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Mass Media and the Vietnam War

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Vietnam Question 5 Many people at the beginning and before the Vietnam War were in confusion on whether going to war was such a good thing; this mainly consisted of the American public. By the time it had reached the peak of the war much of the American public had swung towards being for the war. This was mainly due the mass media at the time, one integral part of the mass media that often swayed public opinion was television, it proved to be such an effective method of communication, that it often shocked and consequently altered public opinion. Television wasn't the only form of mass media; there were magazines and the radio. Radio was a large form of communication at the time as many households could not afford a television and so radio would be the soul means of keeping up to date with news from around the globe. Thousands were killed and it was because of mass media that much of the public were able to discover that, this switched the American Public a little bit into being opposed to the war, also hearing about shocking events such as the My Lai Massacre and the Tet Offensive. ...read more.


It shows that television did have an absolute enormous impact on the war, because it meant that the American public would become strongly in favour of it and so with the backing of his people, the American President would be in no hurry to terminate this war. Source G was written in 1967 before the Tet Offensive and My Lai Massacre, so many Americans believed that they would win the war, death figures were low and things seemed to be going smoothly for the Americans, towards the end of the War the public started to become opposed to the War. In Source I we can see a letter written by a US soldier fighting in Vietnam. This is a letter informing us what is occuring in Vietnam first hand, telling his family bluntly what is happening, this is reliable because this is coming from an actual soldier first hand and he is telling how it is. In his letter he talks of the terrible events that are happening during the war, he talks about the young soldiers involved and how the average age is eighteen. ...read more.


This is true when the word squeamish is used, a lot of the public are squeamish, they don't want anything on the television to be real, but the shocking and truthful thing was, it was true. The main turning points would have to been the Tet Offensive and the My Lia Massacre, especially the My Lai Massacre. If there hadn't been shocking images like those of the My Lai Massacre shown to millions on television then the American public wouldn't have known the full extent of the War and so wouldn't have decided to go against the war. Television you could say made a big enough impact that it made the War end how it did. The president was under pressure from the American public, the soldiers were becoming more and more worn down and a large majority of this was due to television. So in conclusion I agree very strongly that television did play a big part in changing opinions during the Vietnam War, if it hadn't been for television it may not have ended how it ended. By Sean Mckinnon ...read more.

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