Causes Of The My Lai Massacre

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My Lai Communication Project FQ1: What were the Causes of the My Lai Massacre? Key Historical Idea 1: The Charlie Company Situation The situation of Charlie Company in Vietnam was dire. They were experiencing a war different to all others, if it can be classed a war. When they arrived in Vietnam, they would have been expecting the Vietnamese to roll over in submission to the mighty American army. But that presumption couldn’t have been further from the truth. Aggressive Training In Fort Benning: Charlie Company arrived in Vietnam in December 1967, from their training camp in Fort Benning, Georgia. It was here were the men that made up Charlie Company undertook the change from civilian to soldier. They were taught to kill. They were ordered to kill dummies with bullets, as well as the bayonet. Their commanders would think of sayings to motivate his trainees to kill. Some of these include: “Kill, kill, kill with the cold blue steel!” This refers to the bayonet, and killing the Vietnamese with its cold, steel blade. When soldiers were asked by their sergeant the spirit of the bayonet, they were ordered to answer with “To kill Sergeant, to kill!” As you can see, the training that the soldiers heading to Vietnam undertook was very much centred on killing, or eliminating the enemy. The orders the sergeants shouted at them were exactly that: orders. You had to obey them. This was designed so that in Vietnam, if they received an order, the soldiers were to carry it out without questioning the motive, or the reasoning behind it. This was a cause of the My Lai massacre, because when the situation in My Lai was confronted, soldiers with experience might have reacted differently. Soldiers that were experienced with war situations, might have stopped and thought “Wait, this is not right.” But as the soldiers of Charlie Company had no experience, they continued to massacre
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