- Heather Marie Stur
For nearly thirty years the United States and Vietnam maintained a contentious relationship that began with U.S. backing of political leaders and ended in a full-scale war that lasted until 1975. After World War II the United States adopted foreign policies aimed at preventing the spread of Communism so as to keep its rival superpower, the Soviet Union, from gaining influence throughout the world. The apex of the war in Vietnam coincided with the civil rights movement and President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty, and some African Americans—including Martin Luther King Jr. protested the Johnson administration s decision to increase military spending and thus decrease spending on antipoverty programs Additionally the disproportionate numbers of black men who were placed in combat units and died in Vietnam led some African Americans to speak out against racist draft practices and the war in general In Vietnam racial tensions erupted ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.