The slogan, “Make Love, Not War” became a prominent anti-war phrase in the 1960’s that was created by those against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. It was not just hippies and college students who yelled this phrase throughout the streets but it was also a lot of average American families and interestingly some Vietnam Veterans themselves. This was a time where politics changed drastically and Anti-war protests filled the nations streets. Many Americans believed that we should not have had troops in Vietnam because it was not our war to fight. After President Lyndon B. Johnson was elected and sent around five hundred thousand American troops into Vietnam, American families became outraged. American soldiers reaction to the war was a divide, many thought that they needed to be there and then others were completely against it. The Tet Offensive of 1968 brought upon by the Vietcong, caused even more controversy and humiliation for the United States, and this devastating hit increased the peace protests and Anti-War marches/riots on government streets. If the soldiers fighting were questioning their presence in Vietnam, the American public sure as well was too.
The Kent State Shootings
The Kent State Shootings was a significant event that occurred in the history of the 1960’s and the anti-war movement. Student groups like the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and many others, followed in what the hippies were doing, and helped set up protests with them, but often got out of control and violent. The shootings occurred on May 4, 1970 by student protesters. The May fourth massacres at Kent State were started because those students were outraged by President Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia.
Here is the New York Times front page article the morning after the Kent State shootings:
The newspaper is from May 5, 1970 and the headline reads, “4 Kent State Students Killed by Troops: 8 Hurt as Shooting Follows Reported Sniping at Rally”. This news article explained what happened the previous day and what the students were doing as well as the National Guard. The article left the question of why, as so many Americans were thinking as well. The United States seemed divided and this caused violence. This document does not only show what war does to people, but it also goes to show how big of a conflict we were having on our own soil that needed to be figured out. These shootings started happening all throughout the United States around many colleges and universities, and because of this educational institutions had to be shut down for numerous days. The document explains how the students formed around the National Guard and were throwing rocks and chanting vulgar and disrespectful things. The National Guard tried keeping things under control but when their life seemed to be threatened, which was said to be, they had no other choice then to shoot. This caused great controversy with people going against the National Guard and then many going against the students. With this event and what publicity it had gotten, raised Americans fear of what this younger generation of Americans aimed to do and how far they would go to try and get what they wanted. This is an good archive to use to try and understand a lot about this time and how extreme these anti-war, peace protesters would go to try and achieve what they thought was right for our country and people. It really gives a good overview at what our society was like and how much politics really played a crucial role.
Hippies Promoting Peace
Hippies throughout the 1960s and 1970s continually protested and spoke out against the Vietnam war. Many hippies did not like President Johnson or President Nixon, because of their active role in sending thousands of troops into Vietnam and Cambodia. Hippies and other student movements and activists would protest and march in the streets with signs that said things such as, “Make Love, Not War” or “U.S. Troops Get Out Of Vietnam” or simply hold up peace signs. They would also chant and sing through the streets and play music that promoted peace.