1960 The War
In the early 60s, during the Kennedy administration, there are repeated insurgent attempts to overthrow this US-backed South Vietnamese government by the newly formed, largely Communist National Liberation Front (NLF). The military arm of this political group is known as the Vietcong. In response, the Kennedy administration substantially expands military aid, increases the number of US military advisers, and authorizes them to take part in combat.
By December 31st, US forces in Vietnam number 900 [Bowman, p. 20]
1960 Political Activism
February 1: In Greensboro, North Carolina, four black students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Although they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the Southern United States, and 6 months later the original 4 protesters are served lunch at the same counter.
May 13, 1960: Several hundred Berkeley students protest the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in San Francisco. When the demonstrators are barred from the hearing room, a loud scuffle breaks out. The police turn on high-pressure fire hoses and blast the crowd down the marble steps. Officers arrest 64 people, including 31 Berkeley students, but instead of discouraging the protest, the confrontation becomes a call to arms. The next day 5,000 people protest the HUAC hearings at San Francisco City Hall. [Rosenfeld, 2002]
Fall 1960: The UC Berkeley campus chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the campus Ad Hoc Committee to End Discrimination pickets Berkeley businesses identified as engaging in racially discriminatory hiring practices.
1960: Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) is founded. The SDS, which grew out of earlier left-wing student organizations, including the Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID), was to become the most important white radical organizations of the 1960s.
The SDS Constitution (1969) describes the organization as "an association of young people of the Left. It seeks to create a sustained community of educational and political concerns; one bringing together liberals and radicals, activists and scholars, students and faculty. It maintains a vision of a democratic society, where all levels of people have control of the decisions that affect them and the resources which they are dependent. It seeks a relevance through the continual focus on realities and on the programs necessary to effect change at the most basic levels of economic, political, and social organization. It feels the urgency to put forth a radical, democratic program whose methods embody the democratic vision." [Heath, pp. 8-10, 219]
January 20, 1961: John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th U.S. president.
May 1961: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson visits President Diem in South Vietnam and hails the embattled leader as the "Winston Churchill of Asia".
May 11, 1961: Kennedy authorizes American advisers sending 44 Special Forces Troops and other military advisers to aid South Vietnam against the forces of North Vietnam. [Bowman, p. 21]
October 1961: To get a first-hand look at the deteriorating military situation, top Kennedy aides, Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow, visit Vietnam. "If Vietnam goes, it will be exceedingly difficult to hold Southeast Asia," Taylor reports to the President and advises Kennedy to expand the number of U.S. military advisors and to send 8000 combat soldiers.
October 24, 1961: On the sixth anniversary of the Republic of South Vietnam, President Kennedy sends a letter to President Diem and pledges "the United States is determined to help Vietnam preserve its independence..."
1961: California Senate's Fact-Finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities charges in a report that UC President Kerr "had opened the campus gates to communists." [sfgate.com Campus Files]
May 24, 1961: Twentey-seven Freedom Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for "disturbing the peace" after disembarking from their bus. [LAT, 5/25/61]
January 11, 1962: In his second State of the Union address, President Kennedy states "Few generations in all of history have been granted the role of being the great defender of freedom in its maximum hour of danger. This is our good fortune..." [WikiSource]
January 12, 1962: The U.S. Army Air Force lauches Operation Ranch Hand. The operation involves dropping a strong defoliant chemical (dioxin) known as Agent Orange. The purpose of the product is to deny an enemy cover and concealment in dense terrain by defoliating trees and shrubbery where the enemy could hide (in army-speak: "a modern technological area-denial technique") [NYT 1/12/62; Boettcher, pp. 257-59; Ranch Hand]
January 15, 1962: At a press conference, Kennedy denies that US combat troops are fighting in Vietnam. [NYT, 2/15/62]
February 3, 1962: The United States embargo against Cuba is announced. [NYT, 2/4/62 ]
February 4, 1962: The first US helicopter is shot down in Vietnam, one of 15 ferrying troops in attack against the village of Hong My. [NYT, 2/5/62]
February 27, 1962: The presidential palace in Saigon is bombed by two renegade South Vietnamese pilots flying American-made World War II era fighter planes. President Diem and his brother Nhu escape unharmed. Diem attributes his survival to "divine protection."
October 22, 1962: In a televised speech, President John F. Kennedy announces that U.S. spy planes have discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba. Kennedy announces that he has ordered a naval blockade of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from transporting any more offensive weapons to the island. The president terms Cuban military activities a "clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace."
December 2, 1962: After a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield becomes the first American official to make a non-optimistic public comment on the war's progress. [NYT, 12/3/62]
June 29, 1962: In Los Angeles, the UC Regents vote to end compulsory student service in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC)beginning with the fall semester of 1962. University President Clark Kerr states that the action was taken "responsive to student petitions", but added that the proposal had confronted the Regents since 1877.
October 1, 1962: The first black student, James Meredith, registers at the University of Mississippi, escorted by Federal Marshals. Riots break out in which two people are killed and at least 75 injured. [NYT, 10/1/62]
January 1-2, 1963: Forces of the North Vietnamese National Liberation Front (NLF) (also known as the Vietcong) defeat the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) in Battle of Ap Bac, sixty-five kilometers southwest of Saigon in the Mekong Delta. This was the first major combat victory for the Vietcong against the South Vietnamese regular army.
January 14, 1963: George C. Wallace becomes governor of Alabama. In his inaugural speech, he defiantly proclaims "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!" [NYT, 1/15/63;]
February 11, 1963: The CIA's Domestic Operations Division is created.
May 8, 1963: South Vietnamese troops, enforcing a ban on the Buddhist multicolored flag, fire upon 20,000 Buddhists at Hue. The attack begins a series of intensifying protests by Buddhists against the government. [NYT, 5/10/63; Bowman, p. 27]
August 21, 1963: Troops loyal to South Vietnamese, US-backed President Ngo Dinh Diem dress up as regular troops and attack Buddhist temples and sanctuaries throughout the country. A member of the Catholic Vietnamese minority, Diem continues to pursue pro-Catholic policies that antagonize Buddhist groups. President Kennedy denounces the attacks. Buddhist groups continue to stage increasingly intense protests, including individual instances of self-immolation. The most widely publicized instance occurs on on June 16, 1963, when Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc immolates himself in downtown Saigon [NYT, 6/13/63; King, 2000]
August 24, 1963: A U.S. State Department message sent to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge is interpreted by Lodge to indicate he should encourage the military coup against President Diem.
November 1, 1963: With tacit approval of the United States, operatives within the South Vietnamese military overthrow South Vietnamese government. President Diem and his brother Nhu are shot and killed in the aftermath (on November 2nd) [NYT, 11/2/63; NYT, 11/2/63a]
November 22, 1963: President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. Kennedy's death meant that the problem of how to proceed in Vietnam fell squarely into the lap of his vice president Lyndon Johnson.
October 1963 to Summer 1964: Students from UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University participate in picketing of the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco in protest of racially discriminatory hiring practices. Over 170 demonstrators are arrested.
June 1962, 1963: At a convention in Port Huron, Michigan, SDS delegates draft their first official manifesto, a document that would become known as The Port Huron Statement. Growing out of a draft statement prepared by Tom Hayden, University of Michigan student and one of SDS' founding members, the Port Huron Statement articulated a political philosophy of participatory democracy and political activism that was to have wide impact on the 60s generation: "We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit."
1964 The War
March 17, 1964: The U.S. National Security Council recommends the bombing of North Vietnam. President Johnson approves only the planning phase by the Pentagon.
March 26, 1964: In an hour-long speech, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara forcefully rejects "withdrawal", "neutralization", or "peace at any price" in the war Vietnam. [NYT, 3/27/64]
May 4, 1964: Trade embargo imposed on North Vietnam in response to attacks from the North on South Vietnam.
July 16, 1964 : Senator Barry Goldwater (AZ) is nominated by the Republican Party to run for president. In his acceptance speech he makes reference to Vietnam: "Yesterday it was Korea; tonight it is Vietnam. Make no bones of this. Don't try to sweep this under the rug. We are at war in Vietnam. And yet the president, who is the commander in chief of our forces, refuses to say-refuses to say, mind you-whether or not the objective over there is victory, and his secretary of defense continues to mislead and misinformation the American people, and enough of it has gone by." He also declares, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." [americanrhetoric.com]
July 27, 1964: The U.S. sends 5,000 more military advisers to South Vietnam, bringing the total number of United States forces in Vietnam to 21,000. [NYT, 7/28/64]
August 2, 1964: Three North Vietnamese PT boats allegedly fire torpedoes at the U.S.S. Maddox, a destroyer located in the international waters of the Tonkin Gulf, some thirty miles off the coast of North Vietnam. The attack comes after six months of covert U.S. and South Vietnamese naval operations. A second, even more highly disputed attack, allegedly takes place on August 4. [NYT, 8/3/64;NYT, 8/5/64 ]
August 7, 1964: Congress approves the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which allows the president to take any necessary measures to repel further attacks and to provide military assistance to any South Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) member. Senators Wayne L. Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska cast the only dissenting votes. President Johnson orders the bombing of North Vietnam. [NYT, 8/8/64] [(See also May 21-23, 1965 Berkeley Teach-In for a speech by Gruening)
May 2, 1964: The first major student demonstrations against the Vietnam take place in New York City. 400-1000 students march through Times Square to the United Nations to protest what was then called "US intervention" in Vietnam. On the same day, more than 700 students and young people march through San Francisco. In Boston, Madison, Wisconsin, Seattle, there are simultaneous smaller demonstrations. [NYT, 5/3/64]
September-December 1964: UC Berkeley student activists, many of whom had recently returned to college from a summer of civil rights activities in the South, come into conflict with university administration over the right to use university facilities for political advocacy. Under the informal leadership of student Mario Savio, the Free Speech Movement arose out of debates, protests, sit-ins, and other activities from October to December of 1964. The Free Speech Movement is often cited as a starting point for the many student protest movements of the 1960s and early 1970s.
February 24, 1965: The US implements Operation Rolling Thunder, a series of intense bombing campaigns lasting from February 1965 until October 1968. The operation begins primarily as a diplomatic signal to impress Hanoi with America's determination and as a means of bolstering the sagging morale of the South Vietnamese. Curtis LeMay, the commander of the US Air Force, comments: "My solution to the problem [of North Vietnam] would be to tell them frankly that they've got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression, or we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age. And we would shove them back into the Stone Age with Air power or Naval power, not with ground forces." [Lemay, p. 565; Herring, pp. 173-79]
President Johnson seems to have been less confident about the effectiveness of this campaign. In a phone conversation to Secretary of State Robert McNamara, Johnson said: "Now we're off to bombing these people. We're over that hurdle. I don't think anything is going to be as bad as losing, and I don't see any way of winning." [as quoted in Dallek, 2002]
March 8, 1965: The first U.S. combat troops (3,500 Marines) reach South Vietnam, landing in the coastal city of Danang. [NYT, 3/7/65]
March 9, 1965: President Johnson authorizes the use of Napalm, a petroleum-based substance mixed with a thickening agent into a gel that would burn continuously and stick to anything it touched. A Business Week article (February 10, 1969) termed the chemical "the fiery essence of all that is horrible about the war in Vietnam."
April 7, 1965: President Johnson gives a major Vietnam address at Johns Hopkins University, in response to the growing campus protest activity. The Johns Hopkins speech is the first major example of the political impact of campus demonstrations. (Text of Johnson's speech: New York Times, April 8, 1965) [UC Berkeley users only)
May 1965: The Gallup Poll shows that only 48% of the US respondants feel that the US Government is handling the Vietnam conflict effectively; 28% feel that the situation was being handled badly; the balance have no opinion. [LAT, 7/18/65; NYT, 8/8/65] A June 1965 Harris Poll indicates that over 60% of the Americans queried support both the infusion of additional troops into Vietnam and the retaliatory bombing of North Vietnam. [LAT, 6/28/65]
June 28-30, 1965: General William C. Westmoreland launches the first purely offensive operation by American ground forces in Vietnam, sweeping into Vietcong territory northwest of Saigon. 3000 American troops along with 800 Australian soldiers and a Vietnamese airborne unit assault a jungle area 20 miles northeast of Saigon.
July 28, 1965: President Johnson announces that he has ordered an increase in US military forces in Vietnam from the present 75,000 to 125,000. To accomplish this, the monthly draft call is raised from 17,000 to 35,000. [NYT, 7/29/65]
August 5, 1965: CBS airs a report by Morley Safer (CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite) that shows Marines lighting the thatched roofs of the village of Cam Ne with Zippo lighters, and includes critical commentary on the treatment of the villagers. The story generates an angry reaction from Lyndon Johnson, who is certain that Safer must be a Communist and orders a security check. Informed that Safer wasn't a Communist, just a Canadian, he comments, "Well, I knew he wasn’t an American." [Vietnam on Television; Wolfe, Essays; CNN: Cold War]
October 26, 1965: New York City Council approves designating an official Support American Vietnam Effort day by a vote of 28-to-2.
