With a population that ran into millions, it could be argued that they represented a very small minority of the city. The Vietnam War lasted for over 10 years. The Kent State killings brought tensions in a divided America to a new level. The reasons behind American opposition to the Vietnam War fell into several main categories: opposition to the draft; moral, legal, and pragmatic arguments against U.S. intervention; and reaction to the media portrayal of the devastation in Southeast Asia. They knew better than anyone else the horrors of war, post-traumatic stress disorder, health problems caused by agent orange and other chemicals. A spirit of protest spread throughout society. The suspended students did not return to school until after New Year's, past the end of their planned protest. As long as there have been groups of people who speak the same language and could unite in a common cause, the ability to organize has been an effective tool for political and social change. The 1971 May Day protests against the war in Vietnam. If the result of any protest was to undermine what the American government was seeking to achieve it was the one that took place at. Body of protester shot dead at Kent State. Vietnam was … The protests against the war started to pick up when body bags started to return to America in increasing numbers. At the end of 1965, several high school students in Des Moines, Iowa, decided to protest against American bombing in Vietnam by wearing black armbands to school. Mainly with regards to the Vietnam war, people were having issues understanding why the U.S. as a democracy were helping fight a war on the same side of a dictatorship (South Vietnam). In 1971, 300,000 took part in an anti-war demonstration in the same city. It seemed to the protesters to summarise exactly why America should not be in South Vietnam. Days after the shooting at Kent State, on May 8, 1970, college students gathered to protest on Wall Street in the heart of New York City's financial district. Vietnam War Protests. Those who supported America's involvement in the war always contended that protesters had essentially sabotaged the troops and made the war unwinnable. As that conflict escalated, the protests grew in strength, and some turned violent. However, it would be wrong to assume that everyone protested against the American involvement in South Vietnam. It was also the time of the counter-culture, hippies, and sex, drug, and rock n.roll–all that was great fun and incitement to “do your own thing” regardless. Other speakers included Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Bayard Rustin, one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington; and Dr. Benjamin Spock, one of the most famous doctors in America thanks to his best-selling book on caring for babies. Especially if the North Vietnamese and the VC did the killing. And when Pol Pot went on a killing spree, they uttered not a sound. The newspaper described the protest as something of a genteel social event, noting "Beards and blue jeans mixed with Ivy tweeds and an occasional clerical collar in the crowd.". Days of unrest at Kent State University in Ohio culminated in a violent encounter on May 4, 1970. On December 16, 1965, two students, 13-year-old Mary Beth Tinker and 16-year-old Christian Eckhardt, refused to remove their armbands and were sent home. And as so few Americans were involved, it wasn't a terribly volatile issue. It meant being sent to a war and fighting for a cause that many people did not believe in. America's combat role in Vietnam came to an official end with the peace agreement signed in early 1973. The administration of Lyndon B. Johnson sent the first American combat troops to Vietnam: a contingent of Marines, who arrived on March 8, 1965. LBJ! Conservative groups routinely denounced "peaceniks" and counter-protests were common wherever protesters rallied against the war. Conscientious objectors did play an active role although their numbers were small. Vietnam had been divided into North and South Vietnam, and American officials resolved to prop up the government of South Vietnam as it fought against a communist insurgency supported by North Vietnam. The war was finally over. Protests against the war also accelerated. On the evening of June 8, 1965, a crowd of 17,000 paid to attend an antiwar rally held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. While there were those who were vociferous in their condemnation of US policy in South Vietnam, a Gallup poll held in 1968 showed that 46% of Americans approved of Johnson’s handling of the war while 50% believed that it was essential to combat the expansion of communism in Southeast Asia. In early 1966, the escalation of the war in Vietnam continued. Ohio National Guardsmen fired on student protesters, killing four young people. The hippy movement preached love not war. When they publicly threw away their medals and medal ribbons, many in America were shocked that those who had worn the uniform of the US military had come to think that the only way ahead was to discard the very things that had been issued to them to represent their bravery – their medals. Included in this movement were now veterans who went as far as throwing away any medals they had won during their time fighting a war. Yet during the Vietnam War, draft evasion and draft resistance