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The War on television screens in American living rooms has made Americans far more anti-war than anything else. The full brutality of the combat will be there in close-up and in colour, and blood looks very red on the colour television screen. (A statement made by a BBC commentator in 1970 to members of the British armed forces). This statement suggests that television was an important reason why the United States lost the war in Vietnam. Is there sufficient evidence in sources D to L to support this interpretation?
Use the sources and your own knowledge from your studies to explain your answer. The sources are not sufficient in themselves to support the interpretation but when put together with my own knowledge there is substantial evidence. The colour television made the images that were sent home more graphic and as the BBC commentator said, “blood looks very red”. We know that the U. S were unable to defeat Guerilla tactics and this was a major reason why the U. S lost the war in Vietnam. For example Source J shows how much the war changed the attitudes of many U.
S civilians who have previously supported the war. Kent state was highly publicized and it showed how the war was destroying humanity. The scenes were widespread and they showed just what was going on. This shocked America into realizing what the effects of the war were on America. Source D is a North Vietnamese propaganda poster showing the problems that the Americans faced when trying to defeat Guerilla tactics. It shows the North Vietnamese hiding in the jungle and American soldiers searching for them. The V. C are waiting to ambush them.
This source is fairly sufficient to support the statement because it shows the difficulties that the U. S suffered when trying to defeat Guerilla tactics. In the background we can see some trucks and this could be the Ho Chi Minh trail but we cannot be certain. The Ho Chi Minh trail was primarily a trail for North Vietnamese supplies to be moved into South Vietnam. Source E is a photograph of napalm victims. This picture was circulated around America during the war and just showed the extent of the chemical weapons that the U.
S were using to try and win the war. It shows a young girl and a young boy running down the street after a napalm attack and the young girl has no clothes on due to the fact that napalm has burned through them and gone on her skin. Due to the fact that this particular picture was published everywhere it is probably one of the most important pictures ever captured to show the effects of the chemical weapons that the U. S were using and shows the impact the war was having on society. In the background we can see American soldiers with cameras.
When this picture got home and was seen by American civilians they were disturbed by it. Many were unaware of the kind of attacks that were taking place and were shocked to see these kinds of pictures. The media that was sent home was an extremely significant part of turning the Americans against the war. Another reason was that soldiers were coming home either severely injured or with missing limbs. The distress that was caused to families who had to be told that their sons/daughters were dead was so upsetting that they started to go on anti-war campaigns.
In each rank there was a camera man who was there to capture pictures and footage of the events as they happened. Source F is a description from soldiers talking about the difficulties of fighting guerillas. The source is written by an American journalist. He says how hard it is for soldiers to react when a mortar shell lands in the middle of the patrol. The soldiers don’t know whether they should kill all the villages around them even though most have nothing to do with the war and want to stay away. This is an ironic situation for the soldiers to be faced with.
The source is really telling you about the horrors of the war. This source cannot really be linked to the question as to whether colour television was an important reason why America lost the war. Source G is a source about a soldier’s reaction to the My Lai massacre. Soldiers joined the war campaign because they thought they were doing something courageous for their country but were stunned when told to start firing upon unarmed civilians.
Hundreds of civilians were killed just because they were Vietnamese. When the My Lai massacre reached the U.S it sent shockwaves through the US political establishment, the military’s chain of command, and an already divided American public. Camera footage was recorded and sent home and this was distressing for them. They realised what they had got themselves into and the scenes captured were made more horrific by the colour television. This is why we can say that the colour television was an important reason as to why the U. S lost the war in Vietnam. Source H is a British cartoon showing the costs of the Vietnam War.
The train is aptly named; the U.S Economy and the workers in the carriages are chopping the carriages up and the pieces of wood have Great Society written on them. The cartoon is trying to show that President Johnson has destroyed society by going to Vietnam. Source K just shows that America wasn’t the only country that was against the war. In April 1969 48% of Australians wanted their country to carry on fighting in the war but by October only 39% wanted them to. This just shows that the war was changing people’s opinions about what they thought was right.
The colour television was not just in America and the scenes captured were just as horrific to the Australians as they were to Americans. The statistics show that there must have been some logical reason for the change in results and we have to consider that the colour television was one of them. I have studied all the sources and when added together with my own knowledge they are fairly reliable in saying that the colour television was an important reason why the U. S lost the war due to the fact that people’s opinions changed with time and we know that pictures look more graphic when in colour.