TIME History

LIFE Covers: The War in Vietnam

On the 50th anniversary of the military coup that deposed South Vietnamese President Diem, we look back at LIFE magazine's Vietnam War-related covers from the '60s and early '70s.

LIFE magazine’s coverage of the war in Vietnam was unique among American publications not only because the scope and quality of the photojournalism featured in its pages outpaced that of pretty much every other outlet, but because the evolution of the magazine’s attitude toward the war — from early, tentative support to a tough-minded (albeit reluctant) skepticism — was played out in such a dramatic, public way as the years passed and the body count mounted.

[See all of LIFE.com’s Vietnam War galleries.]

Here, on the 50th anniversary of the military coup that deposed (and led to the assassination of) South Vietnamese President Diem, LIFE.com takes a look back LIFE’s war-related covers from the 1960s into the early ’70s — magazine covers that help put into context the national dialog that grew to a sustained and sometimes frightening roar during those divisive years.

NOTE: This gallery is best viewed in “full screen” mode; see button at lower right of the gallery frame, above.

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