MOMENT OF AMERICAN HISTORY:
1970, Kent State University. Student protests at American universities
had begun in the early 1960's even before the start of the Vietnam
war. The Free Speech Movement in 1964 at the University of California
at Berkeley was the opening shot against many university administrations
in America. Students demanded more say in how the universities
they attended were ultimately run.
campus rebels of the Sixties were the biggest and most educated
group of Americans in the history of the United States. As the
Vietnam war escalated student demonstrations became bigger and
more violent. Some radical groups advocated the overthrow of
the American government, but these groups had always been a
small minority. Most students simply were against being drafted
into a war that they felt was extremely short-sighted and unnecessary.
president Richard Nixon took office the war in Vietnam not only
continued, but also spread to a new country next to Vietnam
called Cambodia. Student protests erupted to condemn this spreading
of the war and at Kent State University in Ohio, four students
were killed by American soldiers. Americans were horrified by
the scenes they saw on national television. Later, four hundred
colleges and universities were subsequently shut down.
Richard Nixon finally removed all American troops from Vietnam,
but over a four-year period, and American air bombings of Vietnam
continued until 1973 when the last American soldiers left the
country. By 1975 the war in Vietnam came to its final conclusion
as the South Vietnamese government collapsed and North Vietnamese
troops occupied the capital of Saigon. Americans watched on
television as American helicopters quickly evacuated the American
embassy with little time to spare. Whether the actions of war
protesters helped end the Vietnam war is today, still debatable.
anti-war movement had been home-grown and it eventually included
Americans of all ages from across the political spectrum. Leaders
and followers of the movement, with rare exceptions, believed
deeply in their American heritage. The war in Vietnam had a
high price tag. 57,000 American soldiers lost their lives in
Vietnam and the war had cost over 150 billion dollars. Many
Americans had begun questioning the high cost in lives that
the war had brought. Also the money that was wasted for a strange
war that few Americans understood then, or even today.