American Warriors in Vietnam: Warrior Values and the Myth of the War Experience During the Vietnam War, 1965-1973.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


In the Western world there has been a general consensus that in the aftermath of Auschwitz and Hiroshima, romanticized masculine images of war and soldiering have reached a turning point. This book challenges the view that the post- 1945 era has to a great extent been without romantizations of warriorhood. In the thesis I show that the American combat soldiers in Vietnam were not beyond the influence of masculine warrior values and the Myth of the War Experience. I also show how the American combat soldiers who volunteered for combat in Vietnam confirmed the almost timeless celebration and enchantment of warriorhood as the male confirmation. But they saw their pre-battle expectations and images about warriorhood and combat crushed in Vietnam. The Vietnam War turned out to be a political and military disaster for the United States. Furthermore, the American soldiers failed to win the war for a nation that prided itself on a long military tradition of victories. The defeat was a particularly serious blow to the early volunteers and to the male American identity. This generation of American warriors fought and lost what turned out to be the most unpopular martial experience in the history of the United States. Within the legacy of the conflict lies a both implicit and explicit sentiment among many veterans, and Americans in general, that they had been tricked into fighting in an unnecessary and dishonorable war. However, in the last decades, despite the legacy of the war, in many veterans' stories the worth of the warrior is stressed again, and we see attempts to include the American Vietnam warrior in the time-honored tradition of praising masculine warrior feats and values. In their effort to reconstruct the value of warriorhood, these veterans contribute to the perpetuation of the worth of man as warrior.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • History
  • [unknown], Kim Salomon, Supervisor, External person
Award date1999 Sept 18
ISBN (Print)91-628-3677-3
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1999-09-18
Time: 10:15
Place: Dept. of History, Magle Stora Kyrkogata 12 A

External reviewer(s)

Name: Nelson, Keith L.
Title: Professor
Affiliation: University of California, Irvine


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History

Free keywords

  • Myth of the War Experience
  • United States
  • warrior values
  • veteran discourse
  • Contemporary history (since 1914)
  • Vietnam
  • duty
  • honor
  • courage
  • masculinity
  • Warrior
  • Nutidshistoria (från 1914)


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