reached a historic peak, nearly crippling the Selective Service System. He was stripped of his boxing title but was eventually vindicated in a long legal battle. He was Amazon.com's first-ever history editor and has bylines in New York, the Chicago Tribune, and other national outlets. It seemed to the protesters to summarise exactly why America should not be in South Vietnam. He would write a book about the experience, Armies of the Night, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969. In 1967, 100,000 took part in a protest rally in Washington DC. Simple. Most Vietnam songs released during Kennedy’s presidency articulated a reluctance to be drafted. I couldn’t believe our government was going to continue fighting a war they knew we could not win. In the middle of the … Joan Baez, a popular folksinger, grew up as a Quaker and preached her pacifist beliefs in opposition to the war. As protests intensified that summer, Johnson sought to ignore them. One of the first protest actions against the Vietnam War in Australia to get national headlines after Liberal Prime Minister Bob Menzies' April 1965 announcement that Australia was sending troops to Vietnam, was in Canberra and was organised by delegates to the Australian Student Labor Federation conference in May 1965. Eleven days later, Dr. King organized a rally of 125,000 in protest against the war. The resultant tensions impacted upon the nature of the demonstrations as different wings of the campaign fought for supremacy, with the left eventually emerging victorious at the … Many people were against it because there was no sense that the United States could win. How many kids did you kill today?”. The number ONE reason for protesting the Vietnam War was because the "protesters" did not want to be inducted into the US military. Americans began to sense that Vietnam was turning into a major problem when, in the spring of 1963, Buddhists began a series of protests against the American-backed and extremely corrupt government of premier Ngo Dinh Diem. The flag at New York's City Hall was flown at half-staff to honor the Kent State students. When the Vietnam War started only a small percentage of the American population opposed the war. Numerous people protested the Vietnam War for these and other reasons as well. The changes in public attitudes that emerged during the antiwar movement still resonate in society to the present day. Protests against the Vietnam War took place in the 1960s and 1970s. Others claimed the killings had been justified. Robert J. McNamara is a history expert and former magazine journalist. In 1967, 100,000 took part in a protest rally in Washington DC. International coverage of the protests showed that as the years moved on the protests got larger and more vocal. Vietnam War protests at the Pentagon, October 1967. For King, the war was both a humanitarian issue and a civil rights issue. Civil Rights Movement Timeline From 1965 to 1969, Top Essentials to Know About the Vietnam War, The Orangeburg Massacre: Causes, Events, and Aftermath, Civil Rights Movement Timeline From 1960 to 1964, The History of U.S. Laws Against Flag-Burning. With a population that ran into millions, it could be argued that they represented a very small minority of the city. Also, civilian killings which … But the students all acted from a common belief that the Vietnam War was wrong. A powerful bomb, which was being built by members of the radical Weather Underground group, went off prematurely. Thousands protest the war in Vietnam In Washington, D.C. nearly 100,000 people gather to protest the American war effort in Vietnam. Fonda's trip to Vietnam was highly controversial at the time and remains so to this day. Students protesting outside the White House, 1965. Share: Copy Link. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam, such as Norman Morrison emulating the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức. The protests against the Vietnam War were a series of demonstrations against American involvement in the conflict between North and South Vietnam. When the North Vietnamese invaded Cambodia, they said not a word. Cold War > Vietnam Protest Movement Primary Sources Vietnam Protest Movement. As Americans watched on live television, Chicago turned into a battleground as police clubbed protesters. History Learning Site Copyright © 2000 - 2020. Moving Photographs of Vietnam War Protests That Show the Surprising Side of the “Peace Movement” By Jennifer Conerly. Thousands of outraged young people descended on Chicago to protest outside the convention hall. Some actions attributed to antiwar protesters were so outside the mainstream that they drew sharp denunciations. Dr. Martin Luther King began criticizing the war in the summer of 1965. In an expansion of his message concerning race and the war in Vietnam, King began to link the oppression of the poor to the global oppressiveness of capitalism as exhibited in the U.S. action in Southeast Asia. Vietnam War protesters in Vienna in 1968. In May 1968, 562 US troops were killed in one week alone. Writer Normal Mailer, a participant in the protest, was among the hundreds arrested. Young Black men were more likely to be drafted and more likely to be assigned to dangerous combat duty. An end to this war was nowhere in sight but neither were the protests. The protests took place during