Anti-War ProtestsVietnam War Unit 2 History TIO
Vietnam War Re-Cap • French Colony • Japanese control WWII • Division of Vietnam post-WWII • Chinese nationalists moved into the north to disarm the Japanese • British took the south 1945 • Split in 2 along the 17th parallel • First [French] IndoChina War 1946 - 1954 • Second IndoChina War/Vietnam War 1954 - 1975 • Vietminh and National Liberation Front vs. South • USA President influences: • Kennedy 1961-1963 • Johnson 1963-1969 • Nixon 1969-1974 • Ford 1975-end of war
The ongoing and escalating war in Vietnam was the focus of many of the major protests during the sixties. At the time of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, United States military forces in Vietnam numbered less than 15,000. Under President Lyndon Johnson the numbers grew dramatically, and by 1966 more than 500,000 troops were deployed in the area. Media reports from overseas became increasingly gruesome, and television transmissions showed the death and destruction created by the relentless bombing campaigns of U.S. forces. The nightly news reports counted the dead, and many major literary and political figures began to speak out openly against keeping U.S. troops in Vietnam. Escalation had not achieved the promised results. On January 30, 1968, the North Vietnam army overran Saigon, making a daring predawn attack on the United States Embassy. On November 30, 1969, newspapers reported that U.S. Army troops had massacred up to six hundred men, women, and children in a remote village called My Lai. Opposition to the war grew from many quarters, as the nation began to take a hard look at the United States' involvement in Vietnam.
Anti-War Movement • First time a war was shown to the public • Very strong in the USA, as it gained momentum from the Civil Rights Movement but was evident elsewhere, especially in France and Australia • 70000 people protested in Australia’s capital cities in 1970, which helped change the government policies • 1945 First protests against U.S. involvement in Vietnam take place in 1945, when U.S Merchant Marine sailors condemn the U.S. government for the use of U.S. merchant ships to transport French troops whose express purpose is to "subjugate the native population" of Vietnam. These protesters oppose the "recolonization" of Vietnam.
Anti-War Movement • 1963 the first coordinated war protests occur in London and Australia • Many see it as a consequence of a change in ‘times’. Students led a lot of the protests • As the war progressed the support of the public declined
Reasons for opposition • Opposition to the draft; • Moral arguments; • Legal arguments against U.S. intervention; • Racial equality; • environmental issues; and • reaction to the media portrayal of the devastation in Southeast Asia.
Australia’s antiwar movement • Protest was not simply between generations i.e. the young and the old, it was more complex. • First protests were small and non-violent. They were organised by already established anti-war movements. They were made up of middle aged and middle class people and young radicals who favoured extreme change. • Church leaders were divided. Reverend Allan Walker of the Methodist Central Mission in Sydney was a leading critic. • The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) was divided e.g. in 1965 it passed a resolution expressing concern rather than taking industrial action.
Australia’s antiwar movement Forms of Protest • Teach-ins took place from 1965. Speakers holding a variety of opinions debated the issues. Leading speakers against the war included Dr Jim Cairns, a Shadow Minister in the Labor Opposition in Federal Parliament and Morris West, a prominent author and influential Roman Catholic. • The Youth Campaign Against Conscription (YCAC) – university students who organised marches and demonstrations. • Save Our Sons(SOS) movement (1965) largely middle-aged women held silent protest vigils. • Seamen’s Union in 1965 refused to carry war materials to Vietnam. • From 1966 protests became more radical. Young men burned their draft cards and protests saw clashes between the demonstrators and the police. • Some young men decided to go to jail rather than be conscripted. The courts could exempt those who could prove they were pacifists (opposed to all wars on religious or moral grounds).
Australia’s antiwar movement Grounds for opposition to the Vietnam War • It was believed that Australians were being sent to fight for an unpopular and corrupt dictatorship. • It was a civil war and we had no business being there. • It was immoral to send young conscripts who were too young to vote. You had to be 21 at that time to vote. • Television coverage showed the horrors of war eg use of napalm, execution of old people, women and children. Famous image of Saigon’s Police Chief executing a Viet Cong dead in the street. • Fire free zones – places where Vietnamese villages were bombed ad machined gunned without restriction. • "Mai Lai Massacre" in 1968 where 120 Vietnamese were slaughtered shocked the world. • The question was, "Did we have to kill them, in order to save them? Could they have been any worse off under communism?"
Australia’s antiwar movement The Final Stages • Protests increased and became more directed towards symbols of the United States in Australia. • Public opinion began to change in August 1969 55% of Australians favoured withdrawing the troops. • During 1970 and 1971 huge public protests called the Vietnam Moratoriums (stop the war) saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in protest. • These protest finished when Gough Whitlam and his Labor Government were elected in 1972 on a promise to bring home the troops. (By this time most had already come home).
US Anti-war movementVietnamisation In 1969 Nixon announced that the withdrawal of American troops was a priority. In a policy known as ‘Vietnamisation’ the number of United States combat troops was gradually reduced and their places were taken by soldiers in an expanded South Vietnamese army. But the United States continued to provide assistance by supplying weapons, further training for the South Vietnamese army, and naval and aerial support for South Vietnamese soldiers on operations.
