Agent Orange Essay

1898 Words 8 Pages
America 's entry to the Vietnam war was slow, but it soon became one of the bloodiest wars the country had ever seen. Troops were being deployed and lives were lost for reasons many found unclear. The war 's roots first started to develop in 1950 when the French, who were fighting for control of Indochina, began to deny the Vietnamese the privileges they were promised in exchange for French intervention. The Viet Minh, a communist group that fought control by the French and Japanese, were engaged in the First Indochina War against the French until 1954 when the French were defeated (Hillstorm, 1-2). Ho Chi Minh and his forces saw this as an opportunity to enforce communist rule throughout the entire country. However, the United States refused …show more content…
The United States was using a defoliant known as Agent Orange that was used to eliminate tree cover and crops that were beneficial to the North Vietnamese. Agent Orange was an extremely powerful herbicide that later proved to cause serious health problems, such as tumors, rashes, birth defects, and cancer among both troops and Vietnamese citizens. From 1961 to 1972, four-and-a-half million gallons of the defoliant were poured over nineteen million acres of Vietnamese land. In addition to the irreparable harm done to the Vietnamese environment, around 400,000 citizens were killed or seriously injured by the defoliant, and to this day, people suffer side effects linked to it (Agent Orange). MORE ON …show more content…
This fed the flame of the peace movement as many viewed this as another step deeper into the war, and protests erupted at campuses nationwide. This announcement was particularly shocking because the previous year, Nixon had declared that the war was coming to an end. One campus that faced protests was Kent State University in Ohio. Hundreds of people came together to protest Nixon 's actions, and on May 2nd the peace supporters burned down a campus ROTC building. This resulted in the National Guard being called in to control the activists. To no one 's surprise, the National Guard and the protesters did not mix well, which resulted in fights between the two parties. On May 4th, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on the peace protesters, killing four and injuring nine. This outraged Americans nationwide, and some colleges closed for the year to prevent further violence. However, the tear in American society remained painfully evident as six out of seven Americans blamed the Kent State protesters for the killings, and not the National Guard (Hillstorm, 93). The violence and difference in opinions on where the blame should be places only deepened the animosity between Americans. The disputes over Kent State and who was at fault and caused the youth to separate even further from the older generations. (Payne) Prior to the shootings

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