For more than four decades, Art Greenspon kept his recollections of photographing the Vietnam War for Overseas Weekly tucked away deep in his memory, as inaccessible as the images themselves.
Then, ina treasure trove of 35 mm negatives emerged from the gloom of a Scandinavian cellar, vividly reminding Mr. Greenspon of his time working for the scrappy little alternative tabloid. Greenspon wrote in a new book showcasing the long-forgotten images. But it also stirred up troubling memories and emotions that I had worked hard for decades to keep in safe storage.
The featured photographs are not the iconic images we often associate with the Vietnam War. Although the photographers covered combat, few scenes in the book depict the blood-soaked drama of the battlefield. Instead, they offer relaxed portraits of American G.
They mostly show the long hours of boredom and tedium that dominate life at war. Both the book and exhibition also explore the outsize role of a publication led by two tenacious women, Marion von Rospach and Ann Bryan, both Stanford alumnae.
Early on, Ms. Bryan, the only female bureau chief in Saigon, ran a one-woman show from her second-floor apartment, working as a reporter, photographer, editor and operations manager.
Her mission was to write for soldiers in their own language. Bryan gave him his start. Long before blogs and social media offered a platform for alternative voices, the tabloid covered issues faced by the grunts, including salacious reports about courts-martial in sex cases.
This, along with the use of pinups of semi-clad women on the front pages, earned it the nickname Oversexed Weekly. It was popular among troops, but not the brass.
The paper earned its muckraking reputation — and the ire of the Pentagon — by printing articles on racism, drug abuse, the military justice system, and the sex-reassignment surgery of a transgender World War II veteran. With the publication of the forgotten archives, a new generation of civilians and service members now has access to a valuable record of a war that killed one million Vietnamese and over 58, Americans, a toll that still resonates nearly half a century later.
Greenspon wrote in his essay. I am both excited at seeing some of my lost photos and, at the same time, troubled by the memories they spark. Follow him on Instagram. Follow nytimesphoto on Twitter. You can also find Lens on Facebook and Instagram. Home Page World U.As the first televised war, the conflict in Vietnam was seen by many Americans in harrowing detail on the news and in the pages of Life magazine. Larry Burrows attaching cameras to the Yankee Papa 13 helicopter prior to a mission during the Vietnam War.
British photographer Larry Burrows was responsible for capturing some of the most powerful and brutally honest scenes from the war, often placing priority on getting the perfect shot over concern for his own life.
From until his death inBurrows' images in Life magazine brought the reality of the war into the homes of Americans across the country and helped to provide a concrete record of this dark and difficult time in US history. InLarry Burrows was killed while documenting Operation Lam Sonalong with three of his fellow photojournalists — Henri Huet, Kent Potter, and Keisaburo Shimamoto — when their helicopter transport was shot down over Laos.
Since the war's end inBurrows' pictures have been revered for their explicit depictions of both the humanity and the inhumanity of Vietnam as well as a brutal reminder of the true cost of war. Here are some of the most powerful pictures taken by Larry Burrows during his coverage of the Vietnam War.
Wounded Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie center is led past a stricken comrade after a fierce firefight for control of Hill Left: Gen. Paul D. Harkins during an inspection tour of his troops. Right: A US jet drops napalm and phosphorous bombs on a small village.
An exhausted American infantry soldier lies on the ground, among comrades, and drinks from a canteen near the Cambodia—Vietnam border in A grieving widow cries over a plastic bag containing the remains of her husband, who was found in a mass grave of civilians killed by the Viet Cong during the Tet Offensive, in February After firing on a Viet Cong village, US troops remove "joy girls," or sex workers, from the area.
Left: A US soldier inspects the body of a Vietnamese soldier killed during Operation Prairie, just south of the demilitarized zone in Tracer fire lights the night sky as US soldiers, along with South Vietnamese troops, conduct security checks during the Vietnam War. Right: A bayonet-wielding South Vietnamese paratrooper threatens a captured Viet Cong suspect during interrogation. A South Vietnamese soldier crouches next to an injured woman while awaiting medical aid during an attack by the Viet Cong.
