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Transcript

  • 1. Case Study 2: The Vietnam War The Peace Movement in the USA
  • 2. I Saw It On TV
    • Vietnam War losing public support
      • Even before Tet US mood shifting
      • After Tet war was very unpopular
    • The first ‘media war’
      • 1000s of reporters & photographers sent back stories & images
      • Showed prisoners being tortured or executed
      • Showed women & children crying as their huts were burned down
      • Showed children burned with napalm
      • US citizens asked if this was why 900,000 young Americans had been drafted yearly
    John Fogerty’s I Saw It On T.V. from the album Centerfield
  • 3. From Crusade to Defeat & Confusion
    • Vietnam became symbol of defeat
      • Anti-war protests all over the country
      • 100s of university demonstrations
      • ‘ Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?’
        • Student anti-war chant
      • 1000s dodged the draft
    • Kent State, Ohio
      • National Guard broke up demonstration
      • killed four students
      • Americans horrified
      • The war seemed to be making America unstable
    • Against this backdrop one event devastated US & international support for the war: the My Lai Massacre
    Neil Young’s Ohio
  • 4. The My Lai Massacre
    • March 1968: Charlie Co., 1/20 INF’s S&D mission
      • Told My Lai was VC HQ, 200 VC
      • Soldiers ordered to destroy all homes & livestock
      • Soldiers told villagers would be @ market, not home
      • Most soldiers took this to mean anyone found in My Lai would be VC
    • Saturday, 16 March:
      • Early morning raid
      • By noon approx. 400 civilians murdered in their fields, machine-gunned in irrigation trench, or shot in their homes
      • No VC found in village
      • 3 weapons recovered
    • Army claims mission successful
      • Official report said 20 civilian deaths, the rest listed as VC
      • Officers & enlisted men were praised for courage
      • Event passed into folklore of 1/20 th effectiveness
      • Soldiers knew what happened but accepted slaughter as necessary to win Vietnam War, desensitized to war crimes
    Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind and Master of War
  • 5. The My Lai Massacre
    • Ronald Ridenhour: whistle-blower
      • Wrote letter to 30 politicians 12 months later
      • Claimed evidence of ‘something rather dark and bloody’ about My Lai raid
      • Life magazine published photos of My Lai taken by official army photographers
      • These two events triggered investigation
    • Lieutenant William Calley
      • Personally charged w/ 109 murders
      • 10 other members of company & commanding officers also charged
      • Army denied Calley acted under orders
      • Senior officers acquitted
      • Mar. ’71: Calley found guilty of 22 murders
      • Aug ’71: sentenced to life in prison
      • November ’74: released
    Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’
  • 6.  
  • 7. Fall Out From My Lai
    • American public deeply shocked
      • Clearest evidence that war had gone wrong
      • Nov. ’69: 700,000 anti-war protestors demonstrated in Washington, D.C.
      • Largest political protest in American history
  • 8. Focus Task: Protestors Unite!
    • Work in pairs.
    • Choose whether you are for or against the war (yes, there were pro-war protestors). Use the evidence from this unit to make a poster or leaflet putting forward your views.
    • You can use stories from your notes. However, you must also include an explanation that will convince the supporters of the other side that your position is the right one for Vietnam
  • 9. Fin
  • 10.
    • Vietnam is thousands of miles from the USA … Contrary to the 1954 Geneva conference, the USA has ceaselessly intervened in Vietnam. The US government has committed war crimes … Half a million US troops have resorted to inhumane weapons … Napalm, toxic chemicals and gases have been used to massacre our people, destroy our crops and raze our villages to the ground … US aircraft have dropped thousands of bombs destroying towns, villages, hospitals, schools. We will never submit to force; never accept talks under threat of bombs.
      • Ho Chi Minh speaking in 1967
    • One does not use napalm on villages and hamlets sheltering civilians if one is attempting to persuade these people of the rightness of one’s cause. One does not defoliate [destroy the vegetation of] the country and deform its people with chemicals if one is attempting to persuade them of the foe’s evil nature.
      • An American comments on US policy failure in Vietnam
    • In the end anybody who was still in that country was the enemy. The same village you’d gone in to give them medical treatment … you could go through that village later and get shot at by a sniper. Go back in and you would not find anybody. Nobody knew anything. We were trying to work with these people, they were basically doing a number on us. You didn’t trust them anymore. You didn’t trust anybody.
      • Fred Widmer, an American soldier, speaking in 1969
    PSDs on Peace Movement in the USA
  • 11. PSDs on Peace Movement in the USA
    • Most of the soldiers had never been away from home before they went into service. And they end up in Vietnam going there many of them because they thought they were going to do something courageous on behalf of their country, something which they thought was in the American ideal. But it didn’t mean slaughtering whole villages of women and children. One of my friends, when he told me about it, said: ‘You know it was a Nazi kind of thing.’ We didn’t go there to be Nazis. At least none of the people I knew went there to be Nazis.
      • Written by Ronald Ridenhour, who reported the My Lai Massacre 12 months later by writing to 30 leading politicians & gov’t officials in Washington, DC
    • We were not in My Lai to kill human beings, really. We were there to kill an ideology that is carried by – I don’t know – pawns. Blobs. Pieces of flesh. And I wasn’t in My Lai to destroy intelligent men. I was there to destroy an intangible idea. To destroy Communism.
      • From Lieutenant Calley’s account of the event, Body Count, published in 1970
    Are the two sources above making the same point? Why do you think it took twelve months for anyone to do anything about the massacre? Why was the massacre so shocking to the American public?