The Vietnam War

2108 Words Mar 30th, 2016 9 Pages
The Vietnam War, is widely regarded as a conflict that divided public opinion in the United States and influenced civilian perceptions on international relations. The conflict lasted for over twenty years and began after a policy of communism was introduced in the North after the withdrawal of French imperialists. The American government was highly concerned with the spread of communism in Asia (known as the Domino Theory) and wanted to end the possible political threat. Over time, the war has became a part of American social memory and is especially known for its distribution of iconic imagery of civilian atrocities. Through these images, varying tales have been told and have brought into question American values, as well as possible …show more content…
The photo clearly demonstrates Phuc 's pain through her facial expression and her outreached arms. The raw emotion of the image, became alarming to many officials especially since it may question American values for allowing a child to be a victim of war. Although the American forces were not directly involved in the incident, the fact they were in support of a side that could allow something of this nature to happen to a child was controversial and led to questioning about the value of foreign lives. The image of Phuc as well as many others demonstrating Vietnamese civilian atrocities, often did not receive as much empathy in the Western world due to racial stereotypes. For instance American General William Westmoreland stated to Time magazine in 1972 that Kim Phuc was not burned by napalm but a "hibachi accident," and that the image is fake. Concerns about the influence of racial stereotypes on the value of foreign lives is still an issue to present day especially with recent conflicts in the Middle East. Commonly, loss of non-American life from the Vietnam War and beyond is often undermined and devalued compared to events that result in loss of life in the Western. Compared to previous wars, the use of photography had become more powerful due to the introduction of television news reporting. Known as being the first "living room war," the Vietnam War infiltrated all aspects of daily American life and culture. . For instance,

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