Pop culture vietnam war
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Pop culture vietnam war
VIETNAM and Pop Culture:
Then and Now
Nusret Çetin – Mert Özsoy – Onur Yalçın
Throughout the Vietnam War, pop culture changed
drastically. With the rise of people who were counter-culture,
more of was seen in the media was reflected in pop culture.
New fads began to grow in popularity, and more people
began to wear more clothes that were less mainstream. Also,
the effects of the Vietnam War could be seen on television,
movies, and could be read in books.
The Vietnam War wasn’t only present on the news, but in U.S
culture too. If you study the people and the entertainment of
the time period, you will see that this war not only affected
those who were fighting in it, but all of America.
1- Movies of Vietnam
The Vietnam War was the most visually
represented war in the history of the United
States. The films produced in the Vietnam era
were significant in the way that it made war
movies that brutally depicted the war. While
other war movies of the Korean War, World
War I, and World War II were meant to boost
the morale of the united States or to promote
the necessary sacrifice or to bring the nation
together to vilify the enemy, the movies of the
Vietnam War were made to show the citizens
at home what was truly going on in places
were they could not see. The war movies that
were made for the war before Vietnam were
undoubtedly propaganda and therefore did not
serve as a true informational tool for the
"The first casualty of war is
"The Horror. . . The Horror. . . "
Platoon(1986) – Apocalypse Now (1979)
Because movies about Vietnam such as “Apocalypse Now” and
“Platoon” were expected to bring the viewers shock and horror
towards the war, movies about Vietnam and other war movies
now have risen to the Vietnam War movie standard.
Television played a prominent role during the Vietnam
War. The TV was a window looking out towards Vietnam
that anyone at home could look into. The television gave
people the truth and first accounts of the war, and gave
them a look into the war that wasn’t media controlled.
Previously, the government would use propaganda, and
would make up fiction, which led people to believe one
thing when it would really be the other. Television was
one of the aspects of the Vietnam War that made it
unique and it was only a matter of time before a
television show would appear that wasn’t the news.
Television shows such as Tour of Duty and China
Beach were related directly towards the Vietnam War.
While “Tour of Duty” was about a platoon serving in the
war, China Beach was set at a base for the army.
Today, and even after the war, television seemed to be
impacted by this war. For example, M*A*S*H*, a popular
television show on air between 1973-1982 depicted the
Korean War. Although the wars were different, there were
many parallels that viewers at home could make. Another, and
more recent television show, That 70’s Show portrayed the life
of six teenagers and their life in Wisconsin. These teens were
a good example of the “free-loving” “druggies” hippies that
existed during that time-period. They were not quite counter-
culture revolutionaries, but they still provide comic relief to
viewers at home. The Vietnam War is reflected in television
yesterday and today.
With all of the influence of the war affected U.S television,
movies, books, and even fashion it was inevitable that American
songwriters and singers would join the counter-culture
movement. Protest Music reflected not only what that singer
was feeling but also reflected the feelings of Americans. Artists
such as The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, and Elvis
Presley wrote protest songs against the Vietnam War. There
was even a two day concert that drew almost half a million
people, Woodstock. These songs were against the war, and for
most counter-culture revolutionaries they would listen to them
religiously and the bands that played these songs were icons.
Protest music was important for many of the people during that
time period, and listening to this music reflected what most
people felt during the Vietnam War.
Even today, many songs in contemporary America are
protest songs. Green Day, who is a popular punk-rock band,
writes songs that criticize U.S nation, U.S government, and
the media that puts out wrong messages to Americans. Other
bands include the Dixie Chicks, P!nk, and Neil Young. These
songs, similar to hose during the Vietnam War, reflect their
feelings against the war, and are protesting against U.S war
The Vietnam War brought on a strong
surge of counter-culture in the United
States, from hobbies to popular music
genres, and all the way to clothing styles.
Rather than heading out to the movies on
the weekends, teens and college students
from across the country would spend their
free time at protest marches, rallying
against the war overseas. With this radical
age of protest and rebellion came a new
sense of fashion in America’s middle class
The conservative days of pearls
and well combed hair were over,
and in came tie dye, afros, and
oversized sweaters. Both men
and women alike began wearing
their hair long, bell-bottoms,
sandals, and love beads. Clothing
retailers slowly began going out of
business as more Americans
started shopping at Army Surplus
stores. Women were no longer
concerned with wearing fancy
dresses anymore; instead
they opted for long peasant-style
dresses and unisex t-shirts, silk-
anti-war slogans on them.
Hippies believed that by
from the traditional styles
and behaviors that were
once widely accepted in
the United States, they
could not be held
responsible for what was
happening in Vietnam.
Their style of dress was
just another way for them
to separate themselves
from the rest of America
and show that they did
not support the war.
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Thomas, Pauline Weston. "The 60s Mini Skirt 1960s Fashion
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"Fads and Fashion." American Cultural History. 30 Apr. 2007.
Anderegg, Michael. Inventing Vietnam: The War in Film and
Television. Philedelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.
Gitlon, Todd. The sixties : years of hope, days of rage. New
York : Bantam Books, 1987