November, 1965: The first conventional battle of the Vietnam war takes place as American forces clash with North Vietnamese units in the Ia Drang Valley. [LAT, 11/22/65]
December 31, 1965: US military personnel in Vietnam totals over 180,000. General Westmoreland has made it clear that he wants another 250,000 during the coming year. American war casualities for the year total 1350 killed, 5300 wounded, and at least 150 missing. [Bowman, p. 82]
1965: A California poll reveals that the majority of those queried disapprove of UC political demonstrations (LAT. 4/13/65)
January 18, 1965: One month before his assassination, Malcolm X denounces United States involvement in Vietnam: "It shows the real ignorance of those who control the American power structure. If France, with all types of heavy arms, as deeply entrenched as she was in what was called Indochina, couldn't stay there, I don't see how anybody in their right mind can think the U.S. can get in there -- it's impossible. So it shows her ignorance, her blindness, her lack of foresight and hindsight; and her complete defeat in South Vietnam is only a matter of time." [Malcolm X Talks to Young People]
February 10, 1965: Tran Van Dinh Addresses Students at UC Berkeley
March 24-25, 1965: Students for a Democratic Society organize the first teach-in on the Vietnam war, at the University of Michigan. [NYT 3/25/65]. The event is attended by about 2,500 and consists of debates, lectures, movies, and musical events aimed at protesting the war. Thirty-five other universities follow suit (see UC Berkeley Teach-In, May 21-23, 1965)[Menashe and Radosh, pp. 3+]
April 17, 1965: A coalition of Students for Democratic Society (SDS) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)and other activists organizes a massive anti-war march on Washington, D.C. Organizers had expected about 2000 marchers. The actual count was about 25,0000. This was the largest anti-war protest to ever have been held in Washington DC at that time, with the number of marchers approximately equal ling the number of US soldiers in Vietnam. [NYT, 4/18/65]
April 26, 1965: Mario Savio quits the Free Speech Movement. At a noon rally, Savio says he is quitting the Movement because: "I cannot keep up with the undemocratic procedures that the [university]administration is following." [NYT, 4/27/65]
May 5, 1965: Several hundred UC Berkeley students march on the Berkeley Draft Board and present the staff with a black coffin. Forty students burn their draft cards. Students also protest the April 1965 US military invasion of Dominican Republic. [LAT, 5/6/65]
May 21-23, 1965: : Vietnam Day Committee organizes the largest Vietnam teach-in to date at UC Berkeley. The 36 hour event is held on a playing field where Zellerbach Auditorium is now located. About 30,000 people turn out. [NYT, 5/23/65]
The State Department is invited to send a representative, but declines. UC Berkeley professors Eugene Burdick (Political Science)(see also May 21, 1975) and Robert A. Scalapino (Political Science), who had agreed to speak in defense of President Johnson's handling of the war, withdraw at the last minute. An empty chair is set aside on the stage with a sign reading "Reserved for the State Department" taped to the back. A food vendor at the event offers "Chicken Scalapino" on its menu. [Rorabaugh, pp. 91-94]
Participants include: Dr. Benjamin Spock; veteran socialist leader Norman Thomas; novelist Norman Mailer; independent journalist I.F. Stone.
Other speakers include: California Assemblymen Willie Brown, William Stanton and John Burton; Dave Dellinger (political activist); James Aronson (National Guardian magazine); philosopher Alan Watts; comedian Dick Gregory; Paul Krassner (editor, The Realist); M.S. Arnoni (philosopher, writer, political activist); Edward Keating (publisher, Ramparts Magazine); Felix Greene (author and film producer); Isadore Zifferstein (psychologist); Stanley Scheinbaum (Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions); Paul Jacobs (journalist and anti-nuclear activist); Hal Draper (Marxist writer and a socialist activist); Levi Laud (Progressive Labor Movement); Si Casady (California Democratic Council); George Clark (British Committee on Nuclear Disarmament); Robert Pickus (Turn Toward Peace); Bob Parris and Bob Moses (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee); Jack Barnes (National Chair of the Young Socialist Alliance); Mario Savio (Free Speech Movement); Paul Potter (Students for a Democratic Society); and Mike Meyerson (national head of the Du Bois Clubs of America). British philosopher and pacifist Bertrand Russell sends a taped message to the teach-in.
Faculty participants include: Professor Staughton Lynd (Yale); Professor Gerald Berreman (Chair, UCB Anthropology Dept.); Professor Aaron Wildavsky (Political Science and Public Policy
Performers includes: folk singer Phil Ochs; improv group, The Committee and others.
UC Berkeley Professors Eugene Burdick and Morris Hirsch Discuss the Berkeley Vietnam Teach-in
Part I: Studio interview with Professor Burdick (a supporter of the Johnson administration's Vietnam policies)
UC Berkeley Professor Aaron Wildavsky, Assistant Professor of Political Science
UC Berkeley Faculty Debate on Vietnam (1965)
May 12, 1965: The California State Senate's Byrne Committee releases another report calling the Berkeley campus a haven for communists. Candidate for California governor, Ronald Reagan, announces that if elected governor, he will appoint former CIA Director John McCone to investigate the campus unrest at UC Berkeley. [NYT, 5/22/65; LAT, 5/22/65]
May 22, 1965: At the conclusions of talks at the Berkeley teach-in around midnight, several hundred participants, led by members of the Young Socialist Alliance, march to the Berkeley draft board where they hang Lyndon Johnson in effigy, and burn 19 draft cards. (Rorabaugh, p. 92)
June 16, 1965: A planned anti-war march on the Pentagon turns into a five-hour teach-in on the Pentagon steps and inside of the facility. In two days, more than 50,000 leaflets are distributed without interference at the entrances and inside the building. (BBC War/Protest Timeline)[NYT, 6/17/65]
July 1965: Several years before Martin Luther King publicly opposes the war (See March 25, 1965), the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party circulates a leaflet entitled "The War on Vietnam: A McComb, Mississippi, Protest" which outlines "five reasons why Negroes should not be in any war fighting for America." Among the reasons: "No one has a right to ask us to risk our lives and kill other Colored People in Santo Domingo and Vietnam, so that the White American can get richer. We will be looked upon as traitors by all the Colored People of the world if the Negro people continue to fight and die without a cause." [Grant, 1968]
July 26, 1965: Mario Savio is handed a 120 day jail sentence for his role in the Free Speech Movement sit-ins in Sproul Hall, December 2-3, 1964. 292 demonstrators are also sentenced. Savio begin his sentence on June 30. 1967. [NYT, 7/27/65 NYT, 7/29/65]
August 1965: Organized by the Vietnam Day Committee, several hundred people try on several occasions to stop troop trains on the Santa Fe railroad tracks in West Berkeley and Emeryville by standing on the tracks. Conservative Alamedia County Board of Supervisors member Joseph Bort says of the events: "The manner in which these people protest is tentamount to treason." Among UC Berkeley faculty, opinions are sharply divided regarding the VDC's tactics. (Rorabaugh, p. 94; NYT, 8/7/65)
August 12, 1965: Rioting breaks out the predominantly African American neighborhood of Watts, Los Angeles. During the riots, 34 people are killed, 1,100 people are injured, 4,000 people are arrested, and an estimated $100 million in damage is caused. [LAT, 8/12/65]
August 13, 1965: Counterculture newspaper The Berkeley Barb is started by Max Scherr.
October 7, 1965: A UC Berkeley faculty group of about 40 calling itself The Faculty Peace Committee addresses a crowd of about 600 in Sproul Plaza, urging President Johnson to stop the bombing in North Vietnam. [NYT, 11/8/65]
October 15, 1965: Anti-Vietnam war rallies are held in four U.S. cities, the largest in New York and Berkeley. In New York, police make the 1st arrest under a new Federal draft card-burning law. [NYT, 10/16/65]
At UC Berkeley, a Teach-In on campus is followed by a march on the Oakland Army induction center. "That evening, some 15,000 demonstrators left the campus marching toward Oakland. Marchers include children, grandmothers, and a busload of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters along with college and high school students. The Oakland and Berkeley authorities had refused a parade permit. As the marchers approached the Oakland city limit they could see about 400 Oakland police wearing riot helmets, brandishing special riot weapons, blocking the way. The march stopped less than a hundred yards from the police line. As spectators and a group of about 100 right-wing counterdemonstrators filled the gap between the march and the police, a previously agreed-to subcommittee held a swirling, confused discussion on what to do. ... [After negotiation, the march proceeded to Oakland Civic Center Park , where the teach-in was continued and another march called for the next day." [Halstead, p. 87; Rorabaugh, pp. 96-97]
The following day (October 16), the marchers return. (About 100 had remained in the park overnight). When the two to five thousand protesters reach the Oakland City line, they are stopped by police. The police ask the protestors to sit down in the street to avoid violent confrontations. Poet Allen Ginsberg chants "Hare Krishna" at the front of the march. The Hell's Angels motorcycle gang appears, rips down banners, and attacks protestors, yelling, "Go back to Russia you fucking communists!" The police attack the Angels. When the Angels threaten to attack the next peace march, Ginsberg, Keasy, and Pranksters subsequently visit the home of Angels president Sonny Barger to discuss the situation and share some LSD with Barger and his friends. By dawn the two groups had chanted together. [Barlow. Intrepid Trips: "Allen"; LAT, 10/17/65]
November 2, 1965: Norman Morrison, a devout Quaker and ardent pacifist, drives from Baltimore to Washington and burns himself to death at the Pentagon. Shortly before his death, he writes to his wife, "For weeks even months I have been praying only that I be shown what I must do. This morning with no warning I was shown... Know that I love thee but must act...." [King, 2000]
November 10, 1965: UC Berkeley Chancellor Roger W. Heynes issues a series of guidelines which caution faculty against letting political activities interfere with the educational practice. [NYT, 11/11/65]
November 20, 1965: A permit is finally granted to the VDC. On November 20, from 6,000 to 10,000 protestors march to DeFremery Park in Oakland. The day before the march the Angels call a press conference and distribute a news release: "Although we have stated our intention to counter-demonstrate at this despicable un-American activity, we believe that in the interest of public safety and the protection of the good name of Oakland, we would not justify the VDC (Vietnam Day Committee) by our presence ... because our patriotic concern for what these people are doing to a great nation may provoke us into violent acts." [People's Almanac; Rorabaugh, p. 98; NYT, 11/21/65; Wollenberg]
November 27, 1965: Between 15,000 and 25,000 anti-war demonstrators rally at the White House during an SDS-organized March on Washington for Peace in Vietnam. The march had garnered a long list of celebrity sponsors, including novelists Saul Bellow and James Hersey; playwright Arthur Miller; artist Alexander Calder; actors Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Tony Randall; doctors Benjamin Spock and Albert Sabin (developer of the oral polio vaccine). During the march, Spock, Martin Luther King, and others held formal discussions with three Administration offials to air their concerns about the war. [NYT, 11/28/65]
January 7, 1966: Time Magazine names General William Westmoreland "Man of the Year."
January 31, 1966: Air strikes against North Vietnam resume after a five-week pause, in an effort to deprive Vietnamese communist forces of essential military supplies. Lyndon Johnson in his address announcing this action contends that "Our air strikes from the beginning have been aimed at military targets and have been controlled with the greatest of care." [NYT, 1/31/66]
May 6, 1966: A California State Senate subcommittee issue a 153 page report that accuses University of California President Clark Kerr for having permitted the infiltration of communists, leading to "left wing domination of the Berkeley campus." According to the New York Times article about the report, the campus portrayed by the five member subcommittee was a "montage of obscene entertainment, marijuana smoking, homosexuality, and plotting, much of it by nonstudents, against the war in Vietnam." [NYT, 5/7/66]
May 13, 1966: Ronald Reagan, candidate for California governor, demands a legislative investigation of alleged Communism and sexual misconduct at UC Berkeley. He blames the political turmoil on the Berkeley campus on "a small group of beatniks, radicals, and filthy speech advocates." [NYT, 5/14/66]
June 29, 1966: US bombers attack fuel storage installations near Hanoi and Haiphong, destroying an estimated 50 percent of Vietnam's fuel supply. These are the first raids in the immediate vacinity of the two cities and constitutes a major escalation in the war. [NYT, 6/30/66]
December 31, 1966: US military personnel in Vietnam totals over 280,000; there are also approximately 60,000 American military personnel aboard ships operating off the Vietnamese mainland. American war casualities for the year total 5008 killed, 37,738 wounded. [Bowman, p. 98]
Early 1966: A Gallup Poll indicates that 47% of US college students support President Johnson's conduct of the war.[Heineman]
February 5, 1966: The White House rebuffs a group of about 100 war veterans and former servicemen who had traveled from New York to return medals and honorable discharge and separation papers as a protest against the Vietnam war. [NYT, 2/6/66]
March 25, 1966: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Arthur Goldberg receives an honorary degree from UC Berkeley at the campus' annual Charter Day. In his acceptance speech, Goldberg delivers a defense of the Johnson administration's Vietnam policies. The crowd of those attending the ceremonies--around 14,000--is full of anti-war placards bearing slogans such as "Arthur Goldberg, Doctor of War." After the ceremonies, about half the audience moves to Harmon Gymnasium where Goldberg has agreed to discuss the issues with the Faculty Peace Committee. A vote is called for a show of approval or disapproval of the Administration's handling of the war. About 100 vote for approval; 7,000 stand for disapproval. [Halstead, p. 142; LAT, 3/25/66; NYT, 3/26/66]
Spring 1966: A majority of students vote for immediate US withdrawal from Vietnam in a campus-wide VDC-initiated referendum. Graduate student TA's use their discussion sections to talk about the war in one third of all classes. [People's History of Berkeley]
April 10, 1966: At an SDS National Council meeting the group devises a "counter-examination"--a "National Vietnam Exam"--which would be circulated in an effort to reach nearly a half-million college students expected to take the first Selective Serive deferment test on May 14. The Exam was designed to publicize SDS' opposition to the war. 350,000 exams were distributed on 820 campuses. [Heath, 52-3]
A bomb explodes in the Berkeley office of the Vietnam Day Committee, slightly injuring four. The VDC incident is the second bombing of a Bay Area activist organization in two months. A militant faction within the VDC responds by mounting a street demonstration on Telegraph Avenue which is forcibly broken up by Berkeley police. Several are injured. [NYT, 4/10/66;NYT, 4/14/66]
June 1966: A Gallup poll indicates that the number of respondants supporting the US handling of the war in Vietnam has slipped to 41%; 37% express disapproval; the balance have no opinion. [LAT, 6/8/66]
June 19, 1966: The U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee charges that communists have played a key role in anti-war demonstrations ("The Communist Party U.S.A. brand can be found on every phase of the rallies"). [NYT, 6/20/66]
June 30, 1966:Three army privates from Fort Hood, Texas, James Mora, James A. Johnson, and David A. Samas (the "Fort Hood 3"), refuse to ship out to Vietnam on the grounds that the war is "illegal and immoral." In September, the three are court-martialed and sentenced from three to five years hard labor. The sentence is later reduced to a two year term. [NYT, 7/12/66; NYT, 9/10/66]
July 4, 1966: The national convention of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) adopts two resolutions: one calling for withdrawal of US troops; the other attacking the draft as placing a "heavy discriminatory burden on minority groups and the poor." [Bowman, p. 89]
August 14, 1966: Vietnam Day Committee is banned from the Berkeley campus. [NYT, 8/15/66]
November 30, 1966: Fifty to 100 students stage a sit-down protest around a Navy recruiter table in the UC Berkeley Student Union. (The VDC, SDS, and other student radical groups had been prohibited by the Berkeley ASUC from setting up tables in the Union). Six protestors (including ex-students Mario Savio and Jerry Rubin) are arrested. [LAT, 12/1/66; NYT, 12/1/66]
"Just as in 1964 the Free Speech Movement was incited by the power structure's attempt to crack down on the Civil Rights Movement, the present conflict stems from the continuing attempt to crush the anti-war movement in this country. The right of dissent is imperative to the continuance of opposition to American suppression of self-determination in Vietnam, and it is a fundamental right upon which any democratic enterprise must be based." (Vietnam Day Committee statement in support of strike)
Part 1 speakers include Joel Gire (?), Karen Lieberman and Ira Ruskin (re campus administration's refusal to negotiate with groups supporting the strike) Mario Savio, Al Jacobs and Karl Davidson (Students for a Democratic Society), David Harris (student body president, Stanford University), and others.
