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Losing Vietnam in the Living Rooms of America Warning: Graphic Images.

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1 Losing Vietnam in the Living Rooms of America Warning: Graphic Images

2 The Mai Lai Massacre  On March 16, 1968 the angry and frustrated men of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division entered the Vietnamese village of My Lai. "This is what you've been waiting for -- search and destroy -- and you've got it," said their superior officers.  A short time later the killing began. When news of the atrocities surfaced, it sent shockwaves through the U.S. political establishment, the military's chain of command, and an already divided American public.  As many as 500 were killed, there were also raping and beatings

3  Massacre As the "search and destroy" mission unfolded, it soon degenerated into the massacre of over 300 apparently unarmed civilians including women, children, and the elderly.  Calley ordered his men to enter the village firing, though there had been no report of opposing fire.  According to eyewitness reports offered after the event, several old men were bayoneted, praying women and children were shot in the back of the head, and at least one girl was raped and then killed.  For his part, Calley was said to have rounded up a group of the villagers, ordered them into a ditch, and mowed them down in a fury of machine gun fire.

4  Call for Investigation Word of the atrocities did not reach the American public until November 1969, when journalist Seymour Hersh published a story detailing his conversations with a Vietnam veteran, Ron Ridenhour. Ridenhour learned of the events at My Lai from members of Charlie Company who had been there.  Before speaking with Hersh, he had appealed to Congress, the White House, and the Pentagon to investigate the matter.  The military investigation resulted in Calley's being charged with murder in September 1969 -- a full two months before the Hersh story hit the streets.

5  NOTE: Mai Lai Heroes  Later of course the American public and the world was to learn that just as the villains of Mai Lai were American soldiers, so too the heroes of Mai Lai were also American Soldiers.  Hugh Thompson, Army helicopter pilot, with his door-gunner Lawrence Colburn and crew chief Glenn Andreotta came upon U.S. ground troops killing Vietnamese civilians in and around the village of My Lai.  According to Chief My Lai prosecutor William Eckhardt, “When Thompson realized what was happening he put his helicopter down, put his guns on Americans, and said he would shoot them if they shot another Vietnamese.”.  Both the American public and Vietnam veterans owe a debt of gratitude to these heroes of Mai Lai.




9  Sources:  ^ a b "Murder in the name of war — My Lai". BBC. July 20, 1998. ^ a b c d e f g Summary report from the report of General Peers. ^ a b Department of the Army. Report of the Department of the Army Review of the Preliminary Investigations into the My Lai Incident (The Peers Report), Volumes I-III (1970). a b"Murder in the name of war — My Lai" BBC a b c d e f gSummary report from the report of General Peers a bThe Peers Report

10  Source: PBS  nches/my_lai.html nches/my_lai.html

11 A. Background  By 1970, events like this resulted in the anti- war movement becomingvery strong

12  April 30, 1970 Nixon addressed the nation, announcing a further escalation in the hostilities  Intelligence showed large numbers of Viet Cong basing themselves in Cambodia  Nixon would begin a major bombing offensive to target these groups, and supply routes into South Vietnam

13 B. Four Dead in Ohio  Angry students hurled rocks and flares at a ROTC building, starting a fire  The Governor of Ohio ordered 900 National Guardsman to “restore order” on the campus.

14  On May 2, students from Kent State University burned down the campus Army ROTC building (a dilapidated little building scheduled to be torn down). ROTC building  Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes immediately sent in the National Guard and personally visited the campus the next day, May 3, promising to use "every force possible" to restore order.  He condemned the Kent students as "the worst type of people we harbor in America...worse than the Communists."  He added, "We're going to eradicate the problem!" Approximately 800 Ohio Guardsmen were on the campus and another 400 were nearby in the city.  On May 4, while classes were being held as usual, around 1,000 students joined protesters, some shouting and taunting the Guardsmen but most just watching the excitement. At noon the order was given to break up the demonstration.  The Guard fired teargas canisters and advanced on the students. Below is the account of Alan Canfora, one of the students who participated in the demonstration….Alan Canfora


16  Immediately as our peaceful anti-war rally began, approximately 75 members of the Ohio National Guard attacked.... As these guardsmen wearing helmets and gas masks marched and fired tear gas [above], we ran away from the KSU Commons up over "Blanket Hill" and down into the Prentice Hall dormitory's parking lot. The armed guardsmen followed us over the hill and then settled on a practice football field for perhaps ten minutes. During this time, a stand-off occurred as a few rocks were thrown back and forth by both students and guardsmen. Because we stood hundreds of feet apart the rocks were ineffective and both sides ceased that activity.  As some of us walked closer to shout our anti-war and anti-National Guard anger, perhaps 250-feet away, about a dozen guardsmen kneeled and aimed toward us. I stood my ground and shouted towards the armed troops who had their fingers on their rifle triggers. Since there was no logical reason to aim or shoot, I assumed they would not fire and I was correct -- at that moment. Soon, however, the troops regrouped and began to march away back up the hill. We assumed they were marching in a retreat back over the hill to the KSU Commons.  We were quite shocked when, at the hilltop, perhaps a dozen members of Troop G simultaneously stopped, turned and aimed their rifles [below]. What followed was a 13 second barrage of gunfire, mostly from M-1 rifles, into our crowd of unarmed students. Some other guardsmen from Company A also fired non-lethal shots. A total of 67 bullets were fired by the guardsmen from the hilltop. Most of the bullets were fired over 300 feet into the distant Prentice Hall parking lot. Two of the students killed, Allison Krause and Jeff Miller, were protesters. Two others, Sandy Scheuer and Bill Schroeder were bystanders. Jeff was killed 275 feet away from his killer. Allison was 350 feet away. Sandy and Bill were approximately 390 feet away. Nine others, including myself, were wounded. Dean Kahler remains in a wheelchair after he was shot in the back.Dean Kahler