Left: A shell-shocked US Marine has his wounds bandaged during Operation Prairie, a US military sweep of the area just south of the demilitarized zone. Right: Vietnamese girl Nguyen Thi Tron, a young amputee who lost her leg during an accidental US helicopter attack near her village, looks on at her new artificial leg.
Service members line up respectfully near coffins and military air transport during services for their dead comrades at Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
Photos of Vietnam War colorized by Royston Leonard
The attacks began on the holiday Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. The offensive saw more than 80, North Vietnamese troops attacking more than towns and cities, including 36 of 44 provincial capitals, five of six autonomous cities, and 72 of district towns. The Tet Offensive was the largest military operation conducted by either side up to that point in the war. The surprise of the attacks caused the US and South Vietnamese armies to temporarily lose control of several cities.
They were able to quickly regroup, counter attack, and inflict heavy casualties on North Vietnamese forces. During the Battle of Hue, the fighting lasted over a month and the city was destroyed. During the occupation, the North Vietnamese forces executed thousands of people in the Massacre of Hue. Although the offensive was a military defeat for North Vietnam, it had a profound effect on the US government and shocked to Amerian public, which had been led to believe that The North Vietnamese were being defeated and were incapable of launching such a large scale attack.
The Johnson administration was no longer capable of convincing anybody that Vietnam War was a major defeat for the communists.
13 rare color photos that show a side of the Vietnam War you don't usually see
On February 23 the U. Selective Service System announced a new draft call for 48, men, the second largest of the war. History A market in the Cholon District of Saigon is covered in smoke and debris after the Tet Offensive, which included simultaneous attacks on more than South Vietnamese cities and towns. History An estimated 5, Communist soldiers were killed by American air and artillery strikes during the Battle of Hue.
History Approximately U. Marines were killed along with South Vietnamese troops at the Battle of Hue. History Military policemen capture a Viet Cong guerrilla after the surprise attack on the U.
History The attacks began on the lunar new year holiday, Tet, and became known as the Tet Offensive. Civilian casualties. Many took refuge in the university. The grounds of Hue university became a graveyard. Philip Jones Griffiths US. South Marines. The Americans sent in the Fifth Marine Regiment to dislodge them. During the Vietnamese New Year celebrations of the Tet, the city of Hue an ancient Mandarin walled city which stood on the banks of the perfumed river and near to the demilitarized zone, a force of Vietcong and NVA North Vietnamese Army regulars took siege of the citadel.
The American sent in the Fifth Marine Commando force to dislodge them. Philip Jones Griffiths The battle for the Cities. Refugees flee across a damaged bridge.
Marines intended to carry their counterattack from the southern side, right into the citadel of the city. Despite many guards, the Vietcong were able to swim underwater and blow up the bridge, using skin-diving equipment from the Marines.The war in Vietnam has been described as the first "living room war"—meaning combat was seen on TV screens and newspapers on a daily basis.
Newspaper and television crews documented this war much more intensely than they did earlier conflicts. This willingness to allow documentation of the war extended to the military's own photographers—who captured thousands of images that covered every aspect of the conflict between and The war in Vietnam has been described as the war America watched from their living rooms.
Images of combat and American GIs were projected through our TV screens and across our newspapers daily. During the war in Vietnam, the American military gave the press unprecedented freedom of access to combat zones. This allowed newspaper reporters and photographers and television crews to document a war involving American sons and daughters on the other side of the world. This willingness to allow documentation of the war was also extended to the military's own photographers.
Between andmilitary photographers for the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force took thousands of photographs of the American conflict in Vietnam, which are now located at the National Archives. These photographs serve publishers, historians, and students who want to learn more about Vietnam. They include images of almost every aspect of the war. The jobs of the military photographers were not only to document the war, but also to capture images for the historical record.
