World war ii foreign policy commit ment s e ven after

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World War II foreign policy commit ment s. E ven after Johnson's major escalation of 1965 , dissent rema in ed muted, with the exception of vocal protests by a handful of iso- lated student and intellectual groups. But as the war dra gged on i nconclusively and Ame rica n cas ualt ies mounted throughout 196 6 and 1 967, protest marches and demonstrations prolzferated. A sym boli c march on the Pentagon in the fall of 1967 drew tens of thou sands of antiwar protesters. Fo llowin g the Tet offensive of early 1968, the ranks of the antiwar movement swelled. Despite the persistence of stereotypes perpetuated in part by th e med i a, antiwar dissidents were not confined to the young, rad i cals, intellectuals, and the disaffected. Indeed if one defines the antiwar movement more broadly to encompass all who came to question the efficacy of the U.S . commi tment to Vietnam, by 1968 it included many powerful individuals within th e business and financial communities, the media, and the government it se lf Public - op ini on polls conducted during the late 1960s and ea rly 1970s revealed a st eady eros i on of popular support for U.S. policy. Many observers at th e time noted that the war had polarized Ameri can society more than any o th er event since the Ci vil War. The nature of the antiwar movement-its origins, purposes, and ultimate impact on policy-has long been a subject of heated controversy. Perhaps of equal importance, albeit less frequently studi ed, is the aggregate domestic response to Vietnam, m easurable by public-opinion surveys. Who opposed th e war? Why did they oppose it? What impact did antiwar activities, or changes in levels of public s uppo rt, have on the actions of th e Johnson and Nixon administrations? XDOCUMENTS Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an organization th at by the mid-1960s had become a leading vo ic e for th e st ud e nt protest movement a nd the New Left, announced its opposition to th e wa r in 1965. A public sta tem e nt explaining it s po sitio n, i ss u ed to 427
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428 Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War the press in October 1965, is Document 1. Document 2 gives excerpts fr om a speech by SOS president Carl Oglesby during a protest mar ch in Washington, D.C., on Novem- ber 27 of that year. Widely circulated, the address reproached not only the war b ut th e system that had produced it. Martin Luther King, Jr., the preeminent civil-rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, declared his opposition to America's involveme nt in Vi etnam on April 4, 1967. Portions of King 's controversial speech, de li vered as a sermon at New York's Riverside Church, are printed as Document 3. The military draft quickly emerged as a focus of antiwar ac ti vit y. Document 4, a call to resist the draft, was issued by Women Strike for Peace, the leading women's antiwar organization. It was publicized during an anti-draft rally in Washington, D.C.
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