Cronkite on Vietnam

Here are video clips of Walter Cronkite’s original February 27, 1968 CBS Evening News Broadcast on the Tet Offensive and also an oral history from Cronkite about that pivotal TV moment recorded in 1999.  Explain why this was such a pivotal moment in the history of US involvement in Vietnam.

The result of rising anti-war sentiment in the Democratic primaries and clear signposts of mainstream concern from sources such as Cronkite’s February special report convinced President Lyndon Johnson to announce on March 31, 1968 that he would not seek reelection after all.  Here is the full broadcast of his address to the nation that evening.  His remarks on quitting the presidential race begin around the 38 minute mark.


Comments

Cronkite on Vietnam — 1 Comment

  1. By 1968, “middle” America had begun to feel uncertain about the US involvement in Vietnam. There were those who still believed the war on communism was valuable enough to warrant bloodshed, while others thought the US was fighting a winless cause. This polarization, in regards to war-time ideology, meant the volatility of the public opinion was at an all time high.

    As the major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC) continued their dominance over mass media, along with the countries suburbanization, citizens began to emotionally invest in the opinions and actions of prominent news anchors. So, when Walter Cronkite came out saying the war had entered stalemate, everyone listened. It opened up the reality of the war to the American public. Regardless where one fell on the spectrum, most agreed things needed to change. This philosophical stimulus shifted opinions to focus on the conclusion of the war rather than the punching bag known as communism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *