The decision to go to war, or to extend a war, is a tough decision for the president and his advisors. Often, the populous is split into two seperate camps that have opposing views on what the president should do or should not do. Hawks, or war supporters, favor military action in a particular situation, while the doves, or anti-war supporters, are in favor of using other means to address the issue. Conflicts as different as World War I, the Vietnam War, and the current Iraq and Afghanistan wars have had significant levels of support from both hawks and doves. To explore insights into the anti-war movement, we will focus on the anti-war movement as it pertains to the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam anti-war movement was important in its effects it had on United States policy, its military morale, and popular support on the home front. The movement began as all movements do, small in size and lacking the organization to make their voice truly heard. Many Americans viewed the movement as an extension of the hippie world and felt that it was a movement dominated by the youth and disillusioned of the United States. This was in part due to rock musicians' songs who were largely aligned with the anti-war camp. As the war escalated and lengthened, the movement drew in more supporters, including from some veterans of the war. National Guard and police action against protesters on United States soil helped to change the opinion of other citizens towards the war effort. The movement became a highly organized group of United States citizens that came together for a common cause: ending the war in Vietnam. Their voices were heard by the media, politicians, and soldiers on the battlefield. The anti-war movement efforts helped to gain traction in changing the policies of the United States government and helped forge the way for future anti-war movements in the United States.
Nicole Arnsmeyer and Jared Schlimgen