The photo “Shell Shocked Soldier” was taken by Don McCullin after the battle of Hue in 1968. McCullin joined a battalion of American marines as they crossed the Perfumed River to the city of Hue. North Vietnamese soldiers had captured the city. The American soldiers had suffered many casualties and the city was destroyed. This photo shows the cost of the war.
Hue was a comfortable assignment. Before the war, Hue was a very pretty and peaceful place, the Washington Post war correspondent Don Oberdorfer had reported that South Vietnamese army officers ‘paid large bribes to be assigned to duty there.’
The battle of Hue started the early morning of January 31st 1968, when the Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong launch an attack on the city of Hue, although the Vietnamese had been planning this attack for almost a year. The objective of the Vietnamese was to liberate the entire city; this was part of the plan to get the Communist insurgents into power. The people of Hue did not want to allow this to happen. It took the U.S. Marines and U.S. Army 26 days to recapture the Citadel and defeat the Vietnamese invaders. The aftermath of the battle was tragic; the communist received the victory for Hue.