Part 2 speakers include Professor Robert Moore (Mathematics), Professor Bernard Diamond (Law; Psychiatry), and student speakers.
October 10, 1966: The first of many university campus protests against the presence of recruiters for Dow Chemical (manufacturers of napalm) takes place at UC Berkeley.
January 1967: In a major ground war effort dubbed Operation Cedar Falls, about 16,000 US and 14,000 South Vietnamese troops set out to destroy Vietcong operations and supply sites near Saigon. [NYT, 1/12/67]
February 3, 1967: 10,000 US troops sent to the Cambodian border (Operation Big Spring) [NYT, 8/4/67]
April 28, 1967: General William Westmoreland addresses Congress on America's expanding military role in the Vietnam conflict: "[The enemy] believes in force, and his intensification of violence is limited only by his resources, and not by any moral inhibitions." [NYT, 4/29/67]
May 19, 1967: First U.S. air strike on Hanoi. [NYT, 5/20/67]
July 30, 1967: A Gallup poll reports that 52% of the American people disapprove of President Johnson's handling of the war; 41% think that the US made a mistake in sending troops to Vietnam; over 56% think that US is losing the war or at an impasse. [Bowman, p. 108]
December 31, 1967: US military personnel in Vietnam totals over 500,000. In 1967, 9353 American troops were killed; 99,742 troops were wounded. Since Februrary 1965, the US and South Vietnam have dropped more than 1.5 million tons of bombs on North and South Vietnam. [Bowman, p. 82]
1967:A group of American independent filmmakers and photographers forms a collective in NY to document and chronicle politically significant events of the time. The films, often roughly shot and bearing no individual credits, focus particularly on political demonstrations, acts of political resistance, and what the filmmakers considered to be abuses of governmental power, both in the US and globally. The group calls itself simply Newsreel. The organizational idea eventually spread to other cities including Boston and San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
January 1, 1967: In an article written for the Chicago Defender, Martin Luther King, Jr. openly expresses support for the antiwar movement on moral grounds ("War is obsolete. No nation wins a war). [Chicago Defender, 1/1/67]
January 14, 1967: The first "Human Be-In" (aka "A Gathering of the Tribes") is held in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. The event is a prelude to the San Francisco "Summer of Love", which made the Haight-Ashbury district a household word as the center of an American counterculture and introduced the word 'psychedelic' to Suburbia. Participants in the event, which drew over 30,000 celebrants, include Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Richard (Ram Dass) Alpert, Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel, and Jerry Ruben. The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and others bands provided the sound track..
March 25, 1967: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads 5,000 people down State Street in Chicago to protest the war in Viet Nam--the first anti-war march in which Dr. King had participated.
April 4, 1967: Martin Luther King delivers his "Beyond Vietnam" speech at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City.
April 15, 1967: Spring Mobilization to End the War (MOBE). 400,000 march in Anti-Vietnam War protest from Central Park in New York to the United Nations building. [NYT, 4/16/67]
In San Francisco, 100,000 people march from Second and Market Streets to Kezar Stadium at Golden Gate Park. Vietnam veteran David Duncan gave the keynote speech. Afternoon performers include: Judy Collins, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service. Also appearances from Julian Bond, Eldridge Cleaver, Morris Evenson, Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, David Harris, and Mrs. Martin Luther King, actor Robert Vaughn, and Robert Scheer, editor of Ramparts Magazine. [LAT, 4/15/67]
April 24, 1967: Abbie Hoffman leads a group in a guerrilla theater gesture against capitalism and the war at the New York Stock Exchange. The pranksters throw fistfuls of real and fake dollars onto the trading floor, causing complete chaos as the traders scrambled to scoop them up. [NYT, 8/25/67]
April 28, 1967: Boxing champion Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) refuses induction into the armed forces, citing religious reasons. He tells reporters that "I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong." He would also later comment "I've no beef with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me nigger." Ali receives a five year prison sentence (reversed by the Supreme Court in June 1971 [NYT 6/29/71]. The World Boxing Association revokes his title and license. [ NYT, 4/29/67]
April 30, 1967: King delivers a sermon entitled "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" at Riverside Church in New York.
May 1967: A Gallup poll of US students indicates that 49% of the respondants consider themselves "hawks" (in favor of the war) and 35% consider themselves "doves" (opposed to the war); the balance have no opinion. [LAT, 5/28/67]
May 31, 1967: 600 facaulty members at California colleges and universities, including 138 faculty and staff at UC Berkeley, sign a "declaration of conscience" in which they pledge "full and active support" to "all who determine that they will not participate in this war." [LAT, 5/31/67]
Summer 1967: Racial tensions escalate into full-scale urban riots in Detroit, Newark (NJ), New York; Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Atlanta.
June 1967: Six Vietnam veterans, including Jan "Barry" Crumb, Mark Donnelly, and David Braum, who had march together at the Spring Mobilization to end the War, found the organization Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW)to both protest the war and fight for veterans' rights. At the height of its effectiveness in the late 1960s, VVAW claims over 40,000 members. VVAW participated in and organized antiwar demonstrations, public education efforts, militant actions, and public hearings. (See Also: Winter Soldier Investigations)
October 16-20, 1967: Stop the Draft Week organizers lead 3000 marchers to the Oakland Army Induction Center on October 16, 1967. The sitting protesters force draftees to climb over them in order to get inside the building. As inductees enter protesters hand them leaflets, ask them to change their minds and to refuse induction and join the protest. When marchers refuse police orders to leave, police attack them with nightsticks, injuring 20. Forty demonstrators are arrested, including the folk singer Joan Baez.
On the second day, demonstrators return to the induction center; 97 are arrested. On the third day, 10,000 protesters arrive, this time retreating in orderly fashion but also successfully blocking streets as they depart. On Friday the 20th there are large-scale confrontations with police as the protesters use "mobile tactics" and fight back. Seven activists (Reese Eherlich, Terence Cannon, Mike Smith, Steve Hamilton, Bob Mandel, Jeff Segal, Frank Bardacke) - the Oakland Seven - are charged with conspiracy following the demonstration, they are all acquitted on March 28, 1969. [See also January 26, 1968][NYT,10/18/67; LAT 10/21/67; Rorabaugh, pp: 116-120]
October 16, 1967: Hundreds of anti-war demonstrators protest outside of the Selective Service Office in San Francisco; 119 are arrested, including folksinger Joan Baez, her sister Mimi Farina, and Ira Sandperl, co-founder with Baez of the Institute For The Study Of Nonviolence in Carmel, California. [NYT, 10/17/67]
October 1967: The University of Wisconsin-Madison chapter of the SDS organizes a demonstration against Dow Chemical recruiting. Activists lead several hundred students into the university's Commerce building where Dow was recruiting. University administrators call in the police, who attack the demonstrators, breaking windows and hauling students out through the broken glass. [Bailey, 2003]
October 21-22, 1967: Massive march on Washington, D.C., initiated and organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, a loose coalition of 150 activist groups. David Dellinger, Mobe co-ordinator, asks Jerry Rubin to be project director for the march. An estimated 70,000-100,000 demonstrators participate in the event. Events during the two day demonstration include numerous speeches and performances by folksingers Peter, Paul and Mary, and Phil Ochs. A group of hippies lead by Abbie Hoffman encircles the Pentagon in an attempt to exorcise it. The plan was for people to sing and chant until the building levitated and turned orange, driving out the evil spirits and ending the war in Viet Nam. A total of 647 are arrested during the two days. [NYT,10/21/67]
In writing about the assembled crowd, novelist Norman Mailer commented that they looked "like the legions of Sgt. Pepper's Band...assembled from all the intersections between history and the comic books, between legend and television, the Biblical archetypes and the movies." [Mailer, pp. 108-109]
Senator John Stennis (D-Miss) comments about the Pentagon march: "It is clear from the evidence that I have that this is a part of a move by the Communists, especially of North Vietnamese government, to divide the American people, disrupt our war effort, discredit our government before the entire world. The leaders of North Vietnam consider the March on the Pentagon tomorrow as much of their war effort as the guerrilla warfare in South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese army assaulting our troops on the battlefield. Those who participate in these demonstrations tomorrow will be, in effect, cooperating with and assisting our enemy." [Vietnam: A Television History - Homefront USA (PBS)]
November 11, 1967: The Vietnamese National Liberation Front (Vietcong) hand three US war prisoners over to a deligation headed by anti-war activist Tom Hayden in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. [LAT, 11/11/67] In December 1965, Hayden, along with professors Staughton Lynd (Yale) and Herbert Aptheker (American Institute for Maxist Studies) had made a private trip to Hanoi on a "fact finding mission." The junket was made without State Department approval. [LAT, 12/28/65] The effort is subsequently severely criticized by the SDS as "frivolous". [LAT, 1/2/66] [See also: New Left Travellers, 1968]
November 30, 1967: Senator Eugene McCarthy officially enters the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, running on an antiwar platform.
December 4, 1967: An estimated 500 people gather at the San Francisco Federal Building to protest the draft. 88 draft cards are collected and destroyed.
December 31, 1967: Activists partying at Abbie Hoffman's New York loft resolve to hold a "Festival of Life" during the Democrats' "Convention of Death." Paul Krassner (editor of the popular counterculture magazine The Realist) christens the group "Yippies." Plans for the festival are formally announced at a March 17, 1968 press conference.
Hoffman along with Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman were to become to most outlandish and well-known Yippie spokesmen. The Yippies would become infamous for political and media pranks, such as running a pig ("Pigasus the Immortal") for candidate for President in 1968. [See also: Chicago 8] In January 1968, the Yippies issue a "Statement from Yip" urguing activists to come to the Chicago Democratic convention. [Linder]
January 30, 1968: North Vietnamese launch what has become known as the Tet Offensive. During Vietnamese New Years, NLF forces strike the six major cities in the South, including Saigon, where they take the American Embassy. US and South Vietnamese troops eventually succeed in repelling the NLF, but the psychological and political impact in the US is tremendous. [NYT, 1/1/68; NYT, 1/31/68]
February 1968: A Gallup poll indicates that 35% of the respondants approve of President Johnson's handling of the war; 50% disapprove; the balance have no opinion. [NYT, 2/14/68] In March, a Gallup poll reports that 49% of the respondants felt that involvement in Vietnam was an error. [NYT, 3/10/68]
February 1, 1968: Richard Nixon enters the race for the Republican nomination for President.
A suspected NLF officer is summarily executed by General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a South Vietnamese National Police Chief. Loan shoots the suspect in the head on a public street in front of journalists. The execution is both filmed and photographed (most notably by photographer Eddie Adams), and provides one of the iconic images that eventually helped sway public opinion in the United States against the war.
