The Vietnam War


Why was the Media important?

  • Media was accessable
  • There was less censorship
  • People had TV in their homes
  • American got a clearer picture
  • Certain photo's became iconic
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How did coverage lead to peace

  • In previous wars there was no or strictly censored media coverage. During the Vietnam War the media reported the war as they saw it. Sometimes these reports were not favourable of the US
  • The media coverage meant more and more people turned against the mission
  • The North Vietnamese Government kept tight control of the media

Anti-war Slogans

"Hey! Hey! LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?"

"Eighteen today, dead tomorrow" (19th birthday means death)

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Anti-War Demonstrations

Anti-war Demonstrations

  • August 1968 -> 10,000 protestors in Chicago
  • November 1968 -> 35,000 protestors outside the White House
  • March 1971 -> 300,000 protestors for Vietnam Veterans March

University Protests

  • Students organised huge demonstrations
  • Usually peaceful but some got out of control

National Guard: part time soldiers called out by state in emergencies

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Kent State University Protest and other facts

Kent State University Protest

  • In May 1970 students protested against the war at Kent State University
  • 4 students ended up being shot by the National Guard

Other facts

  • US citizens were conscripted
  • Inequality -> Rich v. Poor, Blacks
  • Rich and middle class men could dodge the call
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How did coverage lead to demands for peace

Who were the first to protest? Young men who had served in the war (veterans)

Why did people protest? The younger generation had to go through it

Which group started to protest and who did it then spread to? Veterans started to protest and other people knew that if they protested it must be wrong

  • American army - statement
  • Voice of soldiers -> war crimes, horror of war
  • SHAMEFUL -> traumatised

Youth Culture

Older generation

  • duty to serve in military
  • wouldn't challenge authority
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Black opposition, Civil Rights Leaders, Front-line

Black opposition to Vietnam

  • 64% of all eligible African-American were drafted
  • 31% of eligible whites were drafted
  • 1965-66 -> the casualty rate for blacks was twice that of whites

Prominent Civil Rights Leaders

  • Malcolm X (First to speak out)
  • Martin Luther King Jr.


  • African-Americans
  • Working-class
  • Poor whites

Army reserve or National Guard -> Middle-class and Upper-class

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Changing the minds of Americans

My Lai massacre

  • Brutality
  • Calley - tried for mass murder

Kent State University

  • 4 students killed - they had a right to protest

Protest movements in the universities

  • Young Americans 'dropped out' of society
  • Protest against the 'establishment' - including the government
  • 'Make love not war'
  • Burned their draft papers
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Changing the minds of Americans 2

Fulbright Hearings 1971

  • Twenty-two people gave evidence or 'hearings' to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee
  • 'Official' part of the US public record of Vietnam War

If you went to University you could not be drafted

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