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A Trip Through the Sixties – The Anti-War Movement

The Anti-War Movement

We bled inside each other’s wounds
we had caught the same disease
we all sang the songs of peace.
Melanie – Lay Down

Protesters in D.C.

The Vietnam war divided the country into hawks and doves. Thousands of young men fled to Canada rather than allow themselves to be drafted and sent to Vietnam. Those who remained took to the streets to protest in ever growing numbers.

Massive Protest at the Pentagon

What is the use of physicians like myself trying to help parents to bring up children healthy and happy, to have them killed in such numbers for a cause that is ignoble?
-Dr. Benjamin Spock, pediatrician, author, antiwar activist

Student places flowers in soldier’s rifle

Protesters used many non-violent tactics to get their message across. These included teach-ins which explained what was going on in Vietnam, marches which drew as many as 500,000 people at one time, draft card burnings which indicated non-cooperation with the war machine, protests at induction centers where attempts were made to stop people from signing up for the war. They even went so far as to surround the Pentagon!

Vietnam War Veterans Protested Too!

Soon returning veterans who had experienced the horror of the war first hand, joined the ranks of the protesters, adding to their credibility and influence. Some even threw their medals into the Potomac river in protest.

Student lies dead after National Guard attacked protesters

The Establishment… has led us into the stupidest and cruelest war in all history. That war is a moral and political disaster — a terrible cancer eating away at the soul of our nation.
– Senator George McGovern

Protesters were met with police, National Guard, military police and even the army. It wasn’t always peaceful. Many, many non-violent protestors were greeted with force and brutality. On May 4th, 1970, four students were shot dead by National Guard troops during an anti-war protest at Kent State University. This galvanized the student community even further, leading many to protest who hadn’t before.

North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.
– President Nixon

The Vietnam War finally ended thanks to the prolonged struggle of the Vietnamese people to free their homeland from imperialist invaders and the long fight on the streets of America to change the political agenda from war to peace. It proved that we CAN make a difference and stop American militarism/imperialism. Power to the People!

The Anti-War protests were just part of several movements that simultaneously sought to change society and enhance freedom and individual rights….

Questions for further study
Why did the US get involved in Vietnam?
Was the Vietnam war justified?
How effective were the protests against the war?
Who won the war?


Vietnam Links

What is the May 2nd Movement? (1965)

SNCC Position Paper: On Vietnam
A Veteran Speaks Against the War (1971)
GIs United Against the War in Vietnam
Vietnam Veterans Against the War (1971)
A Leaflet from The East Coast Conspiracy to Save Lives

Draft Board and Dow Chemical Raids (1969)

A New Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority (1969)

SDS: Let Us Shape the Future (1965)

Just What Are They Teaching About the Vietnam War?

Genocide by Jean-Paul Sartre
SDS Anti-War Speech (1965)

The Vietnam Moratorium by Jeremy Brecher (1969)
To My Black Brothers In Vietnam (1970)

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Posted by: skip
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