Readiness standards comprise 65% of the U. S. History Test 8 d & F



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  • Readiness standards comprise 65% of the U. S. History Test
  • 8 D & F

Readiness Standard (8) The student understands the impact of significant national & international decisions & conflicts in the Cold War on the United States.

  • The Student is expected to:
  • (D) Explain reasons & outcomes for U. S. involvement in foreign countries & their relationship to the Domino Theory, including Vietnam

The Domino Theory

  • The domino theory dominated American foreign policy philosophy from 1950s to the 1980s. The basic argument was that if one state in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow that lead, toppling like dominoes lined up one in front of the other.
  • American foreign policy “experts” & diplomats invoked the domino theory during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world.

Eisenhower was the first to refer to countries in danger of Communist takeover as dominoes, in response to a journalist's question about Indochina in an April 7, 1954 news conference, though he did not use the term “domino theory.” Referring to communism in Indochina, President Eisenhower described it thus in an April 7, 1954 news conference:

  • Eisenhower was the first to refer to countries in danger of Communist takeover as dominoes, in response to a journalist's question about Indochina in an April 7, 1954 news conference, though he did not use the term “domino theory.” Referring to communism in Indochina, President Eisenhower described it thus in an April 7, 1954 news conference:
  • “Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the ‘falling domino’ principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.”

The Domino Theory

  • The domino theory seemed to be at play in Eastern & Central Europe, as Stalin’s Soviet Union gobbled up the nation-states in that region after the end of World War II.
  • In his famous 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech delivered at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri explained it thus:

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an ‘Iron Curtain’ has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.”

  • Watching the “play,” Churchill and Truman sit in the balcony while the other Western Democracies are seated behind the orchestra. Stalin is nervously peaks out from behind the Iron Curtain.

The Domino Theory

  • Likewise, after the war, communist governments gained control in both North Korea and China, and by the mid-1950s the communists of Vietnam had established a strong foothold in Southeast Asia. If Communists succeeded in taking over the rest of Indochina (Vietnam), Eisenhower argued, local groups would then have the encouragement, material support and momentum to take over Burma, Thailand, Malaya, & Indonesia; all of these countries had large popular Communist movements and insurgencies within their borders at the time.

The Domino Theory

  • This would give them a geographical and economic strategic advantage, and it would make Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines, Australia, & New Zealand front-line defensive states. The loss of regions traditionally within the vital regional trading area of countries like Japan would encourage the front-line countries to compromise politically with communism.
  • The Kennedy Administration intervened in Vietnam in the early 1960s to, among other reasons, keep the South Vietnamese “domino: from falling. When Kennedy came to power there was concern that the communist-led Pathet Lao in Laos would provide the Viet Cong with bases, and that eventually they could take over Laos.

America’s sustained presence in Southeast Asia & entry into Vietnam War (December 1956-April 30, 1975) was in large part inspired by sincere belief in the Domino Theory’s validity

Arguments in Favor of the Domino Theory

  • The primary evidence for the domino theory is the spread of communist rule in three Southeast Asian countries in 1975, following the communist takeover of Vietnam : South Vietnam (by the Viet Cong), Laos (by the Pathet Lao), and Cambodia (by the Khmer Rouge).

Arguments against the domino theory

  • The primary evidence against the domino theory is the failure of Communism to take hold in Thailand, Indonesia, and other large Southeast Asian countries after the end of the Vietnam War, as Eisenhower's speech warned it could. However, proponents of this policy argue that this was due in part to the effects of both the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
  • Critics of the theory charged that the Indochinese wars were largely indigenous or nationalist in nature (such as the Vietnamese driving out the French), and that no such monolithic force as "world communism" existed. There was already fracturing of communist states at the time, the most serious of which was the rivalry between the Soviet Union and China, known as the Sino-Soviet split, which began in the 1950s.

Readiness Standard (8) The student understands the impact of significant national & international decisions & conflicts in the Cold War on the United States.

