Media, Students, and Vietnam Essay

Media Students And Vietnam Essay

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To many, the Vietnam War symbolizes controversy, myth and question in America. There are many events that made Americans wonder what reasons we had for putting our troops and families in Vietnam. Up till that point, many other Americans had never questioned the acts of the American government and armed forces. Issues dealt with in the Vietnam War showed great impact on the American people, particularly the students. American involvement started off very low key. Two marine battalions landed in Da Nang on March 8, 1965 (Doyle, Lipsman). They were not fighting a war yet, though a war was going on in the very country that they were in. Their job was to merely protect an air field in Da Nang, not look for trouble or initiate any kind of war tactics. But soon, holding off the enemy was not so easy for the American soldiers, and more troops were sent in. This continued on, and when May rolled around there were 46,000 American Troops in Vietnam (Doyle, Lipsman). It was at this time when American troops were then given the "permit to use more active defense," and soon after, the number soared to 82,000 American troops in Vietnam (Doyle, Lipsman). From there, the American defense quickly turned into an offense, and transportation flights turned in to rescue missions. This was about the time that Americans at home began to become worried that the war in Vietnam was getting out of hand. Small protests broke out amongst college students across America, but these began to become very serious. On April 17, 1965 The Students for a Democratic Society organized a national protest on the steps of the capitol in Washington D.C. (Doyle, Lipsman). Television coverage enraged people by misleading facts and disturbing war images of troops killing women and children. Frustration in America grew and riots and protests got out of hand as no questions seemed to be answered. Students protested and gathered, building rage against the war spurring events like the Kent State Massacre. The Kent State Massacre is named after a calm protest uprooted when guards killed and wounded students by opening fire on a mass of students as they gathered on the Kent State campus (Encarta). Events such as the Kent State Massacre enraged Americans more than ever causing violent riots and outbreaks. Meanwhile, America's position in Vietnam worsened. More and more were sent, and more and more troops were killed. America's great offense was tattering down and guerrilla warfare on unfamiliar terrain hampered soldier performance. The war then quickly switched over and put more weight on air attacks and bomb raids. Helicopters became America's best friend as they were a brand new invention that had not previously seen much use. The helicopter made landing and exiting in rough terrain easier than any other method seen before by the United States military. Other weaponry made its debut in the Vietnam War. Spurred from the second world war, where tanks were introduced, the anti-tank missile launcher was a key weapon for all countries to develop. The Vietnam War was the first war that the anti-tank missile launcher was effectively used. Standard guns also were changing ;they become lighter in weight, more accurate, and able to function better with less maintenance and malfunction. All of these new, and newly perfected, weapons made the Vietnam War an unfamiliar territory for everybody as the death toll soared through the roof. More troops were sent, more black troops. Racism raced through the veins of many white Americans at this time, and blacks still felt discriminated against by the government and the people of America. All of this as more black troops were being put on the battle front to fight. Black gangs erupted and dodged the draft, became violent, and held to one another very closely. This was the first sign of gangs in America, as we see gangs today. Many black Americans did not understand why they were being force to fight and die for a country that hated them. They felt as if they were being sent in place of whites, but in fact only 12.5% of all troops in Vietnam were black, and it was merle stretched facts and media influence that caused the black eruptions in America (Westmoreland, VHFCN). As America boiled, the "photographers war" continued in Vietnam (Cohen). The Vietnam War has been said on countless occasions to be the most photographed war in history. The reason for this is the development and improvement of the camera. The camera had become small enough and agile enough to be carried almost anywhere. Also, with the fire burning in America, the media was raping the troops of their dignity as the photographers followed them everywhere. Disturbing pictures were sent back to the press and media in America for public coverage, giving the public its first ever visual images of war. Unable to handle these shocking of images of troops killing ruthlessly,
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