Film “Full Metal Jacket”- Katarina

“Full Metal Jacket”

The last but not least movie we watched in our English class was “Full Metal Jacket”. The movie took place during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) and the second part of the movie showed us the Marines fighting in the war. This photo was taken in 1970 and in this image you can see a Lance Corporal U.S. soldier carrying an elderly Vietnamese lady to safety. The woman looks a bit scared and is holding her conical hat. The soldier is looking in front of him to see where he is stepping and on his face I think you can see a bit of a gloriful grin since he saved the lady. Not all soldiers were just “killing machines” as in contradiction to some beliefs that the U.S. soldiers were just ruthlessly killing.


Iron curtain

The Iron Curtain is the name for the “barrier” that separated the communist and non-communist territories. It was “set” by the Soviet Union after World War II to separate itself and its dependent Eastern and Central European allies from any contact in the west and any other non-communist areas. The “barrier” was recognized as the Iron Curtain by Winston Churchill in a speech at Fulton, Missouri on March 5th 1946.Winston Churchill condemns the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe and declares, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”

Truman doctrine

With the Truman Doctrine, President Harry S. Truman established on March 12th 1947, that the United States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces.

Policy of containment

Containment was a foreign policy strategy followed by the United States during the Cold War. First laid out by George F. Kennan in 1947, the policy stated that communism needed to be contained and isolated, or else it would spread to neighboring countries. American foreign policy advisors believed that once one country fell to communism, each surrounding country would fall as well, like a row of dominoes. This view was known as the domino theory.

Arms race

The destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by American atomic weapons in August 1945 began an arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. This lasted until the signing of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty of November 1990.

McCarthy era

The McCarthy Era was marked by dramatic accusations that communists had infiltrated the highest levels of American society as part of a global conspiracy. The period took its name from a Wisconsin senator, Joseph McCarthy, who created a frenzy in the press in February 1950 with his claim that hundreds of communists were spread throughout the State Department and other sectors of the Truman administration.McCarthy did not create the widespread fear of communism in America at the time. But he was responsible for creating a pervasive atmosphere of suspicion which had dangerous consequences. Anyone’s loyalty could be questioned, and many Americans were unfairly placed in the position of having to prove they were not communist sympathizers.

  • Korean War

At the end of the Second World War, Korea – which had formerly been occupied by the Japanese – was divided along the 38th Parallel. This was an internal border between North and South Korea based on a circle of latitude.The North soon fell under the influence of the Soviet Union whilst the South relied on the support of the Americans. The Korean People’s Army (KPA) was established in North Korea in February 1948, from Korean communist guerrillas who had previously served with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, but were ‘advised’ by Soviet personnel. On 25 June 1950 the KPA invaded South Korea and rapidly advanced southwards trapping South Korean and American troops in a small perimeter around the port of Pusan. The United Nations, with the United States (us, gb, australia, canada, india, nz, south africa) as the principal participant, joined the war on the side of the South Koreans, and the People’s Republic of China came to North Korea’s aid.

Role of J. F. Kennedy

35th president, As president, Kennedy confronted mounting Cold War tensions in Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere. He also led a renewed drive for public service and eventually provided federal support for the growing civil rights movement. Navy and marine corps medal for his service during ww2.

Bay of Pigs and the Cuban crisis

In early 1961 President John F. Kennedy concluded that Fidel Castro was a Soviet client working to subvert Latin America. After much debate in his administration Kennedy authorized a clandestine invasion of Cuba by a brigade of Cuban exiles. The origins of the Cuban Missile Crisis lie in the failed Bay of Pigs on the 17th April 1961 invasion, during which US-supported Cuban exiles hoping to foment an uprising against Castro were overpowered by the Cuban armed forces. After the invasion, Castro turned to the Soviets for protection against future US aggression.

In October 1962, an American U-2 spy plane secretly photographed nuclear missile sites being built by the Soviet Union on the island of Cuba. President Kennedy did not want the Soviet Union and Cuba to know that he had discovered the missiles. He met in secret with his advisors for several days to discuss the problem.

Space Race

Soon after World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union became locked in a global conflict pitting democracy against communism. Space became a critical theater in this Cold War, as each side competed to best the other’s achievements in what became known as the Space Race. Sputnik – (1st artificial sattelite) sometimes called Sputnik 1 – went into space on Oct. 4, 1957. The achievement sent a shockwave through the American public, who had felt a sense of technological superiority amid a post-war economic boom. Sputnik 2- Laika- muttnik. Yuri Gagarin.