February 27, 1968: CBS evening news anchor Walter Cronkite, in a special report entitled "Who, What, When, Where, Why?", provides editorial observations based on his recent trip to Vietnam to observe the Tet Offensive. At the end of the news broadcast, Cronkite says, "For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate." After watching Cronkite's broadcast, LBJ was quoted as saying. "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." [Cronkite, 2001]
February 29, 1968: Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara leaves office. "McNamara, had decided to leave the administration in November 1967, tearfully cussing 'the goddamned Air Force and its goddamned bombing campaign that had dropped more bombs on Vietnam than on Europe in the whole of World War II and we hadn't gotten a goddamned thing for it.'" [Sanders, 2008]
March 16, 1968: Under the command of Lt. William Calley, U.S. troops (Charlie Company) kill between 200 and 500 unarmed civilians, mostly women, children and elderly, in the hamlet of My Lai. The village is located in a heavily mined region known as a Vietcong guerrillas stronghold. [See also March 29, 1971]
My Lai, Lt. Calley, and Public Opinion
March 25-26, 1968: By March 1968, Johnson has decided that the size of the U.S. effort in Vietnam has grown as large as could be justified. Prompted by a request from Westmoreland and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Earle G. Wheeler for 206,000 more men, the president asks his new secretary of defense, Clark Clifford, for a thorough policy review. On March 25-26, Johnson also constitutes an advisory body of current and retired presidential advisors (later known as the "Wise Men"), including generals Omar Bradley and Matthew Ridgway; State Department pundits Dean Acheson, George Ball, and McGeorge Bundy. After two days of deliberation, the group advises Johnson against further troop increases and recommends that the administration seek a negotiated peace. Johnson is furious and fumes: "The establishment bastards have bailed out!" [Morris, p. 44; Gardner, pp. 451-455; Anderson, Oxford Companion, ]
March 31, 1968: President Johnson delivers a live, evening television address announcing steps to limit the war in Vietnam. He closes the speech by announcing to the American people that he will not seek another term in office, saying, "With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President."
Report from Vietnam, March 19, 1968. Reporter Dale Minor.
April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a march of sanitation workers protesting against low wages and poor working conditions.
April 11, 1968: Congress enacts the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Title 18 of the Act makes it a felony to "travel in interstate commerce…with the intent to incite, promote, encourage, participate in and carry on a riot…."
May 10, 1968: Peace talks open in Paris with Averell Harriman representing the U.S. and Xan Thuy representing North Vietnam. Talks soon deadlock over the North Vietnamese demand for an end to all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. [NYT, 5/10/68]
June 5, 1968: Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles moments after declaring victory in the California Democratic presidential primary.
September 16, 1968: Perhaps as part of a strategy to capture younger voters, Richard Nixon appears on NBC's popular comedy show "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in". The show features quickly-paced sketch comedy and a mildly "anti-establishment" viewpoint. Nixon's appearance consists of stiffly uttering one of the show's catch-phrases: "Sock it to me!" The producers offer the same opportunity to Nixon's opponent, Hubert Humphrey, but he declines.
Nixon/Agnew Presidential Campaign Commercials 1968
January 5 1968: A damning caricature of President Lyndon B. Johnson appears on the cover of Time Magazine. "Named Time's 1964 Man of the Year because of his remarkable presidential successes, Lyndon Johnson received that distinction again in 1967 for his perceived failures. Violently scorned for escalating the Vietnam War, chastised by African Americans for moving too slowly on civil rights, and hounded in Congress for the costliness of his ambitious domestic programs, Johnson had even been deserted by much of his own Democratic Party. By the end of 1967, his approval rating had plummeted from a peak of 80 percent to 38 percent.
For this portrait, caricaturist David Levine took his inspiration from Shakespeare's tale of King Lear, a man who ran afoul of his children and his own good intentions. In it, the president-cast as a doleful monarch-stands beleaguered by fellow Democrats Senator Robert Kennedy and Representative Wilbur Mills, who connive at eroding his power. Only one member of Johnson's "family" remained loyal: Vice President Hubert Humphrey."
January 5, 1968: A grand jury indicts Dr. Benjamin Spock, 64; the Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., 43, Yale chaplain; Michael Ferber, Harvard graduate student; Mitchell Goodman, a writer; and Marcus Raskin, co-director of the Institute for Policy Studies, on charges of encouraging draft evasion. On June 22 Raskin is acquitted and the other four are convicted; their convictions are overturned on appeal in July 1969. In reaction to the announcement of his indictment, Spock public ally announced that he hoped "that 100,000, 200,000 or even 500,000 young Americans either refuse to be drafted or to obey orders if in military service." [See also February 4, 1968][NYT, 1/6/68 ]
January 11, 1968: Hundreds of demonstrators picket the Fairmount Hotel in San Francisco, where Secretary of State Dean Rusk (one of the war's principal architects and apologists) is speaking. Police in riot gear are called in and violently quell the demonstration.
According to Karen Wald, a reporter for the SDS publication New Left Notes, "the fear was too great for any attempt to rescue . . . anyone who was grabbed." The following day, Wald realized, like many of her fellow activists, that this was repression at its most raw. The days were "long gone when you had to be seeking arrest . . . in order to be busted." No longer, she wrote, would the state allow forms of protest it did not agree with. No longer would the state treat those whom it considered dangerous as anything less than dangerous. [Wald, 1968; NYT, 1/12/68]
January 24, 1968: US Supreme Court rules 6 to 1 in the case of United States v. O'Brien (391 U.S. 367 ) that a criminal prohibition against burning a draft card did not violate the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. [NYT, 1/25/68]
January 26, 1968: Rally for the Oakland Seven. Includes speeches by Bobby Seale (Black Panther Party), Bettina Apthecker (Free Speech Movement), Robert Scheer (Managing Editor, Ramparts Magazine), Bob Avakian (Peace & Freedom Party), and John Kelly (Professor of Mathematics, UC Berkeley) [See October 16-20, 1967]
February 8, 1968: Three black students are killed and twenty-seven are wounded in Orangeburg, South Carolina, when State Troopers fire at demonstrators demanding the integration of the local bowling alley. The incident is known as the "Orangeburg Massacre." [NYT, 2/8/68; Nelson, 1984]
March 15-17, 1968: Official founding convention of the Peace and Freedom Party, which runs an energetic 1968 campaign in many states with Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver as candidate for President. Cleaver is on the ballot in over 19 states and gets 200,000 votes.
March 26, 1968: Folk singer and anti-war activist Joan Baez marries David Harris, anti-war activist and ex-student body president of Stanford University, in New York. [NYT, 3/27/68]
April 4, 1968: Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots break out in more than a hundred cities. On the west side of Chicago, nine African Americans are killed and twenty blocks are burned. Riots erupt in Washington D.C., Boston, and other cities [NYT, 4/6/68]
April 23, 1968: Students takeover the administration buildings of Columbia University in response to a number of grievances, including the University's plans to build a gym in the adjoining African American community, and the University's continuing ties to the Institute for Defense Analysis. The takeover is spearheaded by the Columbia chapter of SDS, headed by Mark Rudd. Five buildings are occupied by 1,000 students, African American students holding one building, white students in the others. After eight days the administration calls in the police and there are mass arrests and police beatings of protesters. A month-long student strike follows. [NYT, 4/24/68; da Cruz, 2004]
April 27, 1968: An antiwar march in Chicago draws from 3,000 to 8,000 people. When the march ends, Chicago police order the crowd to disperse, then wade in with clubs and mace. At least 15 people (including bystanders) are injured, and 51 are arrested. [NYT, 4/28/68]
May 3, 1968: General student and worker uprisings in Paris and other cities in France. Police are called into the Sorbonne University to quell demonstrations of left-wing students over right-wing threats and to demand greater academic and social freedom. (Protests against the Vietnamese war also figure in these demonstrations). A strike and demonstration called for May 6 leads to large-scale street fighting. Polls show 80% of Parisians support the students. Police continue to occupy the Sorbonne and protests continue, culminating on May 10th and 11th in "the night of the barricades." Street battles fill Paris and are broadcast nationally live over the radio. On Monday May 13 there is a one-day general strike and demonstration of a million people. Three days later there is spontaneous general strike in which two million workers walk out. By May 19th over 9 million workers participate in the strike. In several areas organization of services and general administration passes into the hands of self-organized committees. [NYT, 5/5/68, NYT, 5/12/68; LAT, 5/19/68]
May 17, 1968: Nine Catholic activists (The Catonsville 9), including Father Daniel Berrigan and his brother Father Phillip Berrigan, enter a draft board in Catonsville, Maryland and remove draft files of those who were about to be sent to Vietnam. They take these files outside and burned them with home-made napalm. They then await their arrest by authorities. The trial of the Catonsville Nine begin on Monday, October 8, 1968. Berrigan is sentenced to three years in prison, but he refuses to serve his time. Instead, he goes underground, sheltered by the anti-war activist community. Eventually, the FBI manages to find and arrest Berrigan. He is released from prison in 1972. [NYT, 5/18/68; NYT, 10/8/68; Clancy, 1993]
May 17, 1968: Students and faculty against the war hold a "Vietnam Commencement" at UC Berkeley. The rally was originally been planned for the campus Greek Theater, but it was banned by the UC Regents under the pressure of Governor Ronald Reagan.
The San Francisco Chronicle (May 17,1968)reports: "Governor Reagan, in a letter dated May 10 to Theodore R. Meyer, chairman of the Board of Regents, declared the proposed exercises 'in violation of Regents' policy; and demanded that the ceremonies be cancelled. ... Reagan reiterated that such a ceremony 'would be so indecent as to border on the obscene'. ... He called upon the University administration to ban the ceremonies on any part of the UC campus; to revoke the registration of the campus draft opposition organization, and to institute disciplinary action against faculty members who have been aiding the draft resisters." Reagan subsequently comments that even if the assembly is legal, it is "still beneath contempt." He contends that only thing saving the demonstrators from being guilty of treason is the lack of a formal US declaration of war on North Vietnam.
The Commencement takes place in Sproul Plaza instead. 866 UC Berkeley seniors and graduate students sign an oath and affirm it publicly before the assembled group: "Our war in Vietnam is unjust and immoral. As long as the United States is involved in this war I will not serve in the armed forces." The program includes the mother of imprisoned Ronald Lockman, an African-American soldier who refused shipment to Vietnam, and the sister of another jailed draft resister, John Wells [LAT, 5/18/68; Wofsy, 2001][See also January 1968 address by Wells)
May 31, 1968: Anti-war activist David Harris is sentenced to three years imprisonment for refusing induction. [NYT, 5/31/68]
David Harris and Joan Baez
June 30, 1968: Berkeley mayor Wallace Johnson declares a state of emergency and a three day curfew in the city in response to violence in the wake of student demonstrations in support of French student and worker uprisings the previous month. [LAT, 7/1/68]
August 23-28, 1968: The Democratic National Convention opens in Chicago. Anti-war demonstrators and Yippies protest throughout the convention, clashing with police all around the convention center, in the streets and at Grant Park. Mayor Richard J. Daley takes a particularly hard line against the protesters, refusing permits for rallies and marches, and calling for whatever use of force necessary to subdue the crowds. When Senator Abraham Ribicoff delivers a speech nominating George McGovern for President (the anti-war candidate), he infuriates Daley by saying, "with George McGovern as President of the United States, we wouldn't have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago."
Some of the more famous protesters, including Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, and Dave Dellinger, part of a group collectively known as the "Chicago 8"--later "Chicago 7", are eventually charged with and tried for conspiracy in connection with the events in Chicago. (See March 20, 1969)
The Walker Report to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, commissioned to investigate the confrontations in Chicago, pins much of the blame for the violence in the streets on the police, calling the events a "police riot."
New Left Travellers: Vietnam and Cuba: October 18, 1968:
October 23, 1968: Dozens of UC Berkeley students barricade themselves in Moses Hall to protest the Regents' refusial to allow Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver to teach an accredited course [NYT, 10/24/68][see Black Panther Sound Recording Collection]
Yippie Rally at UC Berkeley, October 30, 1968:
November 6, 1968: In one of the most high-profile student actions of the 1960s, students at San Francisco State University go on strike, shutting down the campus for six months. University president S.I. Hayakawa calls in the police, who bust heads and arrest hundreds in an attempt to restore control of the campus. But the strike does not end until the school accedes to student demands and creates the first ethnic studies department at an American university.
Is Draft Resistance the Answer, UC Berkeley, November 9, 1968
December 5, 1968: Jerry Rubin, founder of Yippies, is called to testified before the House Un-American Affairs Subcommittee with regard to demonstrations at Democratic Convention in August. Rubin wears a Santa Claus suit and refuses to take it off or to testify in private. Rubin is finally excused from testifying. Subcommittee Chairman, Richard Ichord, tells newsmen that communists& other revolutionaries had taken part in Chicago demonstrations. [LAT, 12/7/68]
January 25, 1969: Paris peace talks open between the U.S., South Vietnam, North Vietnam and the Vietcong. Henry Cabot Lodge, former American ambassador to South Vietnam, acts as US negotiator; South Vietnamese Vice President Nguyen Ca Ky represents South Vietnam; Le Duc Tho heads the North Vietnamese delegation; and Nguyen Thi Binh heads the National Liberation Front delegation. [NYT, 1/25/69]
February, 1969: President Richard Nixon authorizes the bombing of North Vietnamese and Vietcong bases in Cambodia. Bombing begins in secret on March 18, but the story is leaked by NY Times on May 9 ("Raids in Cambodia By U.S. Unprotested"). Henry Kissinger orderes wiretaps on seven National Security Council staff and four reporters. U.S. forces drop more than a half million tons of bombs on Cambodia over the next four years.
May 10-20, 1969: An intense battle (known as the Battle of Hamburger Hill) takes place in the the A Shau Valley near Hue, a mile east of the Laotian border. 46 members of the 101st Airborne are killed in the course of that battle. Another 400 are wounded. After US forces has taken the hill, the troops are ordered to abandon it by their commander. The North Vietnamese army moves in and recaptures the hill, unopposed. As a result of the fiasco at 'Hamburger Hill', which one US Senator labelled 'senseless and irresponsible', Commander General Creighton Abrams is ordered to avoid any further large-scale battles. Small unit actions were to be used instead. [Bowman, p. 227; BBC: War and Protest - the US in Vietnam]
July 1969: A Gallup poll indicates that 53% of the respondants approve of Nixon's handling of the war; 30% disapprove; the balance have no opinion. [NYT, 7/31/69] In October, 58% of Gallup respondants indicate the opinion that the US entry into the war was a mistake. [LAT, 10/5/69]
November 3, 1969: President Richard Nixon addresses the nation in defense of his decision to keep U.S. forces in Vietnam and to explain why peace negotiations had failed so far: "And so tonight -- to you, the great Silent Majorityof my fellow Americans -- I ask for your support. I pledged in my campaign for the presidency to end the war in a way that we could win the peace. I have initiated a plan of action which will enable me to keep that pledge.
