'Campus bums', intellectuals, liberal-minded politicians, middle-class suburbs, labor unions, government institutions and later on, returning Vets made up the majority of the protesting population in the United States who sought to end the Vietnam War. The anti-war movement became prominent in 1965, reached its climax in 1968, lasting through the entirety through the waning years of the war. What incentives were common to all of these people? Not many. Most of these groups had independent interests, representing political, racial and cultural spheres of influence. To put the movement in perspective, however, it is essential to examine the unifying themes of the protest in its ties to the domestic politics and social consequences from1968, the height of the movement.
The Tet Offensive of January 30-31, 1968, resulting in 110 and 20,000 American and Viet Cong casualties, respectively, was the trigger to all of the chaos that was aroused in anti-war sentiments. The series of surprise attacks during the Tet Festival came just when the government had proclaimed that they can "see the light at the end of the tunnel." The graphic images of American troops defending the Embassy in Saigon on TV, the pictures of napalm burnt children published on Ramparts magazine, the alliance between the African-American leaders and anti-war ideals, the troop presence in Vietnam of nearly 500,000, as well as the death rate of 25,000, prompted the public to question the real political incentive of America's involvement in Vietnam, and moreover, the efficiency and truthfulness of the government itself. American spokespeople had quickly pointed to the military failure of the Vietnamese Communists; the public realized the dramatic discrepancy between what the optimistic claims made by the US government that the war had already been won and America's political and psychological defeat. General William C. Westmoreland stated that in order to fully defeat the Viet Cong, 200,000 more American...
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