Vietnam War: European Songs



A collection of Vietnam War songs and spoken-word records from Europe

The conflict had international repercussions across the world, with hundreds of songs released. Most are anti-war, and present the US presence in Vietnam as imperialistic. Europe took a lead in the 60s peace movement, especially in France, as represented in “Vietnam 67” (1967) by singer/songwriter Colette Magny. In Sweden, a large left-wing progressive folk scene grew, which saw the release of over 100 anti-war songs, such as “Leve Det Vietnamesiska Folkets Befrielsekamp” (1968) by the Freedom Singers. Over 20 records were released in Italy. The Anglo-American music market saw UK records reach a broad audience, notably “The War Drags On” (1965) by Mick Softley, “The Ballad of a Crystal Man” (1966) by Donovan, and “Straight to Hell” (1982) by The Clash. Irish folk group The Men of No Property, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, released the LP “England’s Vietnam” (1975) which compared the Troubles to Vietnam, while several songs were released in Wales, for example “Bro Vietnam” (1968) by Adar y Dyffryn.

Dozens are songs came out of West Germany, the most well-known coming from the LP “Vietnam” (1968) by krautrock group Floh de Cologne. The 1972 LP “Alles Für Den Sieg Des Kämpfenden Vietnamesischen Volkes!” documented the work of the Nationales Vietnamkomitee, organised by the Communist Party of Germany in West Berlin. In the German Democratic Republic in the east, dozens of records showed solidarity with the North Vietnamese, for example the LP “Dem Frieden Die Freiheit” (1973).

Publications


The Vietnam War: A History in Song


Justin Brummer


History Today, 2018


Vietnam War Song Project


Justin Brummer


2021


Vietnam on Record: An Incomplete Discography


Hugo Keesing, Wouter Keesing, C.L. Yarbrough, Justin Brummer


University of Maryland, Modern Songs of War and Conflict: Keesing Collection on Popular Music and Culture, 2021

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