What Were the Consequences of the Vietnam War?

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In addition to the untold consequences for military families due to the massive loss of 58,000 American lives during the conflict, the Vietnam War led to the end of the military draft in the United States, a reduction in the voting age to age 18, restriction of a sitting president’s ability to send military forces into combat, weakened and undermined morale among the U.S. military and caused damage to the American economy. In addition, the Vietnam War caused divisions in the Democratic Party and caused Americans to be suspicious of their government. Returning soldiers fared little better, with an estimated 700,000 Vietnam veterans suffering from the psychological after effects of war.

The impact on Vietnam was dramatic. The war caused complete destruction of its infrastructure and thousands of its people were killed. Chemical warfare polluted much of its farmland. After the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, the North Vietnamese began to massacre thousands of Vietnamese from the South. Vietnam had to go on to fight wars against both China and Cambodia before it secured its independence, and today it remains one of the world’s poorest nations. Vietnam was united in 1975 after the final collapse of the Southern regime.