Atomic war and Vietnam

Discussion in 'Vietnam War' started by preacherbob50, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    I really need to clarify something for all of the young hopefuls,the state of mind our soldiers and myself had concerning going to Vietnam in the 60's.
    To the United States population in general who grew up in the 50's the world was not as laid back and wonderful as "happy days" or "sha-na-na" would have the folks of today believe.

    We were a war waiting to happen. WWII just ended a few years prior and the Korean Conflict didn't end until 1954. The atom bomb was the main topic of every day. In school, from Kindergarten through 12th we not only had fire drills, but atom bomb threat drills. At the sound of the horn we would all go to the outer walls, sit down and crunch up in as small of a ball as possible and put our hands on our heads. From what we heard from our parents and friends, this maneuver was indeed an act of futility.

    A strange name was surrounding all of us and inundating the very fiber of our existance. Communism!! We didn't really know what it was, but this guy called Kruschev sure did make a point when he stood in front of those TV cameras, slamming his shoe on the podium while screaming,"WE WILL BURY YOU!" That threat was made even more ominous because we already knew that the U.S.S.R had developed a new weapon. A 50 megaton bomb.
    Then of course the Bay of Pigs incident wasn't too pupular with us either. The U.S.S.R. had built missle silos and parked their war ships only 90 miles from the Florida coast.

    Now what does that have to do with Vietnam? Simple. It does not matter what the politicians knew, or what the OSS knew, what the CIA knew or the fly on the wall of the oval office knew. To the red blooded, freedom loving, flag waving male and female civilian it seemed logical (what we were told) that if South Vietnam could be taken by Ho Chi Minh, backed by the U.S.S.R., China and other communist countries that surely we "could" be next. Our warriors and the warriors of other countries kept S. Korea from being taken, so we would do the same in Vietnam.
    If you didn't live during those times, you couldn't possibly know the real why's that the normal Joe Blow had for going.

    I and thousands of others volunteered to go. Others were drafted, and were allowed the shorter enlistment but didn't have much choice as to what they were going to do as a soldier. Whether enlisted or drafted all were and still are, great soldiers. Whatever reason the younger generation has been told still does not matter. We had to show our strength there to keep war away from our shores. Idealistic, absolutely. But, we were and are Americans above all else and I do dare say, if we had the leadership that we have now, back in the 50's and 60's, the bay of pigs incident would have been the least of our worries and vodka would be our national drink. da?
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member


    The Korean Conflict is not over. It recessed by an armistice, but the North/South border remains militarized to this day.

    I think you confuse the Bay of Pigs incident with the Missles of October crisis, both of which manifested in JFKs administration. Bay of Pigs was an invasion of Cuba as concieved by Nixon during the Eisenhower administration but as Nixon lost the 1960 election he was not able to champion this 'counter-revolution' action to fruition. E. Howard Hunt helped to train Cuban expatriot warriors with the promise of US (Nixon's) backing.

    JFK decided not to use US combat forces to back the invasion of an internationally recognized sovereign nation, as it would be in violation of many international laws.

    The October Missle crisis took place over a year later when U-2 airplane flights over Cuba revealed the presence of missle sites in Cuba, staffed by Soviet (Russian) technicians. JFK considered this a violation of US defence posture, played a game of diplomatic hardball with the Soviets/Cubans by placing a naval blockade around Cuba. JFK's posturing forced the Soviets to withdraw the missles.
  3. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    True concerning Pigs and missle crisis, but you missed the entire point, and they were both part of the mind set. Thank you for adding yet one more thing to the mix. What is pretty obvious here is you just want to debate, which is not what the topic was about.
    You cannot debate the fears of an entire nation because frankly, you were not even born yet when all of this was going on. I am not Steven King writing a horror story attempting to scare the folks that feed on blood and gore.
    This stuff happened. People were afraid. I was attempting to display the mind set of an entire nation. You have never come close to having to live like that. When nuclear weapons are mentioned in regard to U.S. and Russia's capabilities and possibilities old memories come back in all of us old enough to remember. You have never lived in a town where the citizens wear radioactive warning tags on their clothing.(Lathrop Wells and Indian Springs, Nev.) I have. You have never lived in a country wher Communists were imagined to be seen in every alley way and dark corner. Almost like modern day E.T.'s but much, much more ominous because Communists are real. You have never lived in a country where people's lives were totally ruined because they were suspected of being a Communist because they might have met one somewhere along the line.
    Things were much different then, socially, mentally, militarily, and patriotically. I'm glad you didn't have to go through any of it.
    Oh yes, the Korea thing, I've acknowledged the facts in past posts just as my thread concerning the Seminoles, but just saying we're still in conflict with N. Korea on the merit that we still have troops there is like saying we are still prepared for a conflict in Japan and Germany, because we have troops there also. They're more strategic than anything else.
    In short, it is one thing to read about a society you never experienced, it's another to have really lived it. I love to read about history, especially ancient history but any military history will do. But when I sit and talk with people who fought and lived in the time of Korea and WWII I get the motivations, true thoughts and feelings of the people of the day. It's pretty much like sex. If all you've done is read about it and played with yourself, you still don't know anything about how it really feels until you've been there.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  4. gmckee1985