18  In reaction to the Kent State Massacre, approximately 4 million students on college campuses across the country participated in strikes and demonstrations, causing over 900 campuses to close.  Just five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington against the war.  Questions arose almost immediately about why shots were fired and who was responsible. The President's Commission on Campus Unrest directed the blame at the students for provoking the tragedy.  A special state grand jury exonerated the Guardsmen and then indicted about two dozen students for the disturbance preceding the shooting. (One of the Governor's special prosecutors even told a reporter that he felt the Guardsmen should have shot more students!)

19  The Guardsmen successfully thwarted investigators by removing their name tags and switching assigned weapons.  They denied having been ordered to fire. (Two eyewitnesses, both ex-Marines who had served in Vietnam, said they saw a sergeant--later identified as Myron Pryor--give a signal to fire.)  The Guardsmen claimed that their lives were endangered by encroaching students, even though a Justice Department investigation concluded that the students never came close enough to pose even a remote threat.  Pressured by the victims' families, the Justice Department asked a federal grand jury to indict eight Guardsmen, but (according to Nixon's chief domestic advisor John Ehrlichman) the President personally ordered Attorney General John Mitchell to block the prosecution at the request of Governor Rhodes.

20  Families of the victims spent the next several years trying to pin the responsibility for the Kent State tragedy on Governor Rhodes and the Ohio Guard.  Criminal trials in both federal and state court were either dismissed or ended in acquittals. (Civil lawsuits filed by survivors and families of the four dead students were eventually consolidated into one: Scheuer vs. Rhodes.)  A civil trial for wrongful death and injury failed when the judge excluded key evidence and the jury decided against awarding damages to the parents; but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned the verdict because of jury tampering and a second civil trial began in 1978.  On January 4, 1979, an out of court settlement was reached. The State of Ohio awarded the plaintiffs $675,000 in damages along with a statement of "regret" (not an apology or admission of wrongdoing).*

21 *Settlement of the award was as follows: Dean Kahler $350,000; Joseph Lewis $42,500; Thomas Grace $37,500; Donald MacKenzie $27,000; John Cleary $22,500; Alan Canfora, Douglas Wrentmore, Robert Stamps and James Russell $15,000 each; families of the four slain students also received $15,000 each; attorney fees and expenses were $75,000.

22  Allison Krause 350 feet away shot through the arm and chest

23  Sandy Scheuer 400 feet away shot through the throat

24  Bill Schroeder 400 feet away shot in the back

25  Jeff Miller 275 feet away shot through the head

26  Canadian writer- philosopher, Marshall McLuhan comments: “The war in Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of the nation. John FiloJohn Filo's iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Mary Ann Vecchio, a fourteen- year-old runaway, kneeling over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller after he was shot by the National Guard.Pulitzer PrizeMary Ann VecchioJeffrey Miller

27  Source: David C. Hanson, Virginia Western Community College tState.html tState.html

28 C. “Napalm Girl” - Phan Thị Kim Phúc 8 June8 June 1972: Kim Phúc, center left, running down a road near Trang Bang after a VNAF napalm attack1972VNAF Ev2dEqrN4i0

29  Kim Phúc was a resident in the village of Trang Bang, South Vietnam. On June 8, 1972, South Vietnamese planes, in coordination with the American military, dropped a napalm bomb on Trang Bang, which was under attack from and occupied by North Vietnamese forces.Trang BangSouth VietnamSouth Vietnamese planesnapalmNorth Vietnamese forces  She joined a group of civilians and South Vietnamese soldiers fleeing from the Cao Dai Temple located in the village along the road to safe South Vietnamese positions.South Vietnamese soldiersCao Dai  A South Vietnamese pilot mistook the group as a threat and diverted to attack it. Along with other villagers two of Kim Phúc's cousins were killed.  Associated Press photographer Nick Út earned a Pulitzer Prize for the photograph. It was also the World Press Photo of the year 1972. T Associated PressphotographerNick ÚtPulitzer PrizeWorld Press Photo  he image of her running naked amidst the chaotic background became one of the most remembered images of the Vietnam War. In an interview many years later, she remembers yelling "it's hot, it's hot" in the picture.Vietnam War

30  After taking the photograph, Út promptly took Kim Phúc and the other children to a hospital in Saigon where it was determined that her burns were so severe that she would not survive.Saigon  However, after a 14 month hospital stay and 17 surgical procedures, she returned home.

31  Kim Phuc later went to university in Cuba  During an airplane refueling in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, her and her husband got off the plane and defected by asking for political asylum in Canada.Gander, Newfoundland and Labradorpolitical asylumCanada  They now live in Ajax, Ontario and have two children.Ajax, Ontario  In 1996, she again met the surgeons who saved her life.surgeons  In 1997 she became a Canadian citizen

32  On November 10, 1997, Kim Phúc was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

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