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Media In The Vietnam War Essay

1158 words - 5 pages

VIETNAM WAR ISSUES INVESTIGATIONTo what extent did the newly emerging media paint a negative picture of Australian Soldiers fighting the Vietnam War and fuel the growing anti-War movement of the late 60's and early 70's?The time in between the late 50's and early 60's had radically changed how and where people sourced their news. Televisions sales were rapidly increasing and news through the television was fast becoming extremely popular in homes, due to its convenience and ease of viewing. Everyone could now watch what was happening on the other side of the world, live in the comfort of their own living room. At this same point in time, America and Australia were beginning to send its first troops in to Vietnam, in what was going to become their longest war. The Vietnam War was going to be the first and last war with no media censorship; where the public could see the entirety of the war unfold in their living room, every horrific detail live without review from the Army. As a result, the Vietnam War had tough opposition and had sparked disrespect to the soldiers that fought in Vietnam from both the American and Australian public. Horrific pictures, like the Napalm girl, naked and traumatised; and news and pictures of the My Lai massacre, shocked the public and triggered massive antiwar protests that masked the heroism and bravery of the Australian Soldiers.[1: Edwards, P "Australia and the Vietnam War"]The widespread media coverage showing the use of weapons causing collateral damage, such as napalm, sparked public opposition for the Vietnam War. Napalm creates a jelly-like substance that, when ignited, sticks to practically anything and burns up to ten minutes. The effects of napalm on the human body are unbearably painful and almost always cause death among its victims. Water boils at 212°F. Napalm generates temperatures 1,500°F to 2,200°F. So, when people saw the picture of Kim Phuc (see figure 1), known as the 'Napalm Girl', they were outraged. The picture showed a nine-year old girl, whose village had just been bombed with napalm. She was naked and was screaming, as she ran down the road, away from her burning Vietnamese village with sticky blobs of napalm melting her skin when the picture was taken. The picture of the Napalm Girls is a symbol of how the media fuelled the public's anti-war attitude and disrespect towards the soldiers during the Vietnam War.[2: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/jun/02/girl-vietnam-napalm-photo-peace]Figure 1: The Symbolic Picture of the Napalm Girl. 4News of the horrifying My Lai Massacre showing explicit and graphic footage shocked and disgusted viewers and further intensified their anti-war sentiment. The My Lai massacre was the greyest day in America's military history, American soldiers were on a search and destroy mission to root out any Vietcong in the area but the unit met no resistance in My Lai. Instead, they found four villagers eating their breakfast. The unit killed as many as...

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