The Anti-War Movement: Pt. 1: 1965-1968


The Vietnam War sparked the largest and “most significant [anti-war] movement of its kind in the nation's [United States] history”.
The first anti-war movement was in 1965; teach-ins in colleges that were educational protests, and by 1986 there were some 7 million protestors nationwide. The protestors consisted mainly of students and youths. The anti-war movement received attention by even the White House, when 25,000 people marched along Washington Avenue.

However, despite the efforts of the teach-ins in several hundred colleges, numerous more would not partake in protesting. “Within the US government, some saw these teach-ins as an important development that might slow down on further escalation in Vietnam.”
The teach-ins were still infuriating the US government, and on April 7 1965, after they had barely begun, President Johnson gave a major Vietnam address at the John Hopkins University. This address proves how significant and impacting these anti-war movements already were becoming in such a short space of time. In the address “Johnson was trying to stabilize public opinion [of the Vietnam War] while the campuses were bothering the government.”

Opposition to the Vietnam War grew in 1965 when the dead young soldier’s bodies arrived home, and bombing began in North Vietnam. The anti-war movement prompted a bombing pause from the 12-17 of May 1965. The anti-war movement was made more respectable when a new committee, an “unofficial group, the Inter-University Committee for a Public Hearing on Vietnam ... began planning a nationwide teach-in to be conducted on television and radio, of which would be a debate between protesters and administrators of the government.”
Soon, anti-war movement spread through the young soldiers of the Vietnam War, who began wearing peace symbols and flash icons. Rebellions and mutinies sometimes occurred against officers when orders were inhumane.

From the 1965-1966, opposition to the war began to slow, as more troops joined forces in the north Vietnam. The media was not as critical of the war as it had been in the previous year. However, this did not last long.

In the 1967, the war in South-east Asia and the one at home were both raging. The Vietnam War had become very unpopular. Bloody riots were unfolding, hippies and drugs were emerging, there were great disputes; this was one of the most turmoil years in America’s history, and it was all amplified by the media again. By the middle of 1967, many Americans began telling that the original involvement in Vietnam had been a costly mistake.

“The most important antiwar event of 1967 was the March on the Pentagon in October, which was turning point for the Johnson administration. With public support for Johnson's conduct of the war fading, the president fought back by overselling modest gains that his military commanders claimed to be making. This overselling of the war's progress played a major role in creating the domestic crisis produced by the Tet Offensive in early 1968, sparked from the protesters' actions. Although these marchers were unable to levitate the besieged Pentagon, their activities ultimately contributed to the redirection of the American policy in Vietnam by 1968-and the destruction of the presidency of Lyndon Johnson.” By 1968 only a quarter of the population approved of how Johnson was running the war.


The United States Antiwar Movement and the Vietnam War
Antiwar_Movement: American History 20th Century
//, 6/9/10

Photo Source: The Anti-War Movement in the United States.
Mark Barringer - Modern American Poetry
//, 6/9/10.

Part 2 coming soon, Bianka Lee.

Relevance to Heart of Darkness: I have found a comparison using the opening passage of Heart of Darkness leaves interpretation in regards to the Anti-War movement.