US Involvement Grows
The Elephant Vs. The Tiger
What does it mean to “Americanize” the War? What does it mean to Vietnamese the War?
The war in Vietnam was different from previous wars. There were no front lines- the enemy was everywhere, The terrain was difficult and littered with mines and booby traps. Drenched in sweat, the men waded through flooded rice paddies and along tangled paths, stopping occasionally to pick leeches out of their boots. One soldier recalled the difficulties of maneuvering in the overgrown and disorienting jungle during the war:
“You carried 50 to 70 pounds of equipment, and it was tough going, particularly in forested areas. Often you’d have to pull yourself along from one tree branch to the next, or we’d have to help each other by gripping hands. And you couldn’t see anything, so you didn’t know what was there around you.”
- Sergeant William Ehrhart, United States Marines
Why it Matters:
After the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, President Johnson began to shift US military efforts in Vietnam into higher gear. But America’s leaders and soldiers soon found themselves stuck in a deadly quagmire with no quick victory in sight. The war began to weaken the economy, divide the American people, and erode the nation’s morale.
What were the differences in weapons amongst the Vietnamese and the Americans?