One photographer, Chuck Cook, describes it as follows: "What the photographers did was worth doing--maybe not for the reasons the military said. They just felt that what the soldiers were going through was worth saving. Douglas Elliott describes the images that came in from the combat operation as ones "that did not show winners and losers. They showed soldiers--often teenagers--coping as best they could with unrelenting heat and humidity, heavy packs, heavy guns, and an invisible enemy whose mines, booby traps, and snipers could cut life short without a moment's warning.
The operations and direction of the military photography was organized by the Army Pictorial Center APCwhich dispatched a series of teams for brief visits. It wasn't long before the Marines sent their own photographers into the field, quickly followed by the Army and its st Signal Company.
The Air Force photographers assisted in aerial reconnaissance and documentation of bombing missions. These photographers were not there as journalists, but rather to create a visual record of operations, equipment, and personnel. After the photographs were processed by the Pentagon, they were made available to military publications, the press, and the public at a photographic library at the Pentagon.
As these photographers worked to document the war, they covered a variety of people and circumstances including combat missions, GIs, support personnel, medical units, and visits by dignitaries, politicians, and entertainers.
While they may have been there to provide visual record of operations, equipment, and personnel, their photographs also tell a story. It is a story about the young men and women who fulfilled served their duty to their country by serving in the war in Vietnam. Links go to DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives. Marines on an M Tank. Company A Gathers Around a Guitar.Activists meet in the Nam Can forest, wearing masks to hide their identities from one another in case of capture and interrogation.
From here in the mangrove swamps of the Mekong Delta, forwarding images to the North was difficult. Stephen Owen Musselman, which was downed near Hanoi on Sept.
Many famous images of the war were taken by Western photographers and news agencies, working alongside American or South Vietnamese troops. But the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had hundreds of photographers of their own, who documented every facet of the war under the most dangerous conditions.
Many sent in their film anonymously or under a nom de guerre, viewing themselves as a humble part of a larger struggle. New recruits undergo physical examinations in Haiphong. The North's volunteer system was transformed into a mandatory system inwhen all able-bodied males were drafted. From a corps of around 35, men inthe NVA grew to over half a million men by the mid-'70s, a force the U.
Equipment and supplies were precious. Processing chemicals were mixed in tea saucers with stream water, and exposed film was developed under the stars. One photographer, Tram Am, only had a single roll of film, 70 frames, for the duration of the war.
Faced with the constant threat of death by bombing, gunfire or the environment, these photographers documented combat, civilian life, troops on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, resistance movements in the Mekong Delta, and the bloody impact of the war on the innocent. Some were photographing to document history, while others strove to use their cameras as weapons in the propaganda war. Shooting clandestinely in the South, Vo Anh Khanh could never get his photos to Hanoi, but exhibited them in the mangrove swamps of the Mekong Delta to inspire resistance.
Many of these photographs have rarely been seen in Vietnam, let alone in the rest of the world. In the early s, photojournalists Tim Page and Doug Niven started tracking down surviving photographers. One had a dusty bag of never-printed negatives, and another had his stashed under the bathroom sink. Vo Anh Khanh still kept his pristine negatives in a U.
One hundred eighty of these unseen photos and the stories of the courageous men who made them are collected in the book Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side. A Viet Cong guerrilla stands guard in the Mekong Delta. Both her husbands were soldiers. I saw her as the embodiment of the ideal guerrilla woman, who'd made great sacrifices for her country. A guerrilla in the Mekong Delta paddles through a mangrove forest defoliated by Agent Orange.
The Americans denuded the landscape with chemicals to deny cover to the Viet Cong. The photographer was sickened by what he saw, since the Vietnamese regard mangrove forests as bountiful areas for agriculture and fishing. Women haul in heavy fishing nets on the upper branch of the Mekong River, taking over a job usually done exclusively by men.
Militia members sort through the wreckage of a downed US Navy plane on the outskirts of Hanoi. Musselman ejected from his aircraft before it crashed.
On July 7,remains which were confirmed to be his were returned to the United States by the government of Vietnam. Guerillas guard an outpost on the Vietnam-Cambodia border protected by poisoned bamboo punji stakes.Ho Chi Minh to the French, late s You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win. Richard M.
