Vietnamese Propaganda Photo Collection

Origin of the Collection

ho_csThe “Communist Propaganda from North Vietnam” collection came to Memorial Library Special Collections via the archives of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. The materials were collected by members of the Teachers Committee for Peace in Vietnam. The TCPV was formed in 1965 by teachers and students in the United States who opposed the war in Vietnam, and were interesed in educating others about the conflict.

For more information about the TCPV, researchers are encouraged to view the manuscript portion of the collection, which remains at the Historical Society Archives. Read a copy of the catalog record, or visit the Archives online at http://www.wisc.edu/shs-archives/, and search the online catalog (ArCat).

Although we cannot be certain, it appears that the materials in this collection were created in Vietnam. Some of the caption sheets were written in both English and French, and the grammar is not that of a native speaker. Unfortunately, there is no record of how the TCPV obtained the materials.

Description of the Collection

1. Black & White Photographs with Corresponding Caption Sheets

The “Communist Propaganda from North Vietnam” Collection is primarily a visual collection. It contains approximately 175 black and white photographs, grouped into thematic units. These photographs record several types of military, economic, and political activities. Sample photographs from the collection can be viewed when examining individual caption sheets.

This collection, however, is more than a just random grouping of photographs. With a single exception, each group of photographs arrived with a detailed caption sheet, individually typed onto rough paper. There is also one caption sheet that arrived without the accompanying photgraphs. Most of these caption sheets begin with an introduction that ties the photographs together by topic. The accompanying text is valuable not only for the information it contains about the photographs, but also as instruments of propaganda in its own right. In other words, the captions are not only descriptive but also interpretive.

Please note: The caption lists are transcribed verbatim. All misspellings and inaccuracies are present in the original.

2. Color Leaflets

Unlike the photographs, the color leaflets do not have caption sheets. These materials appear to have been printed for a wide distribution. Each leaflet contains a color image with a short caption, and a longer slogan that has no direct relationship to the image. Leaflets are printed on one side only, and some arrived folded in half. The collection includes approximately ten different examples of this type of propaganda.

Links to Caption Sheets

hero_csWith sample photographs
To view the full caption list with sample photograph, click on any of the following:

Other Related Sites

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Memoirs and Oral Histories of the Vietnam War

  • Vietnam Memories Includes powerful black and white images taken by Neal Ulevich, AP photographer assigned to Vietnam 1970-75.
  • Images Of My War Photographs and recollections of Ulf R. “Ron” Heller, who served in Vietnam from 1968-1970.
  • Remembrance Vietnam Veterans Home Page, 1994. Includes “galleries” with stories, poems, songs, maps, and narratives from or about the Vietnam War era. Contributors include Veterans and their families and friends.
  • Vietnam War Oral Histories Finding Aid to the Vietnam Interview Tape Collection held by the U.S. Army Center for Military History.

POWs, MIAs, and U.S.Casualties

  • Library of Congress POW/MIA Database Searchable database allows users to “identify documents of interest by using search terms such as last names, country names, service branches, and keywords.”
  • Operation Homecoming Color photographs of POWs returning from Vietnam. The author quotes liberally from Larry Chesley’s book Seven Years in Hanoi.

Other Vietnam Sites

  • Vietnam Interactive Portfolio E. Kenneth Hoffman was a photo detachment supervisor in Pleiku (Central Highlands). He has digitized many of the photgraphs he took while in Vietnam. Hoffman describes the theme of his work as “the effect of the war upon the Vietnamese people and how the war uprooted their lives.”
  • The Archive of the Vietnam Conflict at Texas Tech An archive dedicated to collecting, housing and preserving material related to the nation’s Vietnam experience.
  • Vietnam by Julian Bond; illustrated by T.G. Lewis. Comic book originally publishing in 1967. Vietnam Generation, Inc. 1995. The Sixties Project site includes links to additional Vietnam sites, as well as information on electronic mailing lists (ListServs).