One of the search and destroy missions had been in the village of My Lai. March 16th of 1968 Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, American Division entered the village of My Lai and killed over 500 people. When news of this massacre had reached the United States, it had caused one of the biggest anti-war movement demonstrations in Washington DC. When Richard Nixon had taken over as president he had done the most to bring troops home in his quest for peace. As the war came to an end the soldiers who were coming home could not have predicted how they would be treated when they landed. Throughout the documentary Brothers in War eleven veterans from Charlie company had talked about their experiences during the war. These men had given an insight into what exactly they faced when they arrived back home. Protestors had treated the men horridly, causing some soldiers to feel that they did not want to be in the military any longer. Vietnam had been and is still the most unpopular war in American history. Protests had happened all over the world but many of them happened in America. Attitudes of protestors towards soldiers at the end of the war had shown just how divided the war had made the American people. After the war ended, protestors and soldiers had returned to their lives as if the war had little impact on the nation and the world had moved on.
March of 1968 through January of 1973 the American involvement in the Vietnam war had been very unpopular from the beginning with the people. President Johnson had received word of attacks of the USS Maddox and gotten approval from the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to unofficially declare war against the Vietcong. Protesting of the Vietnam war had been a focal point throughout the duration of the war and the protests had mostly been peaceful except for a few. Kent State had been one of the protests that had turned to violence when National Guardsmen had opened fired into a crowd of students and killed four of the students. Over the years during the war there had been multiple protests, some of them had been fused with the civil rights protests. Anti-war movements and civil rights movements had been happening in America, but these were not the only protests that had been happening. Protests around the world had been going on but those are not as well-known as the protests that happened in America. While the protests of the war had been happening, over in Vietnam, there had been numerous search and destroy missions taking place.
Protests in America had mostly been peaceful, however there had been protests that had turned violent. Over the course of the war there had been over twenty protests in the nation. One protest that had stuck out more than any other was the demonstration at Kent University on May 4th, 1969. Students were crowded around when out of nowhere National Guardsmen had begun to open fire into the crowd, killing four students. Resulting from this protest, four million students and teachers went on strike at more than 450 colleges and universities across the nation. Americans had expressed their varied opinions about the war and when soldiers had come back home from their tours, they had gotten the brunt end of people’s judgements. National Geographic in 2014 had made a documentary called Brothers in War about the events of the Vietnam war. Producers had asked members of Charlie Company who were willing to talk about the war if they would give their insights about what happened in Vietnam. Throughout this documentary the veterans had told the stories that they were not able to tell for the longest time. Charlie Company consisted of 160 soldiers, after the company’s one-year tour twenty-five soldiers had been killed and 105 soldiers had been wounded. Only eleven veterans had been willing to talk about their time in Vietnam. However, the most difficult things to talk about were the losses of their comrades and the way they had been treated when they came home. When soldiers who fought in Vietnam had come home they were greeted not as hero’s returning home from battle but with harsh judgments, name calling, and other forms of disapproval from protestors.
Across the nation there had been multiple protests that had ranged from sit-ins, teach-ins, and marches. Most of the sit-ins and teach-ins had been organized at universities and college campuses across the nation. December 19th, 1964 the very first nationwide protest of the Vietnam War had been organized in several cities including Washington DC, New York City and Chicago. April 17th, 1965 the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) had organized a march against the Vietnam War and was due to march onto Washington DC. It had been the largest anti-war demonstration in the US to date with 15-20,000 people in attendance. Protesting of the war had not only been done publicly, but had been done in different forms such as music. According to an article from BBC News “The Vietnam war spurred a protest movement that spread among the student movement in the 1960s. And songs were an important part of that protest.” As the war had escalated, the protests had escalated as well, individual artists and bands had written songs about the war. Protests of the Vietnam war were not just in the United States, there had been protests all over the world however they were not as known as the ones in America.
According to a timeline of the Vietnam War on March 16th of 1968 Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, American Division entered the village of My Lai on a search and destroy mission. Charlie Company had killed over 500 Vietnamese civilians, these civilians consisted of women, children and elderly men. Mass murder of these villagers would have continued had it not been for courageous helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson Jr. who had landed his aircraft between the villagers and Charlie Company. Thompson said in interviews after the war that he knew the risks he took when he landed his helicopter. He had told his crew “If the troops open fire, return fire on them”. While the My Lai Massacre was happening in Vietnam, in America the country was in disarray due to the protests of the war and the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. had given a speech on January 14th, 1968 about the war calling the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world”. Protests had continued throughout the rest of the Vietnam war with the greatest amount of protests all year long in 1969. When news of the My Lai Massacre had reached the American people, it had caused a massive anti-war demonstration in Washington DC. Richard Nixon had taken over as president in 1969 and according to chapter twenty-six pages 782-783 of the World History textbook volume two, he had been on a quest for peace. Nixon had pledged to bring an end to the war in Vietnam and had begun to gradually withdraw troops. Along with withdrawing of troops he had continued to hold peace talks in Paris. According to the Vietnam War timeline Nixon had begun running secret bombings in Cambodia to destroy communist supply routes and base camps known as Operation Breakfast.
March 8th, 1965, US troops arrived on the shores of Danang, South Vietnam. American soldiers had been brought in to the war as an attempt to restrict the spread of communism throughout Vietnam. Spanning over the course of twenty years and five presidents it had been the second longest war in American history. Vietnam was an unpopular war from the beginning, and back at home it had caused multiple uprisings with the American people. People from all walks of life had participated in protests, students held protests on college campuses, veterans from WWI, WWII and the Korean War had protested the actions of US involvement in Vietnam. Most protests were peaceful, but some had turned violent. Throughout the 1960s there had been protests, marches, and speeches in terms of the civil rights movement that was also going on. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Lyndon Johnson had taken over as the president and begun a more intense war effort. He had brought in more troops not to advise the south but to help in recapturing South Vietnam. Approval of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution during Johnson’s term had made the unofficial declaration of war against North Vietnam due to the attack on the USS Maddox. When it came time for reelections, Johnson refused to take on another term. When Richard Nixon was elected into office in 1968 he was running on a platform of law and order. During Nixon’s presidency, he had done the most to bring the troops home from Vietnam. January of 1973 a Cease-fire agreement had been signed bringing the last of the American troops home after the fall of Saigon. Protesting of the war in Vietnam was at its peak when the news of the My Lai Massacre been reported in the news and other events had caused several protests in the United States. Different demonstrations were a combination of the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement and had continued from the moment America had gotten involved in the war throughout the end of the war. Most of the protests were peaceful however there were some protests that had ended in violence and when soldiers came home the people had shifted their feelings and judgements towards them.