The Problem With Vietnam

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The Problem With Vietnam

Wartime in the United States has always placed pressure on the government and the citizens of the country to provide support by whatever means to the situation. During World War II, that support was propagated by the government in the form of censorship and a strategic public relations plan to maintain the public opinion in favor of the cause. Glorification of America's involvement in the war helped America maintain the image of "a cause worth fighting for." Technology and de-censorship would later transform America and the world's image of war, which had been formed by such propaganda as seen during WWII, into the truth about war as seen in the media's coverage of the Vietnam War. During this period, uncensored media coverage helped to morph American views about military conflicts forever as well as changing the media's role in war.

World War II was a time in American history of patriotism. However, that patriotism came a price to the American public according to The Censored War, written by George Roeder. He discusses the impact that censorship had on the American public, and how lies and propaganda gave the citizens of America a false view of war. By portraying participation in the war as heroic, using such propaganda as posters depicting fallen GI's as Christ-like figures (Rodeder 33), the US government formed the perspective for the public, rather than allowing them to develop their own sense of reality. Photographs of dead or wounded soldiers were withheld from the public in order to keep public opinion on the side of the government. Pictures of dead or wounded American soldiers were kept in a file dubbed "the Chamber of Horrors", not to be released for public viewing until many yea...

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... Than the Sword. Ch.12 Vietnam War: Bringing the Battlefield Into the American Living Room Pg.187. (Colorado. UK. Westview Press)

Hallin, Daniel C. (1994). The Uncensored War: The Media and Vietnam.(New York, NY).

Boylan's (1986). Declarations of Independence," Columbia Journalism Review, November/December.

Works Consulted

Graves, Nelson(1996, October). Vietnam seeks place on world's newsstands. Reuters

Foster, Gaines(1990, January). Coming to terms with defeat: Post-Vietnam America and the post-Civil WarSouth. Virginia Quarterly Review. Vol.66, pp 17.

Braestrup, Peter. (1983). Big Story: How the American

Press and Television Reported and Interpreted the Crisis of Tet 1968 in Vietnam and Washington. (New Haven, CT: Yale UP.

William M. Hammond, Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how censorship and a strategic public relations plan in world war ii helped america maintain the image of "a cause worth fighting for." technology transformed america's perception of war into the truth about the vietnam war.
  • Analyzes the impact of censorship on the american public, and how lies and propaganda gave the citizens a false view of war.
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