Vietnam War (causes, outcome and consequences)


Vietnam had been under French rule since the 19th century. During ww2 Japanise forces invaded Vietnam. To fight off both Japanese and the French, political leader Ho Chi Minh formed the Viet Minh, League for the Vietnam Independence. After World War Two Ho Chi Minh captured Hanoi in 1945 and declared Vietnam independent. The French tried to take control again, but this was unpopular with the people. They were defeated by the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.

The Domino Theory

This was the belief that if one country fell to communism, it was likely that the neighbouring one would also fall – similar to a row of dominoes falling over. This had happened in Eastern Europe after 1945. China had become communist in 1949 and communists were in control of North Vietnam.


Objectively, North Vietnam – the communists – who achieved their goals of reuniting and gaining independence for the whole Vietnam won the war whereas South Vietnam under the U.S. support lost the war.


It led Congress to replace the military draft with an all-volunteer force and the country to reduce the voting age to 18. It also inspired Congress to attack the “imperial” presidency through the War Powers Act, restricting a president’s ability to send American forces into combat without explicit Congressional approval. The Vietnam War severely damaged the U.S. economy. Unwilling to raise taxes to pay for the war, President Johnson unleashed a cycle of inflation.The war also weakened U.S. military morale and undermined, for a time, the U.S. commitment to internationalism. Poisoooooooned their crops and life

Richard Nixon and the Watergate Affair

Watergate was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s, following a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and President Richard Nixon’s administration’s attempted cover-up of its involvement. When the conspiracy was discovered and investigated by the US Congress, the Nixon administration’s resistance to its probes led to a constitutional crisis. The term Watergate has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included such “dirty tricks” as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious.

  • The role of Henry Kissinger

Henry Alfred Kissinger was the 56th Secretary of State of the United States. After leaving government service, he founded Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm, of which he is chairman. On January 27, 1973, Kissinger and his North Vietnamese negotiating partner, Le Duc Tho, finally signed a ceasefire agreement to end direct American involvement in the conflict. Both men were honored with the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, although Duc declined, leaving Kissinger the sole recipient of the award.


A counterculture developed in the United States in the late 1960s, lasting from approximately 1964 to 1972, and coinciding with America’s involvement in Vietnam. Counterculture youth rejected the cultural standards of their parents, especially with respect to racial segregation, the Vietnam War, sexual mores, women’s rights, and materialism, poverty.

Summer of Love

In the summer of 1967, tens of thousands of young supporters of the counterculture flocked to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Virtually taking over the neighborhood, these so-called ‘hippies’ brought vibrant colors and personalities to the city, filling it with music, drugs and free love in what would go down in history as the Summer of Love.


It was a music festival held between August 15–18, 1969, which attracted an audience of more than 400,000. Billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”, it was held at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm near White Lake in Bethel, New York, 70 km southwest of Woodstock.

Historical Accuracy and Opinion

Full Metal Jacket depicts the Vietnam war from the perspective of soldiers. This film is divided into two distinctive parts. The first part takes place in a Marine boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina, where soldiers are ruthlessly drilled. The movie then moves to Vietnam. As one of the main characters Joker is a correspondent for the military newspaper, many interviews are conducted with soldiers who reveal American beliefs at the time. The movie finishes with an especially tense sequence with a showdown between the American soldiers and a North Vietnamese sniper.

Firstly, this movie is historically accurate with only minor faults here and there.

“Full Metal Jacket is an extremely historically accurate movie. The boot camp segment was so accurate that it could have happened in real life. The Vietnam segment was also very accurately portrayed.”

Even though the characters were fictional, the accuracy makes you think that the movie was even you can say a documentary or in this new social media era, a vlog. As we talked in our class, for some people the movi was too “bloody” or just harsh. However the movimakers actually did a great job showing how terrible the situation was. For example, the interviews as seen in the movie happened in real life, the views expressed by the soldiers, the combats and prostitution were all correctly depicted and it seemed as if the soldiers themselves did not really know what they were actually fighting for, for them it was mostly just to win.

On the other hand, the physical abuse was apparently underplayed in the boot camp.

“The movie underplays the physical abuse.”

I, personally wouldn’t want to have seen any more physical abuse in the movie because if I would have been the one screamed at, I would have just cried. The Sergeant was not nice to the soon-to-be-Marine. However it seemed to me that he did that because he cared. He did not want the Marines to die in battle.

All in all, for me it was quite surprising that this war movie did not disturb me as much as all the other war movies do. Therefore, I would recommend watching this movie. It really does show you how it was years ago in the Marine Corp and the Vietnam War.

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