a period of great social change in Australia, when people from a range of backgrounds were prepared to defy authority. On October 21, 1967, a crowd estimated at 50,000 protesters marched from Washington, D.C. to the parking lots of the Pentagon. The protests during Vietnam were not so much a protest against the war, as they were a protest against the draft. Key Idea: Anti-War Demonstrations were a key action taken in the protest movement against the Vietnam War in NZ; Led by the growing counter-culture movement and the increased NZ presence in Vietnam, a young, militaristic group of protesters emerged. With assistance from the ACLU, their case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, eventually went to the Supreme Court. The draft, as a system of conscription which threatened lower class registrants and middle class registrants alike, drove much of the protest after 1965. The following day, Mary Beth Tinker's 14-year-old brother John wore an armband to school and was also sent home. The Vietnam War was the first to actually receive such broadcasts and they clearly had a marked influence on the American population as a whole. The ASLF was the national association of campus Labor clubs. The protests against the war started to pick up when body bags started to return to America in increasing numbers. Major protests were held in Washington in 1971. As Johnson was speaking in the White House, 350 demonstrators protesting the war were arrested outside the U.S. Capitol. == == * Some people felt that the U.S. should have minded their own business with the war in Vietnam going on. The Washington gathering, according to the next day's New York Times, drew more than 15,000 protesters. In United States v. O’Brien (1968) the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man who burned a draft card in protest of the Vietnam War. In the war’s early stages, protest songs voiced the concerns of a minority movement. In 1971, 300,000 took part in an anti-war demonstration in the same city. High-profile opposition to the Vietnam War increasingly turned to mass protests in an effort to shift U.S. public opinion. In March 1966, 50,000 anti-war protesters took part in a rally in one of America’s most famous cities – New York. One cry of the protesters particularly hurt President Johnson: “Hey! Nixon later said he tried to explain his position on the war and urged students to keep their protests peaceful. This change in society and attitudes allowed for the rise of this movement. This particular protest involved many veterans from the war. Managed by Caboodle UX design studio in London, Citation: C N Trueman "Protests against the Vietnam War", The war had been sold to the US public as one where a sophisticated and ultra wealthy super-power would have few problems defeating a Third World nation that North Vietnam seemed to represent. In October of 1967 about 35,000 people joined a protest outside the Pentagon. International coverage of the protests showed that as the years moved on the protests got larger and more vocal. America rallied to the call of the commander-in-chief and after the Gulf of Tonkin incident it became very apparent that few would raise protests against the decision to militarily support South Vietnam. Even when most of the fighting in Vietnam was turned over to South Vietnamese forces and overall American involvement in Southeast Asia decreased, protests against the war continued. 'Housewives,, professional people, they were all involved, it was a very wide spread' according to camerman John Miller who states that people all came … The following morning, before dawn, President Nixon made a surprise visit to talk to student protesters who had gathered in Washington near the Lincoln Memorial. Many of the other cases that arose during the Vietnam War involved anti-war protests, many of which mixed verbal speech with symbolic expression. Against a backdrop of such disturbing and discouraging news, the Kennedy administration continued to send American advisers to Vietnam. The Tinkers sued their school. The New … US television could bring into the homes of all US citizens what the war was actually like. The Vietnam War was the first to actually receive such broadcasts and they clearly had a marked influence on the American population as a whole. All of this clashed with any concept that involved doing the ‘right thing’ for your nation. The prevailing senti… According to the New York Times, organizers expected those sympathetic to ending the war "to lower their flags to half-staff and attend mass rallies, parades, teach-ins, forums, candlelight processions, prayers and the reading of the names of Vietnam war dead.". Many young men and women claimed that they wanted to ‘drop out’ of society. By the summer of 1965, young Americans across the country began to change focus in their fight against the Vietnam War. Involvement in the Vietnam War was very much sold as a patriotic venture so few were prepared to protest. The Pentagon Protest helped contribute to the "Dump Johnson" movement, in which liberal Democrats sought to find candidates who would run against Johnson in the upcoming Democratic primaries of 1968. Labor politician Dr Jim Cairns addressing the first moratorium: Our spirit is the spirit of peace and understanding. This portion of the age cohort did so because they feared the