• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


Q1. How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular song? In the following extended answer I intend to scrutinize the opposition to the Vietnam War. With the use of contemporary literature, film and popular song I am hopeful that I can express to you how these materials had quite a radical effect on the people's opinion. To begin, we must take into consideration the initial public opinion and contemporary sources on the war on the war in it's originate. The people of America were continually being warned by their leaders that communism was a serious threat to their country. Numerous foreign policies against communist ideology like containment and the Trumine doctrine high-lighted this fear. So it was no great surprise that public opinion was fairly in favour of the war when Johnson announced it after the bombing of an American ship off the gulf of Tonkin in 1965. In fact most contemporary material at that time was actually supportive of the war and its authors did not want to sound unpatriotic by condemning the conflict. For example the film "The Green Berets," released in 1968, before the opposition began to swell, was mainly a pro-war film which influenced people by reinforcing their patriotism. ...read more.


An emotional film that would surly have affected many American viewers. The ironic rendition of "God Bless America" at the film's tragic end is perhaps the most famous part of the film and undeniably mocks President Johnson's reason for going to war and is another example of how opposition was portrayed in contemporary film. The composition song was the earliest of contemporary sources to show opposition to war, this criticism mounted as time went on. It evidently opposed the war also, its lyrics grew more anti-war as the years drew on and more soldiers died. Their influence was also more widespread, songs could be broadcast on the radio so, unlike films, there was a larger audience. The songs too were influenced by the era of flower power and so they urged peace and harmony and of course preached of the evils of war. Country singer Joe Mc Donald sang "What are we fighting for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn, next stop is Vietnam..." a more popular artist Johnny Cash sang 'many a good man I saw fall' and 'I get a little tremolo when I talk' referring to the physiological impact it had on the soldiers and again influencing opposition to the war. Television was also an important avenue to portray opposition to the war. ...read more.


It was another two months before the American public learned about the massacre and trials. The photos of the war crime were too shocking for senior officials to stage an effective cover-up. One senator said, "There are so many kids just lying there; these pictures are authentic." The explosive news of the massacre fueled the outrage of the American peace movement, which demanded the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. It also led more potential draftees to file for objector status which meant that they didn't have to go to Vietnam. Those who had always argued against the war felt vindicated and those on the fringes of the movement became more vocal. As a cumulative effect of the literature, film and popular song portrayed from this time there was quite an obvious sway in public opinion. The media played an indispensable role in bringing about this change one source comically states "Overnight one TV correspondent with one cameraman could become as important as ten or twenty senators". This source obviously concurs with my belief that the media played a major role in portraying opposition through the use of contemporary literature, film and popular song in the Vietnam War. We also know that as a result of the publicity gained about the Vietnam War via these contemporary sources the anti-war movement grew. Subsequently, pressure from public opinion that had now changed to an anti-war stance caused the government to take action to end the war in Vietnam. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in Contemporary Literature, Film and popular ...

    they too are going to try and make the articles one sided for they have the power to do so. Magazines were another source of information for the public to read up on current events in Vietnam, but would mainly target students who wanted to rebel and make their voices heard.

  2. How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular ...

    To laugh at the devastation of the Vietnam War would be twisted and cruel, but in saying that we realise just how extreme this devastation was. Talcum is not mocking what had happened; he is contesting the American involvement in the war in a very effective and attention-grabbing way.

  1. American History.

    Wilmot Proviso - a proposed amendment that made slavery illegal in any territories taken from Mexico. Wilmot wasn't really an abolitionist - it was more self-interest b/c her worried the spread of slavery would hurt labor by free whites and deny them their rights to work [also anti-Slave Power].

  2. The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now

    Mike, Nick, and Steven were overly excited about their tour and raised their glasses in the air for a toast. "I hope they send us where the bullets are flyin' and the fightin's the worst, huh?" Nick proclaimed. Without even turning toward them, the experienced veteran raised his glass and toasted: "Fuck it!"

  1. How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular ...

    was being broadcast all around the world to hundreds of millions homes. This faced America with a new type of movement they hadn't expected. Whatever was happening in South Vietnam was happening in the average persons household. The slow realisation was now dawning upon the American public, that they were

  2. Was the My Lai Massacre a failure in the Rules of Engagement or a ...

    He had waited for an hour, until he escaped the village. Dennis I., a former soldier, said "They shot at everything in sight" he continued "We were all psyched up, and as a result, when we got there the shooting started, almost as a chain reaction.

  1. The Era of Good Feelings

    The bank did eventually haul America out of its economic despair but not without inflicting terrible harm on debtors. As one economist of the time put it, "The Bank was saved, and the people were ruined" (Axelrod 97). ("Adams-On�s Treaty of 1819" The Penguin History of the United States of

  2. Discuss the subplot to the film "The Three Kings", comment and analyse on the ...

    This means that the story the American public would be receiving would not be an accurate portrayal of the war, but would be very likely to be very pro-American etc. creating support for what they believed the Americans to be doing, when in actual fact, the reality of the situation was very different.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work