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My lai & end of vietnam war
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My lai & end of vietnam war



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  • 1. + "I had prayed to God that this thing was fiction.‖ - William Wilson, Combat Veteran ―North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.‖ Richard Nixon, 1969 My Lai Massacre & End of Vietnam War Arnav Ghosh 10.3
  • 2. + My Lai Massacre - Background  Tet Offensive Aftermath (January 1968) - Americans assumed assumed that the 48th Battalion of the NLF had then dispersed & taken refuge in Son My village (specifically in My Lai 1, 2, 3 & 4)  Captain Ernest Medina believed all the civilians of the village would have left for the market by 7 a.m, any remaining were soldiers of the NLF or their sympathizers : “They‟re all V.C, now go & get them.” (Extreme Right) Captain Ernst Medina, (Right) Lt. William Calley
  • 3. + My Lai – The Massacre 7:30: Artillery fire clears a landing area for 8:40 – 11:00 : 1st & 2nd platoons go helicopters bringing in 120 soldiers in to complete the ‗search & destroy‘ mission, 3rd platoon responsible for „mop up‘ duties Troops found no enemy fighters in the village presumed V.C were hiding under the houses Over 3 hours: 504 Vietnamese civilians killed (2 V.C soldiers & 3 weapons recovered)
  • 4. + My Lai - Helicopter InterventionThompson: But, these are human beings,unarmed civilians, sir.Calley: Look Thompson, this is my show. Im incharge here. It aint your concern.Thompson: Yeah, great job.Thompson: Hey listen, hold your fire. Imgoing to try to get these people out of thisbunker. Just hold your men here.Brooks: Yeah, we can help you get em out ofthat bunker—with a hand grenade!Thompson: Just hold your men here. I think Ican do better than that. Major Hugh Thompson Jr. – My Lai Hero
  • 5. + My Lai – Cover Up & Investigations  Five O‘ Clock Follies: “In action today Americal Division forces killed 128 enemy near Quang Nai City” – 16/03/1968  General William Westmoreland congratulated the unit for an ‗outstanding job‘ & the event began to be described as one of America‘s greatest victories after the Tet Offensive  March 1969: Ronald Ridenhour sends a letter to Congress about the Mai Lai incident after hearing about it from members of the Charlie Company: “rather dark & bloody did indeed occur”  Seeing the evidence provided an inquiry was ordered, over 400 witnesses were questioned & 200 pages of testimony published(Extreme Right) Lt. Calley – the only out of 30 to be convicted, (Right) My Lai – A symbol for the Vietnam War
  • 6. + My Lai – Army & Trial  September 1969: Lt. William Calley & 10 others charged with the murder of 109 people  Unable to handle so many charges, Calley is thrust with the complete responsibility of the massacre with higher officials denying that he was acting under any orders.  March 1969: Calley found guilty of 22 counts of premeditated murder & sentenced to life in prison causing a public outcry: - Calley was being used as a scapegoat by the army in order to shield the overall war in Vietnam(Extreme Right) TIME Magazinequestioning the verdict, (Right) A ―Free Calley‖ Protest
  • 7. + My Lai – Viet Cong Reactions Broadcast: American Evil Appears (Let the American Enemy Pay this Bloody Debt) ―Crazy American enemy used light machineguns and all kinds of weapons to kill our innocent civilian people…most of them were women, kids, there were some just born babies and pregnant women….There were 26 families killed completely - no survivors‖ ―The fierce devils… They have dropped down their priest covers to become barbarous, and cruel. American wolfs have forgotten their sheep - like appearance. They opened their mouths to eat, drink our people blood with all their animal barbarity.‖ ―Vietnam officers, soldier brother…What are you waiting for…to avenge our people, to wash out insult to our nation and save your proud and your own life.
  • 8. + My Lai – Media & Domestic Outrage
  • 9. + My Lai – Media & Domestic Outrage 5th December 1969: The first images of the My Lai Massacre are published in ‗The Plain Dealer‘ causing protests all over America & various parts of the world, including the November 1969 protests where 700,000 people turned up against the atrocities in the war
  • 10. + My Lai Massacre – Protests & Propaganda  Protest Forms: - Teach-ins on why the USA should leave Vietnam - Railway Blocks with human barricades, Campus Demonstrations - Huge Public Demonstrations, Burning Draft Papers  Propaganda Art  Implied Message: In Vietnamese, babies were also looked at as enemy combatants (ie: the war was immoral)  Further solidified the stereotypical belief that US soldiers were ‗drug addled baby killers‘ "easily the most successful poster to vent the outragethat so many felt about the conflict in Southeast Asia."
  • 11. + My Lai - Survivors Ha Thi Quy, My Lai Villager: I never would have imagined, never would have thought Americans would kill us. When my children came home and asked if American soldiers were killers, I said, "No. Americans dont kill.‖ "Everyone in my family was killed in the My Lai massacre -- my mother, my father, my brother and three sisters," said Tuyet, who was 8 years old at the time. "They threw me into a ditch full of dead bodies. I was covered with blood and brains." (Left) Survivors pointing to a ditch where many of the dead lay (Right) A My Lai Massacre Memorial - 2008
  • 12. + My Lai Massacre - Effects  Military - My Lai showed the need to provide stronger leadership for troops Pointing to Calley, a young, unemployed college dropout as an example of raw recruits being rushed into training - Questioning the Army command order hierarchy  Political - Culture of Concealment: Prime example of the Pentagon & defense establishments lack of integrity & reluctance to probe it‘s officers & their willingness to use single officers as scapegoats - Increased domestic & world pressure on the government to stop the war after seeing the ruthlessness & brutality of soldiers participating in the war, acting on incorrect information & displayed the low morale among troops