American Involvement in the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War began with a gradual escalation of U.S. forces in Southeast Asia during the 1950s and early 1960s and lasted until 1975, with the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front fighting the South Vietnamese and the United States military. America became involved out of fear that if Vietnam became communist-controlled, communism would spread throughout Southeast Asia. At home, the war was unpopular. Demonstrations, sit-ins, and anti-war songs became common in 1960s America.
In 1968, Richard Nixon defeated Lyndon B. Johnson in the presidential election, promising ‘ ‘peace with honor.” As he failed to make progress in peace negotiations, Americans at home became increasingly cynical. This attitude was reflected directly and indirectly; while protestors continued to voice their disapproval, others wrote songs, fiction, and drama reflecting America’s deepening concern and cynicism.
Despite the difficulties surrounding the war, Nixon won reelection in 1972. In January 1973, all participants in the Vietnam War signed the Treaty of Paris. Among the terms of the Treaty of Paris were the withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam (which occurred by the end of March) and a cease-fire.
The war’s casualties were immense; three to four million Vietnamese lost their lives, close to two million Laotians and Cambodians were killed after being drawn into the conflict, and more than fifty-eight thousand Americans died. The war cost the United States well over $130 billion. Despite the terms of the treaty, conflict persisted in Vietnam and, in 1975, North and South Vietnam were unified under communism.
Science fiction is a genre in which the author uses scientific facts to create fictional premises and worlds in far-off places or in the distant future. This type of fiction is generally adventuresome, fast-paced and highly imaginative, and contains obvious villains and heroes. Science fiction often incorporates elements of mythology, folklore, and medieval life.
Science fiction is a relatively new genre, having begun toward the end of the nineteenth century and gained widespread popularity in the 1950s. Today, it has a sizeable readership and has become popular in television and film. As science advances, so do the possibilities of science fiction. While early science fiction often considered alien life forms, space travel, and human evolution, today’s science fiction delves into issues of artificial intelligence, genetics, and computer technology.
Thomas E. Barden – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 14, Harlan Ellison – Published by Gale Cengage Learning.