Vietnam Antiwar Movement

anti–Vietnam War movement

anti–Vietnam War movement, domestic and international reaction (1965–73) in opposition to U.S. policy during the Vietnam War. During the four years following passage of the Tonkin Gulf resolution (Aug., 1964), which authorized U.S. military action in Southeast Asia, the American air war intensified and troop levels climbed to over 500,000. Opposition to the war grew as television and press coverage graphically showed the suffering of both civilians and conscripts. In 1965 demonstrations in New York City attracted 25,000 marchers; within two years similar demonstrations drew several hundred thousand participants in Washington, D.C., London, and other European capitals. Most of the demonstrations were peaceful, though acts of civil disobedience—intended to provoke arrest—were common. Much of the impetus for the antiwar protests came from college students. Objections to the military draft led some protesters to burn their draft cards and to refuse to obey induction notices. By 1967 the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) invoked the language of revolution in its denunciations of the war in Vietnam as an inevitable consequence of American imperialism. There was also a more moderate opposition to the war from clergy, elected politicians, and people such as Dr. Benjamin Spock. In 1968, President Johnson, who was challenged by two antiwar candidates within his own party for the presidential nomination, Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, chose not to run. The election of Richard Nixon in 1968 and his reduction in U.S. ground forces did little to dampen the antiwar movement. His decision to invade Cambodia in 1970 led to massive demonstrations on college campuses, most tragically at Kent State Univ. where four people were killed by members of the Ohio National Guard. The legacy and meaning of the massive protests against the Vietnam War are still debated.

See T. Gitlin, The Sixties (1989); M. Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990 (1991); A. Garfinkle, Telltale Hearts (1995).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Vietnam and the American Political Tradition: The Politics of Dissent
Randall B. Woods.
Cambridge University Press, 2003
The Voice of Violence: Performative Violence as Protest in the Vietnam Era
Joel P. Rhodes.
Praeger, 2001
Sitting in and Speaking Out: Student Movements in the American South, 1960-1970
Jeffrey A. Turner.
University of Georgia Press, 2010
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "The War in the South"
Give Peace a Chance: Exploring the Vietnam Antiwar Movement
Melvin Small; William D. Hoover.
Syracuse University Press, 1992
Covering Dissent: The Media and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement
Melvin Small.
Rutgers University Press, 1994
"Keep Our Black Warriors out of the Draft": The Vietnam Antiwar Movement at Southern University, 1968-1973
Cox, Marcus S.
Educational Foundations, Vol. 20, No. 1-2, Spring 2006
'Peace on Earth-Peace in Vietnam': The Catholic Peace Fellowship and Antiwar Witness, 1964-1976
Moon, Penelope Adams.
Journal of Social History, Vol. 36, No. 4, Summer 2003
"An Oasis of Order": The Citadel, the 1960s, and the Vietnam Antiwar Movement
Macaulay, Alex.
Southern Cultures, Vol. 11, No. 3, Fall 2005
Understanding Antiwar Activism as a Gendering Activity: A Look at the U.S.'S Anti-Vietnam War Movement
Burgin, Say.
Journal of International Women's Studies, Vol. 13, No. 6, December 2012
The Turning: A History of Vietnam Veterans against the War
Andrew E. Hunt.
New York University Press, 1999
Lift Up Your Voice like a Trumpet: White Clergy and the Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements, 1954-1973
Michael B. Friedland.
University of North Carolina Press, 1998
The Vietnam War on Campus: Other Voices, More Distant Drums
Marc Jason Gilbert.
Praeger, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Refiner's Fire: Anti-War Activism and Emerging Feminism in the Late 1960s"
Takin' It to the Streets: A Sixties Reader
Alexander Bloom; Wini Breines.
Oxford University Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Hey, Hey, LBJ!: Vietnam and the Antiwar Movement"
The Movement and the Sixties
Terry H. Anderson.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Give Peace a Chance: The Antiwar Movement"
The 1960s Cultural Revolution
John C. McWilliams.
Greenwood Press, 2000
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