The anti-war movement and Getting OUT AKA, why did Americans hate the Vietnam War so much?
Anti-war demonstrations • By 1967, daily occurrences at American universities • “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” • Escalating troops= more casualties • Not a “good war” • Television images • Black leaders (like Dr. King) find the war unfair
Violence at home and abroad • 1968 Presidential Election • Bobby Kennedy (JFK’s brother) assassinated • Dr. King assassinated • Richard Nixon elected president • My Lai Massacre: journalist uncovers U.S. massacre of 200 villagers (women, children, elderly men) in March of 1968. Lieutenant eventually found guilty of murder of 109 villagers • Cambodia bombings: Nixon oks bombings of communist sections of Cambodia and Laos (neutral countries) • Kent State: May 4, 1970 • An anti-war protest turns violent as protestors attack an ROTC building • National Guard called in, 4 students killed
A losing battle • 1968: the height of the war • 500,000 troops (35,000 killed) • 1.2 million tons of bombs • 130,000 Vietnamese civilian deaths per month • Tet Offensive • Supposed to be a truce on Vietnamese New Year • 70,000 communist forces launch a surprise attack in South Vietnam, capture capital • U.S. eventually “wins,” but makes it seem like we don’t know what we are doing • Johnson decides not to run for re-election • Cost of war led to $6 billion in domestic cuts
The end of the war • Nixon announces “Vietnamization,” transferring fighting to the S. Vietnamese • 1973: U.S. and N. Vietnam sign a cease-fire agreement; N. Vietnam allowed to keep 150,000 troops in S. • 1974: North launches attacks on South; April 30, 1975, S. Vietnam surrenders to communist forces. • 1975: Khmer Rouge (communists dictator Pol Pot)take over Cambodia; communist forces take over Laos