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Doubt Grows. Congress now began to question what LBJ’s administration was reporting Communities wanted their boys back Men began draft-protesting Quickly it will evolve into this:
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Doubt Grows • Congress now began to question what LBJ’s administration was reporting • Communities wanted their boys back • Men began draft-protesting • Quickly it will evolve into this: • Check out this old-timey 1967 “breaking news” bulletin (nat’l archives) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBZpENDHYxE 1st Draft Card Burning: 10/16/65: In a demonstration staged by the student-run National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the first public burning of a draft card takes place. 100,000 people in 40 cities across the country arrived in New York, David Miller, a young Catholic pacifist, became the first U.S. war protestor to burn his draft card in direct violation of a recently passed law forbidding such acts. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation later arrested him; he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to two years imprisonment.
Teach-Ins: an extended meeting/class held to discuss a social/political issue What do we do when something happens to a student or community member? What about lockdowns & shelter-in-place drills? March 1965: University of Michigan- teachers & students abandon their classes to talk about the war & why they oppose/support the idea of it. By May, 122 colleges nationally begin to do the same thing.
Reasons for Opposing the War: • Civil war the U.S. had no place in • S. Vietnam seen as a corrupt dictatorship & defending them in any way was immoral • Anger at the draft • Sometimes, college students could defer serving until graduating • This targeted poor men who couldn’t afford college • Many minorities served & died
“Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.” - MLK 1967
The War Begins to Escalate • Draft calls now increased & all men were at risk • 50,000 men refused to go or didn’t report • 1965-68 = 3,000+ men persecuted for refusing • Prison was a welcomed alternative • Some moved to Canada or Sweden • Many publically burned draft cards
1971: voting age is now nationally set at 18 (vs. by state) “So, I can kill a man but I can’t enjoy a beer or properly leave education behind? If I’m old enough to fight… then I’m old enough to vote”
One of the Most Famous Images in U.S. History: An Unexpected Poll Result: 1967 Although antiwar protesting became HUGE, this didn’t represent majority opinion. 68% of respondents favored continuing the war 32% wanted to end it Many criticized the 32% for a lack of patriotism Questions YOU should be wondering: who took the poll & is this a lack of patriotism if it’s not an attack on our country? What do you think?
By 1968 the nation seems to be divided • Doves: those who wanted the U.S. to withdraw from Vietnam • Hawks: those who insisted the U.S. stay & fight • Which would YOU be? Why? Let’s take a tally!
The Turning Point: 1968THE TET OFFENSIVE • January 30, 1968 • Tet is taking place (Vietnamese New Year) • Vietcong & the North Vietnamese (NVA) launch a MASSIVE surprise attack • Tet Offensive: guerrilla fighters attacked almost all U.S. airbases in S. Vietnam & most of the South’s major cities/capitals
Tet Offensive Cont’d… • Bloodiest battle: Hue, S. Vietnam’s 3rd largest city • It took 4 weeks to drive out the Communists • U.S. troops found mass graves of massacred: • political/religious leaders • Foreigners & visitors • Teachers & doctors • 3,000 bodies found • Thousands more remained missing
“It seems more certain than ever that the bloody experience in Vietnam is to end in a stalemate” – Walter Cronkite • People start to dislike LBJ (finally!) • His approval rating drops to a 35%; war approval = 26% • LBJ recognizes this & decides to NOT run for president in the 1968 elections
Nixon(R) Wins the Presidency for 3 Main Reasons: 1. People associated turmoil with Democratic party (Riots at Dem. Convention; (D) candidate Robert Kennedy assassinated by Arab Nationalist SirhanSirhan! 2. Nixon promised to unify the nation & restore order 3. He said he had a plan to “end the war” (with no details… but this provided hope to skeptics)