And babies. 1 Favorite 


Dec 26 1969


New York (initially)

Ronald Haeberle took a color photograph of the bloody corpses of men, women, and children after the Mai Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War in in March 1968, initially publishing it in Life magazine. Later the image was used by the Art Worker's Coalition to create the infamous poster, "And babies.," which superimposed "Q: And babies? A: And babies" in red letter across the top and bottom of the image. These sentences were taken from the the last two lines of the following interview on December 14, 1969 on CBS between Mike Wallace and soldier Paul Meadlo who had been involved in the massacre:

Q:How many people did you round up?
A:Well, there was about forty, fifty people that we gathered in the center of the village. And we placed them in there, and it was like a little island, right there in the center of the village, I7d say ... And ...
Q:What kind of people - men, women, children?
A:Men, women, children.
A:Babies. And we huddled them up. We made them squat down and Lieutenant Calley came over and said, "You know what to do with them don't you?" And I said yes. So I took it for granted that he just wanted us to watch them. And he left, and came back about ten or fifteen minutes later and said, "How come you ain't killed them yet?" And I told him that I didn't think you wanted us to kill them, that you just wanted us to guard them. He said, "No, I want them dead." So-
Q:He told this to all of you, or to you particularly?
A:Well, I was facing him. So, but the other three, four, guys heard it and so he stepped back about ten, fifteen feet, and he started shooting them. And he told me to start shooting. So I started shooting, I poured about four clips into the group.
Q:You fired four clips from your ...
Q:And that's about how many clips - I mean, how many -
A:I carried seventeen rounds to each clip.
Q:So you fired something like sixty-seven shots?
Q:And you killed how many? At that time?
A:Well, I fired them automatic, so you can't know hom any you killed 'cause they were going fast. So I might have killed ten or fifteen of them.
Q:Men, women and children?
A:Men, women and children.
Q:And babies?
A:And babies.

MoMA directors William S. Paley and Nelson Rockefeller initially OK-ed the project, only to pull out their support after seeing the proofs of the poster. AWC was able to obtain enough funds to print 50,000 copies of the poster and distribute them to anti-war activists nationally and internationally. The members of the AWC staged a demonstration at the MoMA, unfurling "And babies." over Picasso's "Guernica" which was on loan at the time.

Cultural historian M. Paul Holsinger wrote that "And babies" was "easily the most successful poster to vent the outrage that so many felt about the conflict in Southeast Asia. Copies are still frequently seen in retrospectives dealing with the popular culture of the Vietnam War era or in collections of art from the period."

Posted by KerryLynch on