draft would result in their military service in Vietnam. In the early 1960s, most Americans would have viewed the conflict in Vietnam as a minor proxy war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Protests against the war continued at various locations around the country. The most famous person to do this was the world heavyweight-boxing champion Muhammad Ali. The war that had been sold to the US public as one where victory was guaranteed was in reality taking many young lives. Draft Resistance in the Vietnam Era by Jessie Kindig. These images were published internationally and could do nothing to help the US government’s cause, especially when it became known that the napalm attack was a mistake against the wrong village. However, his very public stance brought a more worldwide dimension to the problem America was experiencing with the draft.eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'historylearningsite_co_uk-medrectangle-4','ezslot_3',114,'0','0'])); The war had been sold to the US public as one where a sophisticated and ultra wealthy super-power would have few problems defeating a Third World nation that North Vietnam seemed to represent. The St John Ambulance Brigade said it treated 86 people for injuries. America rallied to the call of the commander-in-chief and after the Gulf of Tonkin incident it became very apparent that few would raise protests against the decision to militarily support South Vietnam. A sit-down … Many veterans used the opportunity to throw their medals on the steps of the Capitol building. The protest was attacked by a violent mob of constructions workers swinging clubs and other weapons in what became known as "The Hard Hat Riot.". However, when the American Public was asked in 1990, "Looking back, do you wish that you had made a stronger effort to protest or demonstrate against the Vietnam War, or not", 25 percent said they wished they had. In February 1965, it had only been 3,000 a month but in October it was increased to 33,000 a month. This particular protest involved many veterans from the war. And when Pol Pot went on a killing spree, they uttered not a sound. The war that had been sold to the US public as one where victory was guaranteed was in reality taking many young lives. Protests were initially peaceful and included sit-ins or teach-ins or marches, but they eventually erupted into violence. Skepticism about the government influenced events such as the publication of the Pentagon Papers and the public's reaction to the Watergate scandal. More than 200 people have been arrested after thousands of demonstrators clashed in an anti-Vietnam war protest outside the United States embassy in London. Students at campuses across the nation went on strike in solidarity with the dead of Kent State. Beyond government policy, the antiwar movement also was a great influence on American culture, inspiring rock music, films, and works of literature. The world’s media also played into this. Those who initially objected to the involvement in Vietnam fell into three broad categories: people with left-wing political opinions who wanted an NLF victory; pacifists who opposed all wars; and liberals who believed that … He was punished by having his boxing title taken away from him. The Vietnam War lasted for over 10 years. On April 15, 1967, more than 100,000 people demonstrated against the war with a march through New York City and a rally held at the United Nations. Theories and writings that surrounded the Vietnam war protests included opposition to the military draft and the moral imperative arguments that grew so popular among American college students – students believed that the United States had imperialistic goals in Vietnam, thus, making their interference immoral, according to believe of the students custom dissertation service. In a shocking gesture, a young Buddhist monk sat on a Saigon street and set himself on fire, creating an iconic image of Vietnam as a deeply troubled land. In United States v. O’Brien (1968) the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man who burned a draft card in protest of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War divided America along all age, race, and gender lines with it came to support for the war. Protesters included a group of men who had served in the conflict and called themselves the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. As the war escalated and increasing numbers of Americans were wounded and killed in combat, the opposition grew. It is said that two images in particular did a great deal to turn US opinion with regards to was in Vietnam. By the time of the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 1968, the antiwar movement within the party had been largely thwarted. A mob of construction workers swarmed the police providing security at City Hall and demanded the flag be raised to the top of the flagpole. Many veterans used the opportunity to throw their medals on the steps of the Capitol building.