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The Vietnam War

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Introduction

History Course work The Vietnam War Charlie McQuillan 12E 1. Study sources 1 and 2. What do these sources tell us about the attitudes to the Vietnam War? Sources 1 and 2 show support for the war in Vietnam, and opposition to the war in Vietnam. Source 1 is from a school textbook on the Vietnam War. With a textbook, in general it should be neutral and factual. But could this article be taken out of context? We also need to know where and when this textbook was produced. The source, in itself, tells of the different people and their different views towards the Vietnam War. Source 1 also gives indications that there will be a lot more demonstrations against the war, as it says, " The 'FIRST' march on Washington against the War took place in December, 1964. Only 25,000 people took part in this demonstration but it was still the largest Anti-war demonstration in American War history." Source 2 is an opinion poll graph, showing trends in the support for the Vietnam War from 1965-1971. It shows overall support for the war, overall opposition to the war, and those who had no opinion about the war. In 1965-1966, the support for the war was more than that for both opposition to the war and no opinion to the war, put together. By 1967, the opposition to the war and the support for the war were about equal, at 45% of the population supporting each. But by 1971, the overall opposition to the war was more than that of both Support for the war and no opinion to the war together. This shows the change in public opinion towards the Vietnam War in the space of a 6-year period. 2. How reliable are sources 1,2,3 and 4 as evidence of American attitudes to the Vietnam War? Source 1 is reliable because it is taken from a textbook. ...read more.

Middle

(a) Sources 12 and 13 are photographs of Vietnamese people, including young children, in so much fear and suffering that we cannot even begin to understand how they must have been feeling. Source 12 shows 5 children running towards the photographer after an American Airforce Napalm attack. One of these Vietnamese kids has had her clothes burnt off her back and the Napalm is now beginning to burn her skin. They all seem to be in so much agony and suffering. The background of the photo is filled with bodies and blood spread out on the road. Some of the bodies are in pieces. Source13 shows a Vietnamese family about to be executed by U.S troops. There are children, babies, being shot for being 'informers' for the Vietcong. How could a child, let alone a baby be an informer working with the Vietcong army? Would a family man, a father, risk his life and the lives of his family to help the Vietcong? These are very reliable sources. Newspapers can portray the U.S troops as inhuman, and brutal for the way in which they dealt with innocent people. Also, the troops could be shown as brutal because of the way in which they killed children and babies, who were, undoubtedly innocent. These images would encourage a lot of Americans back home to support the anti-war movement. (b) Source 19 makes out that the anti-war movement is full of 'drop-outs' to society, and that they are 'hippies', who let their hair grow long, smoke 'pot' and they don't believe in fighting. The anti-war movement is mainly for 'hippies' who are drug addicts, cowards, scroungers and draft power burners. Adam Garfinkle agrees with Haggard in that he feels the anti-war movement is a cult symbol. Most of the young people who support the AWM do so because it is a sign of rebellion. Source 7 backs up Haggards few because it tells us that college students did take part in anti-war protests just because they were young and they believed that it was the thing to do to get recognised. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is in the media and would naturally want to make it appear better and so he attributes much to the media even though he is neutrally British. He goes as far as to say, 'One wonders if a democracy which has uninhibited television coverage in every home will be able to fight a war, however just'. Finally we have Source 18 to represent the military argument. Here is an American Colonel saying that, 'After supporting the American troop commitment for more than two years, by late 1967 public sentiment was win the damn war or get the hell out.' He also takes credit away from the media away from the media by saying that; 'To blame the media for this switch displays a fundamental ignorance of what America is all about'. History is a very hard subject because it is the study of the past. The past is constantly changing as we are given new accounts and evidence. Everyone's view of the past is different because everyone interprets things differently which gives us infinite amounts of answers to any question that is as general as this. And so my conclusion cannot give a definite yes or no answer as such. I can only give my opinion on the degree of impact that the AWM imposed. I believe it had a reasonable impact but that there were other factors that perhaps had a larger impact, such as the media or the enormous amount of money being wasted. But more importantly we can learn a lot for this event and these actions. The AWM showed the American government that its people would stand up for what is right. And the effect of the media was shown both to the American people and their government, cementing its place as a great influence on how the world would be run. These are the most important lessons we must learn from this because History is about learning from the mistakes of the past so that they may never be repeated again. ...read more.

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