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Legacy of the Vietnam War

February 18, 2000 • Volume 10, Issue 6
Did the war erode Americans' trust in government?
By David Masci

Introduction

A visitor makes a rubbing of a name at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Photo Credit: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund)
A visitor makes a rubbing of a name at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Photo Credit: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund)

One of the most divisive wars in American history ended 25 years ago, but the United States is still dealing with the fallout. Some historians say that the Vietnam War was so drawn out and costly that American policy-makers have since turned fearful of military involvement in another potential quagmire. Others note Americans' diminished trust in government because politicians and military leaders lied about the war. But some observers say the vigorous U.S. response during the Persian Gulf War helps prove the United States isn't afraid to use its military power when necessary. And they blame other factors, like Watergate and the Iran-contra scandal, for citizens' increased distrust of government.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Vietnam War
Feb. 18, 2000  Legacy of the Vietnam War
Dec. 01, 1993  U.S.-Vietnam Relations
Mar. 18, 1988  Vietnam: Unified, Independent and Poor
Jul. 06, 1984  Agent Orange: The Continuing Debate
Nov. 04, 1983  MIAs: Decade of Frustration
Mar. 11, 1983  Vietnam War Reconsidered
Oct. 21, 1977  Vietnam Veterans: Continuing Readjustment
Jan. 18, 1974  Vietnam Aftermath
Feb. 21, 1973  Vietnam Veterans
Jun. 09, 1971  Prospects for Democracy in South Vietnam
May 06, 1970  Cambodia and Laos: the Widening War
Jan. 07, 1970  War Atrocities and the Law
Jul. 02, 1969  Resolution of Conflicts
Apr. 17, 1968  Reconstruction in South Vietnam
Aug. 23, 1967  Political Evolution in South Viet Nam
Jan. 11, 1967  Rural Pacification in South Viet Nam
May 26, 1965  Political Instability in South Viet Nam
Mar. 25, 1964  Neutralization in Southeast Asia
Apr. 17, 1963  Task in South Viet Nam
Jun. 14, 1961  Guerrilla Warfare
May 17, 1961  Threatened Viet Nam
Sep. 23, 1959  Menaced Laos
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
U.S. at War: Vietnam
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