November 13, 1969: At a meeting of the Mid-West Regional Republican Committee in Des Moines, Iowa, US Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, furious at the media's treatment of Nixon's November 3 national address, charged that the "small and unelected elite" of television producers--"their minds... made up in advance"--had attempted to undermine the President's plea for national unity. Agnew went on to criticize broadcast news in general as a "enclosed fraternity of priviledged men" whose viewpoints reflect the sentiments of the Eastern Liberal establishmentm not those of the majority of Americans. [NYT, 11/16/69]
December 1, 1969: The first draft lottery since 1942 begins. The lottery is immediately challenged by statisticians and politicians on the ground that the selection process does not produce a truly random result. [NYT, 1/4/70]
January 1, 1969: Ralph David Abernathy: Nixon Administration and the Vietnam War
January 4, 1969: San Francisco State University president S.I. Hayakawa bans speeches, marches, rallies, and other "disruptive events" on central campus, and threatens to arrest students who participate in protests. [Washington Post, 1/5/69]
February 5, 1969: California governor Ronald Reagan declares "a state of extreme emergency" on the UC Berkeley campus. He authorizes the head of the California Highway Patrol necessary manpower to assist the Alameda County Sheriff's Office to maintain order on campus. The action was in response to a clash between The Third World Liberation Front and police on February 4 in which 20 were arrested and 10 injured. [NYT, 2/5/69]
March 20, 1969: Eight organizers of the demonstrations at the Chicago Democratic Convention (The Chicago 8: Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale)are indicted by a grand jury on charges of conspiracy and inciting to riot.
The trial began on September 24, 1969. The defendants are represented by William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The judge was Julius Hoffman. Outside the courthouse, 2000 protesters skirmish with Federal Marshalls. On October 9, the United States National Guard is called in for crowd control as demonstrations grew outside the courtroom. [LAT, 9/25/69]
Early in the course of the trial, Black Panther activist Seale hurls bitter attacks at Judge Hoffman in court, calling him a "fascist dog," a "pig," and a "racist." On October 29, the outraged judge orders Seale bound and gagged in the courtroom. On November 4, thirty Chicago lawyers, claiming that Hoffman had returned Seale to his "pre-Emancipation chains," petitioned the U.S. District Court to halt the trial. Ultimately Judge Hoffman severs Seale from the case and sentences him to four years in prison for contempt. [NYT, 10/30/69; NYT, 10/31/69; NYT, 11/6/69] [See also: February 14-15, 1970 - conclusion of trial]
April, 1969: A Gallup Poll reports that three out of every five persons responding support President Nixon's handling of the war. [Bowman, p. 225]
April 5-6 1969: Antiwar demonstrations in various parts of the country are staged in observance of the first anniversary of Martin Luther King's death. At the San Francisco Presidio, demonstrators scuffle with military police. 250,000 march in New York. In Atlanta, Ralph Abernathy (King's successor as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) delivers a "Message to America" in which he declares: "America, you are sick and I want to comfort you. America, you are poisoned by racism and I want you to be healed. America, you suffer from poverty and I want you to find relief. America, you are afflicted by war and I pray that you may find peace." [See Also January 1, 1969][NYT 4/11/69]
April 10, 1969: At Harvard University 300 to 400 students clash with over 400 policemen who have been called in by the University President to quell a 17-hour takeover of the campus administration building. As students flee across the Harvard Quad, they are kicked and beaten by police, many of whom have removed their badges. 197 people (including reporters from several national newspapers and magazines) are arrested. [NYT 4/7/69]
April-May 1969 On April 18, the underground paper The Berkeley Barb runs an announcement calling for interested individuals to bring building materials to a university-owned vacant lot near Haste Street and Telegraph Avenue in order to build a community park. A large crowd assembles to create "People's Park".
In early May, UC Berkeley administrators decide to reclaim the land, and on May 15, 250 Berkeley police and California Highway Patrol officers are called in to enforce this edict. The park is bulldozed, and a large chain-link fence is erected. As construction the fence began, a crowd of 6000 moved towards the park after rallying at nearby Sproul Plaza. Police fired tear gas at the approaching crowd. Protesters threw rocks and bottles. Sheriff Deputies retaliated with double-0 buckshot, blinding one man (Alan Blanshard) and killing another (James Rector). That evening, California Governor Ronald Reagan calls in the National Guard and the California State Highway Patrol to restore order. Reagan is quoted on May 15, 1969 in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying "If there has to be a bloodbath, then let's get it over with."
On May 20, National Guard helicopters tear-gas a peaceful demonstration on Sproul Plaza, setting off several days of rioting and confrontation by Berkeley's students and citizens. National Guard continues to occupy Berkeley until all protesters are subdued and/or incarcerated. [Rorabaugh, pp: 156-166]
May 19, 1969: One hundred UC Berkeley faculty members hold a vigil to protest the police and National Guard violence during the People's Park confrontations. On May 21, these faculty begin and official boycott of classes [NYT, 5/20/69; NYT, 5/22/69]
May 26, 1969: Newly-weds John Lennon and Yoko Ono move into a suite in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada. For the next seven days they hold a "Bed-in For Peace" during which they invite the media, celebrities, and sundry hangers-on to listen to their ideas and concerns for world peace. During this time they record the song "Give Peace a Chance."
June 1969: CBS pulls the popular television comedy variety show "The Smothers Brothers" from the air. The show, which ran from 1967 to 1969 on CBS, was notorious for its pointed satire and parody of the government, and for its support of peace in Vietnam. Segments are censored by the network include a special 1968 Mother's Day message which ends with the words "Please talk peace" (referring to the Vietnam War); Harry Belafonte singing before a backdrop of disturbing images from the 1968 Democratic Party convention in Chicago; an interview with Dr. Benjamin Spock; and the 1967 performance of folksinger Pete Seeger, who was scheduled to play the anti-military song "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy". CBS justified its cancellation by referring to network policy that "Prohibits appeals for active support of any cause". [TV Acres]
June 18-22, 1969: The Students for a Democratic Society holds its national convention in Chicago. Two factions within SDS--The Revolutionary Youth Movement (RLM)and the Progressive Labor Pary--vie for leadership of the organization. The RYM, led by Bill Ayers, Mark Rudd, Bernadine Dorhn, and others, eventually breaks with the SDS and becomes a new group, The Weathmen. The name of the group was taken from a line in Bob Dylan's song "Subterranean Homesick Blues," which was quoted in an influential article that had appeared earlier in the SDS newsleter (New Left Notes). The name was adopted to imply that the wind was blowing in the direction of political and social revolution. [NYT, 6/22/69]
From October 6-11, 1969, the Weathermen hold a tactical action in Chicago that it calls "The Days of Rage." On Monday, 6 October, just before midnight, members of the Weathermen blow up a monument to policemen in Chicago's Haymarket Square. Several days later, about 300 people gather in Lincoln Park. After a few incendiary speeches, the demonstrators run into the streets of Chicago as a mob. One person throws a rock through a bank window, which instigates mass destruction of property. "One pedestrian, observing the chaos, yelled to the mob "I don't know what your cause is, but you've just set it back a hundred years." Dave Dellinger, who had provided a safe house for members of the Weathermen, hadn't known what was coming. He described himself as 'a disgusted observer'. The battle lasts about an hour. By the time it was over, six members of the Weathermen had been shot, nearly 70 had been arrested and an unknown number were injured. [War and Protest- the US in Vietnam (1969 - 1970)] [NYT, 10/9/69; NYT, 10/10/69]
In late December 1969, the Weathermen hold a meeting in Flint, Michigan, where the group decides to go underground', and thereafter commit clandestine terrorist attacks within the United States. At this point, the group changes their name to the Weather Underground Organization (WUO). [See also March 10, 1970]
June 27, 1969: Life Magazine displayes portrait photos of all 242 Americans killed in Vietnam during the previous week, including the 46 killed at "Hamburger Hill". The impact of these photos, and some of the faces behind the numbers, stunned Americans and increased anti-war sentiment in the country.
July 7, 1969: Dave Dellinger flies to Paris on the invitation of the North Vietnamese delegation to the US/Vietnamese peace talks, flies to Paris to arrange for the release of three US prisoners being held in Hanoi. Dellinger was allowed a visa by the State Department despite his 1968 Federal indictment as a member of the Chicago 7 [See March 20, 1969]. The three prisoners are released on August 4. [NYT, 7/9/69; NYT, 8/5/69]
August 15-17, 1969: Woodstock Music & Art Fair takes place in Bethel, New York. The concert attracts between 300,000 and 500,000 (dependening on whose accounts you believe). Although politics remain in the background at the concert, Vietnam is obviously "in the air" (along with copious amounts of marijuana smoke). Among the performers is Berkeley folksinger and activist "Country" Joe MacDonald, whose song "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" has become an anti-war anthem. Jimmy Hendrix plays a blistering instrumental rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner", complete with devastating air raid effects. During a performance of the rock group The Who, Abbie Hoffman seizes the microphone and attempts to make a political speech. Who guitarist Pete Townshend yells "Fuck off! Get the fuck off my fucking stage!" and stikes Hoffman with his guitar, sending him tumbling offstage.
October 12, 1969: 4,000 anti-war demonstrators, Black Panthers, and other activists clash with more than 1,000 military police at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The MPs use tear gas to disperse the crowd. [NYT, 10/13/69]
October 15, 1969: The 'Moratorium' peace demonstration is held in Washington and other US cities [for San Francisco Bay Area activities, see LAT, 10/15/69]. Millions of Americans, throughout the country, participate. In the weeks before these events, The White House launches a campaign to discredit the activities.
The day before the Moratorium, Henry Kissinger reads Nixon a transcript of a Hanoi radio broadcast by the new North Vietnamese Premier, Pham Van Dong. In the broadcast, addressed to "Dear American Friends", Pham said: "This fall large sections of the American people, encouraged and supported by many peace-and-justice-loving American personages, are launching a broad and powerful offensive throughout the United States to demand that the Nixon Administration put an end to the Vietnam aggressive war and immediately bring all American troops home..." Nixon immediately sends Vice President Agnew before the press to demand that the leaders and sponsors of the Moratorium repudiate the support of a regime that "has on its hands the blood of forty thousand Americans." Not surprisingingly the Moritorium leaders refuse. [LAT, 10/15/69;LAT, 10/15/69b; Nixon, p. 401-2; Zaroulis and Sullivan]
Speaking at a college fund raising dinner, California Governor Ronald Reagan blasted the Moratorium marchers by saying, "Parades are held in the name of peace, but some of those who march carry the flag of a nation that has killed nearly 40,000 of our young men. We have a right to believe that at least some of those who arrange the parades are less concerned with peace than with lending comfort and aid to the enemy." [LAT, 10/15/69a]
Vietnam Moratorium Rally, UC Berkeley, October 15, 1969
"The organizers of this demonstration had received praise from Pham Van Dong, Prime Minister of North Vietnam. In a letter to the organizers, Dong said '... may your fall offensive succeed splendidly'. This was the first time that the government of North Vietnam publicly acknowledged the American anti-war movement. Dong's comments enraged American conservatives, including Vice President Spiro Agnew." (who would characterize the anti-war movement and its supporters as an "effete core of impudent snobs" (see May 22, 1970) [from War and Protest - the US in Vietnam (1969 - 1970)]
March 10, 1970: The US Army accuses Captain Ernest Medina and four other solders of committing crimes at Songmy in March 1968. The charges range from premeditated murder to rape and the "maiming" of a suspect under interrogation. Medina was the company commander of Lt. William Cally and other solders who are charged with murder and other crimes in My Lai. [Bowman, p. 251
April 30, 1970: The United States and South Vietnam invade Cambodia, attacking North Vietnamese and Vietcong bases and supply lines. Angered by the move, four men from Henry Kissinger's National Security Council staff resign the next month. [NYT, 5/23/70]
May 22, 1970: In an address on the Vietnam war to a Republican dinner in Houston, Texas, Vice President Spiro Agnew lambasts student movements and the "impudent core of effete snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."