    gmckee1985 Member

    Talking to my parents and grandparents who lived during the 50's and earlier, you're definitely right that the era was definitely not as care free and happy go lucky as it's often times portrayed in movies and television. It was a time with a lot of anxiety. It was kind of the quiet before the storm.
  5. billion57

    billion57 New Member

    This is a good point. The 1950s were good, but only if you were white and at least middle class, and only even then if you were blind to politics and the world. The Fallout series of games reflects on this in an interesting manner.
    While we definitely shouldn't have another one, the cold war was very interesting- it showed just how rational countries are, for not letting nuclear weapons spread and be used- or perhaps how extremely irrational they were, for letting a nuclear arms race grow so big, or getting so incredibly close to actually using nuclear weapons.
    And if Barry Goldwater were elected president over Lyndon B. Johnson, or if we had used nuclear weapons in Vietnam for any other reason... we'd be worrying about a mineshaft gap rather than a nuke gap.
  6. thomas pendrake

    thomas pendrake Active Member

    My memory of the Cuban Missile crises is my father being gone for about three days while he was in the TAC war room watching the clock down, and then being hospitalized. Later he told me the clock reached 17 seconds until armageddon. I remember as a child watching high-flying aircraft and wondering if they were Russian bombers preparing to drop the bomb on us. I remember as a 5 year-old in Topeka seeing clouds that were supposed to be from a-bomb tests in Nevada. I remember seeing a "colored" college professor being called boy and smart-assede nigger by a cop who was ticketing him for being in the way of a white man running a stop sign. The white man, incidentally, looked very embarrassed but afraid to speak up. Good times.
  7. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    I had almost forgotten that there really are people who remember the "good old days." It's kind of funny, in a not-so-funny way. Guys were joining the military in droves. The draft didn't do half as much as in the 60's but most of the guys were volunteering. Did Elvis get drafted? Dunno. We really did not feel the race thing very much where I lived for most of my younger days. N.Orleans. You would think we would have, but not really. I think all of us, white, black, indigo and green were too concerned with the world around us to worry about the other stupidity. I went to school with every race imaginable and it seems like there weren't that many problems between us. Maybe I just had blinders on in regard to the older folks.
    I really am glad that you remember things as I do Tom. Here's to better times, whenever they get here.
  8. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Elvis was drafted -- USAF. And he went to Germany on Uncle Sam's dime.

    I can recall racial tension in isolated pockets off post in the early 80s. That was Alabama
  9. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    I know this should go in the "conflict" block, but just as a follow up on previous statements, on 22 October 1962 the Cuban missle crisis came to a small "truce." It's the 52nd anniversary of the agreement between Khrushchev and Kennedy for the stand down. I was 12 years old and like others around my age, was more " nuclear war wise" than we should have been.
    Having been born just after WWII, during the Korean conflict and something else going on in the wind in the Middle East, just about all the kids in my neighborhood were playing soldier. We dreamed of being soldiers so we played soldier, but no one knew how to play nuclear war. We did know one single thing about it though. One one of the rules was,....."everybody dies".

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