‘The Vietnam War’: the masterpiece of docuveteraan Ken Burns

Ken Burns made The Vietnam War his pièce de résistance.

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His series about the American civil War ( The Civil War, 1990) and world war II ( The War, 2007) from Ken Burns , one of the most famous living American documentary filmmakers made. For The Vietnam War he went ten episodes of together eighteen hours, which he more than eighty people from both camps had witnesses.


The war was like living in a family in which the father is an alcoholic is: nobody talks about it

Together, they tell a story that more or less starts at the us-backed struggle of the communist rebel leader Ho Chi Minh against the Japanese after the Second world War (with American support), and ends with an episode about the end of the war and its aftermath. In between: seven million tons of bombs, poison gas, a few famines, and – according to the most conservative estimate – about a million dead soldiers and civilians, Cambodians, Laotians, and American soldiers are not even counted.

The Vietnam War is a classic of design, a sober history lesson without too much stunt and vliegwerk, in which testimonies will be interspersed with tons of archival material were available. With thanks to the American media, which in Vietnam is ubiquitous were not true events to the people. The voice in the original version of actor Peter Coyote, on Canvas you will recognize the sonorous baritone of Björn Soenens. Only in the powerful prologue falls Burns out of his role of the history teacher: the soldiers are marching backward, bombs fly up, large bomb craters go close again, as if the documaker own everything wants to undo.

Six consecutive American presidents have Vietnam their fingers burned, of Harry S. Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson ( ‘LBJ, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?’, shouting activists in those days), and Richard Nixon, that the American troops in 1973 – four years later than promised – began to pull back. It was his successor, Gerald Ford, in 1975 the end of the war had to announce.

For millions of Americans, the war was, for decades, a collective trauma that everyone was hushed up. At the very beginning of the series speaks to a witness the as follows: ‘It was like living in a family in which the father is an alcoholic is: nobody talks about it.’ If so, then you should The Vietnam War peace of a AA meeting. And the whole world is invited.

Also read: Vietnam in 20 songs: the sound of napalm in the morning

The Vietnam War

As of Wednesday 21/3 to 22.15 hours, Canvas.

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