A young Viet Cong soldier Nguyen Van Be became the focus, for debates on youth, heroism, and state policy throughout the course of the Vietnam War. The moment the story reached the media – ballets, poems, songs passionately flooded the country encouraging young men to enlist into the army. The extend of its publicity could be well imagined by the whopping thirty million leaflets, seven million cartoon leaflets, 465,000 posters, 175,000 copies of a special newspaper, 167,000 photographs, 10,000 song sheets that were published during the time. You name it, movie, television, radio, everything had Be’s face plastered on it.
Van Be wasn’t dead, he declared he had never fired a single shot. In fact he’d tried to run away but was captured and send away to a Vietnamese prison camp. After this sordid trick the Viet Cong told their audiences that American plastic surgeons had created a Van Be look-alike in order to deceive the population.
6. When The North Korean Propaganda Failed Disastrously
Let me introduced you to Lim Su-Kyung. She was a South Korean citizen who was widely dubbed as the ‘flower of unification’ by the North Koreans. Back in August 1989 Su-Kyung had illegally entered North Korea to participate in the “World Festival of Youth and Students“. She was welcomed by the North government with great pomp and glaring speeches of her bravery and even received an audience with the dictator Kim Il Sung. Basically they made a propaganda superstar out of her for defying the South government and crossing the border. In the street the crowd went mad who wanted to welcome her, touch her and in the process bruised her arm.
In the futuristic dystopia imagined in 1984, George Orwell wrote of a world where the only colour to be found was in the propaganda posters. Such was the case in North Korea where people were fed colourful propagandas and were taught to believe that South Korea was a military dictatorship. But Su-Kyung thoroughly amazed them with her looks and actions; she was casually dressed in jeans and t-shirt (considered non-traditional and high quality), well fed, educated and well spoken. In North Korea public speeches were not normally made by women, but Su-Kyung made powerful speeches without any embarrassment and without a script. This led to a crack in the conscience of the North people towards their beloved government.
Upon Su-Kyung’s return to South Korea she was arrested and apparently the North Korean people were worried for her safety thinking that she would face either execution or be thrown into prison till death as was the tradition in the North.
Then the North Korean government made a grave mistake of broadcasting her trial. Su-Kyung was sent to prison, and to the shock of the North people, ‘without’ her family. For in the North a traitor’s entire family are taken as political prisoners and sent to prison camps. Later she was released. North Koreans realized that the South was a lot more ‘liberal’ than they were allowed to believe. Soon the North Korean government realized their error and no further mention of the girl from the South was made ever again.
5. When N. Korean Leader’s Stupid ADS Made Him Look Stupider
A seemingly bizarre idea one day struck the North Koreans and they started posting advertisements of the dictator Kim Jong Il in American and European newspapers. Strange as it may sound today, but North Korean ads were relatively common in major Western newspapers from 1969 to as late as 1997. The North Korean government issued full-page ads in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Irish Times, The London Times, The London Evening Standard, The Sun, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post glamorizing the exploits of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, the Juche ideology and the reunification of Korea in an attempt of appeasing the West. At least 100 advertisements were said to have been posted between the period 1969-1997.