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How Useful are sources A to C to explain why the United States became involved in the war in Vietnam

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Introduction

Did the power of television force the United States to leave Vietnam? Is there sufficient evidence in sources D to L to support this interpretation? By: Reem Berhane Firstly, not all the sources D to L include sufficient evidence to support the interpretation; did the power of television force the United States to leave Vietnam. Also, all the sources are quite biased, and only show one point of view. Source D, is a North Vietnamese poster from the time showing the problems faced by the Americans fighting a guerrilla war. It shows the American troops, not knowing what they're doing in Vietnam. Also, don't know they're being watched. The Vietcong knew their jungle, very well, as they used guerrilla tactics [booby traps]. The Vietcong, tactic of attrition [kill as many Americans as possible [until surrender], was demoralising the US soldiers. The American tactics search & destroy; [operation rolling thunder-strategic hamlets] did not work as the Vietnamese civilians hated them even more and became Vietcong. The intended audience for this poster were the Vietcong and the innocent civilians, as they have no uniform like the NVA. This is a biased source because, it's a North Vietnamese cartoon poster showing the US, troops as if they don't have a clue what they're doing, and because they don't know they're being watched. This source has its limitations because it's a cartoon poster so it won't be shown on TV; not everyone will see this. The intended audience are the North Vietnamese, so it won't be seen by the American public. Source E, is a photograph of napalm victims, published during the Vietnam War. The picture shows napalm victims running for help. This made Americans hate Vietnam Veterans and ask for withdrawal of American soldiers. This picture could also have been used as propaganda statement showing US soldiers standing by as children suffer pain of napalm. This source does have its limitations also, because it is only a snapshot of one moment. ...read more.

Middle

to leave but how counter productive the U.S. tactics was. Source G, is the aftermath of the My Lai massacre of 1968. It shows the reactions of an American soldier after having been told about the massacre of 347 unarmed civilians at My Lai in 1968. This source is trying not to blame the soldiers. It's suggesting that the soldiers had good motives "they were going to do something courageous on behalf of their country." It mentions how the soldier thought it was the 'American ideal' to go to Vietnam, to fight. They wanted to be part of the good America, who is there to help when a problem occurs [Truman Doctrine]. This source can be said to be biased because, it says how an American soldier is criticising the American behaviour in Vietnam; only shows the typical reaction of an American soldier [one point of view]. The soldier talks about ho he felt it was a 'Nazi thing'. "You know, it was a Nazi thing. We didn't go there to be Nazis. At least none of the people I knew went there to be Nazis." When the Nazis behaved, this way, American soldiers went to stop them. However, there are limitations to this source, because there is no real reference, My Lai was featured on TV, also the soldiers reactions were typical. TV plays a big part in this war, but unfortunately coverage of My Lai, helps change opinions. Source H, is a primary source, it shows how money and resources which should have been spent on Johnson's 'Great Society' being wasted in the war in Vietnam. This source is limited because, TV is irrelevant here. Because it's a pictorial source it's aimed at a British, not American source. The intended audience are the British public because if the U.S. public seen this pictorial, they'd wonder why this is happening, what happened to the 'Great Society'? ...read more.

Conclusion

pastime are watching T.V. so they know exactly what is going on down there in Vietnam, and because they don't want to be a part of this, they wouldn't want the American troops [their family/friends] to continue. And the more they watch or receive news; the majority of the U.S. public would agree with bringing back the U.S. troops home. However, this source is limited because there is no provenance so we wouldn't know who it would be aimed at, or who wrote it, and when it was written. Source L, is an irrelevant source because no information is given about how or why the power of television might of lead America to leave Vietnam. In addition, no provenance is given, so we wouldn't know who the audience were, who written the source or when it might have been done; whether it's a secondary or primary source would also have been questioned. This source doesn't support the statement of influencing the U.S. public to become anti-war because it's a school assignment to study different subjects of history, and is so irrelevant. To conclude, sources E & J give the U.S. public a clear vision as to why the American troops began to change their mind about the war. Both these sources could support the answer 'Yes'; when answering 'Did the power of television force the United States to leave Vietnam?' because source E made Americans hate Vietnam Veterans and ask for withdrawal of American soldiers. Also it could have been used as propaganda statement. Whereas, during the time source J was published the U.S. past time was watching T.V. and were angry of what they were part of, they didn't want to be part of this anymore. They wanted the U.S. soldiers to come back home, so they protested! This did contribute as to why the media force leads United States to leave Vietnam. Finally, the rest of the four sources give us un-useful information and pictures, which would not have made a difference on the public U.S. opinions, or as to why the U.S. troops left Vietnam. ...read more.

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