  • The Student is expected to:
  • (F) Describe the response to the Vietnam War such as the draft, the 26th Amendment, the role of the media, the credibility gap, the silent majority, & the anti-war movement

Readiness Standard (8) The student understands the impact of significant national & international decisions & conflicts in the Cold War on the United States.

  • The Student is expected to:
  • (F) 1 Describe the response to the Vietnam War such as the draft

The Draft--Background

  • The institution of America’s second-ever peacetime draft in 1948 is best understood as a response to heightened postwar tensions created by the Cold War.
  • From a program that had just barely passed Congressional muster during the fearful prelude to World War II, a more robust draft continued as fears now focused on the Soviet threat.
  • President Kennedy's decision to send military troops to Vietnam as "advisors" was a signal that Selective Service would be alive & well throughout the 1960s.

The Draft

  • The large cohort of Baby Boomers who became eligible for military service during the Vietnam War was responsible for a steep increase in the number of exemptions and deferments, especially for college students. Besides being able to avoid the draft, college graduates who volunteered for military service (primarily as commissioned officers) had a much better chance of securing a preferential posting compared to less-educated inductees.

The Draft Lottery

  • On December 1, 1969, the Selective Service System of the U. S. conducted two lotteries to determine the order of call to military service in the Vietnam War for men born from 1944 to 1950. These lotteries occurred during “the draft” —a period of conscription, controlled by the President, from just before World War II to 1973.
  • The lottery numbers assigned in December 1969 were used during calendar year 1970 both to call for induction and to call for physical examination, a preliminary call covering more men.

The Draft

  • As U.S. troop strength in Vietnam increased, more young men were drafted for service there, and many of those still at home sought means of avoiding the draft.
  • There were 8,744,000 service members between 1964 and 1975, of which 3,403,000 were deployed to Southeast Asia. From a pool of approximately 27 million, the draft raised 2,215,000 men for military service (in the United States, Vietnam, West Germany, and elsewhere) during the Vietnam era.
  • Of the nearly 16 million men not engaged in active military service, 57% were exempted (typically because of jobs including other military service), deferred (usually for educational reasons), or disqualified (usually for physical and mental deficiencies but also for criminal records including draft violations).
  • Widespread resistance to the Draft stimulated . . .
  • passage of the 26th Amendment

Readiness Standard (8) The student understands the impact of significant national & international decisions & conflicts in the Cold War on the United States.

  • The Student is expected to:
  • (F) 2 Describe the response to the Vietnam War such as the 26th Amendment
  • July 1, 1971

26th Amendment

  • The Twenty-sixth Amendment (Amendment XXVI) to the U. S. Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from setting a voting age higher than eighteen. It was adopted in response to student activism against the Vietnam War and to partially overrule the Supreme Court’s decision in Oregon v. Mitchell (1970, ruling that Congress could set voter age requirements for federal elections but not for state elections). It was adopted on July 1, 1971.

26th Amendment

  • Congress and the state legislatures felt increasing pressure to pass the Constitutional amendment because of the Vietnam War, in which many young men who were ineligible to vote were conscripted to fight in the war, thus lacking any means to influence the people sending them off to risk their lives. "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote," was a common slogan used by proponents of lowering the voting age. The slogan traced its roots to World War II, when President Roosevelt lowered the military draft age to eighteen.

Readiness Standard (8) The student understands the impact of significant national & international decisions & conflicts in the Cold War on the United States.

  • The Student is expected to:
  • (F) 3 Describe the response to the Vietnam War such as the role of the media
  • Walter Cronkite— “most trusted man in America”
  • Dan Rather—
  • 1966
  • telecast

The Media & Vietnam— Background

  • Before the 1960s, the news media had no interest in Vietnam. Those who covered the beginning of the war in Vietnam were only reporting the rise of communism in the country. The official agencies that handled the press in Vietnam during the early years had little control over what those reporters wrote.
  • During this period, what was published in the news reflected what America was most preoccupied with: communism and the cold war. But if one asks instead how the United States got into Vietnam, then attention must be paid to the enormous strength of the Cold War consensus in the early 1960s shared by journalists and policymakers alike, and to the great power of the administration to control the agenda and the framing of foreign affairs reporting.

