October 2013 saw the release of a book entitled ‘Vietnam: The Real War’, which compiles 300 of the most compelling Associated Press photographs of the decades-long quagmire. Like soldiers themselves, AP photographers were entrenched in the harsh and unforgiving war. Many were injured along the way – some were even killed – but every last one of them captured unforgettable moments of a gruesome conflict that most at home would have never otherwise been able to fathom. Fifty years later, this catalog of images still cuts to the heart of war, giving viewers a deeper understanding of what our soldiers and photographers lived through, and what many of them will never be able to shake.
Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and photographer Malcolm Wilde Browne, June 11th, 1963: Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death on a Saigon street to protest persecution of Buddhists by the Catholic South Vietnamese government. This was the first of a series of self-immolations by the monks.
Horst Faas, July 1963: A Vietnamese mother pulls her two children away from their burning home which was set fire to by South Vietnamese soldiers, near Tay Ninh.
German photojournalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Horst Faas, March 1965: U.S. Army helicopters lay down cover fire over South Vietnamese troops as they attack a Viet Cong camp north of Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border.
Henri Huet, September 1966: U.S. Marines south of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) after a night of fighting North Vietnamese troops, in which the supply chopper seen in the picture was shot down.
Photographer/Date unknown: A South Vietnamese woman sobs over the loss of her deceased husband, who was discovered in a mass grave.
Daniel Camus and Jean Péraud, March 16th, 1954: French paratroopers descend at Dien Bien Phu to provide reinforcements.
Photographer unknown, May 8th, 1971: Near Camp Eagle, headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division, an aerial view of a peace symbol probably made by U.S. troops with a bulldozer.
French War photographer Henri Huet, September 25th, 1965: in the jungle area of Ben Cat, U.S. paratroopers of the 2nd Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, carry their weapons above water in the rain while they search for Viet Cong troops. Huet would later die in 1971 when the helicopter that he and three other photojournalists were in was shot down.
Photo by New Zealand journalist Peter Gregg Arnett, April 10th, 1965: Soldiers arriving at Red Beach at Da Nang.
Henri Huet, May 14th, 1966: The body of a U.S. soldier killed in battle near the Cambodian border is lifted up to an evacuation helicopter.
Photographer/Date unknown: A wounded paratrooper at the base camp of Shau Valley awaits a medical evacuation, in agonizing pain.
All images come from The Daily Mail.