Vietnam War Protests and Outcome/Results BY: Maddy Mckelvy

Background

Vietnam/Indochina was split into two parts: communists/non-communist, and Americans didn’t want communism to spread throughout the world, so America started to fight the communist side of Vietnam (the North Side/top half of Korea). Protests started to occur because many of the American civilians were against American soldiers fighting in the Korean War.

Map of North Korea (communist) and South Korea (non-communist)

American Participation/Basics

The U.S. started bombing the North side of Vietnam to "stop" or "get rid of" the communism in North Korea and to keep it from spreading. In November of 1967, 15,058 American troops were dead and 109,527 were wounded. The Korean war was costing America 25 billion dollars a year, and 40,000 men were being drafted into the war each month. The protests mainly took place on college campuses.

American soldiers in Vietnam

Reasons for Opposition to America in the Korean War/Reasons for protesting

  • American men were being drafted into the Korean War. (African Americans were more likely to be chosen. Students weren't included in the draft. )
  • Taxes were high because of war expenses
  • Americans thought it wasn't right for America to intervene
  • American soldiers were dying for no reason
  • The draft targeted "Blue-Collared Americans." (working class Americans)
  • Many college students thought America had "imperialistic goals"
  • There were many civilian deaths in Vietnam
  • The Media showed graphic footage at Vietnam ( graphic images and videos of innocent civilians dying)
  • America was spending LOTS of money on the war

The Beginning

Not many Americans were against the involvement in North Korea at first. Only 2 senators originally voted against the involvement. In March 1965, while America started regularly bombing North Korea, protests were taking place. Some people tried to publicly show their hate for America's involvement and get attention. One example would be when David J. Miller publicly burnt his draft card. This caught attention and many others started to do the same, but Miller was sentenced to two and a half years in jail. Another way people got attention was when people set themselves on fire in public.

  • Also, in November 1967, 15,058 American troops were dead and 109,527 were wounded.
  • The war was costing American 25 billion dollars a year.
  • 40,000 men were drafted into the war each month.
A draft card of an American man

Some Protests/ Anti-war Movement Growth

  • The protests mainly took place on college campuses.
  • October 21, 1967- 100,000 protestors were at the Lincoln Memorial, and they later marched to the Pentagon. Hundreds of protestors were arrested.
  • March 1965- There was a protest at the University of Michigan which included 2,500 student protestors.
  • The anti-war movement became stronger when Martin Luther King Junior spoke his opinion about how he was against the involvement in North Vietnam.
  • Even some Vietnam veterans were against the involvement.
October 21, 1967

November 15, 1969

“On Nov. 15, 1969, the Vietnam Moratorium Committee staged what is believed to be the largest antiwar protest in United States history when as many as half a million people attended a mostly peaceful demonstration in Washington.” There were speeches given by anti-war politicians such as Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Charles Goodell. There were also music performances. For example, the song "Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon was sung by people at the protest.

Protest Songs

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival’s (CCR) song “Fortunate Son”. This song is about how some young men didn’t have to be in the draft because their dad had connections with the government.
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s song (CSNY) “Ohio”. This song is about the Kent State Shootings.

Kent State Shootings

  • a protest during May 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio
  • 9 wounded, 4 killed
  • most protestors were the students and middle class, educated people
  • soldiers (National Guard Members) had to come, teargas was used, but proven not effective because of the wind
  • conditions- rocks and bottles were thrown at police officers, criminals and students looted stores, buildings were caught on fire, 67 shots were fired, rocks and canisters were thrown at soldiers
  • 2 students that were killed weren't even protesting
  • many other colleges closed classes fearing protests would break out at those college
  • this protest escalated other protests/led to more protests
  • this protest was most effective because it caused Nixon to take the soldiers out of Vietnam
at the campus protest

The Draft

The first draft system was in December of 1969. Many young men fled to Canada so they couldn't be drafted. People were so outraged about the draft that there was a lot of violence that led to the Kent State Shootings (later mentioned). Students weren't included in the draft, and African Americans were more likely to be drafted. Another way men tried to stay out of the draft was that they stayed in college since college students were excluded from the draft.

Drafted men during the Vietnam War

Veteran Protests

“In 1967, Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) was formed in New York City to voice the growing opposition among returning servicemen and women to the war in Vietnam." They protested wearing their old uniforms, and they threw away their medals.

A VVAW protest

Significance/Tie to Proxy War

The Vietnam War protests were significant because they ended America's involvement in Vietnam.

The Vietnam War Protests connect to the proxy war because the protestors were protesting against the proxy war and America participating in it.

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