The Media & Vietnam—1960-1964

  • The correspondents did not question the black and white assumptions of the time that the war was a part of the larger struggle between the free world and totalitarianism or whether the war was beyond America’s ability to win. The media exhibited the “Cold War myopia, ethnocentrism, cultural bias, and racism embedded in American ideology.” 
  • American readers rarely encountered the argument that the communists were waging a war of reunification rather than “a campaign to further the interests of a communist conspiracy masterminded by the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union.”
  • The Domino Theory was utilized to justify the American intervention in order to prevent regional domination by China, overlooking centuries of hostility between the Vietnamese and the Chinese.

The Media & Vietnam—1960-1964

  • In the same way after the United States threw its weight behind Ngo Dinh Diem, who became South Vietnam’s president in 1955, journals in the United States ignored the new leader’s despotic tendencies and instead highlighted his anti-Communism. 
  • The death of civilians in a coup against President Diem at the end of 1960 started to change how Vietnam was viewed by the media. As a result, the New York Times sent their first reporter to Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. This was followed by other journalists arriving from Reuters, Agence France Presse, Times and Newsweek.

The Media & Vietnam—1960-1964

  • The American public was also dissatisfied with the course of events in Vietnam. A January 1965 Gallup poll indicated that two out of three Americans agreed that the country would never form a stable government and that four out of five Americans felt that the communists were winning. Few, however, wanted a unilateral U.S. withdrawal and 50 percent believed that the U.S. was obliged to defend independent nations from communist aggression.
  • 1965-1967--Escalation
  • The dramatic structure of the uncensored “living room war” as reported during 1965–1967 remained simple and traditional: “the forces of good were locked in battle once again with the forces of evil. What began to change in 1967 . . . was the conviction that the forces of good would inevitably prevail.” 

The Media & 1968 (Tet)

  • During a bombing halt in September 1967, Harrison E. Salisbury of the New York Times became the first correspondent from a major U.S. newspaper to go to North Vietnam. His reporting of the bombing damage to civilian targets forced the Pentagon to admit that accidents and “collateral damage” had occurred during the bombing campaign. For his effort, Salisbury received heavy condemnation and criticism from his peers, the administration, and the Pentagon.
  • Perhaps the most famous image of the Tet Offensive—a photo that was taken by Eddie Adams—was the photograph that depicted a Vietnamese man being executed by the Southern Vietnamese General, General Nguyen Ngoc Loan. The photo shows the moment of death for the young man. Adams won a prize for his iconic photo, which was said to be more influential than the video that was released of the same execution.

The Media & 1968

  • The impact that these photos had on the American public was astounding. Support for the war plummeted, and, though two hundred thousand troops were requested at the beginning of the Offensive, the request was denied.
  • Withdrawal, 1969–1973
  • On November 3, 1969 President Nixon made a televised “Silent Majority” speech promising to continue to support the South Vietnamese government (through Vietnamization). He also held out a plan for the withdrawal of American combat troops.
  • This speech, not the Tet Offensive, marked the real watershed of the American involvement. In it, Nixon permanently altered the nature of the issue. “No longer was the question whether the United States was going to get out, but rather how and how fast.” Nixon's policy toward the media was to reduce as far as possible the American public’s interest in and knowledge of the war in Vietnam. He began by sharply limiting the press’s access to information within Vietnam itself.

The Media & Withdrawal

  • The gradual dissipation of American support for the war was apparent in changes in the source of news stories. The traditional sources –press conferences, official news releases, and reports of official proceedings were less utilized than ever before. Reporters were doing more research, conducting more interviews, and publishing more analytical essays. 
  • There was also an increase in the number of American homes that acquired a television set which led to a rise in people gaining their knowledge of the war from television. The media never became “acutely critical . . . but more sober, and more skeptical. It did not, however, examine or reexamine its basic assumptions about the nature of the war it had helped to propagate.

