Vietnam

Devin Fisher

Background

The Vietnam War was an eleven year conflict (1964-75) between North Vietnam, under a Communist government and led by Ho Chi Minh, and the US-backed South Vietnam, led by Ngo Dinh Diem . It is one of the longest and costliest wars the United States has ever been involved in. We got involved because of the fear that if one nation became Communist, then others would soon follow. In the end, the US failed to reach its goal; North Vietnam was able to subdue the South and unify Vietnam as a Communist nation. The war created massive dissent within the United States.
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Media Portrayal

The Vietnam War was the first war in which the media had full freedom to cover it however they saw fit. Appalling images allowed the public to see the war as they never had before. these images, including dead bodies and destroyed cities, caused a major loss in support for the war. At one point, the media reported that Vietcong soldiers had broken into the US embassy building, when they actually never made it in. While some got into the walls of the compound, they were kept out of the building by three marines. The media, wanting to make the war seem more terrible than it actually was, didn't pull or change their story at all.

Bias

Toward the beginning of our involvement in Vietnam, the media mainly showed images and stories that showed the US winning in Vietnam. They wanted to make more people support the war. After the Tet Offensive, support for the war began dwindling. The media showed more appalling images and showed the war as no one had seen it before, portraying the idea that we should pull out of Vietnam.

Criticism

The Vietnam War can best be seen through the lens of Historical Criticism. Vietnam occurred during the Cold War, which was really just America's fear of the spread of Communism. It can also be seen through Cultural Criticism because of the idea of "Vietnamization" implemented by Richard Nixon. This was the idea that Vietnam should fight its own war and that America should pull its troops out.

My Perspective

America's involvement in Vietnam was a waste of time, money, lives, and resources. We failed in our goal to stop Communism from taking over Vietnam. 58,220 American soldiers gave their lives for what would end up being a lost cause. In all honesty, America should have minded their own business and stayed out of Vietnam.
"The Vietnam War." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History: Government and Politics. Detroit: Gale, 2009.Student Resources in Context. Web. 5 May 2015.

"Media’s Role during the Vietnam-Era." Http://www.trincoll.edu/classes/hist300/media.htm. 11 May 2000. Web. 5 May 2015.