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How Images of War Can Change Public Perspective

Updated on February 9, 2018

Everybody you know at one point or another has seen some type of image from some war. It's never pretty. Back in the days of World War One and Two, war was almost celebrated. People were excited to go overseas and fight and they were proud of friends and family who went to defend their country.

Back during the first and second world war, going to war was one of the most respectable things a man could do. War was glorified. Nobody besides veterans themselves knew of the horrors and hardships that went on overseas. Going to war would gain much more respect from everybody you knew.

27th Division send off celebration, World War One

During World War One, the biggest recruitment tool was propaganda. Propaganda is biased information used to promote or publicize a cause. Propaganda posters were mostly used to lure men saying that the army would bring them fame and make them heroes. A lot of men would feel guilty if they didn't join the war, due to all the propaganda posters. A lot of propaganda used was to demonize the enemy, and to make people feel as if they had to defeat the evil. Propaganda played a massive part in war being glorified and seen as heroic.

World War One recruitment propaganda

War was celebrated and respected because people didn't know what went on. The general population had a lot of ignorance when it came to that. They thought soldiers were heroes who were only around to protect us. I feel like back then, they didn't really value their lives as people, just soldiers.

That all changed when the Vietnam War came around. That was the first war that was virtually uncensored. Newspapers and television stations showed pictures and videos that people haven't seen before. It introduced the common person of the horrors of war. The media was finally giving American citizens a firsthand look at what these soldiers are going through on a daily basis.

This media outburst sparked something new. It was the first time that a large amount of American citizens were anti war. People were dodging the draft, protesting the government, and even moving to Canada. A lot of American teenagers and young adults were attending college as to avoid being selected to fight.

World famous boxer Muhammed Ali, widely regarded as the best boxer of all time, was jailed for dodging the draft. He had nothing against the Vietnamese people. They never showed Ali any racism or disrespected him in any way, like American people have. Ali had no business fighting somebody else's war, and he wanted everybody to know. He was one of millions that were against fighting in Vietnam.

Anti War protests

Even veterans of the Vietnam war weren't happy with what they did. Veteran Tim Martin is quoted as saying "I would like to apologize to the people of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia for my part in the war." It was not his choice to fight, because he was drafted. Martin was drafted after the war had already begun, so he was seeing the horrid images of violence and gore on his television and newspapers every day.

I personally believe that images of war should never be censored. The American people need to be able to form their own opinions and need to have a full view of what's going on. War isn't what is seen in video games or movies. It's real, and it's scary. Anybody with a friends or family overseas would also want to always be in the loop as to what is happening to their loved ones.


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