Major Events: Kent State Massacre May, 1970 Students held a protest against the Vietnam War and the invasion of Cambodia at the Kent State University. Some of them set fire to the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) building on the Kent State campus. The police and firemen at the scene were hit by rocks thrown by students. Shortly after this, the national guard began to guard the campus as well as the city. The crowd for the protest grew in the commons area; some were there to participate but some were present simply to watch. The guards shot teargas canisters at the students, who in turn threw them back. The crowd began to disperse, thinking that the conflict had ended, as the guardsmen backed away. Then, something happened. What is known is that the guardsmen fired 67 bullets from M-1 rifles into the crowd for 13 seconds. What is not known is why they did this. The protest had not yet become serious enough to warrant shooting, especially as they fired just before they were about to be at a safe distance from the abuse of the crowd. Four students were killed, only two of whom were participating in the rally. Nine were injured. Chaos ensued after this, and the guards stood down.
Mai Lai Massacre
Tet Offensive 1968: Americans alarmed by 'Tet Offensive' The American command in Vietnam has reported over 5,000 people dead after two days intensive fighting. South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu has been forced to declare martial law as communist forces, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, have kept up sustained assaults on several fronts - from Saigon in the south to Hue in the north. Authorities in the North Vietnamese capital Hanoi, described it as, "a more powerful and more continuous offensive" than ever before. According to US figures, 4,959 Vietcong have been killed and 1,862 captured while 232 American and 300 South Vietnamese troops have been killed with 929 and 747, respectively, wounded. Last night, a 19-man Vietcong suicide squad blew a four foot hole in the wall of the US Embassy in Saigon and the nearby British Embassy sustained minor damage. Although technically the North Vietnamese and Vietcong guerrillas were defeated by the Americans, the impact of the Tet Offensive dealt a hard blow to US morale. Altogether the communist forces had attacked about 90 towns and hundreds of villages, apparently unfazed by the presence of 500,000 US troops.
Nixon Enters Cambodia and Laos Soon after becoming president, Richard Nixon gave permission for the bombing of Cambodia. In an effort to avoid international protest at this action, it was decided to keep information about these bombing raids hidden. Pilots were sworn to secrecy and their 'operational logs' were falsified. The bombing failed to destroy the NLF bases and so in April, 1970, Nixon decided to send in troops to finish off the job. The invasion of Cambodia provoked a wave of demonstrations in the United States
What can you learn from these graphs?
What can you learn from the graphs?
Public views changed over time
Public view changed in reaction to events
Most supported until 1969
40% of people still supported/had not opinion of the war in the 70s
Who protested? How did they protest? Why did they protest?
Look at each sources and answer the three questions.
Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc. (VVAW) is a national veterans' organization that was founded in New York City in 1967 after six Vietnam vets marched together in a peace demonstration. It was organized to voice the growing opposition among returning servicemen and women to the still-raging war in Indochina, and grew rapidly to a membership of over 30,000 throughout the United States as well as active duty GIs stationed in Vietnam. Through ongoing actions and grassroots organization, VVAW exposed the ugly truth about US involvement in Southeast Asia and our first-hand experiences helped many other Americans to see the unjust nature of that war.
1960s America To understand the protests you need to understand the context of 1960s America. It was a period of rapid social, technological and political change, as these next slides show.
The Power of the Media
Flower Power and Youth Culture
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7Y0ekr-3So You tube clip of Country Joe’s Anti Vietnam War Songs Woodstock
What tone is this song sung in?
What does the singer suggest the problems are with the conflict?
Explain the background of the Protest movement in 1960s
Flower Power and Youth Culture
Nixon famously described the supporters of the Vietnam war ‘The Silent Majority’. Is there any evidence to back up his claim?
The Hard Hat Riot was a riot which occurred on May 8, 1970, near the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street and at New York City Hall. The riot occurred about noon when about 200 construction workers mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO attacked about 1,000 high school and college students and others protesting the Kent State shootings, the American invasion of Cambodia and the Vietnam War. The riot lasted little more than two hours, and ended of its own accord. More than 70 people were injured, including four policemen. Six people were arrested.
The nature of protests made them very noticeable! 1969: Mass protests against Vietnam War The Peace Moratorium of 1969 was described as the largest demonstration in US history. It showed just how large was the tidal wave of anti-Vietnam sentiment in America. About two million people took part in marches and activities all over the country - the largest was held in Washington DC where 250,000 demonstrators came out onto the streets to demand an end to war. Those who supported the war also made their feelings known by driving with their headlights on.
What was the reaction of the US Public to the Vietnam War?
What impact did opposition to the Vietnam war have in the US? Weighing up the evidence!! Great Impact Johnson decided in 1968 that he would not seek re-election as president due to the unpopularity of the war. Richard Nixon, the next president, won the election because he promised to ‘end the war and win the peace’. In 1969, in order to reduce opposition Nixon introduced a policy of ‘Vietnamisation’ (training of S. Vietnamese soldiers to take the place of US soldiers – remove the troops but keep the financial and military aid). Limited Impact Protestors were viewed as communists by some Americans. In 1964, 85% of Americans supported the government policy for war and even by 1970 a gallop poll suggests only 35% opposed war. Been suggested that television brought sympathy and greater support for the troops. On 8 th May 1970 22 construction workers attacked anti-war protestors as they feared the spread of communism. Supporters of the war became know as ‘hard hats’. Nixon claimed they supported ‘freedom and patriotism’. Overall the impact of opposition to the Vietnam War was (large/limited/moderate) because…..