• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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. Do the Writings of Clausewitz have contemporary relevance?

    At it's simplest Clausewitz's first book attempts to understand what war actually is and what it does. At it's simplest he defined it as: "War is an act of force to compel an enemy to do our will"9 This seems to be true, even today it is hard to imagine

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

    to go to 2 the war rises every year until it's at half a million troops. This either tells us that the war was well supported or else some people were forced into it. 3: How reliable are Sources F and G as evidence of the activities of US servicemen in Vietnam?

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

    As some of the sources could have been biased in the point of view of an American Historian, many are also true documents taken from the Court-Martial Documents, and live documented interviews. The paragraph about the actual incident in My Lai is mostly unbiased because of its many primary source quotes and documentations.

  2. The Prelude to the 1975 War and the Cairo Agreement.

    For the LF this was a declaration of war. Immediately after Aoun's "unification of weapons" speech, the LF stormed, captured, and held the Lebanese army barracks of Amshit, Sarba, Safra, Halate and the naval base at Jounieh, spread through the urban area and secured the Ashrafieh hill, adjacent to the militia "war council".

  1. American History.

    Juries stopped convicting abolitionists [ex. ones that stormed courthouse in Burns case] and states passed personal-liberty laws to stop federal enforcement. - As a sidenote, sectional conflict also managed to derail [OK, bad joke] plans for a transcontinental RRD and mess up annexation negotiations w/Hawaii and Cuba.

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

    that Vietnam was never a threat to them and the flippant mention of napalm is included to highlight the U.S.'s frivolous use of something so dangerous and harmful, a substance which they downplayed. The climax of the song is a blatant use of obscene satire and is completely insensitive to the damage down to both American and Vietnamese soldiers.

  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. How was opposition to the Vietnam war portrayed in Contemporary literature, film and popular ...

    Literature In the early years of the war most literature supported the war as they did not want to seem unpatriotic but as it dragged on opinions began to change. With the birth of the "flower power" era peace and love became very desirable to many people.

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