This essay was written inat the time of the Gulf War, by a veteran of the Anti-Vietnam War movement of theof Students for a Democratic Society SDSthe main campus-based anti-war organization, of the Worker-Student Alliance Caucus of SDS, which stood for urging students to ally with the American working class to oppose capitalist and imperialist exploitation both at home and abroad -- exploitation which they saw as the root cause of the war in Vietnam. It is also written from the perspective of the Progressive Labor Party, a Marxist-Leninist, Communist party, which broke from the old communist movement in the early s, founded the anti-war movement, and did so much to reintroduce Marxism and communist ideas generally in the U. PLP is still very active.
Of all the lessons learned from Vietnam, one rings louder than all the rest — it is impossible to win a long, protracted war without popular support.
When the war in Vietnam began, many Americans believed that defending South Vietnam from communist aggression was in the national interest. Communism was threatening free governments across the globe.
Any sign of non-intervention from the United States might encourage revolutions elsewhere. As the war dragged on, more and more Americans grew weary of mounting casualties and escalating costs. The small antiwar movement grew into an unstoppable force, pressuring American leaders to reconsider its commitment.
Peace movement leaders opposed the war on moral and economic grounds. The North Vietnamese, they argued, were fighting a patriotic war to rid themselves of foreign aggressors. Innocent Vietnamese peasants were being killed in the crossfire. American planes wrought environmental damage by dropping their defoliating chemicals.
Ho Chi Minh was the most popular leader in all of Vietnam, and the United States was supporting an undemocratic, corrupt military regime. Young American soldiers were suffering and dying.
Their economic arguments were less complex, but as critical of the war effort. Military spending simply took money away from Great Society social programs such as welfare, housing, and urban renewal. The Draft The draft was another major source of resentment among college students.
The age of the average American soldier serving in Vietnam was 19, seven years younger than its World War II counterpart. Students observed that young Americans were legally old enough to fight and die, but were not permitted to vote or drink alcohol.
Such criticism led to the 26th Amendment, which granted suffrage to year-olds. Slogans like "How Many More? Because draft deferments were granted to college students, the less affluent and less educated made up a disproportionate percentage of combat troops.
Once drafted, Americans with higher levels of education were often given military office jobs. About 80 percent of American ground troops in Vietnam came from the lower classes. Latino and African American males were assigned to combat more regularly than drafted white Americans. Antiwar demonstrations were few at first, with active participants numbering in the low thousands when Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.
Events in Southeast Asia and at home caused those numbers to grow as the years passed. As the Johnson Administration escalated the commitment, the peace movement grew. Television changed many minds.
Millions of Americans watched body bags leave the Asian rice paddies every night in their living rooms. Give Peace a Chance The late s became increasingly radical as the activists felt their demands were ignored.While there had been a long history in the United States of popular resistance to foreign wars, such as the Anti-Imperialist League’s campaign against the U.S.
invasion of the Philippines in the early 20th century, the movement against the Vietnam War was unprecedented in scope. An anti-war movement (also antiwar) is a social movement, Later, he campaigned against Adolf Hitler, then criticised Stalinist totalitarianism, attacked the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War, and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament.
It looks like you've lost connection to our server. Please check your internet connection or reload this page. The anti-war movement achieved national and even international prominence especially after the draft was significantly increased from 3, in February to 33, a month in October Anti-war demonstrations were held simultaneously in major cities around the U.S and the world including London, Rome and Paris.
Brief synopsis of the US anti-Vietnam War movement, from the mids to early s. An anti-war movement (also antiwar) is a social movement, usually in opposition to a particular nation's decision to start or carry on an armed conflict, unconditional of a maybe-existing just cause.
The term can also refer to pacifism, which is the opposition to all use of military force during conflicts.