Nixon, speech, April 16, If in order to avoid further Communist expansion in Asia and particularly in Indo-China, if in order to avoid it we must take the risk by putting American boys in, I believe that the executive branch of the government has to take the politically unpopular position of facing up to it and doing it, and I personally would support such a decision. Dwight D. Eisenhower, You have a row of dominoes set up; you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is that it will go over very quickly.
John F. Kennedy, speech, New York Times, October 13, Should I become President I will not risk American lives John McCain rescued. Kennedy, Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place. Barry M. Goldwater, Why Not Victory? Once upon a time our traditional goal in war and can anyone doubt that we are at war?
Once upon a time we were proud of our strength, our military power. Now we seem ashamed of it. Once upon a time the rest of the world looked to us for leadership. Now they look to us for a quick handout and a fence-straddling international posture. Lyndon B. Johnson, statement after Gulf of Tonkin incident, August 4, We still seek no wider war. Lyndon Johnson, Oct. The Americans broke out of the camp in an attempt to penetrate the surrounding enemy troops, killing eleven.
Ronald Reagan, We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Johnson, This is not a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity.
Ronald Reagan, interview, Fresno Bee, October 10, It's silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home for Christmas. Ronald Reagan, We should declare war on North Vietnam. We could pave the whole country and put parking strips on it, and still be home by Christmas.
George McGovern, speech to U. Senate, April 25, We seem bent upon saving the Vietnamese from Ho Chi Minh, even if we have to kill them and demolish their country to do it I do not intend to remain silent in the face of what I regard as a policy of madness which, sooner or later, will envelop my son and American youth by the millions for years to come.
Walt W. Rostow, National Security Adviser, Dec.By Gareth Davies For Mailonline. A series of black and white photographs of the Vietnam War have been expertly colorized for the first time. The images show US riflemen charging toward Viet Cong positions while holding machine guns, wounded US Paratroopers being helped to a medical evacuation helicopter and US Army helicopters providing support for ground troops.
Other striking shots show women and children taking cover in a muddy canal from intense Viet Cong fire, US Army helicopters pouring machine-gun fire into a tree line and a US machine gunner peering from the brush of an overgrown rubber plantation during a half-hour fire fight.
Wounded US paratroopers are helped by fellow soldiers to a medical evacuation helicopter on October 5,during the Vietnam War. US Army helicopters providing support for US ground troops fly into a staging area fifty miles northeast of Saigon, Vietnam, August 28, Helicopter fuel is stored in the large rubber tanks, foreground.
Women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Tai, about 20 miles west of Saigon, Vietnam. The incredible images show US riflemen charge toward Viet Cong positions while holding machine guns, wounded US Paratroopers being helped to a medical evacuation helicopter and US Army helicopters providing support for ground troops. The original black and white pictures were painstakingly colorized over a period of 10 hours by electrician Royston Leonard, 55, from Cardiff, Wales.
I see marines no different from World War Two doing their jobs the best they could. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam.
The war is therefore considered a Cold War-era proxy war. The war is considered a humiliation for the United States. The Viet Cong also known as the National Liberation Front, or NLFa South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region, while the People's Army of Vietnam, also known as the North Vietnamese Army NVAengaged in more conventional warfare, at times committing large units to battle.
Their company-size patrol avoided an ambush when a patrol dog alerted the unit to the presence of enemy forces. An American soldier wears a hand lettered War Is Hell slogan on his helmet left in Vietnam,and soldiers making their way through the country's dense woodland. Hovering US Army helicopters pour machine-gun fire into the tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops as they attack a North Vietnamese army camp eighteen miles north of Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, March As the war continued, the military actions of the Viet Cong decreased as the role and engagement of the NVA grew.
US and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. In the course of the war, the US conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese Army in April marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.
Striking images like these are featured in British author Michael D Carroll's new book, Retrographic on the colourisation of historical images.
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