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Captured POWs

Photos of some captured US airmen in the Vietnamese newspaper during Linebacker II

Snapshot from People's Army newspaper

The Vietnam War was unique in the heavy influence of the press and mass media on the battlefield situation. Never before in the history of warfare the press had the role more decisive than in the Vietnam War. It opened the new era of warfare, where disinformation and propaganda became a part of the war strategy. Retrospectively speaking, one of the chief reason of the US failure in Vietnam was the underestimation of this important aspect of modern warfare. Not only at home, where by the start of 1970s the public opinion turned sharply against the war, but also in South Vietnam. Outside of the major urban centers, the Vietcong forces controlled most of the vast rural areas of South Vietnam. Hanoi, however, proved more effective (partly due to the centralised control of the press) in manipulating the press. The press painted the picture of overwhelming international support, of the peace-loving Americans protesting regularly against "Nixon and his gang", and of American warplanes falling in thousands.