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.
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:
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.
There’s something menacing about the Totalitarian stance and uniforms of the US soldiers in the next photo, as captured by the photographer.
I liked this piece of naked propaganda on the Brooklyn Bridge:
From which even Liberty had to avert her eyes:
One of my favourite slogans was this, at the 1968 Woodstock Festival:
Although this is probably my all-time favourite anti-Vietnam War slogan:
Propaganda slogans even followed soldiers on the battlefield, as can be seen in this photo (click to enlarge):
By far the most controversial North Vietnamese Army propaganda photographs throughout the war, were these.
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:
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.
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.
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
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