Great Society



American history: Great Society

The Second World War has significantly influenced the life of Americans, bringing plenty of changes in the political and social spheres. Obviously, foreign and domestic policies have undergone considerable changes, as well. Therefore, it is important to mention that the US decided to take a great part in international politics, protecting the countries from the communism assault. It was one of the reasons, explaining the American military activities in Europe. Not surprisingly, such a position of the US has led to the unexpected consequences, resulting in the military actions in Vietnam.

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Nowadays, it is possible to suppose that American involvement in the Vietnam War was caused by the necessity to prove the statement of their “superpower” after the uncontested victory in the World War II and the obligation to protect the world from the new ruining political doctrines and ideologies. At the same time, the values of intellectual imperialism and liberal concepts have led to the confrontations between the war and the idea of a “Great Society”.

It is essential to overview the events of the 1940s in order to understand the political situation in the US in the 1960s. In fact, the military events have considerably changed the direction of the American politics and provoked their interventions into the European situation. The first reason consisted in the increased power of the United States in political, economic and cultural terms. As a result, the US began to take a great responsibility of peace protection in the world. It was a completely new strategy, being isolated for many centuries. Secondly, it is necessary to mention the consequences of the communism emergence. Man believed it to be a serious threat to the political stability in the world. As a result, the US decided to fight against its manifestations and influences by using the concept of capitalism and intellectual imperialism.

These two processes, which took place in the early 1940s, defined the American decision to enter the Vietnam War in 1960s. Generally, the American strategy was determined by the main idea of deterrence of communism and its spreading over the world.

The US strongly believed in the idea of harm of the communistic ideas and principles. Being a quite powerful nation, the US considered its main task in the protection of the human rights all over the globe. The participation in the Vietnam War was the proof of this mission and strategy.

There was a risk that North Vietnam’s victory in the war would continue spreading of communism. Therefore, the US decided to stop this danger at the very beginning. It involved France and capitalist Vietnam in order to fight against the French Indochina. In fact, it was quite an expensive mission. According to the documents, the US spent more than $1 billion on the military actions in the French Indochina. Later on, it took a direct participation in the war. In such a way, it is possible to see direct connection between the events of the World War II and the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Nevertheless, the victory in the World War II and the appearance of the communism were not the only reasons of the US interventions. To a great extent, the situation was caused by the domestic affairs and policies. Firstly, that time marked the recovery from the Great Depression. The United States began to renew and amplify their economic position. The end of the War was met with general prosperity and optimism. In other words, the American society was ready to face any difficulties and provide support for the other countries.

Finally, the social life in the United States has changed, as well. The economic prosperity led to the creation of a strong middle class. American citizens gained new opportunities and possibilities, including education and cultural development. It means that people were quite aware of the political situation in the world and could produce their own ideas for the further strategies.

Therefore, the national prosperity and success were the key factors, contributing to the American participation in the military action on the European continent. At the same time, such a position led to the collision between the war in Vietnam and Johnson’s objectives of the “Great Society”. To a great extent, it was evidence of the cause-and-effect connection in the human history.

The education of the citizens made the American government look for the wise and objective solutions for many social problems and issues. As a result, President Lyndon B. Johnson suggested the idea of a “Great Society”, aiming at the reduction of poverty, different kinds of discriminations and other social problems. Obviously, such a program needed plenty of costs, efforts and time. At the very beginning, American society was enthusiastic with this idea and tried to implement it in reality. However, later on, the initial enthusiasm slowed down, making dreams unrealizable.

At the same time, great sums were spent on the Vietnam War. In fact, the preparation to the war called for additional costs and human labor. As a result, there emerged a serious clash between the concept of a “Great Society” and the war in Indochina.

Possessing no costs to support both Vietnam War and the war against poverty, the government decided to ignore the latter. It led to the great confrontations among the social groups and resulted in the division of the nation into two separate alignments. It was a serious problem. Nevertheless, President Johnson was unable to solve this question in a proper way.

The situation was even getting worse after the debunking of the false ideas of the liberal consensus, which were so popular after the World War II ending. It happened in 1960s, when the American society faced great social and political problems. In fact, this event has deepened the clash between the Vietnam War and the concept of a “Great Society”.

Generally, the situation proved that the American society was not ready to perceive the priorities of the nation and agree on the ideas of the government. Probably, many citizens did not believe in the fairness or clearness of the strategic principles of L. B. Johnson. In any case, the inaccuracies in the foreign strategies of the US caused the division of the nation and resulted in the political defeat in the Vietnam War.

To sum up, the American decision to take part in the Vietnam War was caused by four main reasons. All of them proved the superpower and prosperity of the American society and its obligation to protect human rights in the whole world. Nevertheless, such ideas did not find their reflection in the real actions. The desire to improve domestic situation and amplify the international role ended with a general defeat and failure. Moreover, the US did not manage to improve the social position inside the country, according to the program of a “Great Society”. Neither had it protected the world from the communism spreading.

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Generally, it is possible to suppose that the American government decided to fulfill two quite difficult tasks. As a result, it appeared to be impossible to complete both of them without serious losses. Nevertheless, it was an important period in the American history, which shows us brilliant examples of the nation’s development on its way to success and prosperity.

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