Oklahomans and the Vietnam War
The Antiwar Movement
While US forces fight overseas, there was tension at home. Many Americans opposed the war especially after the continuous bombing and the increase of drafted troops. The Vietnam War was the first to be televised, allowing people witness the horrors of war. A major antiwar organization was the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Originally a civil rights group with branches around the country, they evolved to planning many large anti- war protests. By 1967 antiwar protests were growing at a rapid rate due to the prolonged violence.
After President Richard Nixon approved the bombing and invasion of Cambodia in 1970, anger spread across the antiwar movement. In May 1970 students at Kent State University in Ohio gathered for a protest against President Nixon's actions. As tension rose and the crowd grew, demonstrators began throwing objects at police and breaking into buildings around campus. A state of emergency was called and the National Guard was sent in to diffuse the situation. On May 4, 1970, protestors began to assemble. As the situation escalated, some National Guardsmen opened fire into the crowd of demonstrators out of fear. Many students were wounded and four lost their lives, two of which were not innocent bystanders.
Protests did not end after the violence at Kent State University. Many demonstrators continued to appeal to government officials to end the war until President Nixon began to withdraw troops from combat in Vietnam.
Students at UC Berkley in California protest the Vietnam War (image courtesy of History).5