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A Time for PeaceThe Legacy of the Vietnam War$
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Robert D. Schulzinger

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195365924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195365924.001.0001

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Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment

Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter 4 Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment
Source:
A Time for Peace
Author(s):

Robert D. Schulzinger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195365924.003.0004

The Vietnam War ended badly for the United States, and lingering public bitterness made life difficult for many veterans. American soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen returned from Vietnam to a civilian public that regarded the war as a mistake and the results a failure. A popular image of the Vietnam War veteran arose of a deeply troubled and psychologically wounded man, condemned to recapitulate mentally and emotionally the anguish of fighting, killing, and dying. The culture of the post-Vietnam decades, glorifying the expression of emotion, deeply suspicious of public institutions, and, for much of the period, pessimistic, accounted for much of the ambivalence of the larger society toward veterans. Some veterans faced hardships, torments, and distress, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and a variety of diseases linked to Agent Orange, including cancer. Others found their wartime experiences rewarding, or at least not damaging, and they readjusted easily to civilian life.

Keywords:   Vietnam War, veterans, United States, civilian life, post-traumatic stress disorder, Agent Orange, cancer, wartime experiences, bitterness, emotion

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