1969 October 15

First Vietnam War Moratorium; Massive Protests


Millions of people from around the world participated in protest rallies against the Vietnam War on this day in what was organized as The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. The largest was on Boston Common, with 100,000 people. (Future president Bill Clinton helped organize a protest rally in England.) The October Moratorium was followed by the even larger moratorium a month later, on November 15, 1969.

The Moratorium and the attacks on President Richard Nixon’s Vietnam War policy helped to provoke Vice President Spiro Agnew’s famous attack on the news media, which he labelled “impudent snobs” on November 13, 1969.

The Vietnam War created a number of civil liberties crises. They include (1) the lack of a Congressional Declaration of War as required by the Constitution (June 3, 1970); (2) threats to freedom of the press in the Pentagon Papers case (June 30, 1971); (3) spying on the anti-war movement by the CIA (August 15, 1967); (4) threats to freedom of expression, for example high school student protests (February 24, 1969); censorship of television programs (February 25, 1968); and directly and indirectly some of the events that led to the Watergate Scandal (May 9, 1969; January 27, 1972).

Read about the Anti-Vietnam War Movement: Thomas Powers, The War at Home: Vietnam and the American people, 1964–1968 (1973)

Film of the moratorium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUMh-R4hCDg

Find and watch the documentary on the anti-war movement, The War at Home: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080118/

Learn more at the archive of the anti-war movement in the Pacific Northwest: http://depts.washington.edu/antiwar/vietnam_student.shtml

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