During the Vietnam War
, times were changing, and emotions were boiling. The country was
equally divided on the Vietnam War. Some young people, thought that
the war was senseless, and America had no right sending soldiers over
to Vietnam to die. Most activists against the war were called
Hippies. This movement started
first in the United States then it spread to Canada. It even reached
as far as England and several other countries. The Hippy
movement was mainly a protest against the customs and traditions of
society. Most of the Hippies came from white middle-class families.
Their ages ranged from 17 to 25.
Their beliefs and customs were very new to society. They believed in universal loved and peace. They did not think that some people should be rich and others poor. They thought that adults top priority was making money. Hippies opposed the unfair treatments of minority groups. They often lived together in small groups, and shared each others belongings. They believed in being open with feelings and acting true to yourself. They wore odd- looking clothing. They had long hair and walked around barefoot or with sandals. Most refused to work and experienced with drugs, such as LSD or marijuana. They are commonly called flower children, because they used the flower as a symbol of love. Hippies also used colorful posters that featured strange designs. Their songs were usually folk or rock and roll. The Beatles help spread this movement with their songs. Hippies also idolized Timothy Leary. He experimented with various drugs.
The Hippy movement protested largely against the War. They thought that it was an immoral and an unjust war. They refused to go to war, and often times were arrested for not following draft orders. Also, the protests were by now a way of life. Originally, the hippies had planned their rallies to be non-violent. Although, once the government got involved they got brutal and sometimes deadly. One of the famous public displays of their opinions were at Woodstock. Woodstock was a concert that lasted many days. There bands sang songs opposing the war. Through their many protests, they got there message across. Although, there were many other groups opposing the war the hippies are probably one of the groups that will go down in history.
At the time when parts of the country were concerned on the war, civil rights was at its height. Throughout the sixties, African- Americans were treated as second class citizens. The treatment of this race was cruel and immoral. Even kids, were caught up in this race for freedom. The bombing of the African-American children in Birmingham, sent an uprising in the African- American community.
African- American students were killed at Jackson State. Although, whites hated the African- Americans the feeling was mutual. Many blacks, thought the whites caused the problems they had. Out of this arose the Black Panthers. Unlike Dr. Martin Luther King, the Black Panthers advocated the use of violence to change the inequalities between blacks and whites. Although violence was what they used to be heard, the Black Panthers did do some good. They set up soup kitchens for the African- Americans. They also set up agencies, for African-Americans. One famous Black Panther was Fred Hampton. He was the one that set up food kitchens. Later, he would be murdered by the police.
The Black Panthers, also opposed the war. They viewed it as a White mans war. African- Americans, were sent in large numbers to the war. The Black Panthers thought that America had no right sending African- America soldiers to their death, and they could not vote. They thought, that if they could fight along side a white American, they could go to school around white Americans. Some African -American women however enlisted to be a soldier In Washington D.C. there is a statue depicting two service- women. It is of an African- American and white women. As we all know today, the African- Americans won their rights. The sixties, perhaps changed the way we viewed them forever.
The war was not just debated between groups, politicians had very strong views on the war. The politicians, however were backed up by the SDS. Which means Students for a Democratic Society. The SDS goal was to make students aware of what was really happening in Vietnam. These students participated in marches, and campaigned for many politicians. One of the many of these was Eugene Joseph McCarthy. In 1968 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He captured many of his supporters with his opposition to the Vietnam War.
The students, also found their views preached by Bob Dylan. He was a musician, whose lyrics became a vehicle for the SDS. He attracted students such as Tom Hayden. He wrote a statement of beliefs held by the SDS. Most democratic groups, like the SDS, was against the Vietnam War. The SDS was the first to sponsor national demonstrations of the Vietnam War. Although, you make think this group of students was small, it was actually a very large group. Like the hippies, most members of the SDS were of whit middle class families.
Although, the three groups of resistance wanted one common goal, their views were different. All wanted a better America. However, by the end of the war support of the war started to detoriate. When the first clips of the war came on the news, the American public was shocked and horrified. Many people, who had supported the war slowly dropped support. Many tax payers, thought their money would be better spent on issues of this country. The American public, also saw that slowly America was losing the war. As the more people complained and the less supported the war, the American government understood what was happening. Slowly they started to withdraw soldiers from Vietnam. They signed agreements to end the war. Issues were resolved and America went resolve issues at home.
Once the war ended, soldiers came home to mothers, husbands came home to wives,and fathers came home to children. Once again, our great country came together as one. The protests to end the war stopped. People, focused on trying to resolve the issues of their country. Veterans were honored and most of the time were treated with great respect. After this great war, we came to the Seventies. We saw, Sonny and Cher and many others. That is another story though,one told later. Although, that century was deeply impacted by a war that had already been fought and resolved.