The enemies of the United States

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“By the spring of 1975, the Vietnam War had ended in victory for the enemies of the United States” and ever since this, historians have been preoccupied with explaining why America failed in Vietnam. In the most part, the Vietnam War has been portrayed as a military failure, and whilst this is true it ignores the highly decisive role of the media. Hanson recognises that there is a distinctive lack of theoretical assessment of the impact of the media on foreign policy. Therefore I am to prove amongst other facts that it was the role of the media which inevitably led to American failure in the Vietnam War. As James Reston concluded; “Maybe historians will agree that the reporters and the cameras were decisive in the end…and forced the withdrawal of American power from Vietnam.” Firstly it will assess why the American press stopped supporting American intervention in Vietnam. The Tet offensive in 1968 is often pin pointed by historians as the event from which the perception of the wars success changed. I will then assess how the media affected American withdrawal and how much influence the media had on policy making of the American government. Another key question that this dissertation will address is what and how other deciding factors caused American failure. Many historians have focused on the military failures and I will assess how this is an accurate assessment of American involvement. By addressing these questions I will, furthermore, be able to argue whether or not American failure in Vietnam was inevitable which has become the argument for many historians. However further research on the subject highlights that domestic issues such as the growing anti-war movement affected withdrawal. From this I would like to assess the nature in which the press reported on such groups and if the media influenced their growth. Many primary and secondary sources have been used to research this dissertation. I have focused my attention to The New York Times as it is a liberal broadsheet published across America and is considered to be a paper which was highly critical of the war. During my research into secondary sources I have noticed that particular articles have often been selected from this newspaper by various historians. I will use some of these articles alongside others that have not previously been included in research to deepen the understanding of the media’s role. By using a variety of these articles I will be able to support or disprove current historical thought on the subject. The positive of using newspapers in my research, is that I easily uncover patterns in reporting styles and can map the changes of opinions. Negatively however, newspapers are generally as biased; reporters can often use their articles to air their own personal opinions and may not reflect their audience’s beliefs. They may also be bias as they are producing an opinion that will have been dictated from the papers editors and will follow their policy on the war. I have also used the Museum of Broadcast Communication,

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