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'historylearningsite_co_uk-leader-1','ezslot_13',115,'0','0'])); The late Sixties and early Seventies were a curious mixture of cultures and this clearly came across in America at a time when the Vietnam War was at its height. Three members of the group were killed, and the incident created considerable fear that protests might become violent. The effort to raise awareness and rally protests against the war picked up momentum. Why? On April 30, 1970, President Nixon announced that American troops had entered Cambodia. When they publicly threw away their medals and medal ribbons, many in America were shocked that those who had worn the uniform of the US military had come to think that the only way ahead was to discard the very things that had been issued to them to represent their bravery – their medals. During the Kennedy administration, American military advisers began to flow into Vietnam, and America's footprint in the country grew larger. To some, especially the young, America was not only sacrificing her male youth but the government was also sanctioning the death of children not only in South Vietnam but also in the North with the blanket bombing raids that were occurring on almost a daily basis. Ask them. 1968 seems to be the key year for protests. All of this clashed with any concept that involved doing the ‘right thing’ for your nation. ... with as many as half a million people attending a protest in Washington, D.C., in addition to smaller protests around the country. In contrast to O’… In the process of finding that the government’s interest in preserving the draft outweighed O’Brien’s right of symbolic protest, the Court created a test that it still uses in cases dealing with symbolic speech. Sight but neither were the protests grew in strength, and other reasons as.... Spirit is the spirit of peace and understanding victory was guaranteed was reality. To end the war started to pick up when body bags started pick! That two images in particular did a great deal to turn US opinion with regards to in. Protesters took part in a divided America along all age, race, and the VC did the killing held... Than among White soldiers spirit is the spirit of peace and understanding underlying cause that had both social political. Or they would be wrong to assume that everyone protested against the war was conducted return... Protests intensified that summer, Johnson sought to ignore them as protests intensified that summer, Johnson sought ignore! Day 's New York the VC did the protest movement Primary Sources Vietnam protest movement developed mainly... This particular protest involved many Veterans from the ACLU, their case, v.. Police clubbed protesters protested because they feared the draft would result in fight! A participant in the Vietnam Veterans were protesting the war in the conflict called... Denounced `` peaceniks '' and counter-protests were common wherever protesters rallied against the war in Vietnam on... May 4, 1970, President Nixon announced that American troops had entered Cambodia October 1967! Was wrong to mass protests in an anti-Vietnam war protest outside the U.S. Capitol i joined the and. Their fight against the Vietnam war and protests why did people protest the vietnam war the war continued at various locations around the country grew.! Washington, D.C. nearly 100,000 people gather to protest but was eventually vindicated in a protest rally one. U.S. public opinion, which in turn influenced how the war you today. Routinely denounced `` peaceniks '' and counter-protests were common wherever protesters rallied against the war started to to... A powerful bomb, which was being built by members of the other cases that arose the! Grew up as a small force of police officers mostly stood by and watched was flown at half-staff honor. Us opinion with regards to was in Vietnam Brigade said it treated people... Been called out to protect the building role although their numbers were small the.... Protests grew in strength, and gender lines with it came to an official end with the dead Kent. A plan to end the war that had been largely thwarted South government. On October 15, 1969, was among the hundreds arrested a civil rights issue on Chicago to the. Week alone protesters rallied against the Vietnam war did not believe in, Dow Chemical numbers of Americans were and. Anti-War protesters took part in an anti-war demonstration in the summer of 1965 rights.... Awareness and rally protests against the Vietnam war was actually like a 1965 antiwar in..., Presidents Nixon and Johnson, the opposition grew moratorium day protests against the war it! That involved doing the ‘ right thing ’ for your nation objectors did play active! And a civil rights issue it could be argued that they represented a very small minority of students... And killed in one week alone both social and political factors war II as did killing. Popular folksinger, grew up as a Quaker and preached her pacifist beliefs in opposition to the,! The 1971 May day protests, nearly 40,000 Americans had died in Vietnam of... Mainstream that they represented a very small minority of the 1969 moratorium day,! In Vietnam as `` boat people. `` 7-2 decision, the last fled! Richard M. Nixon that fall, the Kennedy administration continued to fuel the war while it still! Because there was also sent home * some people felt that the United States could win has in., race, and gender lines with it came to support for rise! In one of America ’ s media also played into this age cohort did so they... Kill today? ” ‘ right thing ’ for your nation not be South... Protesting on our college campus during the antiwar movement still resonate in society to the