The Living Room War: Television & Vietnam
From 1965 to 1975, television played an unprecedented role in shaping American perceptions of the Vietnam War. New technology and unlimited access to the battlefields of Southeast Asia invested field reporters with the ability to broadcast what became known as "bang-bang" coverage. The carnage of the war and the consequences for American morale, both on the battlefield and at home, led to deep divisions in how Americans viewed the role of government, the military, social change, and war itself. Students will analyze documentaries, news, and fictional programming that depict the Vietnam War period from multiple perspectives.
On-site class length is two hours; distance learning class is offered in two one-hour segments.
As a group, provide definitions for the following words and concepts, which will be referenced during the class.
AMNESTY: The act of an authority (such as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals
BOOBY TRAP: In warfare, a device such as a land mine or grenade placed in a noncombat area meant to harm soldiers
CAPITALISM: An economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and controlled and which is characterized by competition and the profit motive
COMMUNISM: A theory advocating elimination of private property; a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed; a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production
CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR: A person who is granted official, legal exemption from serving in the military on the basis of moral or religious grounds
DMZ (DEMILITARIZED ZONE): In military terms, a demilitarized zone is an area, usually the frontier or boundary between two or more groups, where military activity is not permitted, usually by treaty or other agreement
DRAFT: Compulsory military service
DRAFTEE: Person selected from the eligible general population to fight a war
DRAFT-DODGER: Someone who illegally evades the draft, often by leaving the country
INTERMINGLED AREAS: Areas where it was impossible to tell who was a Vietcong sympathizer and who was a South Vietnamese loyalist
GRUNTS: Foot soldiers/recruits
KIA, WIA, MIA: Killed in action, wounded in action, missing in action
LIFERS: Career military men, officers
LOTTERY: The process that determines the order of selection in the military draft, usually correlated by birthday
SELECTIVE SERVICE: A system under which men are called up for military service
STRATEGIC HAMLETS: Transplanted villages of South Vietnamese supposedly free of Vietcong influence, guarded by Marines who lived in the villages
TET OFFENSIVE: The 1968 offensive by the Vietcong to take over South Vietnam and expel the Americans
VC, VICTOR CHARLIE, or VIETCONG: Three names for the North Vietnamese soldiers/guerrillas
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