Essay Example: The Anti-War Movement in the 1960s-1970s the U. S.

Published: 2023-02-03
Essay Example: The Anti-War Movement in the 1960s-1970s the U. S.
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Politics War Revolution American history
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1650 words
14 min read

The political beliefs and values of people are shaped by the issues and events of their time. The United States of America's war in Vietnam led to the most persistent anti-war movement in the country's history. This started with the 1964 bombing of North Vietnam and the introduction of combat troops in the subsequent years. In the next decade, many young individuals were radicalized into the widely diverse and nonviolent popular culture of war resistance. The young radicals used tactics such as industrial sabotage and the comical street theater. Government officials, church groups, middle-class families, labor unions and students were against the war as it reached its climax in 1968. The pressures of the groups led to the gradual withdrawal of the United States' forces from Vietnam. Anti-war activities, especially the large-scale resistance to the conscription of the military, brought an end to the U.S. combat operations in Vietnam. The anti-war marches and related protests, including those organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) led to a broad support base and gaining traction in 1968. Even though a large number of the American public backed up the administration policy in Vietnam, the few liberal minorities ensured their voice was heard (Duncan, Lauren, and Abigail 914). The opposition was made up of many students, prominent intellectuals and artists, and the hippie movement members. The changes in public attitudes that emerged during the antiwar movement are still resonating in society to the modern-day.

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Young adults who developed during the Vietnam War considered it as a defining event and essential to the development of their identity. At the same time, given that parents of the current university students were present during the Vietnam War, some of the political views of students are shaped by the experiences of their parents. The research on student activism during the 1960s showed that activists' students have the same opinions to their parents. Children and parents share the perceptions in the present generation includes the attitudes on gender roles, political consciousness, war, and authoritarian ideology. For example, the anti-Vietnam War movement reinforced the gender roles, where men are viewed as aggressive to involve themselves in the wars. Women are seen as best in household chores and childbearing responsibilities (Duncan, Lauren, and Abigail 915). These ideas on gender roles are still very evident in modern society. The anti-Vietnam war movement in the U.S has shaped contemporary politics, where citizens have the freedom of speaking out when they feel the government is not acting to the best of their interests. The student activists in Nebraska cited various catalysts for their involvement. For example, Ken Wald was involved as he felt it was necessary to express his anger and disgust with the foreign policy of the United States (Luescher-Mamashela 400). Siporin was also involved after hearing of the May 4th killings at Kent State and the arrest of some of his friends at the State Selective Service headquarters (Brown 17). The anti-war movement in Nebraska did not come easy but ended in radical action. It led to the unity of students and university administration, something which is still noticed in the current universities.

In 2019, the political incivility is a major topic for contention, especially after the owner of the Red Hen restaurant requested the Press Secretary to the White House Sarah Huckabee Sanders to quit her position. The reasons for his actions were because he was protesting the policies that the administration of President Trump has implemented. During the 1960s and 1970s, the student activists decided on using every method at the disposal to pressurize Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to bring to an end the Vietnam War (Gallant 58). At the time, the Vietnam War cost thousands of Vietnamese and American lives weekly. The modern-day protesters appear to be following the same template for their activism. Just like in the past, the politics of uncivil protest is very challenging. In the short run, using aggressive and confrontational methods by the protesters caused a political backlash and inspired some travelers to make way into the dangerous and unacceptable territory (Jorgensen 228). However, in the long run, the uncivil protest is the only means through which the public moves in the right direction. The disrespectful protests pressurize the elected officials to transform their ways. The 1960s activists believed that the continued practice of sending U.S troops into Southeast Asia to fight the communists was a colossal mistake. The activists claimed that President Johnson had exposed the U.S troops to a civil war that did not have anything to do with the global struggles between the U.S. and China or the Soviets. With the intensification of the anti-war protests in 1965 and 1966, there was little proof that Johnson was listening to the public outcry. Feeling ignored and frustrated the student activists were inspired by the speech delivered by Mario Savio, a University of California student activist.