Several months earlier, Agnew had delivered another speech at a Republican fund-raising dinner in St. Louis in which he said: "Senator [William] Fulbright said some months ago that if the Vietnam War went on much longer the 'best of our young people' would be in Canada. Let Senator Fulbright go prospecting for his future party leaders in the deserters' dens of Canada and Sweden; we Republicans shall look elsewhere." [NYT, 2/11/70]
Something's In the Air
February - December, 1970: The Weather Underground is either accused of or takes credit for a series of bombings across the country: 13 February 1970: two bombs explode in the parking lot of the Berkeley police stationhouse, inuring three officers, one seriously [NYT, 2/18/70]; 17 February 1970: San Francisco police stationhouse is bombed, seriously injuring a police sargeant [NYT, 2/18/70]; 9 June 1970: The New York City Police Headquarters is bombed in response to what the Weathermen call "police repression" [NYT, 6/10/70]; 27 July 1970: The Presidio Army Base in San Francisco is bombed to mark the 11th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. [NYT, 7/27/70]; 8 October 1970: Bombing of Marin County Courthouse in retaliation for the killing of Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas, and James McClain. [NYT, 8/10/70] On the same day a bomb blast damages an armory in Santa Barbara, California, and a bomb is discovered and disarmed on the Berkeley campus; 14 October 1970: The Harvard Center for International Affairs is bombed [NYT, 10/14/70]
February 14-15, 1970: After numerous courtroom outburst, Judge Julius Hoffman sentences four Chicago 7 defendants to lengthy prison terms for contempt of court. As the jury continues to deliberate, defense attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Wineglass, along with three more defendants, are sentenced to prison for contempt of court. [NYT, 2/15/70; NYT 2/16/70]
In Berkeley, crowds assemble to protest the contempt sentences given to the Chicago 7 attorneys. After the meeting, the crowd marches to the University, breaking the windows of 60 businesses along the way. 15 are arrested and 9 injured. [NYT, 2/18/70]
February 18, 1970: The jury returns its verdict in the Chicago 7 trial, finding five of the seven defendants guilty of violating the Anti-Riot Act of 1968. These five are sentenced to five years imprisonment and fined $5,000. Froines and Weiner are acquitted. [NYT, 2/19/70] [See Also: May 11, 1972]
January-June, 1970: In January, UC Santa Barbara anthropology professor Bill Allen, an outspoken critic of the war, is denied tenure. On February 25, after a speech by Chicago 8 lawyer William Kunstler, a UC Santa Barbara student is arrested. (The arresting officer purportedly mistakes a bottle of wine for a molotov cocktail). Bystanders begin throwing rocks. They march on a local (Isla Vista) branch of the Bank of America and burn it down. Demonstrators battle with police for seven hours. The National Guard are called in by Governor Ronald Reagan. [LAT, 2/26/70; NYT, 2/27/70]
On April 18, an attempt is made to burn down another a Bank of America building; four students are wounded by police buckshot. Kevin Moran, a UCSB student who had attempted to disuade the crowd from using violence, is shot and killed by a Santa Barbara police officer.
In a press conference following the event, Ronald Reagan tearfully says, "It isn't very important where the bullet came from. The bullet was sent on its way several years ago when a certain element in our society decided it could take the law into its own hands." [LAT, 4/21/70; LAT, 4/22/70]
On June 4th, students angered by the indictment of 17 (4 UCSB students and 13 local youths) in the February 25th riots, attempt to burn down the rebuilt Isla Vista branch Bank of America. Street battles with police continue over the next several days. 667 people had been arrested. [NYT, 6/8/70]
March 10, 1970: Weather Underground members Diana Oughton, Theodore Gold, and Terry Robbins are killed in the basement of a Greenwich Village townhouse when a nail-studded bomb, which they intended to plant at a dance at the Fort Dix (New Jersey) army base, accidentally explodes. Kathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin escape the blast. [NYT, 3/11/70; UPI, 1970]
After the incident, Wilkerson, Boudin, Bernadine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, and other members go underground, where they and others co-write and publish the book Prairie Fire, participate in a clandestinely filmed documentary, and continue to direct bombings. In 1970 Bernadine Dohrn is put on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.
April 3, 1970: Twelve members of the Weathermen are indicted in Chicago in connection with the 1969 Days of Rage (see October 6-12, 1969)
April 15, 1970: During the Moratorium Day against the Vietnam war, Berkeley students attack the campus Navy ROTC building. The university declares a state of emergency. Campus is still under a state of emergency when the media announces the invasion of Cambodia (See April 30, 1970). Activist students at Yale University call for a national student strike over the invasion, and the strike spreads even more with the news about national guard murders at Kent State and Jackson State. (see May 1-4)
May 1, 1970: In informal remarks made at a Pentagon briefing, President Nixon condemns campus anti-war protesters: "You see these bums, you know, blowing up the campuses. Listen, the boys that are on the college campuses today are the luckiest people in the world, going to the greatest universities, and here they are burning up the books, I mean storming around about this issue -- I mean you name it -- get rid of the war; there will be another one." [as quoted in Nixon(PBS, 1990); see also Ambrose, p. 348]
May 1-4, 1970: On Friday, May 1, a day after Nixon's April 30 televised address regarding the U.S. incursion into Cambodia, students at Kent State University organizes a demonstration to protest the invasion of Cambodia, which includes burying the United States Constitution in front of the Victory Bell on the university Commons. The following Monday, May 4, an estimated crowd of 2,000-3,000 gathers on the Commons to continue their protest. Shortly after noon, members of the Ohio National Guard, which had been dispatched that weekend to control acts of civil disobedience, encounters the crowd. Guardsmen fire shots into the crowd, killing four students (Allison Krause, William K. Schroeder, Jeffrey G. Miller, Sandra L. Scheuer) and wounding nine others. [NYT, 5/5/70]
Vice President Sprio Agnew's response to the killings is: "Had the rocks not been thrown, there would have been no chance of the killings". [See also Time Magazine, May 11, 1970)
May 1-7, 1970 During the first week of May, UC Berkeley students paralyze the school with massive rioting. Students attend their classes and demanded that the class discuss the Cambodian invasion and then disband. 15,000 attend a convocation at the Greek Theater, and the UC regents, fearing more intensified riots, close the university for a four-day weekend. [See Also: Time Magazine, 5/18/70]
On May 4, 1970, the presidents of 37 universities and colleges urge Nixon in a leter to "demonstrate unequivocally your determination" to end promptly US military intervention in Southeast Asia. "We implore you to consider the incalculable dangers of an unprecedented alienation of America's youth, and to take immediate action to demonstrate unequivocally your determination to end the war quickly." [NYT, 5/5/70]
May 14: Two students at predominantly African American Jackson (Mississippi) State University are killed by police during a protest over civil rights issues and over the events at Kent State.
June 1970: At 7:30 a.m., radio station KPFK (Los Angeles) receives a call from a woman identifying herself as a member of the Weather Underground (Bernadine Dohrn): "Hello. I am going to read a declaration of a state of war. This is the first communication from the Weathermen Underground. The lines are drawn...revolution is touching all of our lives. ...Freaks are revolutionaries, and revolutionaries are freaks. If you want to find us, this is where we are. In every tribe, commune, dormitory, farmhouse, barracks and town house where kids are making love, smoking dope and loading guns. Fugitives from American justice are free to go. ...Within the next 14 days we will attack a symbol or institution of American injustice."
Recordings courtesy of The Freedom Archives
On June 7, shortly after this "Declaration of War", a bomb rips through police headquartes in New York City. [NYT, 6/10/70]
June 13, 1970: President Nixon establishes The President's Commission on Campus Unrest. The Commission holds 13 days of public hearings in Jackson, Mississippi; Kent State, Ohio; Washington DC and Los Angeles, California. No convictions or arrests of any military or law enforcement officer result from these hearings.
The Report offers the following summary of the events and feelings present among those involved: "The pattern established on Friday night was to recur throughout the weekend: There were disorderly incidents; authorities could not or did not respond in time to apprehend those responsible or to stop the incidents in their early stages; the disorder grew; the police action, when it came, involved bystanders as well as participants; and, finally, the students drew together in the conviction that they were being arbitrarily harassed." [LAT, 6/14/70][Report, 1970]
June 15, 1970: The Supreme Court (Welsh v. United States ) removes the religious requirement and allowed objection based on a deeply held and coherent ethical system with no reference to a Supreme Being. In 1971 the Supreme Court would refuse to allow objection to a particular war (Gillette v. United States). [NYT, 3/9/71]
August 24, 1970: A bomb rips through the Army Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, killing a post-graduate student, Robert Fassnact, and injuring four others. A radical "guerilla" group calling itself "The New Year's Gang" takes credit for the bombing. [NYT, 8/25/70; NYT, 8/28/70; Bates, 1992]
September 14,1970: The Weather Underground springs Timothy Leary--ex-Harvard professor and research psychologist turned psychedelic guru and counterculture icon--from a minimum-security prison in San Luis Obispo, California to which he was sentenced to ten year for possession of marijuana. The Underground subsequently smuggles Leary and his wife out of the United States and into Algeria. The couple's plan to take refuge with the Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver failes after Cleaver attemptes to hold Leary hostage. The couple flees to Switzerland. [NYT, 9/14/70]
February 1971: South Vietnam and the U.S. invade Laos in an attempt to sever the Ho Chi Minh Trail (Operation Lam Son 719) [NYT, 2/1/71]
March 1971: Opinion polls indicate Nixon's approval rating among Americans has dropped to 50 percent, while approval of his Vietnam strategy has slipped to just 34 percent. Half of all Americans polled believe the war in Vietnam to be "morally wrong."
March 29, 1971: Lt. William Calley is found guilty of the murder of 22 My Lai civilians. He is sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor, however, on August 20, the sentence reduced to 20 years, then 10 years. Out of 16 military personnel charged with offenses concerning the My Lai massacre, only five were actually court-martialed, and only Calley was ever found guilty. On September 23, Ernest Medina, earlier charged with war crimes, is acquitted of all charges after jury deliberates for 60 minutes.[See: March 16, 1968] [NYT, 3/30/71]
1971: Jane Fonda, actor Donald Sutherland, musician Holly Near, and writer and comedian Paul Mooney organize the group known as F.T.A. (also known variously as Fuck the Army or Free the Army). The groups is an antiwar road show designed as an answer to Bob Hope's USO tour. The tour, referred to as "political vaudeville" by Fonda, visits military towns along the West Coast. The goup helps set up coffee houses and performs it work with the goal of establishing a dialog with soldiers regarding their participation in the war.
1971: The Weather Underground is either accused of or takes credit for a series of bombings across the country: March 1, 1971: A bomb is detonated in a toilet in the Senate wing of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The explosion is accompanied by a letter explaining that the act was taken in retaliation for Nixon's escalation of the war into Laos. Nixon denounces the bombing as a "shocking act of violence that will outrage all Americans." [LAT, 3/1/71];
January 1971: Vietnam Veterans Against the War sponsor The Winter Soldier Investigation to gather testimony from soldiers about war crimes being committed in Southeast Asia as a result of American war policies. (The term "Winter Soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776 when he spoke of the "sunshine patriot" and "summertime soldiers" who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough). Intended as a public event, it is boycotted by much of the mainstream media, although the Detroit Free Press coveres it daily and immediately begins investigating what was being said. Winter Soldier Investigation testimonies were read into the Congressional Record by Senator Hatfield.
April 19-23, 1971: Vietnam Veterans Against the War Dewey Canyon III march. Led by Gold Star Mothers (mothers of soldiers killed in Vietnam), more than 1100 veterans march across the Lincoln Memorial Bridge to the Arlington Cemetery gate, just beneath the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A memorial service for their peers is conducted by Reverend Jackson H. Day, who had just a few days earlier resigned his military chaplainship. On April 23, the demonstration ends with some 1000 veterans throwing their combat ribbons, helmets, uniforms, and toy guns at the Capitol steps. [NYT, 4/19/71; NYT, 4/24/71]
July 1971: "Unsell the War:, an anti-Vietnam ad featuring John Kerry and disabled Marine Corps vet Bobby Muller is aired on national television.
April 24, 1971: Massive anti-war rally of around 200,000 people is held on the Mall in Washington, D.C. In San Francisco, around 156,000 march--the largest such rally to date on the West Coast. Part way through ending rally in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a group of militant Chicanos seize the microphone and charge that the peace movement is "a conspiracy to quench the revolution." [LAT, 4/24/71; LAT, 4/24/71;LAT, 4/25/71; NYT, 4/25/71]
May 28-31, 1971, 1971: "On Memorial Day Weekend of that year, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, again led by John Kerry, decided to create another visual, symbolic protest against the Vietnam War by retracing the April 19, 1775, route taken by Paul Rever from Boston to Concord (actually, Revere made it only to the outskirts of Lexington) - but the veterans were going to do it in reverse. They spent their first night in a bivouac at the National Park in Concord. During the day they practiced "guerilla" theater in Concord to "bring the war home." In Lexington the Board of Selectmen did not permit them to do "guerilla" theater. They instructed the veterans to walk into town single file. They unanimously voted to deny them the right to stay on the Lexington Battle Green.
All afternoon Saturday Lexington residents swarmed onto the Green. The day was a clamor of discussions and debates with clergy, townspeople and members of the town government that lasted into the evening hours. After nightfall, there were still hundreds of people on the Green. Many townspeople chose to find sleeping bags and spend the night. Upon instructions of the Board of Selectmen, the police chief ordered everyone to leave the Green. At 3 A.M. on Sunday morning 458 veterans and townspeople were arrested and taken by school buses to be jailed at the Public Works garage on Bedford Street. Later that morning, those arrested were again taken in school buses to a special Sunday session of the Concord District Court where most pled guilty to disobeying a town bylaw and were fined $5, "the cost of a night's lodging," as Concord Court Judge John Forte put it." (Lexington Battle Green web site]
June 13, 1971: The New York Times begins publishing leaked secret government documents (later known as The Pentagon Papers) under the headline: "Vietnam Archive: Pentagon Study Traces 3 Decades of Growing U.S. Involvement." The Papers were later revealed to have been leaked by Department of Defense worker Daniel Ellsberg [See Also June 28]
On Tuesday June 15, the government seeks and wins a restraining order against the Times - an injunction subsequently extended to the Washington Post when that paper picked up the cause. The epic legal battle that ensued culminated on June 30, 1971 in the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 decision to lift the prior restraints - arguably the most important Supreme Court case ever on freedom of the press. [NYT, 6/1/71; NYT 6/1/71a]
Listen to Nixon telephone conversations concerning the Pentagon Papers(via National Security Archives) (includes transcripts)
June 28, 1971: Daniel Ellsberg declares that he had given the Pentagon study of the Vietnam war to the press. Moments later he surrenders to the United States Attorney for arraignment on charges of unauthorized possession of secret documents. [NYT, 6/29/71]
August 21-22, 1971: Camden, New Jersey. Protests against the Vietnam war are spreading across America. A group of 28 non-violent activists plan to break into a local draft board office and destroy records in an attempt to strike a blow against the 'system.' But a mole has infiltrated their operation and within hours of beginning their mission they are rounded up and arrested by the FBI, under the personal authority of J. Edgar Hoover. [NYT, 8/23/71; NYT 8/23/71a]
August 29, 1971: Bombing of the Office of California Prisons in San Francisco and the State Department of Rehabilitation in San Mateo, California allegedly in retaliation for the killing of George Jackson [LAT, 8/29/71]; 17 September 1971: The New York Department of Corrections in Albany New York is bombed to protest the killing of 29 inmates at Attica State Penitentiary. [NYT, 9/18/71]; 15 October 1971:: The bombing of William Bundy's office in the MIT research center. [NYT, 10/15/71]
Prisoners of War Against the War, September 20, 1971
Tapes followed by interviews with Mrs. Kushner and Joe Ugo who along (VVAW)with a number of other people was responsible for obtaining the tapes from Hanoi.