Vietnamisation The biggest mistake was the failure to go about a fair dinkum approach of boosting the South Vietnamese Army in the early stages, giving them a fair allocation of helicopters and artillery and the like, and above all else comprehensive training. Subsequently, after the Tet Offensive in 1968 and after President Nixon replaced President Johnson in early 1969, the catch-cry went up that ‘Vietnamisation would turn things around’ and a huge effort was attempted, finally, to boost the South Vietnamese Army. It was too little, too late.’ [Tim Fischer, 1 RAR in Vietnam: our war – our peace, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, pp. 128-129]
Vietnamisation • …meant that the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam (ARVN) would double in size, necessitating additional military trainers and resulting in an expanded role for the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) whose numbers increased in the final phase of the war. However, the ARVN was ill-equipped and unable to match the North Vietnamese Army in the field. Early in 1971 Australia’s Joint Intelligence Organisation, reporting on the progress of Vietnamisation, described the ARVN as ‘uneven in quality’ and suffering from poor leadership. Australian military officials in Phuoc Tuy and Saigon reported that the local ARVN would meet significant difficulties once the Australian Task Force’s battalions left. To add to the gloomy outlook, few South Vietnamese had any confidence in their own government, which was regarded as corrupt and incompetent.
Police Riot 1968 Chicago • The 1968 Democratic National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held in Chicago, Illinois, from August 26 to August 29, 1968. Because Democratic President Lyndon Johnson had announced he would not seek a second term, the purpose of the convention was to select a new nominee to run as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the office. • The convention was held during a year of violence, political turbulence, and civil unrest, particularly riots in more than 100 cities following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4. The convention also followed the assassination of Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who had been shot on June 5. • A few thousand people participated in the demonstrations; most of those were local, or had come to support their favorite Democratic candidates. They were swept into the protests by events more than by intention. Outnumbered by law enforcement by five to one, 589 people would be arrested while the Democrats met in August, and many more injured.
Police Riot 1968 Chicago • The major battles were fought in Lincoln Park, three miles north of the city center, when the police tried to enforce evening curfews. A legal rally in Grant Park ended when the police clubbed a teenager who was lowering an American flag, and others who tried to protect him. • The Mayorcalled out 7,500 members of the Illinois National Guard to reinforce the 12,000 police officers. Wednesday night they tried to remove everyone -- mostly party volunteers, candidate supporters and tourists -- from the front of the Hilton hotel, which was the convention headquarters. While the nominating speeches were being given at the amphitheatre several miles away, these unlucky people were pushed through plate glass windows when caught between Guard and police as they dispersed the crowd. • When these images were played on monitors at the convention itself -- about an hour later -- they disrupted the proceedings far more than the demonstrators could have had they succeeded in their efforts to march. "The whole world is watching" became more than just a slogan. What an official report later described as a "police riot" did more damage to Chicago's reputation and the fortunes of the Democratic Party than anything the protestors could have done.
1970 Kent State Ohio • Escalation of protests started May 1. There was a civil protest at the university, a student burnt the constitution and another their draft card. Students were unruly and a state of emergency was called that night. Bottles were thrown at police, tear gas was used, buildings were set on fire and threats were made. • The Kent State shootings – also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre – occurred at Kent State University, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. • Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance. • There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a strike of four million students, and the event further affected the public opinion – at an already socially contentious time – over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.
Christmas Bombings Reaction 1972 • What Nixon commanded in 1972 he would have condemned in 1969. • Area bombers – no precision • The operation was conducted from 18–29 December 1972, leading to several of informal names such as "The December Raids" and "The Christmas Bombings". It saw the largest heavy bomber strikes launched by the US Air Force since the end of World War II. • Linebacker II was a resumption of the Operation Linebacker bombings conducted from May to October, with the emphasis of the new campaign shifted to attacks by B-5 Stratofortress bombers rather than tactical fighter aircraft. Over 1,600 civilians died in Hanoi and Haiphong in the raids.
Protest Chants • "Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?" • Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh! The NLF is going to win!“ • The chant "One, two, three, four! We don't want your f***ing war!" was chanted repeatedly at demonstrations throughout the U.S. in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
"Draft beer, not boys" • "Hell no, we won't go" • "Bring our boys home" • "Make love, not war“ • "Eighteen today, dead tomorrow“ • "Love our country", "America, love it or leave it" and "No glory like old glory" are examples of pro-war slogans. • "America, change it or lose it" was chanted in response to the pro-war "Love it or leave it". • "Johnson lied. People died." referred to The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Reference List • http://www.camden-h.schools.nsw.edu.au/pages/Faculties/History/yr10topics/antiviet.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Democratic_National_Convention • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kent_State_massacre.jpg • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Linebacker_II • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_to_the_U.S._involvement_in_the_Vietnam_War • http://www.historysmiths.com.au/CentFedPlayKit/events/young/1970_vietnam%20war%20protest.htm • http://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/jofreeman/photos/convention5.html • http://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/jofreeman/photos/convention68.html • http://vietnam-war.commemoration.gov.au/vietnamisation-pulling-out/ • http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/sixties/viet.html