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The Stormy Sixties
Transcript of The Stormy Sixties
President Kennedy, the youngest president to take office, assembled one of the youngest cabinets, including his brother Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General, who planned to reform the priorities of the FBI.
Kennedy's new challenge of a "New Frontier" quickened patriotic pulses.
He proposed the Peace Corps, an army of idealistic and mostly youthful volunteers to bring American skills to underdeveloped countries
The New Frontier at Home
Southern Democrats and Republicans despised the president's New Frontier plan
campaigned on the theme of revitalizing the economy
wanted to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes and putting more money directly into private hands
proposed a multi-billion dollar plan to land an American on the moon
Rumblings in Europe
August 1961, the Soviets began to construct the Berlin Wall, which was designed to stop the large population drain from East Germany to West Germany through Berlin.
Foreign Flare-ups and "Flexible Response"
1960, the African Congo received its independence from Belgium and immediately exploded in violence
U.N. sent in troops ~ the United States paid for it
1954: Laos gained its independence from France ~ violence erupted
Kennedy, avoiding sending troops, sought diplomatic means in the Geneva conference in 1962, which imposed a peace on Laos.
Defense Secretary Robert McNamara pushed the strategy of "flexible response"
President Kennedy increased spending on conventional military forces
Stepping into the Vietnam Quagmire
"flexible response" provided a mechanism for a progressive, and possibly endless, stepping-up of the use of force
1961: Kennedy increased the number of "military advisors" in South Vietnam in order to help protect Diem from the communists long enough to allow him to enact basic social reforms favored by the Americans
Diem was very unpopular due to his religion and corrupt policies
November 1963, after being fed up with U.S. economic aid being embezzled by Diem, the Kennedy encouraged a successful coup and killed Diem
1961, Kennedy funded Alliance for Progress for Latin America
goal was to help the Latin American countries close the gap between the rich and the poor to quiet communist rumblings
Results were disappointing and Latin America questioned the motives of the US
Bay of Pigs Invasion
April 17, 1961, 1,200 exiles landed at Cuba's Bay of Pigs.
Due to increased press coverage, President Kennedy failing to provide air support for the exiles in an effort to overthrow of Fidel Castro in Cuba
the invasion failed and made the US look as an aggressive nation
CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
After the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro turned to the Soviets allowing them to put nuclear missiles on Cuban soil
Kennedy rejected air force proposals for a bombing strike against the missile sites
he established a naval "quarantine" of Cuba and demanded immediate removal of the weapons
Soviets refused to immediately reply
Americans waited while Soviet ships approached the patrol line established by the U.S. Navy off the island of Cuba.
Finally, Khrushchev agreed to a compromise in which he would pull the missiles out of Cuba
American government also agreed to end the quarantine, not invade the island and remove US missiles in Turkey
As a result of the CMC, the Limited Test Ban Treaty was established
This prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons above ground
The Struggle for Civil Rights
in the 1960 campaign, JFK had gained the black vote by stating that he would pass civil rights legislation.
1960 ~ Freedom Riders spread out across the South to end segregation in facilities serving interstate bus passengers.
were met with aggression
white mob torched a Freedom Ride in Alabama (May 1961)
1963 ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. launched a campaign against discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama, the most segregated big city in America
Civil rights marchers were repelled by police with attack dogs and high-pressure water hoses.
President Kennedy delivered a speech to the nation on June 11, 1963 in which he dedicated himself to finding a solution to the racial problems
1963 ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. led 200,000 black and white demonstrators on a peaceful "March on Washington" in support of the proposed new civil rights legislation.
The Killing of Kennedy
November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was shot and killed as he was riding in an open limousine in Dallas, Texas.
the Warren Commission determined that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin
Oswald was shot and killed by self-appointed avenger, Jack Ruby.
VP Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office and vowed to keep the Kennedy spirit alive
Kennedy was acclaimed more for the ideals he had spoken and the spirit he had kindled for the goals he had achieved.
