Browse Exhibits (38 total)

Children of Vietnam

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The children of Vietnam were used as political tools to further the agendas of both the United States and Vietnam. Many of these children would provided a key symbol of America's benevolence whose presence in the war was meant to save inncoent children from the evils of communistism. Popular missions such as Operation Babylift displayed the savior-like qualities of the U.S., proving to both the American and international public that the U.S. had done some humanitarian good in Vietnam. There were other children, however, like Kim Phuc whose image sparked severe opposition to the war after her photograph captured headlines around the world. Another legacy, perhaps less publicized than the previous two, were the children left behind in Vietnam, many of who were fathered by American GIs. These Amerasian children were the subject of controversy and faced severe discrimination against in Vietnam after the war. The experiences of each child may be different, but all of them endured the hardships and atrocities of the war. The Vietnam war had made a deep impact on each child and shaped their lives and futures, but in return the presence of children and their stories changed the course of the entire Vietnam War.

Media Bias During the Vietnam Era

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During the 1960s and 1970s, while the Vietnam War was raging in Southeast Asia, the news media in the United States experienced an extreme shift in both power and in how it reported the doings of the government. Gone were the days of complacent reporting, replaced instead with biting indictments of the government.  But was this the case universally?

As in every other facet of American society, there were deep divides in the media when it came to the war in Vietnam.  There existed a multitude of news orginizations that enthusiastically supported the efforts of the U.S. forces in Vietnam.  Reporters vehemently defended the actions of the nation as anti-communist and the best course of action to take during the Cold War.  However, the mainstream argument of growing media resentment toward U.S. behavior in Vietnam is the common view for a reason.  Media agencies seemed to shift from a more detached view of simply reporting events to a much more intense view that depicts the United States in a... less than favorable light.

For the most part, newspapers in particular seem to be interested in reporting the facts without a lot of spin during the early part of the conflict, but the media companies all experience a growing cynicism and lack of respect for the United States' mission in Vietnam as the war drags on.

There are multiple events in the Vietnam conflict that media focuses in on.  The Strategic Hamlet Program, The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, The Tet Offensive, The My Lai Massacre, and the release of the Pentagon Papers display the change of media reporting in the newspapers as time goes on, showcasing the media's growing contempt for United States administration and handling of the events in Vietnam. 

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident highlights the media still believing the government about happenings in Vietnam.  The reports in the newspapers are largely the same as the official story.

The Strategic Hamlet Program shows the media beginning to take more of an interest in Vietnam as the American government does the same.  The stories published begin to talk about the general incompetence of the program's implementation, but avoid Americans as a topic of discussion.

The Tet Offensive is where media really begins to break with the government over Vietnam.  It had become obvious by this time that hte government was not telling the whole truth at the very least, and the media had gottne sick of it.  The stories run at the time reflect this ire.

The My Lai Massacre was the vindication of the reports of government mishandling of the situation in Vietnam.  Reporters jumped on the opportunity to call out the men who had committed this vile act, as well as the people who had allowed it to occur at all.

Finally, the Pentagon Papers would pit the government against the media in a very public fashion, with the American people caught in the middle.  The American media had finally gotten something concrete on the government and the utter debacle that was policy regarding South Vietnam.

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The Fall of Saigon

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This Exhibt is focusing on the Fall of Saigon. The basis of this is to explore the event and to see a timeline of the incidents that occured in this historic moment in US history and war history. In this exhibt there will also be a page dedicated to Richard Armitage one of the main players in the evacuation process in Saigon and his talk at UNO in 2016. A page dedicated to the best images from the famous scenes of the evacuation at Saigon. Overall the Fall of Saigon is such a significant event as signifies the only real military defeat of the United States in it's history. 

Trench Coats instead of Tanks, American Espionage in World War Two

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The image of the suave spy is very much a product of the Second World War. This site will go over American espionage efforts against Nazi Germany, along with Nazi spy efforts against the allies. For context, some information will be given for the United Kingdoms and Soviet Union’s spy programs during the period.

What is the Nazi link with South America?

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What is the Nazi link with South America? Why did many high ranking Nazis migrate to South American countries following WWII? Who helped them?  What impact does this have on the Cold War?

Front Page Headlines Shaping Our Views on the WAR

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This exhibit will showcase different front page articles from two newspapers, the Omaha World Herald and The Negro Star. The months that these articles are being drawn from are October through February the end of 1941 and beginning of 1942. To navigate through the pages on this exhibit click on a title on the right-hand side. There will be an introduction to the newspaper being showcased on that page followed by hand selected front page articles before, the month of, and after Pearl Harbor. There are some special links throughout the webpage that you can click on for further reading about certain topics brought up in the headlines of the showcased articles.

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Sexualization of World War II

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From pin-up girls on the sides of military airplanes to USO clubs to propaganda on the homefront, the sexualization of women (and subsequent sexism) was everywhere during World War Two. 

Male artists produced images of sexualized women for magazines and posters which became wildly popular with the troops. The USO opened social halls across the country, with the two most famous being in New York and Los Angeles. These clubs did not allow women in unless they were employed by the USO to dance and flirt with the servicemen. The United States government produced propaganda posters that were distributed to the public that depicted women in ways that were very appropriate to the times. Women were supporting the war effort, but in the eyes of the government they were specifically supporting the men fighting in the war and not patriotism or anti-fascism.

These seemingly innocuous aspects of American culture during WWII contributed to a change in how society viewed women. The rate of reported rapes increased by 45% during the war years. There was a pornography boom in the 1950s. Women were viewed as sex symbols/objects in the public eye and popular culture for the first time in American history.  

Japanese Incursions on the Mainland

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On April 18th, 1945, the Dundee neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska was rocked by a fireball that fell from the sky. It wasn't a meteor or an alien spacecraft; it was an attack conducted by the Japanese. Attacks like this are seldom talked about in American history. Americans are so used to believing that our little corner of the Earth is a safe harbor from foreign invasion. During WWII, both the Germans and Japanese had serious ambitions about striking the United States, but it would be the latter of the two that would accomplish striking the US on its home turf.

 

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What the Boys Listened To

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Music has always influenced anyone who has ever listened to it. Going all the way back to when the first concept of music came about, we see that it can be a very important tool and motivator. I believe wholeheartedly that music had a significant impact on the war, whether it be on the battlefield where men sat idle waiting for orders as the BBC sounded out tune after tune of popular music like The Andrew Sisters’ famous 1941 hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” or Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” or in the factory as a young woman made ammunition for the war effort. These artists and their passion for music captivated the world and their focus on happier times; reminiscent of days long gone when there was not a war to tear them from their families and homes. I will be discussing not a few big popular artists, but a variety of musicians over the giant spectrum of music popular between the war years of 1939-1945. 

WWII Comics

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Looking at the art that was influenced by what the soldiers saw as well as what artists read and in the news. This exhibit includes comics and illustrations from the likes of Dr. Suess, Bill Mauldin, and Dave Breger and their influence on the overall perception of politics, the "average Joe" infantry, and the Allied and Axis powers.

Of course, not all illustrations were made for adults at home in the Sunday paper and the infantry on the battlefield. Comic books were in the hands of almost every child during that era, and with comics such as Superman and Captain America, the American experience of World War II was felt by every American.

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