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The Vietnam War – G.C.S.E. History Coursework

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Introduction

The Vietnam War - G.C.S.E. History Coursework Question 1:What do sources 1 and 2 tell us about attitudes toward the Vietnam War? Source one tells us that the American Anti-war movement was small in 1964 and was the view of the minority of people. The writer splits the population up into three groups, neutral, pro-war and anti-war. Pro-war was the biggest group as American patriotism appealed to the public at this early stage. Source two tells us that support for the war declined between 1964 and 1971. It tells us that even at its lowest level support are still at a relatively large 25 per cent of the population that were polled. As support declines, opposition naturally increases. Question 2: How reliable are sources 1-4 as evidence of American attitudes to the Vietnam War? Source one tells us that the AWM was a minor factor in American opinion at the time. This evidence is limited as it is a neutral source and excludes the plus or negative views. We must ask whether this was an American or British man or what nationality he otherwise was. If he was American then we should more than likely expect a biased view. However, this source is mainly factual so I would expect the author to be British or of another such neutral nationality. Without all these facts my opinion would be different and without all these facts I may not be able to make an accurate judgement of a source. Source two tells us a little about how some Americans thought about the war. This source is factual and therefore neutral. It is a statistical source also. Before we assess the reliability of this source we need to know why the poll was taken, who took it, what question was asked and could the person being asked have given the answer that the interviewer expected etc.? ...read more.

Middle

Question 6: "The Anti-War Movement had little impact on the attitude of American people to the war in Vietnam". Using the sources and your own knowledge explain whether you agree or disagree with this statement. The Anti-War Movement did have an impact on the end of the war. This has been discovered from the studying I have done of these sources. It is only with careful deliberation and through analysis that we can define just how big or small that effect was. Some of the sources claim that the AWM had nothing to do with the end of the war and others state it did and some others say that the outcome we all know of came about because of different events and occurrences around the time. We must however keep in mind that the evidence is constantly changing and new evidence could change opinions and therefore outcomes, if the answer depends on opinionated sources etc. These sources are limited in number and some are unreliable (because of their bias) but not totally useless. I intend to study the sources in this booklet until I have come to a viable conclusion and have given my ultimate verdict. I shall begin by categorizing the sources, as follows. The sources that claim the AWM had a large impact on the end of the war are sources 1,2,5,6,8,14 and 20. 1 and 2 go hand in hand. 1 simply tell us that there were more people in support of the war in 1960 than was in opposition. And source 2 tells us that this trend was to continue until late 1967. We need to know why so many people changed their minds in those years and what questions did the surveyors ask and was the question asked around any major event that happened that may have influenced opinions. Source 5 tells us that veterans have returned from war and joined the AWM. ...read more.

Conclusion

Would he have cut out a part of the photo before publishing it? Would he have focussed on one particular element to reinforce his opinion or to enforce an belief? Source 16 claims that television was to blame for the massive decrease in support for the war in the 1970's. It explains that the coverage by the media put people completely off another war or even a continuation of this war because what was being broadcast was uncensored and live and these sights frightened people so that they joined the AWM. This source may be useful because it is unbiased. It is a completely factual source and this gives it a merit in terms of reliability. But in usefulness it lacks merit because it only gives us one side of the case and it is written in 1989 and the memory of the writer may not be operating to its full capacity or he/she has been deeply effected by what they saw on the television screen themselves. In source 17 we are told that studies had shown that television had invoked a change of heart, so that people supported the war it was said, in 1967. According to "Newsweek" 64% supported the soldiers and 26% opposed the war. We need to know what question the surveyors asked because the question may have been worded in such a way that people gave the answer the interviewer anticipated. Also, an event may have happened around the time that influenced the candidate's decision. We also need to know if the company who conducted the survey were a reputable company or were they not as accurate as they could have been. In conclusion, the AWM did have a very large impact on the altering of public opinion on the subject of the Vietnam War. However, although some of the sources say that other influences were to be observed, the overall trend is that that AWM was the key factor that effected the triggering of the end of the war. ---Peter Doherty---S.2.D---GCSE History Coursework---The War In Vietnam--- ...read more.

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