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How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular song?

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History Coursework How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular song? Literature: During the Vietnam War, so many people were opposed to it they began to write articles and stories to address their community and fellow Americans. They tried to express their views on America's involvement in the Vietnam War. Most of the middle classed youths were destined to be drafted and through these articles and stories they tried to sway the public opinion. In the early seventies they began to make pamphlets and magazines, which contained pictures and information about the young men at war who had lost their lives in the conflict. These radical youths were most definitely biased, they didn't believe in showing both sides of the argument, as it was these children who were going to suffer at the end of it all. However, apart from these radical youths, there were the newspapers. These newspapers still wanted to keep patriotism alive within America, so they were highly conservative, supporting the war and every move America made. Any tactics or information about the war the government released these newspapers supported because it was the government kept them employed. Although the newspapers were conservative, there was a new form of "news" to hit America, a magazine called "Life". It was introduced to the public in 1969 and its contents stunned the American civilians into antiwar protests. It was an anti-war magazine, but it didn't force people to oppose it, it gave them the choice. However it did manage to sway most Americans opinion by showing pictures of almost 250 young men who had been killed in Vietnam including the 46 who had been killed at "Hamburger Hill" that previous week. These men were Americans, and what shocked those back home was that they were normal Americans, no younger nor older than their own children. The "flower power" generation were overwhelmed and shocked as they based their ideals on peace, love and harmony. ...read more.


"My Name is David Mitchell, I am twenty two years old, I refuse to fight in Vietnam, and that's a crime, I'm told. I refuse to kill in Vietnam Good folks like my own, And I know I'm in the right, judge, And I don't stand alone. The U. S. judge in Nuremberg Who judged the Nazi crimes Said killing's just as bad a sin When it's done six million times, I wouldn't do it once, judge, I never could atone, And I know I'm in the right, judge, And I don't stand alone. I saw the moving pictures of homes in napalm flames, I saw men burning children, Men with American names. To fly those wicked missions, I'd never leave my home, And I know I'm in the right, judge, And I don't stand alone. They dragged me in this courtroom 'Cause I won't play their game, I won't burn peaceful villages, won't torture, gas, or maim. Thou shalt not kill, the Lord said, that's what I learned at home, and I know I'm in the right, judge, And I don't stand alone." Conclusion: In conclusion we can see that at the beginning of the Vietnam War there was a large majority who supported it. This was known as the natural nationalism and patriotism experienced by the American public. Literature and media were also in favour of this war aswell. They tried their best to stay conservative in fear of upsetting the public and risk their careers. However this was short lived and sooner or later the public was destined to see the truth of the war. Unfortunatley for the American government it came sooner. Opposition continued to grow through music, media and the constant increase in the figures of the death toll. Music had the most influence on this shift in opinion as it was an important mode of communication at that time. ...read more.


This is contrasted to Johnsons idea of a quick and easy war. If johnsons speech was true then why the need to send so many people into the war. It was only after 1969 that america began to reduce the amount of men fighting and not because of the success rate, that they didn't need to send such numbers, but because there was a change of policy- the vietnamisation. This evidence suggests that vietnam was not as fourth rate and raggedy ass as Johnson had so kindly put. Source E contradicts the view of Johnsons statement aswell. We first see this in the title of the illustration " Victorys just around the corner" complimented by the faces of five presidents. Already suggesting ans sarcastically exclaiming that if war is just around the corner, why did it take ten years and five presidencys to resolve. This caption was used dileberatly as most knew what the outcome of the war was and that it was not "just around the corner".It was published in 1975 just after the last troops were withdrew from the war. This is where the cartoonist has and uses his benefit of Hindsight. By using this caption as he does demonstrates that the promise of each President to end the war and the expectation of Americas population had been false. Although Johnson stated that vietnam wasn't worthy of fighting america the cartoonist illustrated the fact that the war had been dragged through five preidencys, each believing that they had what it took to end the war and that the end would be soon. This victory was not around the corner and was not even achieved. Therefore we can see that these sources contradict Johnsons views on the "fourth rate, raggedy ass little county" which was vietnam. This was the small country who managed to force america to withdraw their men and efforts from the war. ...read more.

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