Self Immolation Post 5- Rachel Millsap

My research efforts are slowly dwindling, as I am encountering less and less new information. I am still waiting to hear back from the Free Philadelphia Library in hopes of receiving a scanned PDF of the original Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper in which JFK reportedly saw the image of Duc ablaze on June 12, 1963. I have collected all of the necessary research from Browne’s book, Halberstam’s book, and William Prochnau’s book as well. All three books have provided a unique insight into not only the war, but also the circumstances that led to Browne taking the photograph, and the long-term political repercussions the image created. I also gained more knowledge on the journalistic background overall during the war, and I plan to weave that into not only my paper, but my thesis as well.  My research seems to point to a stark fact that the image of Duc’s immolation caused a ripple in not only America’s political standpoint back home, but also in ways Kennedy dealt with Diem. The Buddhist crisis, and Duc’s immolation in particular, led to the overall decision to go ahead with the coup of Diem, remove him from power, and instigated the United States’ involvement with Vietnam even further. The public perception of Duc was far different than the viewpoint held of those in power within the United States government. Much of my information in regards to this topic comes from either the press not desiring to run the image (particularly the New York Times) and my email interview with Ken Crouse, photographer of the Saigon Evacuation image.

Overall, I believe I have obtained enough research to begin outlining my paper, and from this point on, the bulk of my blog postings will be the progress on my paper, the ways in which I am incorporating my research, and overall my potential thesis, and organization. I am attempting to incorporate the background information I have on where the United States stood in regards to Vietnam in the summer of 1963 to begin my paper, and then move on the circumstances that allowed for Browne to be in Saigon with a camera, taking the harrowing image. From here, my paper will move to the public perception including the journalistic backgrounds, the unwillingness of the press to publish the photo, and what this reveals in hindsight. The ending sections of my paper will focus on the repercussions the image had (narrowing my timeline down to just the rest of 1963), and how Browne’s image impacted further political decisions and involvements.

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