and effects their experiences have had on their political opinions.
26. Portfolio Writing Many songs and pieces of literature have been written on the Vietnam War. Find examples of these. Then write an original poem or song lyrics in which you present antiwar or pro-war sentiments about the Vietnam War. Include your work in your portfolio.
Visit the American Republic Since 1877 Web site at tarvol2.glencoe.com and click on Self-Check Quizzes—Chapter 25 to assess your knowledge of chapter content.
The Princeton Review
Standardized Test Practice
Directions: Choose the phrase that best completes the following statement.
The purpose of the War Powers Act was to ensure that the president would
A have greater authority over the military.
B consult Congress before committing troops to extended conflicts.
C have the authority to sign treaties without Senate approval.
D have a freer hand in fighting the spread of communism.
Test-Taking Tip: After Vietnam and Watergate, Congress wanted legislation to limit the president's power during wartime. Three of the answers actually do the opposite, giving the president more power. You can eliminate these three answers.