U.S. Reaction and Protest to Vietnam U.S. History 11
LBJ’s “Great Society” Between 1964-1967 passed 23 Acts to improve the quality of life for Americans Acts encompass Poverty, Cities, Education, Discrimination, Environment, Consumer protection Johnson fought to make the U.S. the greatest society on Earth ALL OVER SHADOWED BY VIETNAM Guilt over Vietnam forces him to leave the Great Society unfinished (1 term presidency)
Credibility Gap • Gen. Westmorland continually stated victory in sight • 1961-1967, 16,000 U.S. soldiers KIA • Credibility Gap-What was being reported by the Johnson administration and what was being viewed on television did not match
The Draft • Selective Service System • Males, 18-26 • Ways Out= • Medical exemptions • College deferment • Run to Canada • Join Nat. or Coast Guard • No money=No way out • Disproportionably minority • 1969 Draft becomes lottery system
The Draft Many men sought deferments from the Draft, which was often easily manipulated Sympathetic doctors gave medical excuses, draft boards were inconsistent with qualifications, and many men joined the National Guard or Coast Guard to keep away from service in Vietnam
The Draft African Americans served in disproportionate numbers To correct this imbalance, the draft lottery system was instituted in 1969, after much protesting by such leaders as Martin Luther King, Jr.
Opposition to the War • Dove vs. Hawk • The New Left • As opposed to the “Old” Left of the FDR era Democrats of the 1930s • Socialism vs. Radicalism • Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) • “Participatory Democracy,” anti-establishment • Free Speech Movement (FSM) • UC Berkley, protesting the faceless “machine”
Opposition New Left organizations (youth movements) such as Students for a Democratic Society and the Free Speech Movement protested against large corporations and government that had hijacked the average American voice “Teach-ins” and other forms of demonstration against US involvement in Vietnam grew rapidly, especially on college campuses
Growth of the Movement • Protests on campuses, draft centers, government buildings • 1965-SDS organizes march on Wash. D.C.-April 20,000 strong • 1967-75,000 march on Lincoln Memorial • Musicians begin to join the protest • Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, Barry McGuire
Kent State and Jackson State College campus protests increased Prompted police and National Guard to keep them under control Kent State- 4 students died after a Guard member thought he heard a sniper shot Jackson State- 2 students died in confrontation with police
Presidential Campaign 1968 • Democrats split-LBJ, Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy • April 4-MLK shot, June 4 Kennedy shot • 40,000 students on 100 campuses protest war • August 1968-Democratic National Convention • McCarthy vs. Hubert Humphrey (VP) • Humphrey already nominated ahead of convention • 10,000 SDS and Yippie protesters show up • 12,000 police and 5,000 National Guard
Nixon • Republican Ticket-Richard Nixon • Ran on • law and order • Eluded to ending the war • Took advantage of split Democrats
1968 Election Map Red- Nixon Blue-Humphrey Yellow- Wallace
Nixon and ‘Nam • 1969-Announces troop withdrawals • Negotiations-Road to no where… • U.S. wanted split like Korea • North Vietnam wanted coalition government • “Vietnamization”-Henry Kissinger • Phase out U.S. troops for S. Vietnamese • 1969-25,000 first to come home • “Peace with Honor” • “Silent Majority” • Cambodia
My Lai Massacre March 1968- Soldiers came upon the village of My Lai Fearing Vietcong who often posed as civilians, soldiers rounded up the villagers Estimated that between 400-500 Vietnamese were killed Incident was covered up until 1971
Pentagon Papers • Nixon angers congress with Cambodia • June 1971-7,000 pages leaked outlining LBJ had planned to fight in Vietnam and no plan to end the war • 1971-60% of Americans favored withdrawal
Protest Music Star Spangled Banner- Jimi Hendrix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0WG-ZUUOsg&feature=kp How did this version of the national anthem make you feel? What feelings do you think the he was trying to express?
Protest Music Fortunate Son- CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbNnvPBokNs What is the message behind this song? What about the war is the song specifically protesting?
Protest Music Ohio- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIKOpF08G5w What specific event does the song allude to? What is the message of the song?
Protest Music Imagine- John Lennon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwUGSYDKUxU What is the message behind the song? This song doesn’t allude to specific events, but do you think it still made an impact?
Extra Credit Opportunity • Find a song about the Vietnam War • Could be modern or from the time period • Write one page: • Describe the song • What is the message? • Specific events it alludes to • Impact as a protest song • What it says about the war and society • Attach a copy of the lyrics • 10 POINTS!
Discussion Off the top of your head, can you think of any other songs that represent an aspect of the war in Vietnam or that protested the events going on?