Vietnam Speech

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"Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" On April 30, 1967, Riverside Church, in New York, Martin Luther King gave a speech about how the Vietnam War was wrong in front of three thousand people. Most of his audience was church leaders. The speech was about twenty minutes. He stated that he is not only preaching about God, he also cared about the conditions of Vietnamese people in the war. In his speech, he claimed that the war was evil and unjust and it should be stopped. Martin Luther King used unexpected words, religious imagery, and his credibility to show the ugly side of the Vietnam War in his speech. Dr. King didn’t only use his religious faith as a way to establish his credibility and to convince people, he also mentioned about his…show more content…
King emphasized the word “Children” as a way to capture audience’s emotions. He said, “There 's something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward Jim Clark’, but will curse and damn you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children. There 's something wrong with that press!” (King). This made people angry because they see that the press is pro-violence to the children in Vietnam. When people think about children, they think about peace, innocence, love and their happy families; not violence. So they kept thinking, “Vietnamese children do nothing wrong; why are our men killing them?” Then Martin Luther King said, “They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers” (King). This quote delivered disturbing horrible pictures to the audiences. Families are the most important things to the majority of people especially who have kids. People saw that the U.S soldiers were destroying families in Vietnam and it would make people wonder, “What would we do if the same things happen to our families in America?” Then, people would think if they support the war, they support the deaths of innocent children and their families. This is one of his strongest point in his speech to convince people to be against the…show more content…
King’s speech emphasized directly the truth to his audience with the supports from religious imagery. In his determined voice, he said, “And who are we supporting in Vietnam today? It 's a man by the name of general Ky [Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky] who fought with the French against his own people, and who said on one occasion that the greatest hero of his life is Hitler”(King). “Hitler”, a name that makes people feel scared, disgusted, and angry. People hate Hitler. His choice of using the name triggered people to wonder themselves if they support the war, they are friends with Hitler and they are against humanity. Then, King told that God commanded him to tell the truth, “The truth must be told” (King). This sentence made people to think that Dr. King as a man of God-- who only tells the truth. As Orwell mentioned about political speech in “Politics and the English Language”, “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible” (Orwell). However, in the speech, instead of using fancy words to hide the true stories to the audience, Dr. King directly delivered the message about Ky because he was against the war. Dr. King’s speech was a combination between religious imagery and
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