Originally broadcast on WBAI, 20 September 1971. Archive # BC0425 © Pacifica Radio, 1971. All rights reserved.
Marc Coleman's Nonviolent Attack on the Oakland Draft Center, September 1971
Originally broadcast on KPFA, September 1971. Archive # BC0494 © Pacifica Radio, 1971. All rights reserved.
Organizing in the Belly of the Monster, October 23, 1971
Originally broadcast on KPFK, 23 October 1971. Archive # BC0585 © Pacifica Radio, 1971. All rights reserved.
August 30, 1971: The Weather Underground bombs the the Department of Corrections office in San Francisco after the August 21, 1971 shooting of black revolutionary leader George Jackson at San Quentin Prison.
May 8, 1972: President Nixon orders the mining of all North Vietnamese ports. He takes this action without first consulting Congress. When he announces his decision to do this, he states that it was to prevent the flow of arms and other supplies to North Vietnam until all American prisoners of war were returned and the North Vietnamese government agreed to an internationally supervised ceasefire. The government of North Vietnam calls Nixon's decision to mine Hai Phong harbour and step up the air war 'the gravest step in escalation of the war to date'. [War and Protest- the US in Vietnam (1972 - 1975); Bowman, pp. 309-310]
December 18, 1972: Nixon orders "Christmas bombing" of North to get North Vietnamese back to conference table. For the next 12 days U.S. B-52 bombers and other aircraft drop 36,000 tons of bombs on North Vietnam, exceeding the tonnage for the past two years before. [Carrol, 2002; Herring, pp: 315-17]
December 28, 1972: The North Vietnamese announced that they will return to Paris if Nixon ends the bombing. The bombing campaign was halted and the negotiators met during the first week of January, 1973.
May 8-12, 1972: In reaction to the Nixon's May 8th announcement regarding the mining of Haiphong and other harbors in North Vietnam, violent anti-war clashes occur across the country. At Columbia, baton-wielding police charge a crowd of 600 demonstators; 450 demonstators scuffled with police at Stanford University. In Los Angeles, demonstrators block U.S. Highway 101, picket President Nixon's birthplace and conduct a "die-in" at Nixon's campaign headquarters in Los Angeles. Students and police battle at Berkeley and Columbia and a score of other universities. Two students at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque) are wounded by police buckshot. On May 10, former Senator and Democratic contender for the presidency Eugene McCarthy calls upon Congress to impeach of Nixon. [LAT, 5/9/72; LAT, 5/10/72; NYT, 5/10/72]
May 11, 1972: The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the contempt convictions of the Chicago Seven and their two defense attorneys, Leonard Weinglass and William Kunstler. On November 21, 1972, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the convictions of Hoffman, Rubin, Dellinger, Davis, and Hayden. The Court cites as one reason for its reversal Judge Hoffman's "antagonistic" courtroom demeanor. [NYT, 11/22/72; LAT, 11/22/72]
May 19, 1972: A bomb purportedly planted by the Weather Underground detonates in a woman's restroom in the Air Force offices of the Pentagon. A phone call shortly before the blast claims that the Weather Underground is responsible. A note left with the New York Post indicates that the bombing is in retaliation for the new U.S. bombing raid in Hanoi. [NYT, 5/19/72]
July-August 1972: Actress and anti-war activist Jane Fonda visits Hanoi, where she advocates opposition to the war. Her detractors label her "Hanoi Jane", comparing her to war propagandists Tokyo Rose and Hanoi Hannah. [See also Fonda, 1988]
August 23, 1972: Three parapalegic Vietnam war veterans, including Ron Kovic (See Also July 15, 1976) disrupt Richard Nixon's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Miami with shouts of "Stop the bombing! Stop the killing!" They are roughly ejected from the hall by plainclothes policemen. On their way out, a spectator spits in the eye onf one of the veterans. [LAT, 8/24/72]
January 23, 1973: President Richard M. Nixon announces the Paris agreement, praising it as the fulfillment of his promise to bring "peace with honor" to Vietnam. Four days later, on January 27, representatives of the United States, North and South Vietnam, and the Vietcong signed the peace agreement, officially ending America's involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the release of prisoners of war, and the reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means.
March 29, 1973: The last U.S. combat troops leave Vietnam.
March 29, 1973: Joan Baez sues David Harris for divorce [NYT, 3/27/73]
November 2, 1973: Karleton Armstong, a participant in the August 24, 1970 bombing of the the Army Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, is sentenced to an indeterminate" prison sentence, not to exceed 23 years. [NYT, 11/2/73]
April 30, 1975: A US trade embargo, already in effect against North Vietnam since 1964, is extended to the whole of Vietnam.
Early 1970s: Rennie Davis, one of the Chicago 7, becames a member of the Divine Light Mission and follower of its Guru Maharaj Ji (Prem Rawat). Davis acts as Maharaj's spokesperson during the DLM's widely-publicized Millennium festival in the Houston Astrodome in November 1973. Davis later becomes a venture capitalist and lecturer on meditation and self-awareness.
1973: After being released from prison in 1972, Bobby Seale renounces political violence and concentrates on conventional politics. In 1973 Seale runs for mayor of Oakland and comes second out of nine candidates, with 43,710 votes. Seale currently has his own web page in which he describes himself as "the old cripple-footed revolutionary humanist." Seale's site, entitled "From the Sixties to the Future!", discusses "getting to the future via the whole synthesis of the quantum, computer and DNA molecular revolutions, and within the cyberspace non-linear range."
October 10, 1973: Spiro T. Agnew resigns his office as Vice President of the United States. Agnew pleads nolo contendere (no contest) to a criminal charge of tax evasion, part of a scheme where he allegedly accepted $29,500 in bribes during his tenure as governor of Maryland. Agnew is fined $10,000 and put on three years' probation. He is later disbarred by the State of Maryland. After he leaves the White House, Agnew becomes an international trade executive. He dies on September 17, 1996. [NYT, 10/11/73]
February 4, 1974: Publishing heiress Patricia Hearst, then a Berkeley college student, is kidnapped from her apartment by a self-proclaimed revolutionary group known as the Symbionese Liberation Front. [NYT, 2/6/74; LAT, 2/6/74]
May 9, 1974: The House Judiciary Committee openes formal and public impeachment hearings against Nixon for his part in the Watergate affair. With impeachment seemingly inevitable, Nixon resigns his office on August 8, 1974.
April 9, 1976: Folksinger Phil Ochs, whose protest songs "Draft Dodger Rag," and "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore," became anthems of the anti-war movement commits suicide. The events of 1968—the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the police riot in Chicago, and the election of Richard Nixon—had left Ochs feeling disillusioned and depressed. The cover of his 1969 album Rehearsals for Retirement eerily portrays a tombstone with the words:
PHIL OCHS (AMERICAN)
BORN: EL PASO, TEXAS, 1940
DIED: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 1968
Ochs had also had a long history of mental problems and alcoholism.
July 2, 1976: The National Assembly of Vietnam proclaims the official unification of the country as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Hanoi is declaired the capital. [NYT, 7/3/76]
July 15, 1976: Ron Kovic, a US Marine paralyzed from the chest down in the Vietnam war, addresses the Democratic National Convention in New York which had convened in New York to nominate Jimmy Carter for the presidency of the United States. After the war, Kovic had become an outspoken advocate for peace and veterans' rights. In his speech, Kovic nominated a Vietnam war resister as Vice Presidential candidate. (Walter Mondale was the Democratic Party's choice) Kovic began his speech with a poem he had written:
August 7, 1976: David S. Fine, a confessed participant in the August 24, 1970 bombing of the Army Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, is sentenced to seven years in prison. [NYT, 8/7/76]
December 20, 1976: Richard J. Daley, mayor of Chicago during the turbulent 1968 Democaratic Convention, dies at 74. [NYT, 12/20/76]
January 21, 1977: President Jimmy Carter issues a blanket pardon for Vietnam war draft evaders. Carter postpones a decision concerning the estimated 100,000 individuals who entered but subsequently deserted the military. [NYT, 1/22/77]
March 1977: Richard Nixon engages in a series of four television interviews with British journalist David Frost. The interviews focus largely on Nixon's involvement in the Watergate affair. A Gallup poll conducted after the interviews aired showes that 69% of the public thought that Nixon was still trying to cover up, 72% still thought he was guilty of obstruction of justice, and 75% thought he deserved no further role in public life. In 2008 a movie, Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard is made about the interviews (with Frank Langella portraying Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost)
September 14, 1977: Ex-SDS leader, ex-Weather Underground member Mark Rudd turns himself in to Federal authorities. Rudd had jumped bail in 1970 while under indictment for his participation in the Columbia University takeover of 1968 [See April 23, 1968], and the Weather Underground "Days of Rage" [See October 6-11, 1969] After plea bargaining, Rudd receives misdemeanor charges and a $2,000 fine and two years probation. [NYT, 9/14/77]
1978: Michael Cimino's film "The Deer Hunter" [MRC DVD 95]is released. The film is one of the first to reflect the trauma and the ambivilence concerning the Vietnam war. 1978 also saw the release of Karel Reisz's dark, post-Vietnam film "Who'll Stop the Rain" [MRC DVD 2817], and Hal Asby's story of a paralyzed Vietnam vet (said to be based on Ron Kovic), "Coming Home" [MRC Video/C 999: 1833]. The following year Francis Ford Coppola's controversal film Apocalypse Now! is released. [For a list of other Vietnam war films in the UCB Media Center, see MRC's War Film Videography]
April 11, 1978: Former FBI Head L. Patrick Gray is indicted with two retired FBI officials, W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller, are indicted for civil rights violations in ordering surreptitious break-ins in a hunt for fugitive Weather Underground members. Gray and the two others plead innocent. Richard Nixon testifies on Gray's behalf. (Four protestors in the audience yell, "War Criminal!" and "He's a liar!" and are removed from the court). In the following months, a number of FBI administrators and field agents are either fired or diciplined in connection with the break-ins.[LAT, 4/11/78]
In November 1980, Felt and Miller are found guilt on one count of civil rights violations and issued fines. In December 1980, charges are dropped against L. Patrick Gray. On April 15, 1981, President Ronald Reagan issues "full and unconditional" pardons to Felt and Miller. [LAT, 11/7/80; LAT, 4/15/81]
May 25, 1979: The FBI drops its persuit of six Weather Underground members still at large. Federal warrants were dropped for Bernadine Dohrn, Kathy Boudin, Jeffry Jones, Michael Speigel, John Jacobs, and Jeffrey Powell. [LAT, 10/20/79]
January 1980: The Berkeley student newspaper, The Daily Cal, conducts a survey of 400 students which indicates that the majority of those queried would willingly serve in the military if drafted, and feel that the US should become "involved militarily" if Iran is invaded by the Soviet Union. [LAT, 1/31/80]
July 9, 1980: Ex-Weather Underground member Cathy Wilkerson turns herself into Federal authorities. [LAT, 7/9/80]
September 9, 1980: Daniel Berrigan, his brother Philip, and six others (the "Plowshares Eight") began the Plowshares Movement when they entered the General Electric Nuclear Missile Re-entry Division in King of Prussia, PA where nose cones for the Mark 12A warheads were made. They hammered on two nose cones, poured blood on documents and offered prayers for peace. They were arrested and initially charged with over ten different felony and misdemeanor counts. On April 10, 1990, after nearly ten years of trials and appeals, the Plowshares Eight were re-sentenced and paroled for up to 23 and 1/2 months in consideration of time already served in prison. [wikipedia; NYT 9/10/80]
December 3, 1980: Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn turn themselves in to Federal authorities in Chicago after more than a decade underground. On January 13, 1980, Dohrn receives three years probation and $1,500 fine for charges stemming from her participation in the 1969 Chicago "Days of Rage." [NYT, 12/4/80; NYT, 1/14/81]
Dohrn is currently an associate professor and director and founder of the Children and Family Justice Center at the Northwestern University School of Law. Since 2002, she has served as a Visiting Law Faculty at Vrieje University, Amsterdam.
