The Naked Truth – Vietnam War Protest and Propaganda Photography.

The Naked Truth – Vietnam War Protest and Propaganda Photography.

Above Photo: Storm in a D Cup. Apparently not an anti-Vietnam War protest, but a contemporary one and keenly watched nonetheless.

(Click on all photos to enlarge)

I was recently looking at some anti-Vietnam War protest and propaganda photographs, as part of my BACK-related research and thought it would be interesting to put some together in an article.

The one above is a bit specious, although relevant because I had always assumed there had been a major bra-burning protest in the US about the Vietnam War, but while some bra-related activities had gone on, the majority of bra taker-offers were protesting about the Miss America Pageant in 1968 and about Womens’ Rights in general, and not the Vietnam War, it seems.

I do like the above photo though – look at the rapt (99%) male attention the woman has attracted.

North Vietnamese Inducement to persuade GIs to desert.

North Vietnamese Inducement to persuade GIs to desert. I’d like to see how they’d have brokered their proffered “safe haven” in Europe deal.

A related “sex sells” piece of propaganda is the above, a North Vietnamese flier aimed at inducing American soldiers to defect, although I doubt the North Vietnamese would have followed through with these particular inducements.

The next photo I really like:

A great advert.

A great anti-draft poster.

I find it interesting not just because it deals with sex but because it contrasts with a right-wing moralizing poster I recently saw about the Second World War, sex and Adolph Hitler.

Shamelessly using Hitler in this moralising message.

Bonkers.

There’s something menacing about the Totalitarian stance and uniforms of the US soldiers in the next photo, as captured by the photographer.

"A Peace offering?" "Peace off"....

Peace?

I liked this piece of naked propaganda on the Brooklyn Bridge:

An Anti War Naked Protest and Flag Burning on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1968.

An Anti War Naked Protest and Flag Burning on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1968.

From which even Liberty had to avert her eyes:

The Statue of Liberty draped in anti-war protest banners.

The Statue of Liberty draped in anti-war protest banners.

One of my favourite slogans was this, at the 1968 Woodstock Festival:

Acid Drops.

Acid Drops.

Although this is probably my all-time favourite anti-Vietnam War slogan:

peter alan lloyd BACK novel vietnam war backpackers in danger ho chi minh trail anti vietnam war propaganda and photographs naked protests sex sells in vietnam war (13)

Propaganda slogans even followed soldiers on the battlefield, as can be seen in this photo (click to enlarge):

peter alan lloyd BACK novel vietnam war backpackers in danger ho chi minh trail anti vietnam war propaganda and photographs naked protests sex sells in vietnam war (3)

Troops take a rest during the battle of Hue during the Tet Offensive in 1968. Note the graffiti on the wall to the left.

By far the most controversial North Vietnamese Army propaganda photographs throughout the war, were these.

peter alan lloyd BACK novel vietnam war backpackers in danger ho chi minh trail anti vietnam war propaganda and photographs naked protests sex sells in vietnam war (16)

Jane Fonda on a North Vietnamese Army anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi in 1972

Guaranteed to make every Veteran foam at the mouth, these photographs were taken on Jane Fonda’s peace-making trip to Vietnam in 1972, when she sat on an anti-aircraft gun and looked up the gun sight. I know of no other propaganda photograph that still divides US opinion on the Vietnam War as much as these photographs of Jane Fonda.

A very interesting anti-war photograph is this one:

The caption throughout the internet for this photograph is: "Shirtless Anti-War protester Frank C. Plada will later die in Vietnam"

The caption used throughout the internet for this photograph is: “Shirtless Anti-War protester Frank C. Plada will later die in Vietnam”

It purports to show someone called Frank C. Plada who apparently died during the Vietnam War.

If you research this on Google you will see this statement is repeated on page after page for hundreds of references to this photograph. Yet, when I came to do just a basic bit of research, I discovered NOBODY called Frank C. Plada, or Frank Plada, in fact NOBODY with the surname Plada is listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall as having died in Vietnam.

Which goes to show you should always be careful about what to believe when it comes to photography, captions and wars.

If anyone has any further information on this photograph and who it actually depicts, I’d be interested to hear about it. (Postscript: somebody kindly did – see the comments section below)

And finally, even Brits got in on the anti-war act. In an interesting link, the following photograph shows Liverpudlian and former Beatle John Lennon in a bed protest against the Vietnam War with Yoko Ono, this one taking place in the Amsterdam Hilton between 25-21 March 1968.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono on the first day of their Amsterdam Bed-In for Peace.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono on the first day of their Amsterdam Bed-In for Peace.

