How did the war in Vietnam reflect social and political tensions that had already existed in American life since 1900?
The Vietnam War produced in the United States one of the most comprehensive efforts in social conditioning [adjusting of public opinion] in modern times. Nothing was spared in the attempt to make the war seem necessary and acceptable to the American public.In the war of protest, students may have taken the lead, but they were not alone. A measure of success was achieved when the U.S. congress responded with what has been called “the greatest outpouring of human rights legislation in this century.
Young people also showed their rejection of the system by rejecting its conventional dress and grooming standards.
For many women it was the day of miniskirts and hot pants; for men, of beards and long hair; disheveled appearance that later became known as the hippie look.
Some of the music of the day also promoted the spirit of protest by encouraging the use of drugs and by condoning permissive sex and homosexuality. Rock stars and pop singers became idols, dictating both fashions and conduct. Communal living became popular. This and other life-styles formerly considered unacceptable were now viewed as being acceptable alternatives.
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