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The Vietnam War : The My Lai Massacre

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The My Lai massacre was a very dramatic event affecting many livelihoods and destroying communities. The US Army was heavily involved in the massacre. It is believed that approximately 504 innocent Vietnamese men, women and children lost their lives to the massacre. Before the massacre Vietnam was still war-stricken with civil wars between the north and south Vietnamese people but after the US got involved many other countries came into the mix as well like Australia, China, Cambodia, North Korea and many others. The My Lai Massacre was the turning point for the public opinion about the Vietnam War. In order to establish the accuracy of this statement, this essay will discuss the causes and background of the massacre, the short term reaction in United States and the long term impact. (Wright 2015)

Soon after dawn on Saturday, 16 March 1968, nine large black helicopter gunships landed close to the small Vietnamese village of My Lai on the coast about 120km south of the American base at Danang. The village consisted mainly of thatch covered red brick houses next to a minor road set among hedges, bamboo trees and a paddy field. About 700 inhabitants lived there at the time when the Americans came. Three platoons of American soldiers left the helicopters. They were part of a search and destroy mission codenamed Task Force Barker after its overall commander, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker. One of the platoon, led by Lieutenant William Calley, spent the next two hours or so
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