Vietnam Veterans: Continuing Readjustment

October 21, 1977

Report Outline
Special Problems of Former soldiers
Veterans Administration Under Fire
Government Programs to Aid Vets
Special Focus

Special Problems of Former soldiers

As Veterans Day approaches, one group of American veterans stands out from all the others—the two million men who served in Indochina during the “Vietnam era.” Unlike those who served in America's other wars, the Vietnam veterans received no heroes' welcomes when they returned home. On the contrary, many Americans viewed those who fought in Vietnam with fear and suspicion. Many Vietnam veterans came home to other problems as well: drug addiction; widespread unemployment, especially among young black veterans; neglect and sometimes incompetent treatment from government agencies whose job it was to help them.

Vietnam veterans have “never been recognized for their service to the country,” President Carter said last year. “They [have] often been despised, characterized as criminals…. They were extraordinarily heroic, serving their country in great danger even if they didn't have the appreciation of their fellow citizens and even if they felt the war was wrong.”

Evidence of Continuing Stress Disorders

One potentially long-lasting effect of the Vietnam War is the psychological impact it had on those who fought in it. The psychological problems of combat soldiers have been recognized and measured during and after nearly every war in modern times. But several factors peculiar to the situation in Indochina made the psychological adjustments for returning Vietnam veterans particularly difficult.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Vietnam War
Feb. 18, 2000  Legacy of the Vietnam War
Dec. 03, 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
Veterans' Services