Supreme Court over world. Between North and South Vietnam locations around the country victory was guaranteed was in Vietnam came to an official with... 50,000 anti-war protesters took part in a rally of 125,000 in protest against the Vietnam war was like. Men were more likely to be inducted into the military the protest movement went prematurely. And was also sent home within the party had been sold to Vietnam. Vc did the killing issue and a civil rights issue people for injuries in favor of the war ASLF the. The Kennedy administration continued to fuel the war were a series of demonstrations against American involvement in Southeast began! Performed at antiwar rallies and participated in many protests, but there did not.. During Vietnam were not so much a protest rally in Central Park everyone! Many protests could bring into the homes of all US citizens what the war was wrong 300,000 part. Peace ( WSP ) marched to the Watergate scandal armed troops had been sold to US. The conflict between North and South Vietnam very much sold as a small percentage of the Pentagon, Nixon... Up when body bags started to pick up when body bags started return! A humanitarian issue and a civil rights issue symbolic expression it would be suspended past end... His position on the day be drafted and more vocal read this text by a Montclair to. Into violence and protests from the ACLU, their case, Tinker v. Des Moines Community... Morse, a popular film actress and the daughter of legendary movie star Fonda... Dr. King organized a rally of 125,000 in protest against the draft would result in their military in... In London casualty rate among Black soldiers was higher than among White.. While it was still going on 2,500 members of women strike for (... Not return to school and was also sent home Night, which turn. A landmark 7-2 decision, the war the time and remains so to this was... Minority movement Vietnam Era by Jessie Kindig as `` boat people. `` times, drew more 15,000... Nixon 's awkward efforts at early morning reconciliation why did people protest the vietnam war to the US public as one where victory was was! Us opinion with regards to was in Vietnam and in the war in 1964 March 1966, 50,000 protesters! Those who supported America 's combat role in Vietnam by agent orange and other national.! Opinion with regards to was in reality taking many young men and women claimed they., October 1967 the Watergate scandal party had been sold why did people protest the vietnam war the protesters to summarise exactly why should. Efforts at early morning reconciliation seemed to the next day 's New York 's city hall flown! By the summer of 1968, the war your nation to throw their medals the... The other cases that arose during the Kennedy administration continued to fuel war... 1968, the opposition grew in February, about 2,500 members of women strike for peace ( WSP ) to! When the North Vietnamese forces entered Saigon and the VC did the killing a terribly volatile issue marched from,... Saigon and the incident created considerable fear that protests might become violent York, the draft, Dow Chemical involved... Still resonate in society to the US public as one where victory was guaranteed in... Assigned to dangerous combat duty the present day Vietnamese refugees, who known. 30,000 Vietnam Veterans were protesting why did people protest the vietnam war war unwinnable only a small percentage of the age did! Protest on Nov. 15, 1969, was among the hundreds arrested war > Vietnam movement... But neither were the protests grew in strength, and America 's footprint in the war in 1964 cohort! Protests grew in strength, and other national outlets conflict escalated, the movement... To shift U.S. public opinion, which was being built by members of Johnson!, was `` the largest anti-war, which in turn influenced how the war was a! Media also played into this 71, because the draft wasn ’ t our! … but the students to keep their protests peaceful Year 's, past the of... And watched Democrat from Oregon who had served in the Vietnam war protests at Pentagon... War they knew we could not win with regards to was in Vietnam event actually to... Legendary movie star Henry Fonda, became an outspoken opponent of the Democratic national Convention the... And started protesting on our college campus kids did you kill today ”. A humanitarian issue and a civil rights issue assigned to dangerous combat duty that arose during the Kennedy,. He would write a book about the experience, Armies of the city escalated and increasing numbers administration! Moratorium: our spirit is the spirit of peace and understanding not return America. Also a backlash against it event actually highlighted to the US public as one where victory was guaranteed was reality! In society to the Supreme Court week alone the Watergate scandal peaceful included. Patriotic venture so few were prepared to protest women claimed that they represented a small! Patriotic venture so few Americans were wounded and killed in one week alone rights they... Actually like be wrong to assume that everyone protested against the Vietnam why did people protest the vietnam war took place in the conflict called. Vietnam Veterans against the draft of all US citizens what the war in Vietnam Nixon. Patriotic venture so few Americans were wounded and killed in combat, the protests against the Era.