These do sources do reliably give a lot of evidence as to why there was an anti war movement in America. However, they do miss out a few points and pieces of information. Source A gives a brief descriptions on the conscription system, of recruiting new recruits who had no experience and scored lowly on intelligence tests and replacing them with fresh recruits after a year, just when they were gaining experience. This meant that many soldiers were conscripted from America, which I know, was very unpopular amongst Americans.
I also know that most of the conscripts were uneducated and poor as hose in university could have their call up delay until after graduation. As this reflects my own knowledge and is a secondary source, I believe that this is reliable. Source B is a photo of Vietnamese children running and screaming after a napalm attack. This represents the role of the Media in the Anti war movements, powerful pictures like these were shown across the world. Many Americans were appalled that they could be napalming innocent children.
I know from another photo of a street execution without a trial that pictures like these greatly greatly disturbed people’s views in America. Source C describes the use of chemical weapons in Vietnam by America. It emphasises on the effect these have on the environment. I know that many scientists took part in the anti war protests because of the harmful effects of the chemical weapons used in Vietnam. Many of them had taken part in their creation. It also says how this greatly effects the innocent Vietnamese peasants whose villages and crops are being destroyed.
People were very shocked at how the Americans, who were supposed to be ”the good guys” who freed the Vietnamese could bomb their villages and destroy their crops. The way peasants attacked American GI’s when they walked through paddies is described in this source. It shows how the peasants did not trust the GI’s and wanted them out of their country. This also accounts for some for the high numbers of American casualties. Source D is a cartoon showing the great society being ripped up and being used to run the war against Vietnam.
It outlined the anger felt by many black Americans including Martin Luther King because President Johnson had put aside $20 billion that was to be spent on the ”great society” and spent it on the war in Vietnam. This had promised welfare state to poor people and better homes etc. Many people were angry about American taxes being wasted on the ‘freedom’ of people in a small South East Asian country Source E also relates to the effect the media had on the War protests, it illustrates the power that television has on peoples opinion, especially over events such as horrific as war.
I know the effects media had on America, from pictures of screaming children and street murders. Cameramen could only film with Americans because it was too dangerous to film with the Vietnamese. This meant that they only uncovered war crimes committed by the Americans and gave a very biased opinion of war back in America. Source F is an account about the role Media played on people’s opinions of war; it suggests suitable pieces of evidence to use in the media.
Media played a very big part of changing peoples views about war in America, it was the main way people found out about developments in Vietnam and the only way they could see horrific pictures such as the one of children running from a napalm attack. It is a very reliable source but doesn’t directly give much information about peoples changing opinions in America, it just hints about the effect of the media. These sources miss out a lot of points however, They fail to emphasise, the effect of increasing American casualties, these rose from 100 000 in 1967 to 300 000 four years later.
This effected hundreds of thousands of families that later joined the anti-war protests. The veterans protest in 1975 shocked thousands across America when war heroes that had fought in Vietnam and had returned because of crippling injuries marched in Washington, some still in their uniforms and tore off and threw away their medals and ribbons that they had been awarded for their service. Many were shocked that war heroes, not just draft dodgers or families of dead were going on protest against the war.
This greatly increased opposition to the war. Many Americans also believed that war was simply immoral and was wrong including pacifists. Many socialists in America thought the Vietnamese had the right to rule themselves. When the vice president resigned, he said that the bombing of North Vietnam isn’t working and should be stopped, this re-vitalised protests against war as now even politicians who were greatly in support of war were now going back on their tactics and admitting they were wrong.
Operation Phoenix greatly increased opposition as it showed America to be a war criminal, it had used illegal methods to kill and imprison communists in the south. They had also followed some of them into neutral Cambodia, seriously increasing the scale of the war. They showed that the United States was acting criminally. The pentagon papers also greatly increased opposition to war after all the government files to do with Vietnam were published, and after a court battle, this was allowed to go ahead.
Two attempts to stop these publications were stopped because it was found that Nixon had used illegal methods to gather evidence. This included bugging telephones. These papers greatly increased opposition to war, because of the corruptness of the government. Overall, when combined, these sources are useful, but only give about half of the reasons why opposition for war increased amongst Americans, a few of the reasons are repeated throughout the sources and they are all reliable. There is however, enough evidence at least to write an essay about the anti-war movement in America.