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Vietnam - A Television History: Episode 11 - Homefront USA (1983) ๐Ÿช–โœˆ๏ธ

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Published on 15 Apr 2022 / In Documentaries

โฃโฃVietnam: A Television History (1983) is a 13-part documentary and television mini-series about the Vietnam War (1955โ€“1975) from the perspective of the United States. It was produced for public television by WGBH-TV in Boston, Central Independent Television of the UK and Antenne-2 of France. It was originally broadcast on PBS between October 4 and December 20, 1983. Later, it was rebroadcast as part of the PBS series American Experience from May 26 to July 28, 1997. However, only 11 of the 13 original episodes were rebroadcast. Episodes 2 and 13 were dropped. This is the complete original version.

Vietnam: A Television History was the most successful documentary produced by PBS up to the time of initial broadcast. The origins of the series reach back to 1977 when filmmaker Richard Ellison and foreign correspondent Stanley Karnow discussed the project. The latter had been a journalist in Paris during the 1950s and a reporter in French Indochina since 1959. Karnow was Chief Correspondent in the series and his tie-in book, Vietnam: A History (1983), became a best-seller.

โฃEpisode 11: 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 organizations 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 color. 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.

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