The Media & Withdrawal

  • Television’s image of the war, however, had been permanently altered: the “guts and glory” image of the pre-Tet period was gone forever. For the most part television remained a follower rather than a leader. The later years of Vietnam were “a remarkable testimony to the restraining power of the routines and ideology of objective journalism . . . ‘advocacy journalism’ made no real inroads into network television.”
  • As the American commitment waned there was an increasing media emphasis on Vietnamization, the South Vietnamese government, and casualties, both American and Vietnamese. There was also increasing coverage of the collapse of morale, interracial tensions, drug abuse, and disciplinary problems among American troops.

The Media & Withdrawal

  • Tensions between the news media and the Nixon administration only increased as the war dragged on. In September and October 1969, members of the administration openly discussed methods by which the media could be coerced into docility. Possible methods included IRS audits, Justice Department antitrust lawsuits against major television networks and newspapers that could be accused of monopolistic business practices, and the monitoring incidents of “unfairness” by television broadcasters that would be turned over to the FCC for possible legal action.

Readiness Standard (8) The student understands the impact of significant national & international decisions & conflicts in the Cold War on the United States.

  • The Student is expected to:
  • (F) 4 Describe the response to the Vietnam War such as the credibility gap

The Credibility Gap

  • Credibility gap is a political term that came into wide use during the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, it was most frequently used to describe public skepticism about the Lyndon B. Johnson administration's statements and policies on the Vietnam War. Today, it is used more generally to describe almost any “gap” between the reality of a situation and what politicians and government agencies say about it.
  • “Credibility gap” was popularized in 1966 by J. William Fulbright, a Democratic Senator from Arkansas, when he could not get a straight answer from President Johnson’s Administration regarding the war in Vietnam.

“Credibility gap” was first used in association with the Vietnam War in the New York Herald Tribune in March 1965, to describe then-president Lyndon Johnson's handling of the escalation of American involvement in the war. A number of events—particularly the surprise Tet Offensive, and later the 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers—helped to confirm public suspicion that there was a significant “gap” between the administration's declarations of controlled military and political resolution, and the reality.

  • “Credibility gap” was first used in association with the Vietnam War in the New York Herald Tribune in March 1965, to describe then-president Lyndon Johnson's handling of the escalation of American involvement in the war. A number of events—particularly the surprise Tet Offensive, and later the 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers—helped to confirm public suspicion that there was a significant “gap” between the administration's declarations of controlled military and political resolution, and the reality.
  • Throughout the war, Johnson worked with his officials to ensure that his public addresses would only disclose bare details of the war to the American public.

An example of public opinion appeared in the New York Times concerning the war. “The time has come to call a spade a bloody shovel. This country is in an undeclared and unexplained war in Vietnam. Our masters have a lot of long and fancy names for it, like escalation and retaliation, but it is a war just the same.” - James Reston.

  • An example of public opinion appeared in the New York Times concerning the war. “The time has come to call a spade a bloody shovel. This country is in an undeclared and unexplained war in Vietnam. Our masters have a lot of long and fancy names for it, like escalation and retaliation, but it is a war just the same.” - James Reston.
  • The advent of the presence of television journalists allowed by the military to report and photograph events of the war within hours or days of their actual occurrence in an uncensored manner drove the discrepancy widely referred to as “the credibility gap.”

After the Vietnam War, the term “credibility gap” came to be used by political opponents in cases where an actual, perceived or implied discrepancy existed between a politician's public pronouncements and the actual, perceived or implied reality. For example, in the 1970s the term was applied to Nixon's own handling of the Vietnam War and subsequently to the discrepancy between evidence of Richard Nixon’s complicity in the Watergate break-in and his repeated claims of innocence.

