The Economic Consequences of the Vietnam War

The Economic Consequences of the Vietnam War

The Economic Consequences of the Vietnam War

The Economic Consequences of the Vietnam War


The consequences of the Vietnam War on the United States' economy is the subject of this work. Campagna provides a chronological study of the war's identifiable costs and benefits, beginning with the pre-war economy of the 1950s, through the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and culminating with Nixon's handling of the war and its aftermath. Both the short-term impact, including contemporary government and administration policies, and the long-term effects are examined, as Campagna describes the change in the basic economic structure that the war has been responsible for.


Analysis of the Vietnam War has really just begun--some 15 years after the war's ignoble end. Only now can we begin to attempt to measure the impact of that tragic undertaking on the social, political, and economic structures of the United States. That American society was disrupted in every way seems scarcely debatable. The war, however, generated too much heat for dispassionate analysis while it was being fought and was far too controversial for calm reasoning to emerge for some time after it was finished. Perhaps hindsight will afford us the perspective necessary for less emotional investigations.

Much, of course, has already been written about both the societal disruptions caused by the exodus of young men to Canada and the plight of the returning vet to a society that could not honor his efforts. Families were disrupted. Honest men learned how to lie to avoid combat. Colleges were bulging with escapees while minorities learned once again that they were expendable. Political careers were made or broken. Military men found the avenue to advance their careers.

The effects upon us will be told again and again by creative people who will write the novels and plays, produce the TV programs, or paint the pictures to show us the pieces of horror that comprise a war. But they will fail, as others before them have failed, to convince us of the futility of it all. Each generation conveniently forgets the lessons and provides seemingly fresh rationales for setting caution and reason aside as it invents new excuses, exaggerates threats, and supplies bogus explanations to cover ulterior motives.

The war in Vietnam was no different. It had its own justification, its own rationale, and its own internal logic to play out once it began. However, it . . .

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