October 20, 1981: Ex-Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army member Kathy Boudin is recruited by the radical Black Liberation Army to rob an armored car in Rockland County, New York. (Boudin, who along with Cathy Wilkerson had escaped the March 10, 1970 Greenwich Village townhouse bomb explosion that killed Diana Oughton, had been living underground since the incident). In the course of the aborted heist, a security guard is killed. Boudin is apprehended, pleads guilty to felony murder and robbery and is sentenced to 20 years to life. [NYT, 10/22/81; NYT 5/4/84]
October 31, 1981: Max Scherr, publisher of the influencial underground newspaper The Berkeley Barb, dies at age 70. The Barb was at the Center of the People's Park takeover in 1969, and consistently infuriated then-governor Ronald Reagan who accused it of "helping sabotage law and order." [NYT, 11/8/81]
1982 In 1982 Westmoreland sues CBS reporter Mike Wallace (Westmoreland v CBS) for libel. The suit concerns a CBS sepecial (The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception) in which it is alleged that Westmoreland and others had deliberately underestimated Vietcong troop strength in order to maintain morale and popular support for the war. Westmoreland eventually settles for an apology from CBS. (See Brewin, 1987; Mascaro)
November 13, 1982: A memorial to America's 2.7 million veterans of the Vietnam war, and to the memory of the 57,939 US soldiers killed or missing in the war is dedicated in Washington, D.C. The memorial is designed by a young architectural student, Maya Ying Li (Maya Lin).
The memorial is criticized by some veterans for not bearing an inscription identifying the war. On November 11, 1984 a statue of three Army infantymen is dedicated at the site. [NYT, 11/12/82; LAT 11/12/82]
December 24, 1982: A group of Vietnam vets begins a round-the-clock candlelight vigil at the site of Vietnam Veterans Memorial to call attention to the 1421 servicement still missing in action. [NYT, 12/25/82]
1982-2000: Tom Hayden serves in the California State Assembly (1982-1992)and the State Senate (1992-2000). He unsuccesfully runs for Mayor of Los Angeles in 1997, defeated by the incumbent Richard Riordan. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California and is married to actress Barbara Williams.
1982-1984: The US government commissions a $63 million study by The Center for Disease Control to determine the long-term harmmedical effects of exposure to Agent Orange. The study soon boggs down in a complex dispute over identifying which soldiers were likely to have been exposed to Agent Orange. Dr. Vernon Houk, the lead scientist in the study, comes under intense criticism for his methods. The study finds "no evidence" that Agent Orange injured soldiers in the field. In September 1987, the White House Science Panel and the Domestic Policy Council cancels the study.
In 1984, the American Legion collaborates with an independent Columbia University study conducted by Drs. Jeanne Mager Stellman and Steven Stellman which showed definite correlation between serious and often rare disorders and exposure to Agent Orange. In an April 17, 2003 article in the journal Nature, J. Stellman reports that the amount of highly toxic dioxin in Agent Orange was more than double the U.S. government's estimates.
July 1, 1983: Julius J. Hoffman, the judge presiding over the trial of the Chicago 8, dies.
May 7, 1984: Federal District court announces a $180 million out-of-court settlement brought against seven chemical companies (Dow Chemical Co., Monsanto Chemical Co., and others) in a class-action suite brought by 16,000 Vietnam vets against the manufactures of Agent Orange. In accordance with the distribution plan claimants were required to submit medical proof of exposure to the chemical sometime between 1961 and 1972. The manufacturers named in the suite had previously attempted to force the U.S. government to finance part of the fund. On May 9, 1985 Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that the government would not be required to contribute, based on a 1950 Supreme Court ruling exempting the government for liability for injuries to military personnel during their service. [See Also January 12, 1962] [LAT, 5/7/84; Schuck, 1986]
June 17, 1988: Jane Fonda is interviewed by Barbara Walters on the television show 20/20 and apologizes for her actions during the War: "I would like to say something, not just to Vietnam veterans in New England, but to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did," she began. "I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I'm . . . very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families."
In April 1999, Jane Fonda is honored by ABC News and Ladies Home Journal as one of the "100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century," which uniformly infuriates veterans groups. [See Burke, 2004]
April 12, 1989: Abbie Hoffman is found dead, an apparent suicide from drug overdose. Hoffman had secretly been suffering from depression for years before his death. In August 1973 Hoffman and three others had been arrested and convicted for selling cocaine to an undercover policeman in New York. In April of the following year, Hoffman failed to appear at the hearing for the case. In the next several years, Hoffman went underground, including changing his name, undergoing plastic surgery, and remarrying. [NYT, 8/29/73; NYT, 8/29/73;NYT, 4/13/89]
1990: Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden divorce. Fonda subsequently marries media mogul Ted Turner in December 1991.
April 1993: Harvard scholar Stephen Morris discoveres a document in a Soviet archive indicating that Vietnam may have misled Americans about the numbers of P.O.W.s it held at the war's end. The document, a translation of writings allegedly prepared by North Vietnamese general Tran Van Quang, states that North Vietnam held 1,205 American P.O.W.s as of September 1972, just a few months before the release of the 591 P.O.W.s in Operation Homecoming. U.S. government officials suggest that the discrepancy in numbers might have been an exaggeration on the part of Tran Van Quang, or that a confusion of statistics between American soldiers and South Vietnamese commandos caused by an error in translation. Several independent analysts, however, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, said that the document appeared authentic. [PBS: Vietnam Online: The MIA Issue]
1994: After his loss to Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election, George McGovern returns to South Dakota, where he was re-elected to the Senate in 1974. In 1980, he is defeated for re-election by U.S. Rep. James Abdnor amidst that year's Republican sweep, which became known as the "Reagan Revolution." In 1984, he seeks his party's presidential nomination once again. Although he finished in third place in the Iowa caucus amidst a crowded field, his campaign eventually floundered and he withdrew soon after the New Hampshire primary. [wikipedia]
January 6, 1994: Weather Underground member Jeffrey David Powell, on the run since jumping bail in 1970, surrenders to police. In a prepared statement, Powell says, "I am proud to have fought for my country against the criminal government of Richard Nixon. ...And I am very happy not to be at war with my government now." He is released with a $500 fine and 18 months probation.
February 3, 1994: President Clinton drops the 19-year embargo on US trade with Vietnam. In doing so, Clinton acknowledges the cooperation Vietnam has shown in the search for US military personnel still listed as missing in action. Within an hour of Clinton's announcement, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola begin production in Saigon. [NYT, 2/4/94; NYT 2/7/94]
April 22, 1994: Richard Nixon dies. In his eulogy at Nixon's funeral, Henry Kissinger, Nixon's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, commented:
"When I learned the final news, by then so expected yet so hard to accept, I felt a profound void. In the words of Shakespeare, "He was a man, take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again."
In the conduct of foreign policy, Richard Nixon was one of the seminal presidents. He came into office when the forces of history were moving America from a position of dominance to one of leadership. Dominance reflects strength; leadership must be earned. And Richard Nixon earned that leadership role for his country with courage, dedication, and skill.
When Richard Nixon took his oath of office, 550,000 Americans were engaged in combat in a place as far away from the United States as it was possible to be. America had no contact with China, the world's most populous nation, and no negotiations with the Soviet Union, the other nuclear superpower. Most Muslim countries had broken diplomatic relations with the United States; Middle East diplomacy was stalemated. All of this in the midst of the most anguishing domestic crisis since the Civil War."
When Richard Nixon left office, an agreement to end the war in Vietnam had been concluded, and the main lines of all subsequent policy were established: permanent dialogue with China; readiness without illusion to ease tensions with the Soviet Union; a peace process in the Middle East; the beginning, via the European Security Conference, of establishing human rights as an international issue; weakening Soviet hold on Eastern Europe. Richard Nixon's foreign policy goals were long range, and he pursued them without regard to domestic political consequences." [Speaking Tips]
Journalist and all-around rabble-rouser Hunter S. Thompson offered his own "eulogy": "I have had my own bloody relationship with Nixon for many years, but I am not worried about it landing me in hell with him. I have already been there with that bastard, and I am a better person for it. Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together." [The Atlantic online]
November 28, 1994: Jerry Rubin is hit by a car in Los Angeles and killed while jaywalking on Wilshire Blvd. After the end of the war, Rubin radically changed his political and cultural views--a lifestyle change that included persuing a career as an capitalist and entrepreneur. Rubin invested in the health food industry and attempted to capitalize on the stock market. He became involved with the new age human consciousness movement of the 70's that included Rolfing, primal scream therapy, est, Reichian therapies, gestalt, and bioenergetics.
For a look at post-60s life of Rubin and other counterculture heroes, see the documentary "Growing Up in America" [UCB Media Resource Center Video/C 4972]
December 20,1994: Dean Rusk,Secretary of State from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson dies.
1995: Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense under both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, publishes his memoir, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (New York: Times Books, c1995. MAIN: DS558 .M44 1995; MOFFITT: DS558 .M44 1995). In the preface, he says: "We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who participated in the decisions on Vietnam acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of this nation. We made our decisions in light of those values. Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why."
April 5, 1997: Allen Ginsberg, poet laureate of the Beat Generation and zen muse to several generations of poets, hipsters and peaceniks, dies of liver cancer. [NYT, 11/08/1996]
September 16, 1997 President Clinton signs Proclamation 7023 declaring Sept 19, 1997 as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
March 15, 1998: Dr. Benjamin Spock dies at 94. After the Vietnam War Spock continued to join protest around issues like nuclear weapons and cuts in social welfare programs. In 1972, he ran in the US presidential election as People's Party candidate. His platform called for free medical care, the legalization of abortion and marijuana, a guaranteed minimum income for families and the immediate withdrawal of all American troops from foreign countries.
2003: Filmmaker Errol Morris's documentary Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara is released. Morris interviewed McNamara for twenty-four hours over three sessions in 2001 and 2002 when McNamara was age eighty-five.
June 9, 2003: The Supreme Court announces its decision in Dow Chemical Co., et al. vs. Stephenson, et al., which involved two Vietnam veterans whose current illnesses did not manifest until after all of the money that had been set aside under a legal settlement had been depleted. Once the settlement funds had been exhausted, the Federal judge who presided over the original lawsuit refused to allow Vietnam veterans whose diseases were diagnosed thereafter to sue the chemical companies, ruling that such actions were barred by the earlier settlement. Two of these veterans appealed their cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which held that their lawsuits could proceed because their interests were not adequately represented in the settled class action. [See also May 4, 1984] [Newswire, June 2003]
May 25, 2004: Dave Dellinger dies at 88. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease for several years. [See also: Democracy Now: Remembering Dave Dellinger. Audio segments and transcripts] [NYT, 5/27/04]
September 17, 2004: Kathy Boudin ex-Weather Underground member imprisoned in 1984 for a 1981 robbery that resulted in the death of a police officer, is freed from prison after two previously unsuccessful bids for parole. [NYT, 9/18/05]
November 2004: Winter Soldier respondant (See April 22, 1971) and U.S. Senators from Massachusetts John Kerry runs for Democartic Party Candidate for President of the United States. He is marginally defeated by president George W. Bush.
March 10, 2005: A federal judge in Brooklyn dismisses a damage suit filed in 2004 by The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange on behalf of millions of Vietnamese that claimed American chemical companies committed war crimes by supplying the military with the defoliant Agent Orange. In the presiding judge Jack B. Weinstein's opininon: "No treaty or agreement, express or implied, of the United States operated to make use of herbicides in Vietnam a violation of the laws of war or any other form of international law until at the earliest April of 1975." [NYT, 3/11/05]
April 28, 2005: The Pentagon identifies four more missing-in-action servicemen, thought to have been lost in 1967. This brings the number of identified, long-missing American troops in Vietnam to 748. A total of 1,835 US military personnel are still listed as missing.
July 18, 2005: General William Westmoreland dies at 91. [NYT, 7/20/05]
2006: Declassified army documents reveal that confirmed atrocities by U.S. forces in Vietnam were more extensive than was previously known. The documents detail 320 alleged incidents that were substantiated by Army investigators -- not including the most notorious U.S. atrocity, the 1968 My Lai massacre. [LAT, 8/06/06]
April 26, 2009: 40th Anniversary celebration for People's Park
July 6, 2009: Robert S. McNamara, "the forceful and cerebral defense secretary who helped lead the nation into the maelstrom of Vietnam and spent the rest of his life wrestling with the war's moral consequences," dies at 93." [NYT, 7/07/09]
April 25, 2011 Madame Nhu (Tran Le Xuân), considered the first lady of South Vietnam from 1955 to 1963, dies at 86 in Rome. Madame Nhu was wife of Ngo Dinh Nhu, brother and chief adviser to President Ngo Dinh Diêm. During her life, Madame Nhu accumulated vast wealth and power, but was reviled for her puritanical social campaigns and her callous dismissal of Buddhist monks who burned themselves to death to protest against the brutal rule of Diem and her husband Ngo Dinh Nhu. "I would clap hands at seeing another monk barbecue show, for one cannot be responsible for the madness of others," she wrote in a letter to the New York Times. [NYT, 4/27/11; The Gardian, 4/26/11]
April 28, 2011 Stanford University's Faculty Senate votes to invite the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) back to the campus for the first time since the Vietnam War era, a turnaround prompted by the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy against gays serving openly in the military. [LAT, 4/29/11]
July 2011: TV shopping network QVC cancels a scheduled appearance by Jane Fonda after viewers complain about Fonda's political statements during the Vietnam War. [LAT, 7/19/11]
"Calif. College Braces for New Strife; Picketing Restricted 15 Demands Made Tough New Rules Prescribed For Reopening Monday." The Washington Post, Jan 5, 1969. p. 3 (1 page)
"Tearful Reagan Blames Militants; Student's Death." Los Angeles Times,Apr 22, 1970. p. 1 (2 pages)
The Berkeley crowd enthusiastically applauded U.C.L.A. Law Professor Michael Tigar when he said: "We must confront the President and force him to withdraw from Vietnam and leave the people there to determine their own fate. In the course of history, genocide and imperialism will be stopped. We have to decide whether you and I will liberate this country from the inside or whether it will be liberated from abroad." More than ever, there was a feeling among the dissidents that they formed a coherent bloc capable of exercising political muscle."
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