  • After the Vietnam War, the term “credibility gap” came to be used by political opponents in cases where an actual, perceived or implied discrepancy existed between a politician's public pronouncements and the actual, perceived or implied reality. For example, in the 1970s the term was applied to Nixon's own handling of the Vietnam War and subsequently to the discrepancy between evidence of Richard Nixon’s complicity in the Watergate break-in and his repeated claims of innocence.

Readiness Standard (8) The student understands the impact of significant national & international decisions & conflicts in the Cold War on the United States.

  • The Student is expected to:
  • (F) 5 Describe the response to the Vietnam War such as the silent majority

Nixon’s Nov. 3, 1969 “Silent Majority” Speech

  • The silent majority is an unspecified large majority of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. The term was popularized (though not first used) by U.S. President Nixon in a November 3, 1969, speech in which he said, “And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support.” In this usage it referred to those Americans who did not join in the large demonstrations against the Vietnam War at the time, who did not join in the counterculture, and who did not participate in public discourse. Nixon along with many others saw this group of “Middle Americans” as being overshadowed in the media by the more vocal minority.
  • A Sword that Cuts both ways

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  • A Sword that Cuts both ways

Readiness Standard (8) The student understands the impact of significant national & international decisions & conflicts in the Cold War on the United States.

  • The Student is expected to:
  • (F) 6 Describe the response to the Vietnam War such as the anti-war movement
  • With the U.S. Capitol in the background, demonstrators march along Pennsylvania Avenue in an anti-Vietnam War protest in Washington, on Moratorium Day, Nov. 15, 1969.

The Anti-War Movement

  • The movement against the involvement of the U. S. in the Vietnam War began in the U.S. with demonstrations in 1964 and grew in strength in later years. The U.S. became polarized between those who advocated continued involvement in Vietnam and those who wanted peace.
  • Many in the peace movement were students, mothers, or anti-establishment hippies , but there was also involvement from many other groups, including educators, clergy, academics, journalists, lawyers, physicians (such as Benjamin Spock), even some military veterans, and ordinary Americans. Expressions of opposition events ranged from peaceful nonviolent demonstrations to radical displays of violence.

Reasons Driving the Anti-War Movement

  • The reasons behind American opposition to the Vietnam War fell into the following main categories: opposition to the #1) draft; #2) moral concerns, #3) legal & pragmatic arguments against U.S. intervention; #4) reaction to the media portrayal of the devastation in Southeast Asia.
  • #1 The Draft, as a system of conscription which threatened lower class registrants and middle class registrants alike, drove much of the protest after 1965.
  • The prevailing sentiment that the draft was unfairly administered inflamed blue-collar American and African-American opposition to the military draft itself.

Reasons Driving the Anti-War Movement

  • Opposition to the war arose during a time of unprecedented student activism which followed the free speech movement and the civil rights movement. The military draft mobilized the Baby Boomers who were most at risk, but grew to include a varied cross-section of Americans. The growing opposition to the Vietnam War was partly attributed to greater access to uncensored information presented by the extensive television coverage on the ground in Vietnam.
  • #2 Anti-war protesters also made moral arguments against the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. This moral imperative argument against the war was especially popular among American college students.

Reasons Driving the Anti-War Movement

  • Opposition to the war arose during a time of unprecedented student activism which followed the free speech movement and the civil rights movement. The military draft mobilized the Baby Boomers who were most at risk, but grew to include a varied cross-section of Americans. The growing opposition to the Vietnam War was partly attributed to greater access to uncensored information presented by the extensive television coverage on the ground in Vietnam.
  • #2 Anti-war protesters also made moral arguments against the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. This moral imperative argument against the war was especially popular among American college students.

