Playlist The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War

"Above and Beyond" at the Harold Washington Library

Commemorating the Vietnam War Around Chicago

Daniel Hautzinger

More than three million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians and more than 58,000 American soldiers died in the Vietnam War. Nearly 3,000 American soldiers were from Illinois. What memorials, in various forms, exist near Chicago to honor them?
Mary Ann Vecchio kneels over the body of fellow student Jeffrey Miller, who was killed by Ohio National Guard troops during an antiwar demonstration at Kent State University. May 4, 1970. Photo: John Filo/Getty Images

From the Archive: A Vietnam Veteran Turned Protester

Daniel Hautzinger

Hear excerpts from a 1977 Studs Terkel interview with Ron Kovic, the author of the best-selling memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which became an Oliver Stone film. "I know that the people of this country want to face up to the truth of that war," Kovic says.
Vietnam veteran with a south Vietnamese friend.

A Timely Reunion Across Four Decades and the Globe

Daniel Hautzinger

Phil Seymour promised a young Vietnamese boy a watch while he was serving as a Marine near the boy's village. He regretted his failure to follow through for forty years, until he reunited with Cam, forming a bond with him and his family, especially his daughter.
The poster of Apocalypse Now.

From the Archive: Siskel and Ebert on Vietnam Movies

Daniel Hautzinger

In 1980, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel looked back on the films that tackled the Vietnam War, reviewing Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Hair, and, the one pro-war film, John Wayne's The Green Berets, among others. Hear their takes on Hollywood's contributions.
General William Westmoreland and President Lyndon B. Johnson. April 4, 1968. Photo: Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Audiovisual Archives

From the Archive: General William Westmoreland

Daniel Hautzinger

As Ken Burns's The Vietnam War approaches, watch excerpts from two 1976 WTTW interviews with General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968. The war "came about as the result of a series of very serious political blunders," he says.
Chicago Police outside the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Photo: Bea A. Carson

When the Democratic Party Was Torn Apart

Daniel Hautzinger

The Democratic National Convention of August, 1968, held in Chicago, was a defining moment of the Vietnam era and a watershed in American politics. What actually happened during that devastating event that pitted police against protesters and ripped apart the Democratic Party?
Geoffrey Ward, scriptwriter for Ken Burns' The Vietnam War. Photo: Diane Raines Ward

The Extraordinary Life of Ken Burns' Scriptwriter

Daniel Hautzinger

Geoffrey C. Ward has written scripts for Ken Burns for the past thirty years, and his incredible life uniquely fits him for the job. He survived polio, hunted tigers in India as a teenager, and has an ancestor who bankrupted Ulysses S. Grant. 
173rd Airborne Brigade paratrooper after an early morning firefight. July 14, 1966. Photo: AP/John Nance

Understanding Vietnam: A Conversation with the Director of 'The Vietnam War'

Daniel Hautzinger

Lynn Novick, co-director with Ken Burns of the ten-part, eighteen hour documentary series The Vietnam War, which premieres in September, discusses the potential lessons of the war and one of the most affecting moments of her filming career.
Soldiers on a search and destroy operation near Qui Nhon. January 17, 1967. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

From the Archive: Veterans and Steppenwolf Discuss the Vietnam War

Daniel Hautzinger

In 1984, WTTW hosted a discussion of the Vietnam War with a group of veterans and four Steppenwolf Theatre actors playing soldiers onstage, including Gary Sinise. Revisit it here.
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