Tyler Bass- Prisoner Execution

My group and I are doing “Prisoner Execution” by Eddie Adams. As a member of the team I am doing the background research. To start of I just Google searched Prisoner Execution by Eddie Adams and came to the classic, Wikipedia. Some would say it is not a reputable site but I disagree for this circumstance.

I found that a South Vietnam named Nguyen Ngoc Loan shot and killed a Viet Cong Prisoner in Saigon on February 1, 1968 during the Tet Offensive. The prisoners name was Nguyen Van Lem.  He was executed in the streets with a .38 Special Smith & Wesson Model 38 revolver. Along with Adams at the scene of the execution was an NBC cameraman. The picture made its way to the U.S. and helped fuel to the flame of the anti-war movement. This general was supposed to be on the same side as the Americans but after doing this unlawful stunt in the middle of the street, the American people just had another reason to leave Vietnam. This was totally against the way the U.S. operations and functions. Eddie’s photograph won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography. According to Wikipedia, Eddie regrets taking the photo because of the reflection it had. Adams wrote in time magazine “The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera.”

Eddie also goes into a very good point. Why do we think the Loan is such a bad guy? The photograph only depicts half of the story. Who knows how many civilians or American soldiers Lem had killed before this. What if he went on a rampage just seconds before this shooting that had killed several people. These are all questions I hope to answer in further research. I hope to uncover the other half of the truth about this photo that most Americans didn’t know for themselves.



3 thoughts on “Tyler Bass- Prisoner Execution

  1. To whoever is doing the legacy of this photo and it’s comparison tot he war on terror. There is a photo of a US Marine in Fallujah, Iraq firing rounds into what looks like already dead bodies to “dead check” them. This “Dead Check” is a tactic Marines were told to perform by flicking the dead bodies in the eyes to see if they would flinch or not, letting you know if they were actually dead or pretending. Here is an address that the photo is located for you to check out. I hope this helps!http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/images/1116-01.jpg

  2. Tyler Bass, This is a good start. I’d urge to to start digging deeper than Wikipedia. If you find links on the Wiki page that lead you other places, that would be one way to proceed. Also, I like that you’re asking questions about the victim. What have historians found out about this guy?

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