87 pages 2 hours read

Watt Key

Alabama Moon

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2006

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The Vietnam War (Socio-Historical Context)

The United States was a principal ally to the nation of South Vietnam during much of South Vietnam’s long conflict with the communist government of North Vietnam. To prevent communism’s spread in Southeast Asia, the US government increased military presence in South Vietnam over several years as a defensive measure, accumulating troop numbers there in 1961 and 1962. Bombing raids began in 1964 after torpedo boats attacked US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin; by 1965, US combat troops reported to South Vietnam to help their army actively defend the country. Additional troops, both volunteers and drafted civilians, numbered almost 500,000 by the end of 1967. Increasing protest of the war in the US, desertion, and incarceration of troops reflected the extremely divisive effects resulting from the conflict. The anti-war movement in the US strengthened in the late sixties as reports of horrific killing of Vietnamese civilians surfaced.

A peace agreement settled active hostility in January 1973. Vietnamese deaths are thought to be in the millions, and over 58,000 Americans were killed or missing. The conflict left many Americans with a mistrust of governmental decision-making, transparency, and ability to de-escalate international conflicts. Troops coming home faced re-acclimation to a US divided in its opinion about the war, the tactics used, even whether it “won” or “lost.

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By Watt Key