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Copy of Vietnam War - Exploring Perspectives through Primary Sources: Soldiers' Experiences


Read the letters, oral history interviews, and the excerpt from The Sons of Bardstown below to discover how soldiers in Kentucky experienced the war.  Answer the following questions based on the readings or interviews.

1.  Who are the narrators of these items?  Under what conditions and circumstances are they writing?

2.  Describe the points of view that you find.  Do they show any distinct viewpoints or biases, communicate feelings, or provide objective information?

3.  How do these accounts inform your understanding of the Vietnam War?

Soldiers' Experiences


American soldiers on an armored personnel carrier, c. 1970.

The Vietnam war was an extremely violent conflict with many aerial bombing missions, frequent use of guerrilla warfare tactics and heavy civilian and military casualties on both sides. Most of the fighting occurred in rural areas and destruction of property was common. Many soldiers returned home with PTSD and had difficulty settling back into civilian life.