.. ctober 17, 1967, a group of 3,000 protesters were gathered around an induction center in Oakland, California. When they refused to leave, 25 of them were arrested and 20 were injured by the police. Three days later, 10,000 protesters showed up at the induction center because they were angry with what happened a few days earlier. For once the large group felt like it was in power as it blocked the streets with whatever they could find (Kaiser 42). Antidraft actions took place in 15 other cities.
In Washington, 75,000 protesters came to rally against the government at the Pentagon (Dougan and Weiss 89-90). The people represented every area of America with young and old, men and women, and people of every race (Kent 76). After the speeches, there was a march in which some activists put flowers in the barrels of the soldier’s guns and others talked harshly to them. That night after the press had left, the soldiers and federal marshals beat the protesters (Kaiser 42). When the demonstration came to an end, 700 people had been arrested and twice that number had been hurt (Dougan and Weiss 91).
In November and December of 1967 a violent antiwar demonstration took place at the University of Wisconsin and another at the Whitehall induction center in New York. For five days the protesters fought a guerilla war against the 4,000 police in New York(Dougan and Weiss 91). The American Civil Liberties Union said that the New York police had completely lost their ability to distinguish between disorderly conduct and free assembly. They also believed that the police had used needless violence when making arrests (Archer 59). Nixon’s decision to send arms, advisers, and ground troops into Cambodia outraged many antiwar people.
Not only were college campuses angered but so were some people in the high levels of government. A petition of protest was signed by more than 200 government officials. Students felt they were betrayed by Nixon’s break on the promise of peace. One incident that affected the lives of many happened at Kent State University (Kent 98). In May of 1970 the National Guard was called to stop an angry group of protesters at Kent State University in Ohio. The activists had set fire to the Campus Reserve Officers Training building.
The National Guard shot into the crowd of unarmed students and 9 students were wounded and 4 were killed. The nation was startled by the shootings (Kent 98-99). The first sustained national strike took place in American history, when 450 colleges and universities were closed. Many aggravated students started setting fires to ROTC buildings and other military properties at their school. During the year of 1970, 7,200 students were arrested (Archer 7) and an estimated 4 million students took place in protests (Dudley 217). The Kent State incident caused a psychological change for many students involved with protests.
They began to realize that they could die for their participation in antiwar demonstrations (Dudley 218). The shootings brought the war to a higher level of awareness (Kaiser). The division of society was also brought to its peak. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s more people were changing their opinions from prowar to antiwar, especially older Americans. George Wallace was a forceful speaker for the prowar side.
He would often attack people’s beliefs that were different from his own. Like many Americans, feeling like victims of a system that had someone else’s interests at heart, Wallace began to question the reason for the United State’s involvement in the war. At a bar, a construction worker spontaneously burst out in rage against the war, while watching a young boys funeral on television (Dougan and Weiss 102). When the African American men left to fight in the war they felt good for supporting their country in the Vietnam War. By the time they returned back home, some found themselves strongly against the war and they became more aware of the inequalities in the United States (Dougan and Weiss 95). Other soldiers that had been returned home might have changed their views on the war because of the lack of support they got from their peers and country. Throughout the 1960’s antiwar activists influenced other people their age and anyone else who was interested, to take part in protests.
In 1965 a rally in Boston only had about one 100 participants. Four years later another demonstration was held in Boston, this time it had 100 thousand people involved (O’Neil 110). Mark Rudd, the president of the Students for a Democratic Society, knew how to get his view across to millions. On the second day of students occupying the Columbia buildings, he met with the press for an interview (Kaiser 166-67). We were young, we were reckless, arrogant, silly headstrong-and we were right.
I regret nothing (Anderson 1)! That quote came from Abbie Hoffman’s last speech in 1989. Beyond the turmoil of the 1960’s the development of a youth culture was uniquely different, in the sense that they disagreed. They were the first to actively fight for what they believed needed to be changed. They became opinionated about the Vietnam War from teach ins and other discussions or lectures. This enabled them to help inform others and aid them in seeing why the war was wrong.
They joined organizations that would lead protests and guide them in their activism. By seeing large organized groups of people that all believed in the same thing and took it very seriously they persuaded people that there must be some truth to what they were saying. The long length of the Vietnam war and the increased casualties began to play heavily on the minds of the American public. The deaths of young soldiers spurred many angry youths to speak out against the Vietnam war. Bibliography Works Cited Anderson, Terry.
Movement and the Sixties. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Archer, Jules. The Incredible Sixties. San Diego: HBJ, 1986. Dougan, Clark and Stephen Weiss.
The Vietnam Experience: Nineteen Sixty-Eight. Boston: Boston Publishing Company. Dudley, William. Ed. The 1960’s Opposing Viewpoints.
San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997. Hoskyns, Barney. Beneath The Diamond Sky Haight-Ashbury 1965- 1970.New York: Simon & Schuster Editions, 1997. Kaiser, Charles. 1968 In America.
New York: Grove Press, 1988. Kent, Deborah. American War Series: The Vietnam War. Hillside, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1994. O’Neil, Doris. Life: The 60’s.Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1989.