The Anti-Vietnam War Movement

International activism and the search for world peace

Authored by: Chris Dixon , Jon Piccini

The Routledge History of World Peace Since 1750

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138069138
eBook ISBN: 9781315157344
Adobe ISBN:


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The Vietnam War provoked global controversy. What began during the early 1960s with a handful of critics expressing their opposition to a conflict largely unknown outside Southeast Asia grew into an issue driving protests around the globe—allowing protesters to become transnational in an era that augured the contemporary age of globalization. By the late 1960s opposition to the Vietnam War crossed national, class, and gender lines, not just in the United States, but internationally. This chapter argues that opposition to the Vietnam War was truly global. Opponents of the war in diverse locations shared a range of motives: Some emphasized the human cost of the conflict; others rejected the American-led effort to thwart Vietnamese nationalism or challenged the draft that swept up millions of unwilling young men in a conflict that was damaging America’s global credibility and authority. Another unifying factor among these seemingly disparate movements was their shared understanding of a new type of citizens’ participation and democracy, and a vibrant, productive debate concerning the meaning of, and the best ways to bring about, “peace.” Conflicting meanings were ascribed to the term, ranging from peaceful calls for negotiations between the warring parties, and demands that the United States and its allies withdraw their forces from Vietnam, to provocative, often violent calls for a victory for the nationalist– communist forces.

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