Subversive Historian – 11/12/08

Seymour Hersh Breaks My Lai Massacre Story

Thirty-nine years ago on this day in people’s history, Seymour Hersh published a story exposing the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. On November 12th, 1969, the investigative journalist brought to the attention of the American public one of the most criminal acts of the war. The expose, which would later garner Hersh a Pulitzer Prize, was based on a tip about a solider who had killed numerous civilians from an attorney opposed to the Vietnam War. Hersh followed up the lead at the Pentagon where he came upon the name “Lieutenant William Calley.” After several in-depth conversations with Calley about the massacre, Hersh had all he needed to bring the story to light. Once widely known, the atrocity, the subsequent attempt at covering it up, and the trial of Calley further turned the public against the war.

Why did it take until November 12th, 1969 for the people of the United States to find out about a massacre of 500 civilians in Vietnam that took place on March 16th, 1968? If not for Hersh’s work, the shroud of silence would have kept the country in the dark for as long as it could get away with it.


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