How did the coverage of the Vietnam War in the USA lead to the demand for peace?

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  • Created by: Fiona S
  • Created on: 18-03-15 01:12
  • First war which appeared on TV the next day
  • First 'living room war'
  • Extensively reported in the newspapers and on TV without censorship
  • Media coverage had a decisive effect on public opinion

Early Representations

  • In the early twenties, US media was generally supportive 
  • In 1962, Time magazine praised the was as 'a remarkable US military effort'


  • The American soldier in Vietnam - especially if he was a 'Green Beret' was singled out for praise
  • Article in Time, 1961, idolised him as a man who 'can remove an appendix, fire a obsolete gun, sweet talk some bread out of a native in his own language, fashion explosives out of chemical fertiliser, cut an enemies throat, live off the land...'
  • 1965, novel 'The Green Berets', Robin Moore (who claimed, allegedly untruthfully to have fought with special forces) glamorized his subjects as down-to-earth heroes, there to help the Vietnamese and set them free
  • South Vietnamese soldiers were not portrayed so favourabley - called 'lousy, dirty bugouts' - Moore


  • 1968, John Wayne stared in 'The Green Berets', film made with full co-op op Johnson government
  • After showing US special forces supervising humanitarian aid and giving sweets to children, the film focuses on Vietcong brutality

Changing Views

  • Even as story was shown, people realised that Wayne's portrayal was another 'Wild West' - to be tamed by good and decent heroes was 'the way Vietnam ought to be', not the way it was
  • 1965, CBS shown US soldiers firing the thatched roofs of Vietnamese houses with Zippo lighters
  • 1968, Tet Offensive, America had to face what was really happening in the Vietnam war


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