The Development of Technology and the Role It Played in Two Major Wars of the 20th Century

Topics: World War II, United States, Vietnam War Pages: 5 (1682 words) Published: March 18, 2014

Linda Orman has lived in the United States for nearly 8 decades. In her time, she’s seen major American and international events break over radio waves, in black and white, color, in print and on Twitter. War has been a major part of the media landscape over the past 80 years, and has helped form public opinion in support or against war. The role that media has played in major wars of the 20th century is vital, and has helped spur or stop conflicts. As technology has developed, so has the ways that war has been reported. The differences between the technological outlets that World War Two and the Vietnam War were reported through, directly led to two different sets of public opinion in the 20th Century. Linda Orman was born on June 5, 1935 in Bainbridge, NY. She is a 78 year old Caucasian woman who was married for 30 years, and is now divorced. Orman considers Bainbridge, NY to be her hometown. She attended Syracuse University for two years, but failed to complete a degree. She has three daughters. Orman’s father served in the military during World War II, flying in the “Army Air Force,” as it was called at the time, according to Orman. She remembered being frightened by the World War II on the radio.” I was quite scared,” Orman said, “but I was a young teenager, too, and I was not kind that would voice these things to anyone. I would lay in bed at night and be afraid that bombs would come and we'd all die in the morning.” The war affected her quite a bit, as she feared for her father’s life as he was off fighting in World War II. The development of media and technology over time is strongly visible in how World War II and the Vietnam War were reported on. The impact of different technological mediums of the two separate time periods also served to influence how to information was conveyed and received by the public. The media played a major role in defining the issues and in shaping public opinion about them throughout World War II, as well as Vietnam. “The war of words and images became one of the most important struggles of World War II. Axis nations used the news and entertainment media- and even the arts- to build national unity among their own people, to try to bolster or gain support from other nations, and to try to discourage their enemies.1” Orman’s father served in World War II. She was too young to remember much about how the news was reported on, but she recalled that the radio was a large factor during that time period. “I can always remember us gathered around the radio, listening to FDR talk,” Orman said. “I didn’t really understand what he was talking about, but I remember my grandparents always “shushing” me. Later, of course, I learned of his fireside chats as well as more about what was going on in the Second World War.” She felt it was a mix of radio and newspaper that were the main media channels of the day. Radio had a huge presence in the homes of Americans during World War II. President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" address was delivered on December 8, 1941, the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and was trumped across all news outlets.2 Congress declared War and the country reacted similarly to 9/11, proclaiming World War II as “our war.”3 Radio broadcasters were welcomed into the homes of American citizens each night, all-eager to hear updates on the warfront. Edward Murrow of CBS brought radio listeners into the scene with his famous nightly broadcasts from London, peppered with the sound of bombs exploding in the background. The United States had 56 million radio sets that all ears were tuning into during World War II.4 Walter Winchell and Lowell Thomas were two other famous broadcasters who were famous during World War II.5 World War II was much more censored than the Vietnam War. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Military enforced censorship was imposed and President Roosevelt created the “Office of Censorship”6. Additionally, radio and newspapers lacked the...

Bibliography: "Day of Infamy" Speech: Joint Address to Congress Leading to a Declaration of War
Against Japan. Accessed November 17, 2013. http://1.usa.gov/vdyLJD
Michael Mandelbaum, “Vietnam: The Television War,” Daedalus, Vol. 111, No. 4,
Print Culture and Video Culture (1982), pp. 157-169
Reporting in Vietnam. Accessed November 17, 2013.
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~class/am485_98/lane/media/viet.htm
“The 1950s Television Coverage” last modified November 13, 2013.
http://library.thinkquest.org/27629/themes/media/md40s.html
Wm. David Sloan, The Media in America: a history (Northport, AL: Vision Press, 2011), 343.
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