1: How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular song?
Opposition to the Vietnam War in literature was portrayed as being dreadful. ‘Dispatches’ by Michael Herr tells us about the images of bodies being piled up and the makes the war seem like it’s a disgrace. All American war films made soldiers look out to be very vicious. The two songs we listened to were “Fixing to die rag” and “Goodnight Saigon”. The first song, “Fixing to die rag” is very sarcastic about the war because parents know if they send there sons to war they there is a big chance they will die and the parents don’t want that. In the other song”Goodnight Saigon” the war is made out to be a very unhappy place that no-one seems to want to be there. The soldiers don’t have anything that they had at home and there is huge shortage of food. It tells us that it was that bad at the war that all the soldiers were really excited about the war and after they were all dead and coming home in body bags. The song also tells us that a lot of soldiers were dying because at the start of the song it says “we were sharp” and at the end of the song it says “they were sharp” so this tells us that of the soldiers that went out together not many of them returned home together. Anybody who was against the war would have used this song to show that they wanted there sons back before they were killed.
2: How do Sources A, B and C show support for the war in Vietnam?
Source A supports the war through an official speech by President LB Johnson. Johnson spoke of the three previous wars where Americans were fighting for freedom. He says that this war is to help countries fight for their own freedom, which can’t fight for themselves against communists. They want to stop the growth of communism throughout Asia. America had an agreement with some countries in Asia that they would help them fight against any opposition if they needed the help.
Source B supports the war because it tells us that the majority of America accepted that they had to go to war as their duty to the other countries that they agreed to protect and that they had to fight jus like their fathers had done before them. It was only a small umber of people who didn’t support the war. It tells us that the people who did support the war don’t get enough credit for serving their country where the people who don’t support it are on the news, in papers and on the radio.
Source C supports the war because it shows that the number of troops volunteering to go to 2 the war rises every year until it’s at half a million troops. This either tells us that the war was well supported or else some people were forced into it.
3: How reliable are Sources F and G as evidence of the activities of US servicemen in Vietnam?
Source F is reliable as it is in a newspaper. Source F was written near the middle of the war and this helps prove that it is reliable as who ever wrote it would have the information fresh in their mind. The article comes from an internationally accepted newspaper which shows it can not lie or it will be seriously dealt with. It has to be from valid information that is an accurate account of what happened. The only reason it can not be completely reliable is the fact that it is not an eye-witness account but even with this they still can not print anything that is not is not completely accurate because of it being an internationally accepted paper.
Source G is not as accurate as source F. Although source G was an eye-witness account of what happened it was not wrote until eleven years after the war had finished and the information the person is talking about may not be all true. The person telling the story may have forgotten exactly what happened and added other bits into it to make it sound better or because they can’t remember what actually happened and may be exaggerated. Source G may be completely true but because it was so long after we can not be sure of it. The author did not put in what happened to other soldiers and this helps to show that the author just wanted to show the bad side of what was happening so they themselves may have added more to the story. This soldier has seen someone running at them and they get the command to fire so the soldier has done their job in obeying the command. I think this soldier was interviewed because it was their first patrol and something bad happened and the author tries to put across that this is what was happening all the time with all soldiers.
4: Johnson called North Vietnam a “fourth-rate, ragged ass little country”. How do sources C, D and E contradict this view?
Source C contradicts what Johnson said because it shows that the number of troops rises a lot every year up until 1969 where it rises to just over half a million. I think this shows us that Americans didn’t think it was an easy war as was first expected. It also shows that a lot of troops volunteered to go to war or else they were forced to go and if they were forced then it shows that it was no “ragged ass country”.
Source D shows the government spending for 1968. In 1968 13% of the countries spending went to help the war in Vietnam which was more that what was spent on Education and Welfare together. I think this shows us that the government was taking the war very seriously and that they needed as much help with money as they could get. If it was such an easy war then the Education would have had more money than what the war in Vietnam needed. This help to support that they took the war to easily at the start than what they should have.
Source E shows all the presidents that had anything to do with the war. Every one of them predicted an early win to the war and that never happened. This shows us that the government did not take the war seriously. It was President Nixon who calls the ceasefire which shows us that they never took it seriously enough at the start of the war and expected an easy win and in the end up had to call the ceasefire because it was all getting to much for them.
5: Study Source K. Use the sources to explain whether or not you agree with this assessment of the role of the media in influencing American attitudes to the war.
I think that Source A shows us that Source K is wrong. In source A Johnson gives a speech to America which I think is stronger than any film produced. Johnson talks to the heart of the people by asking them why should they fight and telling them about what their fathers done before them which encourages people more than any TV correspondent showing them what is happening. People won’t fight unless they have spirit and you only get that from people you respect. I don’t think people are going to listen to a man with a camera showing and talking about what’s happening, I think they want someone who encourages them to fight someone who they love and respect.
Source B tells us the war was accepted throughout America and it was only a small minority that didn’t support the war. So then everybody already knows what they need to and they know that they have to do it so why would they want to be told it again. People will just take that as someone else just trying to jump on the band wagon and go with the flow. They want to follow someone who has ideas on what to do and not just have people following others who have failed.
Source C shows the number of troops that have went to the war in Vietnam and source D shows the government spending in 1968. Both of these sources show us how serious the Americans took the war. A TV correspondent would be able to show what the troops are doing while at the war which I think can help to make the correspondent seem important as they are showing what the troops are doing. As for the government spending, I think this could be shown on the TV to show how much the government is pushing to win the war so much that they are worrying more about what is going on in Vietnam than what is going on with the children in school.
Source F tells us about the interrogation of Vietnamese prisoners. If a senator tells the public that the enemy is doing the wrong and that they are taking out what is evil then people will expect to see this happening on TV, in news papers and films. But if one cameraman and one correspondent catch them interrogating the enemy then it makes them no better than the enemy that they are trying to stop and this will turn the people against the government. So this proves that source K is correct.
Source G tells us an account of a soldier killing a young boy. If a TV camera caught that on camera then the whole country would see a small boy with a pen knife against a soldier with a rifle and it would turn everyone against the soldier and against the army. But if the public saw this in the soldier’s perspective then they would see it completely differently. This is a soldier who is on his first patrol and he sees movement ahead, so naturally enough he becomes scared of what might happen to him. He gets an order to shoot at the object in front and no matter what he has to carry out the order as this is what he is trained to do. The adrenaline will keep him going and he will fire the rifle at the object not really knowing what he is firing at. When it all becomes clear he then realises what has happened and he feels shamed of what he has done. But the soldier has done the right thing as he has followed the order of a higher power and done what was asked. A camera man would be able to show this in a way against the government and against the soldier. This would ruin the soldier’s life and it would show the government out to be training heartless killers.
Source H tells us how the war is progressing. The government is saying they will win the war in a very short time with no problems and the public see what is really happening then they will be against the government and will be against the war. What is really happening is the Americans are not able to take out the cities of the Vietnamese as easily as they thought they would. This shows us that the government haven’t lived up to what is really happening and a TV correspondent will show this to get people to go against the war.
Source I is really just showing us exactly why a camera man and a TV correspondent can become more important than ten or twenty senators. Its shows us that no matter what orders or what are being said, the camera can point you out to be no better than the enemy.
Source J shows us that even the troops don’t want to be at the war now even though they did at the start. This shows us that even if you want to show are good you can still be shown out to be just as bad as the enemy.
I think from all the sources together that no matter what a picture speaks more words than what a speech will.