The Juuxtaposition Of World War II And The Vietnam War

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The history of the United States is riddled with military engagements and warfare. From the inception of this country to the present day, the world knows the United States as a militaristic power. The 20th century was a particularly tumultuous time in which the United
States participated in many military conflicts including World War I, World War II, the Korean
War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and several other smaller or unofficial engagements. The use of propaganda acts as a common thread that ties all these military actions together. Countries rely on propaganda during wartime for a variety of reasons. Among other things, propaganda can motivate soldiers to fight, instill a strong hatred for the enemy, or drum up support on the
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Susan Brewer summed up the importance of analyzing war time propaganda when she wrote:
The question to consider about official propaganda is how closely what people are told aligns with the government’s objectives. Does it illuminate or obscure the actual war aims? The fundamental issue after all is the worthiness of the policy. As we will see, propaganda can promote a legitimate war such as World War II or a flawed conflict such as Vietnam.1
The juxtaposition of World War II and the Vietnam War brings to light a stark contrast in
American warfare. These two major wars still remain fairly fresh in the memory of Americans, often times for very different reasons. People remember World War II as the triumph of good over evil, while Vietnam proved to be a slow and painful failure for all involved. While it is 1 Brewer, Susan. Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq. (New York.
Oxford University Press. 2009), 7.
Foley 2 obvious that many factors contributed to the success or failure of these wars, it is particularly interesting to examine what role propaganda played in the war effort. By analyzing the types
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While the propaganda used in these conflicts may share some similarities, their differences are so significant that one may argue that the propaganda acted as one of the key decisive factors during the wars. Many people fall victim to the misconception that propaganda is synonymous with blanket statements of support which can be applied to any given situation when, in fact, this is not the case at all. The American propaganda during World War II and the Vietnam War was uniquely crafted to fit the needs of the country during each respective conflict. The values of society as well as the goals of the
American leaders played a major role in determining how to use the propaganda, and these unique characteristics make this topic worthy of further an in-depth analysis.
Why World War II and the Vietnam War
World War II and the Vietnam War are prime choices for comparing and contrasting. The wars feature several similarities making a reasonable comparison possible. At the same time, the differences between the two wars are striking, and logical conclusions can be drawn regarding the impact of propaganda on the two very different outcomes of the wars.
The similarities between World War II and the Vietnam War help to establish

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