With LBJ stepping down, and Robert Kennedy gone, Johnson’s Vice-President Hubert Humphrey declared his candidacy. o At the Democratic Convention in Chicago, McCarthy and his anti-war platform stood little chance defeating Humphrey. Outside the convention, nearly 10,000 anti-war protesters were angry that McCarthy was being sidelined and demanded that the Democratic Party adopt an anti-war platform. o Chicago’s mayor Richard J. Daley mobilized 12,000 Chicago police officers and over 5,000 National Guard to disperse the protesters. o When protesters began throwing objects like rocks at the police, the police retaliated by spraying the protesters with mace, and beating them with nightsticks. Meanwhile, Alabama governor George Wallace entered the race as a third-party candidate. o Wallace, a Democrat now running on the American Independent Party ticket, was a longtime champion of segregation and states’ rights. o Wallace was able to win five Southern states however, his candidacy further split the Democratic ticket, directing more votes to the Republican Party. The Republican Party candidate Richard M. Nixon campaigned on a promise to restore law and order to society, which appealed to many middle-class Americans who were tired of years of riots and protests. o He also promised in very vague terms to end the war in Vietnam. o With the fracturing of the Democratic Party along with the third-party candidacy of George Wallace, Nixon was able to win the election. With the help of his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger , Nixon initiated his plan to end the war in Vietnam. o Called, Vietnamization , the plan called for the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops in order for the South Vietnamese to take on a more active combat role in the war. o By August of 1969, the first 25,000 U.S. troops had returned from Vietnam.
o Over the next three years, the number of American troops in Vietnam would drop from more than 500,000 to less than 25,000. Part of Nixon and Kissinger’s Vietnamization policy was aimed at establishing what the president called “ peace with honor .” o Nixon intended to maintain U.S. dignity in the face of its withdrawal from the war. He also intended to maintain clout when negotiating with the North Vietnamese. Yet negotiations between the U.S. and North Vietnam had stalled. o The U.S. continued to insist that the North Vietnamese forces withdraw from the South. o The North Vietnamese continued to insist that U.S. forces withdraw from South Vietnam, and South Vietnam’s government be dismantled. After a massive anti-war demonstration outside of the Whitehouse, Nixon delivered a televised message to the nation asking for the support of what he called the silent majority in America—moderate, mainstream Americans who quietly supported the nation’s efforts in Vietnam. o In the days following Nixon’s address, his popularity among Americans soared. My Lai Massacre : In November of 1969, shocking news was revealed to America. In 1968, a U.S. platoon under the command of Lieutenant William Calley, Jr. had entered a small village in South Vietnam called My Lai.
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