Assignment #13 – The Vietnam War
Step 1: Watch – “Hearts and Minds” online
Step 2: Read – “The Impossible Victory” from A People’s History
Step 3: Complete the Discussion Board Discussion Prompt:
“We weren’t on the wrong side,” a stricken Daniel Ellsberg confides, “We were the wrong side” Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film in 1974, Hearts and Minds still resonates as a cautionary tale against unquestioned military might abroad and virulent patriotism at home. The title comes from the now infamous speech by Lyndon Johnson in which the president declared that “ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there.” Though Johnson was referring to the South Vietnamese, on whose behalf we fought Communist North Vietnam, Davis has taken Johnson’s challenge as his own. His film appeals to our most primitive emotions as well as our highest intellect, linking these seemingly competing faculties through visual juxtaposition. Without the aid of a narrator, the movie alternates be- tween eminent talking heads, stock footage, veteran testimony, and scarily, clips from corny Hollywood agitprop. It all forms a dense weave of sound and images that relies on us to connect the thematic dots. Though this is seldom an easy task given the film’s tendency to delay counterpoints and to short-circuit any obvious dramatic momentum, repeated viewings will help the movie’s general, if fitful, chronological semblance to emerge. Pinpointing the origin of our involvement in Vietnam in the post-World War II belief that “we could control the future of the world,” Davis suggests that our policy of Communist containment spawned an altogether different and intractable monster at home, that is, the management of lies and cover-up emanating from the very top. (www.imagesjournal.com) After watching this film and completing your readings, what are your thoughts about the Vietnam War?
Link of the video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdJcOWVLmmU
Link of the article- http://libcom.org/a-peoples-history-of-the-united-states-howard-zinn/18-the-impossible-victory-vietnam
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