Vietnamn was the first television war,for the first time images of death, fighting, comradeship and war were portrayed across screen to millions of people watching at home. These images would have greatly effected the views on the war for many people, many believed television was the most important factor as do I. The fact that so many people watched the televison meant that many more people were effected by this factor than newspapers,magazines or radio.
Some people believe that televiosn did not effect peoples opinions as much as radio for instance, this is becasue radio effects different parts of the brain,making you remember things more effectivly. Radio however unlike television is not visual and therfore harder to undersatnd and remember. Others believe letters from loved ones had a greater effect in changing peoples veiws, this is because recieving a letter for someone you have immense feelings for could mean their expericances change your veiws.
Letters recieved from loved ones however were not that common as not everyone new someone fighting in Vietnamn. Television was visual,visual images,are clear,easy to understand and easy to remember therefore are very effective. The general public reacted very badly to some television images. When the Americans dropped the Napam onto the forests in Vietnamn many young Vietnamese children and women were seen fleeing their towns in utter despair with their skin hanging off them. These images distressed many American citizens as in their eyes these children had done nothing wrong, they were innocent.
This shows that television brang real life actual events not peoples pre-conceived opinions,a newspaper article, a magazine article or a radio advertisment are ideas of other people which are trying to be drilled into your brain,television brang the facts which meant you could come to your own conclusions. The general public liked the fact they were seeng first hand evidence. However from our Vietnamn working booklet we can see that some televsion films and clips were actually held back by the U. S department if they could, they did not want the American people to turn against the war therfore any information they could witheld they did.
Goverment statemenst were also shown on televison,this is shown in Source B,these statements meant that American people could visualise the statemnts made by their goverments, and not only see the action taking place in America but the reaosns why ‘The war in Vietnamn is not a spontanious and local rebelion against the established goverment’ Other aspects of the media which played an important part in effecting peoples opinions are, magazines, newspapers,radio,cartoons,books and songs. Source A, C,D and E are all sources from books written regarding Vietnamn.
As there are so many sources from books we can persume many books were written about Vietnamn, Source A is a book written by a U. S senetor, this would impact American peoples veiws as it is very persusive and very bias. Due to the fact this man is very powerful and involved in the runnings of America he will be respected and many people would listen to his veiws. This source is also propaganda and involves using one sided waffle to bend american people into voting against communism and persuade them to back up their ideas in helping America ‘save’ Vietnamn from the ‘Red tide of communism’.
Source’s C and D are from a book wirtten by Philip Caputo,who fought in Vietnamn, this would have effected people reading it as its showed a personal account of someones experiances. Many people are effected and feel sorry for people who have experianced pain and miss treating in their lifes. Magazines, newspaper articles, writings, books and letters are very important factors themselves as they have been the oldest influence on the public opinion, previous to this war these were the only source’s of information. Magazines are a major influence as they are a form of entertainment which informs and makes money.
They are a major influence on the public as it is their aim. In many ways they are more useful than televsion as everyone is able to get a magazine were as not everyone has a television at this time. Some magazines however are biased and mainly peoples full of peoples pre conceived opinions. For example source G may have twisted its facts to help influence the public in favour of the American goverment. Some magazines also include cartoons, these cartoons are very good as they are very good at entertaining and getting across a certain point.
Cartoons manage to grab attention easier than a large section of writing does. Source L shows that cartoons can be influential in themselves as they normally humorous. Cartoon’s stand out and clearly makes a point. Source L shows a cartoon with many teachings, it shows that however much the Americans may try and influence the Vietnamese people they are just not suited to a capitalist lifestyle. It also portrays America as a Buisness man trying to sell something to someone who does not want what they have to offer.
A bad point about cartoons is that they are very in depth and those who are able to understand them must already be well educated and have an opinion on the matter anyway. This means they are not going to have a great effect on changing opinions during Vietnamn. The radio can be seen as quite an important influential factor, this is beacuse it is a useful way of getting information into peoples minds and an effective way of unlocking memory. People don’t notice that what they are listening to the radio things actually stick in their mind, as when they usually listen to the radio they are doing something else at the same time.
On the other hand however, the fact that they are listening to teh radio whilst doing something else more important means that their mind must be more concentrated on the other task in hand. Source K shows the words of a song written by Country Joe, It is designed to be sarcastic, yet catchy,this means it should be easy for listeners to recall it. The radio is similar to the televison as it manages to get infomation and opinions across effectivly in different ways to change and effect the Americans opinion.
I however believe this factor has more negative qualities and that the major problem is the lack of visual information available, most information from the television is easy to understand and shows us up to date images. All of theses forms of media were important in changing many peoples opinions and provided much influential information on the war. This information came in many different forms and could therfore reach many different types of poeple sometimes it was personal personal, statistical, tactical and informational accounts. This information meant that everyone was effected in some way by the media.
I however believe that none of these points had a greater effect that T. V did, with Vietnam being the first TV war, the old influences did not play such an important role. Now that television had come along people realised there was quiker, more reliable data than magazines and radio, for the first time people could see for themselves the events taking place. The US public opinion was also influenced and changed due to the Human cost of war. The human cost of war concerns the lives lost by those fighting, this effects the American people as they are going to get annoyed when their people are dying.
When the number of US troop’s dead increased and stayed at a constantly high level, the unpopularity of the war also increased too. In many respects this would have effected the opinion of the Americans more than television because if their relatives and friends are dying it is going to effect them. The economic cost of war was also a very important influential factor. It changed many peoples opinions as they had first hand effects on it, the huge costs caused inflation which became a bigger problem than war itself.
The general public found themselves paying more for goods in order to pay for the cost of the war, this impacted the public opinion because as well as many of lives of troops being lost, the lives of those in the US were being effected financially. This created negativity towards the war in Vietnamn and many people became apposed to the war. After looking at all the information i can still conclude that i believe that television was the most important factor in influencing and changing people’s attitude towards the Vietnamese War.
Although there were many other factors which played important parts in affecting the US public opinion television seemed to deliver most of the important information which was responsible for changing the people’s attitude towards the war in Vietnamn. It was by far the most efficient, clearest and understandable method of getting clear visual images and news to the public , this meant it had the greatest influence, much greater than slower methods of media.