• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What was the impact of the My Lai massacre?

Extracts from this document...


What was the impact of the My Lai massacre? The reason of US involvement in Vietnam is that the president of America at the time Lyndon B.Johnson firmly believed that the conversion to communism in Vietnam would set off the "Domino Theory" (surrounding countries of the country would succumb to communism) and thought they should do all they could to prevent communist expansion in Europe. There is no doubt that The My Lai Massacre shocked the world and had an unprecedented impact on the world's social conscience when the horrors of what happened on March 16th 1968 were unveiled. The brute force used and the mindless killing of innocent people left people shaken and how the young American youth had been involved with such atrocity and how they impassively spilt the blood of women, the elderly and babies caused ripples of doubt of the Army's presence in Vietnam and caused a turning point in American public opinion. A major attack was planned on My Lai and they were instructed to destroy the village as they were told to assume that all the civilians that resided in My Lai were either Vietcong or Vietcong sympathisers - this attack was carried out by Charlie's Company and they were met with no resistance in the village of My Lai. However the civilians of My Lai were shown no mercy and they proceeded to gun down hundreds of inhabitants, predominately the elderly, women and infants. ...read more.


(Spartacus). In 1967 - again before the My Lai incident, Vietnam Veterans against the War was formed and they demonstrated all over America. People watched on television as Vietnam heroes threw away the medals they had won fighting in the war. One shouted: "Here are my merit badges for murder." Another apologized to the Vietnamese people and claimed that: "I hope that someday I can return to Vietnam and help to rebuild that country we tore apart." (Spartacus) One soldier, Keith Franklin, wrote a letter that was only to be opened on his death. He was killed on May 12, 1970: "If you are reading this letter, you will never see me again, the reason being that if you are reading this I have died. The question is whether or not my death has been in vain. The answer is yes. The war that has taken my life and many thousands before me is immoral, unlawful and an atrocity... I had no choice as to my fate. It was predetermined by the war-mongering hypocrites in Washington. As I lie dead, please grant my last request. Help me inform the American people, the silent majority who have not yet voiced their opinions." (Spartacus) A popular song that ridiculed American president at the time "Hey! Hey! LBJ, How many kids did you kill today? ...read more.


In conclusion it could be voiced that although My Lai shocked many in its repercussions and triggered anti-war activism, the outcome would still have been inevitable even if it had not occurred as support for the war was rapidly decreasing and morale was low. The American public however, doubted the US army's cause more though after the horrific facts seeped out in 1969 - it is clear why they tried to cover this up, it did them no favours back at home, as before this people were already doubting why their soldiers were at Vietnam though the vast majority of the American public had supported it in the beginning. Although they showed signs of military success - they had not won over the American public so they had lost at home in a sense. The US army was hugely criticized by the media and anti-war activism in America increased - The My Lai incident played some part in this. American tactics also played a part in the eventual withdrawal of American troops - because there was no way of telling who was Vietcong and who was innocent, the Americans proceeded to commit mass murder of both VC and innocent civilians which gave them a false impression on how successful they were at killing the Vietcong. The fact that it was a guerrilla war did not help - they had no idea of telling where the enemy was and were unfamiliar with their surroundings. By Eva Mathew ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Vietnam 1954-1975 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 GCSE Vietnam 1954-1975 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explain why the US withdrew its forces from the Vietnam War in 1973

    4 star(s)

    Vietnam was the first major conflict every to be affected by non-propaganda media. News that was kept from soldiers in the field by the military was released by the American press to the public who, for the first time, could actually see the effects of war through films and images and even radio.

  2. Escalation of American involvement in Vietnam

    They were looking for ways to escape the difficulties of the war; therefore drugs became a huge problem within US soldiers. Later on, the war became also a media war, and this was not an advantage for USA as people saw the horrors of the war on TV.

  1. Why was there opposition to the Vietnam war?

    Source F is an extract froma national respected newspaper, the New York Herald written at the beginning of the war. It claims that the US soldiers were using horrible ways of interrogating prisoners, mutalation, torture and even murder to get answers.

  2. How was the opposition to the Vietnam war protrayed in contemporary literature, film and ...

    But he'll stay behind, and he'll meditate but it won't stop the bleeding, or ease the pain." This tells me that the Chaplin has done all he can he cannot do anymore. The soldiers are now going into the Chaplin cannot so he stays behind and pray.

  1. Did the power of television force the US to leave Vietnam?

    The Vietcong knew the terrain. They were able to communicate with the local people. They could live off the Americans by using their supplies. The were skilled and knew how to move around swiftly. The Americas on the other hand did not know the terrain and were getting trapped.

  2. Why did America withdraw from Vietnam in 1973?

    The Vietcong used guerrilla tactics, this comes from the Spanish meaning 'little war' these tactics were used against napoleon in the peninsular war (1807-1814) by Spanish soldiers, the Vietcong used these tactics fully and to the maximum by using the surrounding terrain in Vietnam which was mainly dense rainforest etc.

  1. How much impact did the Tet offensive have on conflict in Vietnam?

    in order to do this america started to gradually decrease the bombing of the north. the aftermath of the tet also showed giap he couldn't continue using direct attacks as used during tet because he had lost a significant amount of troops which made the vc very weak and were

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

    Apocalypse Now in 1979 was an antiwar film which depicted the slow breakdown and bitterness of war. In many scenes it was truly horrific and focused on the darkness of war and the effect it has on people mentally.

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