The Killing of Kennedy
November 22, 1963 ~ President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas while campaigning for the 1964 election
Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and charged with killing the president
Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office
LBJ was able to have the Kennedy programs passed
est. the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination ~ determined LHO was the lone gunman
The LBJ Brand on the Presidency
fulfilled Kennedy's "War on Poverty"
US moves from the "New Frontier" to the "Great Society" ~ a sweeping set of economic and welfare measures (medicare, medicaid, education, VISTA)
Election of 1964
Lyndon B. Johnson (D) vs. Senator Barry Goldwater (R)
Goldwater attacked the federal income tax, the Social Security System, the Tennessee Valley Authority, civil rights legislation, the nuclear test-ban treaty, and the Great Society.
August 1964: Gulf of Tonkin incident
two U.S. ships were allegedly fired upon in what Johnson calls an "unprovoked" attack
he orders a "limited" retaliatory air raid against the North Vietnamese bases
Tonkin Gulf Resolution ~ lawmakers virtually gave up their war-declaring powers and handed the president a blank check to use further force in Southeast Asia
Lyndon Johnson overwhelmingly won the election of 1964
Watts Riots ~ occurred riots a black ghetto in Los Angeles because CA had attempted to block the fair housing section of the CRA of 1964
it highlighted a deeper issue of high unemployment, low education and poor housing
Malcolm X deepened the division among black leaders.
supported black separation from white
he was shot and killed (2/21/65) after his hajj to Mecca where he changes his opinions on race relations
Black Panther party emerged, openly carrying weapons in the streets of Oakland, California
April 4, 1968 ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee
by the late 1960s, black voter registration increased and blacks became more active in governmental roles
March 1965 ~ "Operation Rolling Thunder" ~ carpet bombing attacks against North Vietnam
South Vietnamese government was weak, but supported by the American government as they sought to contain communism
Domino Theory (proposed by Eisenhower) was supported by war hawks who argued that if the United Sates were to leave Vietnam without achieving their objective, other countries would also fall to communism
By 1968, Johnson had put more than 500,000 troops in Southeast Asia, and the annual cost for the war was exceeding $30 billion.
Antiwar demonstrations increased significantly as more and more American soldiers died in the Vietnam War
"Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"
Senator William Fulbright staged a series of televised hearings in 1966 and 1967 in which he convinced the public that it had been deceived about the causes and "winnability" of the war
When Defense Secretary McNamara expressed discomfort about the war, he was quietly removed from office.
In 1967, Johnson ordered the CIA to spy on domestic antiwar activists. He also encouraged the FBI to turn its counterintelligence program, code-named "Cointelpro," against the peace movement.
By early 1968, the war had become the longest and most unpopular foreign war in the nation's history. The government failed to explain to the people what was supposed to be at stake in Vietnam. Casualties, killed, and wounded had exceeded 100,000, and more bombs had been dropped in Vietnam than in World War II.
Vietnam Topples Johnson
January 1968 ~ TET OFFENSIVE ~ the Viet Cong attacked 27 key South Vietnamese cities, including Saigon
ended in a military defeat for the VC, but it caused the American public to demand an immediate end to the war
American military leaders responded to the attacks for a request of 200,000 more troops
President Johnson himself now began to seriously doubt the war and would freeze American troop levels
PLAN ~ gradually shift more responsibility to the South Vietnamese and scale back bombing
March 1968 ~ Johnson declared that he would not be a candidate for the presidency in 1968
Election of 1968
The Democratic Primary Fight
Vice President Hubert Humphrey entered the race and defended the administration’s policies in Vietnam.
Senator Robert Kennedy also called for an end to the war and won primaries in Indiana, Nebraska, and California.
Kennedy was shot leaving a Los Angeles hotel by Sirhan Sirhan, a Jordanian immigrant who didn’t like Kennedy’s support for Israel.
The Democratic National Convention
Delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago debated between McCarthy and Humphrey.
Outside the convention, protesters from around the country demanded an immediate end to the war.
Chicago mayor Richard Daley sent troops to maintain order but violence soon broke out.
Television crews captured violent scenes between protesters and police.
The chaos was one symptom of a growing “generation gap” over government, politics, and the Vietnam War.