A year before Lennon was doing that, one of his Scouse musical contemporaries, John Shell, another Liverpool band member and regular attender at the Cavern Club in Mathew Street Liverpool, was killed fighting for the US in Vietnam.

John Shell - a dual citizen: a Scouser and an American.

John Shell – a dual citizen: a Scouser and an American.

See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.

For POWs left behind in Laos during the Vietnam War, see:

You can read more about John Shell here: http://peteralanlloyd.com/general-news/beatles-era-bass-player-from-liverpool-killed-during-the-vietnam-war/

 

© Peter Alan Lloyd

BACK Parts 1 and 2:

Reviews: Amazon.co.uk: Customer Reviews 

UK: Amazon.co.uk: BACK Parts 1 and 2 

US: Amazon: Back Parts 1 and 2

Smashwords: Back Parts 1 and 2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peter.lloyd.94064?fref=ts

Website: www.peteralanlloyd.com

Twitter: @PeterAlanLloyd

Front cover of BACK Part 1.

Front cover of BACK Part 1.

Front cover of BACK Part 2.

Front cover of BACK Part 2.

Like this? Share it.

Related Posts

6 Comments

  1. Jerry M

    I grew up with Frank C. Plada. We started running the streets together around 1959 and my wife graduated from 8th grade with him in 1965, from the “Josiah L. Pickard” school in Chicago. He was 16 in this picture and wasn’t part of any radical group or organization. He went downtown to see a movie with the girl on his right (she’s holding his shirt) and the young man sitting on the trash can on his left. He ended up on Michigan Avenue, across from the Grant Park demonstrations out of curiosity. But he became very upset after he witnessed the police hitting girls with their night sticks. The picture was taken by Perry C, Riddle, a photographer for the Chicago Sun Times and it doesn’t tell the whole story. Frank was flipping the bird at a cop across the street, who was flipping the bird to the crowd for jeering him. I was told that shortly after this picture was taken, Frank was assaulted by the police and detained. There was also an FBI investigation, but Frank was a minor and his mother stood up to them. There’s a picture in existence of a fat motorcycle cop flipping the bird to civilians during this event. Frank was born in Chicago and grew up near Cermak & Oakley on the Lower West Side. He enlisted into the army when he was 17, which would be in 1969. I don’t recall what year he served his tour in Vietnam, but he came home with a heroin habit and tried very hard to shake it. He wasn’t a street person and he didn’t beg, con or steal to support his habit. When he was a kid he was feisty, out spoken and even combative. But when he came back from Nam, he was quite the opposite and even reclusive. He didn’t speak of his experiences much, except to say that most of his buddies got blown away. His mother Rose was quoted as saying that she sent a young boy to war and got back a sick man. Frank was married and had a daughter and a son. He died at home (in the neighborhood where he grew up) on January 1, 1976, at the age of 24. He didn’t OD and was working a rehab program at the time. But chronic drug abuse had damaged his pulmonary system to the point where it finally killed him. Frank hated that picture and he was disillusioned with his military service. It really pisses me off that people will rewrite history to get attention. Frank came home before we pulled out of Vietnam so how the fuck could he have died there? He’s buried in St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery on the south side of Chicago. If anyone doesn’t want to believe any of this, I couldn’t care less. I was there and I know what I know. Look for his name on the “Virtual Wall” and you won’t find it anywhere. Let him rest in peace!

    Reply
    • Peter Alan Lloyd

      Thanks for getting in touch Jerry. Very interesting comments, and I’m glad we can exclusively reveal that the standard line about Frank, this photo and his dying in Vietnam is incorrect and simply yet more propaganda – as I suspected.in the piece.

      Reply
      • Jerry M

        I’m glad I found this website. Over time I’ve seen Franks picture on other websites and read that he died killed in Vietnam. It has always irritated me that this lie is out there for people to read and choose to believe. What I posted about Frank is true to my memory and I hope it will clarify this topic for others. Any questions on this subject? Please feel free to ask and I will answer them as best I can without violating Frank’s good memory or his family’s privacy.

        Reply
  2. Jerry M

    Correction: I just checked out Frank Plada’s name on “familysearch.org” and he was born on March 1, 1951. This would have made him 17 in 1968, when the picture was taken. It’s been 49 years and my memory’s timeline is a little askew. But the life events I wrote about him are accurate.

    Reply
    • Bulletholes

      Thanks for setting the record straight. I’ve been one to spread the propaganda line without verification. It just points to another facet of the disaster of theVietnam War. Our guys coming home with a heroin addiction.
      Rest In peace Frank.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *