9. The Anti-War Movement

Antiwar Demonstration

Antiwar Demonstration

America’s Vietnam policy operated against a growing backdrop of antiwar protest after 1966-7. The antiwar movement intensified with time but is assessed to have fallen short of the desired impact. The movement has been described as broad-based, but divided. The movement’s effectiveness suffered from an irreconcilable split between anti-war liberals who sought policy changes on the war and anti-establishment radicals who sought to change the American system. The antiwar movement failed to capture either political party, nor did it connect efforts into a national antiwar policy. Nixon’s campaign promises in the 1968 campaign committed him to seek a peaceful exit from Vietnam but he subsequently waged a vigorous war to gain a position of strength at the peace talks.

Online Assignment:

Surf the antiwar/political activism sections of UC Berkeley’s Social Activism website. Listen to at least one audio clip or watch one video of antiwar activity.

Book Reviews

Foley, Michael S. Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance During the Vietnam War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.Sir,

DeBenedetti, Charles. An American Ordeal: The Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Era. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 1990.

Additional Resources

John Kerry’s Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 23, 1971

Sir No Sir! A website on antiwar activism within the military during the war


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