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View Details Add to Cart. Year 11 - But an analysis of various surveys into GI desertions shows only a small minority claimed antiwar reasons for their actions.
Apparently, desertion is a means to an end, and, for most deserters, the end is not political. The extent of drug use is not open to debate. A large minority of GIs in Vietnam were heroin users, while the majority were pot smokers. Roughly half, according to Helmer, came back with antiwar convictions.
In Vietnam, some took part in the murder of unpopular officers, a small minority were members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, while a larger proportion disobeyed orders at some time.
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Some of these acts of rebellion were for their own personal preservation, some were for the wider scope of general political change. Drug usage is not a political act, neither is fragging. One is a form of passive personal rebellion, the other is a form of active resistance. Those that were politically conscious could have taken part in either, but the progression to organised political action is not as clear as Zinberg and Helmer claim.
Not every marijuana user developed a heightened political consciousness, while organised anti-war activity amongst GIs took place in countries where availability of drugs was much more restricted. For most, drug use was a personal means of coping with the horrors of war. In the American situation race may be an alternative precursor for militancy, but as noted before, the VVAW were predominantly white. Class may be a reason for political activity. Neither do different levels of education give a reason for this.
Perhaps drug usage is an indication of alternative attitudes, but it is no more than an indication, and the development onto wider political activity is indistinct. Antiwar activity amongst American soldiers during the Vietnam War was common. The forms of resistance were a myriad of activities that ranged from drug usage to collective efforts at undermining the war effort.
Most of these activities were for surviving a losing war, and once out of military service few chose to continue their activities. Although desertion and AWOL rates were not particularly higher than World War II or the Korean War apart, that is, from the Marines , the pressure of subordination in the ranks was a building source of anxiety as the campaign progressed. One can imagine the terror that fragging must have brought to the officers, as well as their trouble in justifying an obviously bankrupt campaign.
Mullen, R. Pathfinder, New York, The Free Press, London, Eldelman, B.
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Pocket Books, London, Bell, D. Armed Forces and Society , Vol. Gill, G. Routledge, New York, Brecher, E. Romo, B. Zastro, P. A History of the War in Vietnam. Ruppert, M. Caputo, P. A Rumour of War. Arrow Books, London, McMahon, R. Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War. Heath and Company, Lexington, Blum, J.
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Years of Discord: American Politics and Society. Norton, London, Baky, J. Winter Soldier Investigation. Testimony given in Detroit, Michigan on January 31, , February 1 and 2, Black Panther Party: Platform and Program. Dear America. Bob Muller. Helmer, J.
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Bringing the War Home. Bringing the War Home, p. The Empire Strikes Back, p. Consumer Reports Magazine.
Vietnam War - Videos on History - Research Guides at Rutgers University
Caputo, A Rumour of War, p. Dear America, p. Years of Discord, p. Question: "In view of developments since we entered the fighting in Vietnam, do you think the U. Helmer, Bringing the War Home, p. I pulled out my. Reproduced in Helmer, Bringing the War Home, p.
Dictionary of the Vietnam War, p Its aim was to prove that atrocities committed by American soldiers were not isolated affairs. Interview with Third Marine Division. Figures range from 7 percent to 9 percent.
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Return to Magazine Front Page. The draft discriminated against the poor, the less educated and ethnic minorities.