I have give a one-two minute speech about the anti-war movements during the Vietnam war…can anyone help me out with what went on during that anti-war movement? thanks
Actually the story about anti-war protesters spitting on troops turns out to be an urban legend. They never did that.
The Vietnam War was very similar to Iraq in a way. It went on forever, the government kept telling us it was almost over, that we were winning, but nobody believed them after a while. People started speaking otu against the war. Conservatives tried to label anti-war people as unamerican, subversive, unpatriotic, and all that, but anti-war sentiment grew and grew.
We had the draft in those days so every boy in high school had this terrible war hanging over his head when he graduated. I was in high school then, and my friends and I were all politically aware. By the time we were seniors in high school we knew whether or not we wanted to go into the war. Some kids did but most didn’t. But because of the draft, the parents of teenaged boys, the sisters and wives and girlfriends of young men also had strong feelings.
President Nixon ran for president in 1968 with a promise to end the war. He had a ‘secret plan’. He said he couldn’t give the details away to our enemies. He got elected based on this plan, but then kept the war going another four years. He became very unpopular, just as Bush is now, for seemingly not being able to end the war. He kept making speeches about how he wanted ‘peace with honor’. He said if we pulled out now there would be a ‘bloodbath’. Very similar to today.
The prime minister of Canada announced that any young American man who would like to come to Canada to escape the draft would be welcome there. A few of my friends went. I visited Canada in those days and you really could apply for ‘landed immigrant status’ (like a ‘green card’).
I fought the other war here, the war of protests. In college I joined a peace group and went to other college campuses, clubs and other organizations, as a speaker, explaining to groups why the war was wrong.
It got really bad the last couple of years. The number one news anchor in the country, Walter Cronkite, probably the most trusted man in the US, came out on his newscast to tell us that we couldn’t win this war, that we ought to pull out.
Nixon announced the end to the war just in time for his re-election. The media made a big deal of airplanes coming home full of servicemen, and even interviewed several groups as they got off the planes. They all said ‘God bless the president!’ It turned out there was someone from the Nixon administration on the plane who coached the guys on what to say.
Americans lost a lot of confidence in their government because of Vietnam. It was the first war we ‘lost’ since the war of 1812. It turned out there was no bloodbath in Vietnam, the south simply gave up, the country went communist but is now reforming. Everyone talked about it as a bad time in US history, a turning point, and said we had learned a lesson. But apparently not.
Years later, and even today, conservatives say we lost the war because of the protesters. Or that we lost because our govt. didn’t want to win bad enough, we didn’t attack hard enough, we didn’t use nuclear weapons. I think this is just an excuse, another way of bashing dissenters. We didn’t win because our enemies had their backs against the wall. They were fighting for their homes, their way of life. This is the exact same problem we’re having in Iraq. We are fighting people who are not afraid to die. And since we’re not fighting an army in uniform, we can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.
May 4, 1970. A group of 2,000 students at Kent State University were protesting the war. Fearing the protest would become violent, the Ohio National Guard was sent to disperse the protest. They released tear gas to try to disperse the students but it was to no avail. Some students began throwing rocks and throwing tear gas cans back at the guardsmen. The guardsmen opened fire on the students. In the end, 4 were killed (Allison Krause, Jeffrey Glen Miller, Sandra Lee Scheuer, and William Knox Scroeder) and 9 students were wounded.
The Moratorium demonstrations took place on October 15, 1969. Millions of Americans took the day off from work and school to participate in local demonstrations against the war. These were the first major demonstrations against the Nixon administration’s handling of the war. On November 15, 1969 crowds estimated up to half a million people participated in an anti-war demonstration in Washington, D.C. and a similar demonstration was held in San Francisco. These protests were organized by the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (New Mobe) and the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (SMC). In November, Sam Melville, Jane Alpert, and several others bombed several corporate offices and military installations (including the Whitehall Army Induction Center) in and around New York City in opposition to the war in Vietnam.
On April 23, 1971, Vietnam veterans threw away over 700 medals on the West Steps of the Capitol building. The next day, antiwar organizers claimed that 500,000 marched, making this the largest demonstration since the November, 1969 march. Two weeks later, on May 5, 1971, 1,146 people were arrested on the Capitol grounds trying to shut down Congress. The total of those arrested during the protest exceeded 12,000. Abbie Hoffman was arrested on charges of interstate travel to incite a riot and assaulting a police officer. In August, 1971, The Camden 28 conducted a raid on the Camden, New Jersey, draft board offices. The 28 included five or more members of the clergy, as well as a number of local blue-collar workers.
The death toll was becoming staggering in this country. No one could come up with a good reason what we were doing there. No one wanted to fight this thing anymore. The Draft just killed the war. I know the Politicians say we want to win these things with honor. Americans Don’t like to loose. The truth is most Americans really could not care less if we win or loose.
tonkin bay resolution
ho chi minh
sphere of influence
Muhammed Ali and MLK
Abi Hoffman and Jerry Rubin
Country Joe and The Fish
I’ve just given a few things that spring to mind. Also, as you’ll probably find in your research, the story of hippies spitting on vets contains a kernel of truth, but has become one of those things like feminists burning bras where the occasional actions of a few have been used to demonize an entire group.
Well a bunch of Communists got together and called every single one of our soldiers baby killers while they sat on their butts back home watching it on Television. They have no idea what went on during that war: our soldiers were under constant attack, living in terrible conditions, and had to follow orders. If it weren’t for those Commies we would’ve won Vietnam.
Well they spat on troops and called them baby killers when they got back from Nam. Thats pretty anti war.
Well if you don’t believe people would ever spit on a veteran. Here’s a recent video of one doing just that.
In a nutshell. Doper liberal bed wetters ran off to Canada when their draft number came up.