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HSS 300C - The United States: Primary Sources

Documenting the Vietnam War

Photographers such as Dick Durrance provided the definitive visual record for the horrors of combat, greatly influencing public opinion of the Vietnam War. Durrance photographed for Department of Army’s Special Photographic Office, flying all over Vietnam photographing operations with diverse units as intense responses to what he saw and experienced. Inspired in 1988 by Oliver Stone’s movie “Platoon,” Durrance published his photographs as Where War Lives: A Photographic Journal of Vietnam.

 William Short was an American soldier who decided he could no longer fight in Vietnam and was court-martialed and imprisoned. Short's compilation of photographs and oral histories of other soldiers who acted out against the war is entitled A Matter of Conscience: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War.



 Search each of these artist's names in the Addison Collection to see JPEGs of their photographs.

These resources can be used to explore questions including:

  • How do the intentions of photographers impact the narrative of a national or international story?
  • What were the effects of photography on public opinion during the Vietnam War?
  • How does the media coverage of the Vietnam War compare to the ways in which global conflict is documented today?

Primary Sources on the web

Search the OWHL Catalog

             Primary Sources in the OWHL Catalog



Do a keyword search for your topic and include the words primary source in your search string. For example: when looking for primary sources about Thomas Jefferson you should type Thomas Jefferson primary source into the search box.

Primary Sources in Databases

ALWAYS use the date range feature when searching for primary source newspaper articles.  An article is only a primary source if it was published at the time in which an event took place.


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