How did media coverage lead to demands for peace?

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  • How did media coverage lead to demands for peace?
    • My Lai Massacre
      • 16th March 1968
        • Nine helicopters carrying three platoons of soldiers landed near My Lai
          • One platoon, led by Lt. Calley advanced into the village
            • Lt. Calley ordered the destruction of the village and its people
              • In the next two hours, 500 unarmed civilians in the village were killed
                • Most were women and children
      • Media coverage
        • Effect
          • Undermined the moral standing of the US being in Vietnam
        • Time and Life magazine published detailed accounts of the My Lai atrocities
          • Graphic images were published
    • Tet Offensive
      • 31 January 1968
        • US were in strong position
          • Had 500,000 troops in Vietnam
            • However, the NVA and Vietcong joined together and launched attack on Southern cities during Tet festival
              • Southern cities secure
              • Hoped the South would support attack and swift end of war would be achieved
                • US embassy and radio station in Saigon temporarily captured
                  • Offensive ended within 48 hours
                    • Congress refused request by General Westmoreland to send in 200,000 soldiers to finish the job
          • 100,000 Vietcong killed
            • However, the NVA and Vietcong joined together and launched attack on Southern cities during Tet festival
              • Southern cities secure
              • Hoped the South would support attack and swift end of war would be achieved
                • US embassy and radio station in Saigon temporarily captured
                  • Offensive ended within 48 hours
                    • Congress refused request by General Westmoreland to send in 200,000 soldiers to finish the job
      • Effects
        • 30,000 Vietcong and NVA dead
          • Vietcong never recovered from huge losses
            • Took 4 years to recover
              • Agreed to be in peace negotiations
        • Had Congress granted the additional forces the US may well have defeated the North
          • This was because they were very weak as a result of the Tet Offensive
            • But feeling of betrayal in US meant policy in Vietnam was geared towards US withdrawal
      • Media coverage
        • Walter Cronkite, highly respected US journalist spoke out against US involvement in Vietnam after Tet Offensive
        • Images showed Saigon in rubble
        • Unarmed Vietcong men's execution by Chief of Police done in front of NBC cameraman and Associated Press photographer
        • Effect
          • Made US public question the success of the US army in Vietnam
            • They began to feel the government and military were lying about the successes and position of the US in Vietnam
    • Protests
      • Draft dodgers who went back to college or obtained medical certificates angered US public
        • Many burnt and tore their draft papers
      • 1968 Chicago
        • 10,000 demonstrators at Democratic Party Conference
      • 1968 Washington
        • 35,000 protested outside White House
      • 1971
        • 300,000 took part in Vietnam Veterans' march
          • Vietnam Veterans speaking out against the war particularly affected public opinion as they had been in Vietnam
            • Therefore, they understood the conflict first hand
      • Protests overall showed US public were against the war so US troops had less morale
        • Also encouraged Nixon to end war quicker
    • University protests
      • University protestors involved organised protests on campus
        • They went on strike, burned draft papers and boycotted lectures
          • They also organised sit ins at local draft offices
      • Kent State
        • May 1970
          • 1000 students demonstrated on campus
            • National Guard called and used tear gas
              • Some students threw rocks
                • In retaliation the National Guard fired shots
                  • 4 students killed and 9 wounded
        • Effects
          • Shocked many US citizens - the US Government was meant to be democratic and encouraging about freedom of speech
          • Led to negative coverage of US involvement in the war worldwide
      • Effects
        • Helped to keep the Vietnam War in the forefront of peoples' minds
        • But movements were fragmented, groups did not coordinate well together
        • Many stayed patriotic throughout
    • Fullbright Hearings
      • 22 gave evidence in the hearings
        • Most damning statement came from John Kerry
          • "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
      • Effects
        • This official nature of this hearing made it different from other forms of protest
        • Highlighted urgent need of US government to sign a peace agreement and withdraw remaining troops from Vietnam

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