The photo taken by AP photographer Nick Ut brought him the success that everyone in his profession dreams about. He won the Pulitzer Prize and the World Press Photo of the Year in 1972. The picture of the young Vietnamese girl, Phan Thị Kim Phúc running naked from the village that was just devastated by a napalm bombing raid during the Vietnam War. Some may not think of this photo as artistic, but that would be ignoring the amazing impact it had on the world who viewed it at the time. It evoked emotions, provoked thought, and presented a disturbing image that made most that saw it have a different image of war. Hollywood’s depiction of war as one of glory and heroism was effectively dispelled. One look at this photo and the viewer would understand that there is little honor in war, but many innocent lives are destroyed or changed forever.
The Vietnam War had been raging for many years and the United States troops deeply involved for almost a decade, with dwindling popular support. Violent protests had become common all over the country and this photo reinforced their resolve. American pilots had mistaken the village as having a Viet Cong or North Vietnamese Army presence, killing innocent villagers. This picture provided evidence of the atrocities that were being committed by the American soldiers in an unjust war. It may have turned many people who had been unsure against the Vietnam War. The war had been the first to be openly covered by the press and it had long lost the battle for public opinion and this was one of the final straws, before the United States finally withdrew its forces a little over a year later, 15 August 1973.
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Picture Power: Vietnam Napalm Attack. (2005.). BBC News - Home. Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4517597.stm