Why Did The USldiers Change In The Vietnam War Case Study

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How and why did the US forces change as a result of the Vietnam War?

The Vietnam War started in 1955 and finished in 1975. Over this time, the US army changed dramatically, mainly because the troops lost hope that the US would win soon. It changed in terms of composition, morale, motivation, recreation, equipment used and quality of soldiers. In this essay, I will go into detail about how and why the US forces changed in terms of the motivation, composition and morale. I will conclude at the end.

Firstly, as a result of the Vietnamese War, US forces lost their motivation to fight. In 1965, the troops were highly motivated. This is partly due to the army’s composition: many were professionals or volunteers - they had chosen to fight in Vietnam.
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The presence of these reasons would make them highly motivated: they were fighting with an intent, whether it be personal or national victory. However, by 1969, troops were lacking motivation. At this point, most of the soldiers were drafted into Vietnam: they did not chose to fight. The draft was increased in 1965. The majority of these soldiers were reluctant to be fighting: some were against the war as they had seen horrific, immoral images of the 1968 Tet Offensive; others may have thought there was no hope of US victory because the war was still going on after 13 years and there was large amount of casualties (in one week in May 1968 there were 562 US casualties). There was not much public backing for them going to Vietnam (in 1969 500,000 anti-war protesters gathered in Washington), so they would not be motivated by the thought of returning heroes. Also, the soldiers who could not afford to …show more content…
While in 1965, it was largely made up of professionals and volunteers, by 1969, most were draftees: young, inexperienced men on a compulsory 1 year tour of duty. Early in the war, men volunteered to fight because they thought it would be easy for the USA to win and they would return glorious. However, towards the end, in 1969, there were very few volunteers. This may be because as the war progressed, it lost its popularity due to shocking news stories, images and videos. For example, the footage of the execution of a member of the Vietcong by a Saigon police chief in 1968 was spread around the USA. This demonstrated the war’s brutality to many men, which made them less likely to volunteer. Many were probably also scared for their lives, as it was likely they would not return from the war because of the high casualty rate - in one week in May 1968 there were 562 US casualties. Also, by the end of the war, there were not many professionals: most had finished their term and returned home. So, while at the start of the war, the army was composed of mainly professionals and volunteers, by the end there were very few of

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