The Cold War and the Media: Lessons from America in Vietnam

Authored by: Steven Ekovich

The Ashgate Research Companion to War

Print publication date:  January  2012
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754678267
eBook ISBN: 9781315613741
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041115


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The relationship of the media with war may not be as old as war, but it is certainly as old as the media—as old as the first representations of armed conflict between human communities. Representations of war encompass all forms of media: the written word, painting, sculpture, architecture, dress, masks… It is expressed as well in music, song, dance and plays. The earliest works of literature are stories told about war. Epic poems, myths, sacred texts, histories and legends recount grand and violent struggles. All innovations in the means of communication, media, have been used for political purposes. To the extent that war is the continuation of politics by other means it is natural that war has included in its panoply of arms any and all media at its disposition. This is particularly crucial when war is understood in its broadest sense as the confrontation of wills. Any instrument that can bend the will of an adversary to one’s purposes is vital in such contests. But these chronicles of armed confrontations are not used simply to glorify war. They are essential cultural vehicles that define for societies their virtues and vices: heroism, vanity, venality, treachery, brutality, loyalty, comradeship, love, hate, forgiveness …

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