War is Hell

Phan Thi Kim PhucThe Vietnam war is best know for being an almost total failure on the part of the United States Government. However, it is also known for the massive collateral damage it inflicted on the innocent civilians that were caught in the crossfire. On June 8th 1972, the South Vietnamese Army dropped a napalm bomb on Trang Bang, which had been attacked and occupied by North Vietnamese forces. In the ensuing carnage, thousands were killed, and countless more injured. Nick Ut of the associated press took the picture above, which shows several Vietnamese children, Soldiers, and Photographers fleeing the chaos. The very next day, it was featured on the front page of the New York Times. It then even went on to receive a Pulitzer Prize and become the World Press Photo of the Year for 1972 for its gripping illustration of the war. The version of the photo displayed is actually a scanned original, posted here in PNG format with a size of 510 KB, and some of the age spots can even be seen giving this photo a realistic and personal feel. In some ways I think this factor even compliments the photo, as it almost seems as if the image itself had to endure the flames of napalm that consumed so many lives that day, and many other days like it. I found this photo on google, and I chose it because I think it depicts all to well the horror wrought by the Vietnam War. It is also a poignant example of the growing media presence on the battlefront.

This was the first time that normal citizens could see first-hand what was actually happening from the comforts of their own home, just by flipping on the television. As a result, many more people were able to form their own opinions about the war, causing a large portion of the population to disapprove and even protest US involvement in the conflict. Due to the wide-scale media presence in Vietnam, many more reporters and news correspondents than ever before were on the front lines, leading to the publication of many more photos like the one seen above. One modern context that this picture gives the Vietnam War is its similarity to the recent war in the middle-east, which due to large scale media involvement has led many to yet again question the U.S. governments foreign policy. Nick Ut, like many other reporters of his day, strove to give citizens a feel for what it was like to be engulfed in the flames of battle. Now due to their efforts, countless videos and photographs exist today that vividly document the fact that war, truly is hell.

Image link:


2 thoughts on “War is Hell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s