Kent State: Ohio National Guard Shoots and Kills Four in Anti-Vietnam War Protest
Ohio National Guard troops, mobilized because of anti-Vietnam War protests at Kent State University, shot and killed four students on this day. The Kent State pretests were part of a massive nationwide student protest that swept the country on May 1, 1970, in response to President Richard Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War by invading neutral Cambodia. The four students killed were Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause, both of whom had participated in the demonstrations at Kent, and Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder, students who were simply walking in the area. Nine other people were wounded.
The photograph of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller became one of the iconic images of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded the song, Ohio, to commemorate the shootings. Wikipedia lists over 25 songs or albums inspired by the Kent State shootings, along with seven documentary films and five plays.
The Kent State shootings provoked further protests on college campuses. One direct result was the President Richard Nixon genuinely feared there might be a complete collapse of law and order. Consequently, he called a special meeting of the heads of the intelligence agencies on June 5, 1970. The meeting led to the development of the Huston Plan, which called for aggressive action against anti-wr protesters, some of which were illegal. The Huston Plan was approved but then abruptly cancelled on July 27, 1970. Nonetheless, the idea of illegal actions lived on, and resulted in first the proposed GEMSTONE plan on January 27, 1972 and then the Watergate burglary on June 17, 1972. The Watergate burglary eventually led to President Nixon’s resignation in disgrace on August 9, 1974.
Watch newsreel footage of the shooting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OmZvyNrzAs
Read: Philip Caputo, 13 Seconds: A Look Back at the Kent State Shootings (2006)
Watch one of the documentaries: Confrontation at Kent State (1970)
Learn more at the Kent State Archives: http://may4archive.org/
Listen to Crosby Stills and Nash sing Ohio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68g76j9VBvM