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History of the Vietnam Wars : Communist Propaganda from North Vietnam

This Guide contains information on print and web resources at UW-Madison and elsewhere dealing with the Vietnam Wars, including useful information for the HIST 319 course and on the unique "North Vietnam Propaganda Collection" and the Pentagon Papers.

Locations

There are two parts to the Communist Propaganda from North Vietnam Collection: photographs and manuscripts.  For more information about the Collection and TCPV, researchers are encouraged to visit both Special Collections in Memorial Library and the Wisconsin Historical Society, right across the street:

Photographs @ Special Collections
( Library Catalog | Finding aid )

Manuscripts @ Historical Society
( ArCat | Finding aid )

Description

The "Communist Propaganda from North Vietnam" collection came to Memorial Library Special Collections via the archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society. The materials were collected by members of the Teachers Committee for Peace in Vietnam (TCPV). The TCPV was formed in the summer of 1965 by teachers and students in the United States who opposed the war in Vietnam, and were interesed in educating others about the conflict, and influencing public policy. The group was organized by two teachers in New York City. 

Also documented in this collection is the Committee’s effort to get the American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO) to voice opposition to the war despite the AFL-CIO’s support of the Johnson administration. In addition to administrative files, the collection includes correspondence with and material on other peace groups, informational mailings (newsletters and leaflets), curricular materials, statements, reports, and miscellanous publications.

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.

Finding aid for Photographs

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.