Vietnam: A Television History (1983): S01E11 – Homefront USA


Introduction

Vietnam: A Television History (1983) is a 13-part American documentary and television mini-series about the Vietnam War (1955-1975) from the perspective of the United States.

It was produced for public television by WGBH-TV in Boston, and it was originally broadcast on PBS between 04 October and 20 December 1983.

Outline

Anti-war protests began early in the Johnson administration though the vast majority of Americans at the time supported the administration. The initial protests were led by civil rights activists, the old left, women’s groups and the clergy. Religious organisations had a difficult time as they were conservative by nature. As well, college students could avoid the draft if they remained in school. Blacks were joining the military but activists decried those who claimed they were trying to save people of colour. Passive resistance and draft card burning were increasing. The October 1967 march on the Pentagon was denounced as anti-American as were most protests against the war. However, 55,000 participated and over 600 were arrested. The climate soon began to change. Johnson had to raise taxes and the economy was doing poorly and by December 1967 a poll showed that a majority of Americans now thought the war was a mistake. Senator Eugene McCarthy became popular by proposing an end to the war. He nearly defeated Johnson in the New Hampshire primary and his success led to Bobby Kennedy’s entry into the Presidential race. Martin Luther King spoke out against the war and riots broke out across the US after his assassination. The Chicago protests at the Democratic convention and the police response led to bloodshed on all sides. During the election, Nixon attacked Humphrey based on his support of Johnson’s war policies. Every Thursday, the number of Americans killed in Vietnam was released to the media. Nixon won the election by a slim margin and the Vice President Spiro Agnew began attacking the media as biased. Soon however, the public learned of the massacre at My Lai and even Vietnam Veterans began protesting the war.

Vietnam: A Television History Series

You can find a full index and overview of Vietnam: A Television History here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 06 December 1983.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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