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  A Google Translation – useful but not accurate
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Case: The Vietnam War: 

And old saying tells that in a war the first victim is the truth. 

It is an interesting task to look into how American official and unofficial statistics “verifies” different assumptions about the Vietnam War. One of the subjects concerns the American causalities in the war: How many, of which age, rank, social or racial background etc.

On the slogans from the big demonstrations arranged by the anti-Vietnam-war –movements in the sixties and from the speech made be Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam; a time to break silence in 1967, a certain understanding of the causalities was passed on. It was the poor people and the Afro-Americans that fought in the war and who suffered most of the losses. 

Questions:

- How do the slogans/the speech correspond with the statistics?

- Was it based on a myth or on facts? 

- What about the credibility of the different websites that brings figures and statistics – are they all equally reliable? 

- And in what broader political context should you seek the reason for the interest in a certain understanding of the causalities?

 

Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam; a time to break silence. 1967

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm


Extract of the speech

 

Slogans from the anti-Vietnam-war movements: 

http://dccofc.org/photos/War/3-26-66_Demo_wide.jpg

Link to a photo: Anti-Vietnam-War demonstration New York 1969-70 

 

Statistical information of causalities.

National Archives: Combat Area casualty File

http://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics.html#category

International World History Project: 

http://history-world.org/vietnam_war_statistics.htm

 

Vietnam War facts US. Wings: Facts and myths (web side produced by a firm that provides the US army with all kinds of textile materials) 

http://www.uswings.com/vietnamfacts.asp 

America’s official bureau of statistics: census 

Census: http://www.census.gov/how/pdf/memorial_day_print.pdf

 

This case relates originally to an inter–disciplinary theme in a Danish upper secondary class.  As a startup before a large written exercise in History and Danish literature the class looked into the Vietnam War. One of the angles of the work was a statistical discussion.

I suppose this subject is relevant in another context. And I hope others will look into the matter. Anyway here is some of the material relevant for the discussion.