The Vietnam War is considered the most controversial war ever in the United States. Americans never really understood the reason for the war. Technically, it wasn't even our war to fight. The American people began to view their government differently. The nation was divided on its support for the war.
In 1945, the French started to re-establish their colonial rule in Vietnam. However, the North Vietnamese, also known as Viet Cong, believed differently, and thought that they should rule in a communist fashion. The United States agreed to supply the French with weapons, so that they would be able to defeat the Viet Cong rebellion. This was America's first step into the war and once they got involved, it was hard to get out. On August 2, 1964, the North Vietnamese attacked two US Destroyers and the Americans retaliated by air attacks. This event lead them one more step deeper into the war. By the end of 1964, the United States had 23,000 "advisors" in Vietnam. These men and Air Force personnel were being targeted more than the French, who were starting to pull their troops out of Vietnam (Fowler 29). Then on February 7, 1965, the Viet Cong attacked a United States airfield. By this time, France was completely out of Vietnam. This sent America hurtling into the war and on March 8, 1965, two battalions of Marines, numbering 3,500, were sent in to help support the South Vietnamese defense of Da Nang. By the end of the year, there were 180,000 soldiers in Vietnam (Fowler 33). .
For the first time, the media and television journalists brought war into the homes of the American people. By 1970, the media was declaring that the Vietnam War was impossible to win, influencing some Americans to turn against the war. The press also discovered some top secret US government documents, also known as the "Pentagon Papers." They revealed these Pentagon Papers to the public, showing that the government had lied about a number of secret operations in Vietnam.