JENN K. – Shellshocked Marine – Post 6

For this week primary sources in the form of newspaper articles offered new information, coming from The New York Times, and The Times  from London. The Times article, printed in February of 1968, offered specific information concerning the battle of Hue and included quotations from an interview with Don McCullin. The reason this article offers such a punch centers on the fact that it does not paint the Vietnam War in a positive way. It tells of the stresses the soldiers face and the pure desperation of many just to come home. Emery refers to it McCullin’s opinion directly, “The Marines’ morale seemed very, very low. They could see the tremendous casualties day in and day out and they couldn’t see much reward for it,” (The Times). Don McCullin always argued that the Vietnam War negatively affected the soldiers. Specifically McCullin says, “I have seen a load of boys of 18 grow into tired-looking men,” (The Times). For his responses McCullin always refers to the morale of the soldiers there, for him, seeing the Battle of Hue permanently changed his and the soldiers outlook on life.

The next article refers to the rest of the world’s reaction to the Vietnam War and American involvement. This article was published a few weeks before the abovementioned article, but also after the Tet Offensive. The photographs and the videos of the war showed a level of violence that the international community responded to rather negatively. For them this was further proof that the Americans were not actually winning the war but instead could not even control the borders of South Vietnam against insurgency. Even the British Observer could not offer much support any longer for the war. It stated, “Short of destroying most of Vietnam and its people, Washington cannot win,” (The New York Times). Across Europe, the various countries all had a level of disappointment in the continuation of the war, especially those countries that never wanted American involvement in Vietnam. President DeGaulle a longtime supporter of neutralization could not understand why American involvement had yet to end, but officially offered no comment. These articles offer a better understanding of both Don McCullin’s immediate response to Vietnam as well as offering the opinions of the international community following the Tet Offensive.

 

Sources:

Emery, Fred. “How Hue Made Men of Boys.” The Times, February 23, 1968.

Lewis, Anthony. “Pictures of war Arouse Revulsion.” The New York Times, February 5, 1968.

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One thought on “JENN K. – Shellshocked Marine – Post 6

  1. Jenn, I want to start out by saying good post. I think you nailed some good points about the portrayal of the war by McCullin and the public. As well as identifying the fact that he always uses the soldiers feelings and mood to explain his own. This could in itself show the personal bond that comes from being in combat together, to not look so much as “I” , but more in the form of “us”. Or perhaps, it could also show the detachment he had in his dealing with his issues from PTSD he was obviously going through here. He always does a great job at relating, and expressing the effects of war on soldiers and civilians alike. But to play the devil’s advocate here, I’d like to question the statement you made about McCullin arguing that the Vietnam War affected the soldiers negatively. My question then is, what war doesn’t negatively affect its participants?Tthe job and rate at which it is performed(long days, no sleep) is always going to turn boys into tired, weary men. This is a byproduct of the horror and brutality. Just trying to get a more accurate bead on what you meant by that statement I suppose. Again great post

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