Reasons Driving the Anti-War Movement

  • In an article entitled “Two Sources of Antiwar Sentiment in America,” Howard Schuman found that students were more likely than the general public to accuse the United States of having imperialistic goals in Vietnam. Students in Schuman's study were also more likely to criticize the war as “immoral.”
  • #3 Another element of the American opposition to the war was the perception that U.S intervention in Vietnam, which had been argued as acceptable due to the Domino Theory and the threat of Communism, was not legally justifiable. Some Americans believed that the Communist threat was used as a scapegoat to hide imperialistic intentions, while others argued that the American intervention in South Vietnam interfered with the “self-determination” of the country. In other words, the war in Vietnam was a civil war that ought to have determined the fate of the country and, therefore, America was not right to intervene.

Reasons Driving the Anti-War Movement

  • #4 Additionally, media coverage of the war in Vietnam shook the faith of citizens at home. That is, new media technologies, like television, brought images of wartime conflict to the kitchen table.
  • For the first time in American history the media was privileged to dispense battlefield footage to public. Graphic footage of casualties on the nightly news eliminated any myth of the glory of war. With no clear sign of victory in Vietnam, the media images of American military casualties helped to stimulate the opposition of the war in Americans.
  • Malcolm Browne’s Photo of Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist Monk Immolating Himself (June 11, 1963)

Rationale of the Anti-War Movement

  • Military critics of the war pointed out that the Vietnam War was political and that the military mission lacked any clear idea of how to achieve its objectives
  • Civilian critics of the war argued that the government of South Vietnam lacked political legitimacy, or that support for the war was completely immoral.
  • The media established a sphere of public discourse surrounding the Hawk versus Dove debate. The Dove was a liberal and a critic of the war. Doves claimed that the war was well–intentioned but a disastrously wrong mistake in an otherwise benign foreign policy.

Rationale of the Anti-War Movement

  • It is important to note the Doves did not question the U.S. intentions in intervening in Vietnam, nor did they question the morality or legality of the U.S. intervention. Rather, they made pragmatic claims that the war was a mistake.
  • Contrarily, the Hawks argued that the war was legitimate and winnable and a part of the benign U.S. foreign policy. The Hawks claimed that the one-sided criticism of the media contributed to the decline of public support for the war and ultimately helped the U.S. lose the war.
  • The hawks claimed that the liberal media was responsible for the growing popular disenchantment with the war and blamed the western media for losing the war in Southeast Asia.

Elements of the Anti-War Movement

  • Students—some argue that the post World War II affluence set the stage for the protest generation in the 1960s; some students joined the antiwar movement because they did not want to fight in a foreign civil war that they believed did not concern them or because they were morally opposed to all war.
  • The Arts—many artists during the 1960s and 1970s opposed the war and used their creativity and careers to visibly oppose the war; regardless of medium, antiwar artists ranged from pacifists to violent radicals and caused Americans to think more critically about the war.

Elements of the Anti-War Movement

  • Women—women involved in opposition groups disliked the romanticism of the violence of both the war and the antiwar movement that was common amongst male war protestors; such female antiwar groups often relied on maternalism, the image of women as peaceful caretakers of the world, to express and accomplish their goals
  • African-Americans—African Americans were often involved in the Civil Rights Movement and the antiwar movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr. & the Black Panther Party. In the beginning of the war, some African Americans did not want to join the war opposition movement because of loyalty to President Johnson for pushing Civil Rights legislation, but soon the escalating violence of the war and the perceived social injustice of the draft propelled involvement in antiwar groups. They harshly criticized the draft because poor and minority men were usually most affected by conscription.
  • Muhammad Ali refused to serve in the war

Elements of the Anti-War Movement

  • The Clergy—the clergy, often a forgotten group during the opposition to the Vietnam War, played a large role as well. There is a relationship and correlation between theology and political opinions and during the Vietnam. In basic summary, each specific clergy from each religion had their own view of the war and how they dealt with it, but as a whole, the clergy was completely against the war.
  • Protests in general grew after the Kent State killings, radicalizing more and more students. Although the media often portrayed the student antiwar movement as aggressive and widespread, only 10% of the 2500 colleges in the United States had violent protests throughout the Vietnam War years.

Vietnam has elicited the most ambiguous response by the American people toward any war before or since.

  • The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D. C.
  • Fini


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