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The Vietnam War and the Effectiveness of the Peace Movements

  • Category: War
  • Topic: Vietnam War
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 1290
  • Published: 17 October 2018
  • Downloads: 23
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This article is about a journalist who wrote about the Vietnam war and how effective the peace movements were. Tom Hayden talks about how his involvement of spreading anti-war news caused his family to basically disowned him and how differently he was treated all over America. Nonetheless he pursued to spread the news about how horrible the war is and how America was finally realizing how it was a mistake to go into war. He talks about how the government was spreading lies and propaganda to the American people about how the war really is. The June 13, 1971, entry described the Pentagon Papers as a “leaked collection of government memos written by government officials that tell the story of U.S policy. (Hayden) “The characterization was at the best banal, and at worst neglected what was most significant about the whole affair, which ruptured government secrecy by exposing the deliberate and long-standing practice of the White House and the Pentagon to confuse and mislead the American people about the war.” (Hayden)

This article source explains how the anti-Vietnam war movement as deeply tied routes to World War 1 and 2. The reason why the anti-Vietnam war movement is tied to World War 1 and 2 is the fact that the generation of parents of that time gave birth to the generation known as the “baby boomers.” These baby boomers made up the vast majority for the future anti-war movement. The article states that these boomers felt that they inherited their previous generation’s problems. “Every generation inherits from the past set of problems.” (Harrison) This lead the baby boomers to reevaluate American values, and the majority to refuse to conform to traditional American values. Hiroshima and the nuclear bomb help produce the anti-war protests of the 1960s. The baby boomers became the first ever generation faced with nuclear annihilation and they lived the threat of nuclear war on the daily basis. This led to an anti-war revolt as the baby boomers felt tired of the threat war hanging over their heads.

This article explains to me the type of people that were involved in the Vietnam protests. The type of people were labeled as non-authoritarian, political efficacy, self-defined theologically liberal, self-defined politically liberal, and civil rights activists. Non-Authoritarian types can relate to the governmental political system, principle, and practice which they agree that the individuality of a person is held as completely subordinate to the authority of the government. Political efficacy type are citizens that put their faith and trust into the government in the belief that the government can understand and influence political affairs. Self-defined theologically liberals are a group that form thoughts due to religious influence instead of the defining norm or authority of tradition. The main trait of this group is their will to be liberated from outside influence and form inquires from the inner motivations. Self-defined politically liberals are a category of people that have set beliefs which stress on specific social beliefs. Beliefs such as government programs that seek on improving the quality and equality of life such as healthcare and welfare, strength of federal government to keep differing state governments close enough together to avoid conflict, and protection of constitutional rights of all people. The last is civil rights activists, they are the leaders of political movements dedicated to securing equal opportunity for members of minority groups.

On May 8, 1970, a group of young New York City college students held an anti-Vietnam war protest on Wall Street. This demonstration will end up to be known as the “hard hat riots” because the young students were brutally attacked by construction workers and businessmen but mainly the construction workers. These workers were mainly the working class of Americans and they were angry due to the belief that these college students were privileged and they dared to demonstrate protest against the American government and its traditional ideals. These students displayed with what they believed was the “new notions of manhood” which was to oppose the war by not joining it and to grow out their hair. Social movement activists imbued these styles with new political meanings, connecting their self-presentation to their political activism. For example, the black power activists represented their political ideals by adopting afros and wearing African-inspired clothing. This African styled political trend was considered unisex, which had no clear distinction between male nor female. The “unisex” trend was built upon the New Left and hippie counterculture activists as a way to promote their political ideals against the image of militaristic masculinity formed by the Vietnam War.

The first stage were protests were first led by two groups: left wing activists and college students. The left-wing activists opposed the Cold War and American Intervention Abroad. College students were brought up during the Southern Civil Rights movement with the influence of knowing how the government can turn a blind eye to injustice. The two goals of these groups were to give activists knowledge about Vietnam to help draw support from others to the cause and to normalize the notion of protecting against America since there was a fear of opposing one’s own country. The second stage’s main goals were to unite differentiating antiwar oppositions to unite against the draft and force a political end to the war. In April 1967, 500,000 people demonstrated against the war in New York. In 1968 the nation, and the war seemed to be out of control with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy being assassinated, racial rebellion fighting police, and the election of Richard Nixon all provided evidence that our political system was insufficient. All these events led to the third stage of the protest, and the main goal of this stage was to create as much chaos and instability at home. Loyalties shifted from the American soldiers to the Vietcong. What was most notable about this stage were the returning war veterans. One in six of the these war vets were addicted to heroin, refusing to engage in the war, and even killed some of their commanding officers if they commanded them to fight. More examples of these anti war vets involve publishing antiwar newsletters and throwing their combat medals over a fence surrounding the Capital. The fourth stage was more political warfare than actual guerilla tactics and violence. The release of the Pentagon Papers showed that the public opposition was high. This was thought to be a victory but instead it made veteran activists move on with their lives and complete other professional and academic goals. The remaining activist felt as though they were unable to join due to the military tactics these protesters demonstrated as most of them felt it wasn’t worth being risk being detained or injured. A new strategy was formed to keep the remaining activists in the cause. The new strategy was to build a political force to stop Nixon’s policy of turning the war over to the South Vietnamese Government. These new groups exposed President Nixon’s plan to escalate the bombings. All corporations profiting from it, exposing the torture of political prisoners in the prisons of South Vietnam, forced scientists to boycott war research, and denounce the use of biowarfare like Agent Orange. All this lead President Nixon to signed the Paris Peace Accords in late January 1973, ultimately bringing America’s role in South Vietnam to an end.

The main theme of this article is to discuss how the “Other Vietnam Syndrome” is a term used to describe how one’s appearance is related to their political views. For example if you opposed the war you would dress like a hippie, and if you were for the war, you would dress like the traditional american. They called this “anticoding” and it developed when the counterculture began.

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GradesFixer. (2018, October, 17) The Vietnam War and the Effectiveness of the Peace Movements. Retrived September 21, 2019, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-vietnam-war-and-the-effectiveness-of-the-peace-movements/
"The Vietnam War and the Effectiveness of the Peace Movements." GradesFixer, 17 Oct. 2018, https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-vietnam-war-and-the-effectiveness-of-the-peace-movements/. Accessed 21 September 2019.
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GradesFixer. The Vietnam War and the Effectiveness of the Peace Movements. [Internet]. October 2018. [Accessed September 21, 2019]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-vietnam-war-and-the-effectiveness-of-the-peace-movements/
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