We should declare war on North Vietnam.

Eisenhower, 1954Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.

I am sure the great American people, if only they knew the true facts and background to the developments in South Vietnam, will agree with me that further bloodshed is unnecessary. And that the political and diplomatic methods of discussions and negotiations alone can create conditions which will enable the United States to withdraw gracefully from that part of the world. As you know, in times of war and hostilities, the first casualty is truth.

In fact, Johnson rejected a plethora of diplomatic initiatives during the month of February 1965. Appeals were made by Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Pakistani leader Mohammad Ayub Khan, Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson, and French foreign minister Maurice Couve de Murville. British Prime Minister Harold Wilson issued a statement on February 8 backing U.S. air strikes against North Vietnam but also instructed his ambassador in Washington, Lord Harlech, to meet with administration officials and request a new Geneva conference. In Rome, Pope Paul VI called for a negotiated settlement to the war sponsored and guaranteed by the United Nations. On February 24, UN Secretary-General U Thant, having tried and failed to broker a peace agreement, appealed directly to the American people, suggesting that the Johnson administration had not been fully candid about its war plans and operations:

Truth was not only the first casualty of war, as the Greek dramatist Aeschylus said 2,500 years ago, it was also a continuing casualty of American war plans and operations. President Johnson and his advisers engaged in numerous and elaborate deceptions in order to keep American public opinion on their side, or at least sufficiently confused so as to not interfere with their war plans. Johnson’s deceptions included misrepresenting the nature of the guerrilla war in South Vietnam, the extent of U.S. military operations in South Vietnam, covert operations against North Vietnam, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and U.S. peace proposals (which amounted to ultimatums). Added to these were continuing deceptions fostered by previous administrations concerning the Geneva Agreements, the nature of the South Vietnamese government, and the origins of the war.

What was coverage of the war like, and did it affect the image of the Vietnam veteran?

Vietnam veterans are the most qualified people to assess television's portrayal of the war because they are the only group of people to directly experience the atrocities of war.

The Vietnam War Causes Conflicts Effects Video Lesson

In accordance with these new American priorities, France’s position on Vietnam was now described in terms of the Free World’s stand against communist expansionism, and Washington ceased to perceive the war in Vietnam as primarily a local colonial conflict. Now linked to the Cold War, Vietnam was regarded as an area of strategic importance to the United States.

Pro-war rally in Washington, April 8, 1970 (photo by Tom Norpell)

Above all, Vietnam was a war that asked everything of a few and nothing of most in America.

The antiwar movement was a never-ending fount of new organizations and projects. From 1965 to 1967, new organizations included Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam, Veterans for Peace in Vietnam, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Another Mother for Peace, RESIST, and American Writers and Artists Against the War. Among the new projects were the National Voters Peace Pledge Campaign, organized by SANE, “Vietnam Summer,” a community organizing project led by Martin Luther King and Benjamin Spock, and “Negotiations Now,” a petition drive led by prominent liberals such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Antiwar protest in Harlem, 1967

Many protests combined opposition to the war with some tangible concern such as university cooperation with the Selective Service System, military and CIA recruiters on campus, the presence of ROTC, or contracts with the Pentagon or Dow Chemical (the Pentagon distributed about $1 billion annually to universities for research projects). The draft, or conscription, made the war impossible to ignore.


SparkNotes: The Vietnam War (1945–1975): Study …

What I got from your post was: for Communism, agitprop is a weapon, and a very important one. I didn’t think you said that the American left-wing has been taken in by Soviet agitprop.

Suggested essay topics and study questions for History SparkNotes's The Vietnam War (1945–1975)

Demonstrations, despite difficulties, were of great value to the antiwar movement. They fostered camaraderie, stimulated learning, encouraged activism, made a public statement, and gave people a sense of being part of something important and larger than themselves. They also fostered hope that the wheels of democracy would turn in favor of the protesters, that citizen advocacy would compel a recalcitrant Congress to put an end to the war. That hope was the source of much frustration as neither protest in the streets nor lobbying on Capitol Hill seemed to affect the administration’s relentless escalation of the war for three years running.

Viet Minh forces (led by Ho Chi Minh) began 8-year Indochina war to remove French from Vietnam.

In the aftermath of this successful demonstration, SDS national leaders decided not to pursue antiwar organizing at the national level, a decision that SDS national secretary Paul Booth later called “a colossal blunder.” The SWP stepped into the breach and formed a new coalition in August, the National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam. Planning began for a major event in mid-October, the “International Days of Protest.” SANE and other liberal groups declined to participate and initiated plans for a separate demonstration six weeks later. Not wanting to exclude the left entirely, SANE invited 30-year-old SDS president Carl Oglesby to speak. Most people who attended these demonstrations were not too concerned which groups sponsored them, but the dueling demonstrations attested to the difficulty of national coordination.

Apr 30, 1975 · Find out more about the history of Vietnam War, including videos, interesting articles, pictures, historical features and more

Open dissent on U.S. military bases slowly emerged. The first public act of defiance came on June 30, 1966, when three privates issued a public statement declaring their refusal to ship out to Vietnam on the grounds that the war was “immoral, illegal, and unjust.” The “Fort Hood Three” were court-martialed in September and sentenced to three to five year prison terms. In October, Army doctor Howard Levy refused to train Green Beret medics at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, asserting that Special Forces units were responsible for war crimes in Vietnam.