The student activists during the movement continued showing the government that the public was not happy about their policies. In 1967, the protests intensified, with the American troops doubling to 450,000 in Vietnam (Jorgensen 227). Even with the administration of President Nixon, the students did not let up. President Nixon started the process of Vietnamization, where he pulled the U.S. troops outside the conflict. He also undertook a crucial massive bombing campaign and a secret Cambodia invasion. The freedom of speech was restored, with the students threatening to stop the government if it failed to end the war. Just like today, it was not easy then for the protesters to control the directions of politics. The anti-war movement had crucial political impacts in the United States. For example, by 2006, the movement weakened the public support for the war. Even with the anti-war movement succeeding in spreading opposition to the war and showing the opposition to the actions of the American troops, it led to some severe backlash. The increasing popularity of the tactics used by the youth provoked an opposite and equal reaction among the older white voters. Still, many historians believe the anti-war movement was the main force that disclosed to the public the evil consequences of Vietnam. The campaign was the main reason why more congressional members stood up to the presidents. In the long run, the anti-war movement was essential to the 1973 decision that finally led to the end of the war (Anchondo 383). Since the decision was made, the government has never sent a large number of ground troops into significant wars. The methods used by the student activists were less civil compared to what the opponents of President Donald trump are doing currently. At the same time, the lack of civility was necessary for their effectiveness. Without the dramatic techniques, the student activists would not have had the attention they sought.

Just like in the 1960s and 1970s, the opponents of the president are undertaking these measures such as shouting their feelings in personal encounters (Mack 108). They believe that the administration has used policies that are misguided, anti-ethical, and brutal to the nation's values. This explains why some people are demonstrating and participating in what they believe in, within the law's boundaries, to transform the course of history. The mobilization of many protesters hugely affected public opinion, subsequently leading to the ways the war was conducted. Those supporting the involvement of the U.S. in the war always claimed that the protesters sabotaged the troops and made the fight more challenging to win. However, those who viewed the war as a pointless action always believed that it was unwinnable, and needed to be ceased as soon as possible. Beyond the government policy, the anti-war movement was also a significant influence on the American culture, inspiring films, and works of literature and rock music. Skepticism around the administration impacted several events such as the reaction of the public to the Watergate scandal and the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Military spending took money from the enormous social programs of the community, such as housing, urban renewal, and welfare. The historical origins of the Vietnam anti-war movement influence modern-day society. Through the anti-war movement, the American leaders were forced into reconsidering their commitment, and the draft defined the lives of many American citizens. The changes in public attitudes that emerged during the antiwar movement are still resonating in society to the modern-day.

Work Cited

Anchondo, Augustus. "Apathy and Activism in the Heartland: The Antiwar Movement at the University of Nebraska, 1965-1970." Peace & Change 42.3 (2017): 383-409. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Family%20computer/Downloads/Anchondo%20protest%20in%20Nebraska%20(1).pdf

Brown, Bryan. "Tragedy at Kent State." 1970, Accessed 9 Aug. 2019. Retrieved from

Duncan, Lauren E., and Abigail J. Stewart. "Still bringing the Vietnam War home: Sources of contemporary student activism." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 21.9 (1995): 914-924. Retrieved from

Gallant, Thomas W. "" Got a Revolution, got to revolution": Student Activism and the Anti-war Movement. An Historical Assessment." Historein 9 (2009): 57-66. Retrieved from

Jorgensen, Joseph G. "Kathleen Gough's fight against the consequences of class and imperialism on campus (Protesting the Vietnam war)." Anthropologica 35.2 (1993): 227. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Family%20computer/Downloads/Jorganson%20campus%20protests%20(1).pdf

Luescher-Mamashela, Thierry. "Student involvement in university decision-making: Good reasons, a new lens." (2013). Retrieved from

Mack, Adam. "No "Illusion of Separation": James L. Bevel, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War." Peace & Change 28.1 (2003): 108-133. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Family%20computer/Downloads/No%20Illusion%20of%20Separation%20Adam%20Mack%20(1).pdf

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