Throughout the course of history, mankind has been using music as an outlet, not only artistically but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as well. In this way, the music of a period has come to reflect the events of that time as the artist captures his or her thoughts, emotions, concerns, and counsel. Much of how people felt and how they reacted to certain events can be learned through specific songs. Such is the case with songs like "WAR" by Edwin Starr and "What's Going On?" by Marvin Gaye. "WAR," a song from the Vietnam Era depicts the growing anti-war sentiments to be found throughout the United States. .
In 1965, after the Tonkin Gulf Resolution granted President Lyndon B. Johnson broad military powers, the Vietnam War became Americanized with the first American combat troops arriving and the first continuous bombing of North Vietnam. Although never declared an official war by the United States, it was "entered" by the Americans in order to stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. The United States government was dedicated to the enforcement of containment, that is the containment of communism, and was committed to preventing the domino theory from realizing itself. This theory, first introduced by President Eisenhower in 1954, proposed that if one nation on the brink of communism was permitted to fall, then the rest would fall too, much like a row of dominoes. Although many Americans supported this at the start of the war, as the fighting progressed it came to divide the United States as no other event had since the Civil War. This greatly affected the treatment of veterans returning home after the close of the war. Many returning soldiers faced apathy or antagonism from an embittered America. .