Other Contenders in 1968
Republican - Richard M. Nixon
Spiro Agnew as VP
Appealed to the patriotism of mainstream Americans
Promised “law and order”
Claimed to have a secret plan to end the war “with honor”
Independent - George Wallace
Former Alabama governor
Opposed the civil rights movement and school desegregation and war protesters
Appealed to conservative Democratic white southerners and working class whites
The Election of 1968
Nixon fought for Vietnamization
Humphrey said the bombing in Vietnam should be stopped and that the South Vietnamese should shoulder more of the war’s responsibilities
The peace talks in Paris made some progress
Johnson announced an end to the bombing in Vietnam a few days before the election.
The Results of the Election
The election was very close—just 510,000 votes separated Nixon and Humphrey.
Nixon won 43.4% of the votes cast to Humphrey’s 42.7%
Wallace was one of the most successful third party candidates in U.S. history
How did President Nixon's policies widen the war?
During his 1968 campaign, Nixon pledged to end the war in Vietnam - vietnamization
Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger devised plans to end the war.
In 1969 Kissinger began secret peace negotiations in Paris with North Vietnamese.
The U.S. strategy aimed at achieving “peace with honor.”
Laos and Cambodia
Widening the War
Strategy of turning over more of the fighting in Vietnam to the South Vietnamese while gradually bringing U.S. ground troops home
Nixon hoped this would give South Vietnamese leaders time to create a stable, non-Communist government.
slowly withdraw U.S. forces from South Vietnam.
Antiwar activists opposed the plan calling for an immediate end to the war.
Nixon believed he had the backing of the silent majority of Americans.
Widening the War
Laos and Cambodia
While removing troops from S. Vietnam, Nixon was secretly expanding the war
He ordered the bombing of Cambodia to disrupt the flow of supplies on the Ho Chi Minh trail
Concealed the air strikes from the American people—including members of Congress
Sent U.S. troops into Cambodia and into Laos to destroy North Vietnamese army bases
Renewed bombing of North Vietnam
Nixon hoped to force North Vietnam to seek peace
Public Opinion on the Vietnam War
Movement attracted a broad range of participants
Much antiwar activity took place on college campuses
Most vocal group—Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
Antiwar protesters made up a small % of the U.S. population
Vietnam was not crucial to American national security
The United States was fighting against the wishes of a majority of Vietnamese
The war was draining needed resources from Great Society programs
It was unfair for African Americans to fight for democracy in a foreign land when discrimination continued at home
Argued that Johnson’s policies were too extreme
Hawks vs. Doves
Doves—people opposed to the war
Hawks—people who supported the war’s goals
Both criticized the war effort.
Hawks wanted more troops and bombing.
Doves opposed the war for many reasons.
The Protesting Continues
1970 ~ Nixon announced that he had ordered troops into Cambodia
Antiwar protests intensified—especially on college campuses
Antiwar protests erupted into violence.
Nixon believed that antiwar protesters represented only a minority of Americans -- not the "Silent Majority"
Radical antiwar groups turned to violent measures to oppose the war
More and more Americans began to oppose the war when they learned about the My Lai massacre and the Pentagon Papers
Kent State University in Ohio
4 students were killed and 9 injured
Jackson State College in Mississippi
2 students were killed and 9 wounded
Polls showed that over 50% of Americans opposed the war
Coalition of clergy, trade unionists, and veterans established a nationwide day of protest called
250,000 protesters made up the largest antiwar demonstration in U.S. history
Some antiwar groups turned to violent measures.
The Weathermen set off more than 5,000 bombs and carried out the Days of Rage.
Most antiwar protesters did not support extremist groups or terrorist measures.
My Lai Massacre
Troops, under Lieutenant William Calley, killed at least 300 men, women, and children in the village of My Lai while on a search-and-destroy mission.
No Vietcong were found in the village.
The My Lai massacre was kept quiet at first, but former soldiers began talking about it.
This atrocity intensified the divisions between war supporters and opponents.
Calley was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison; he was paroled in 1974.
The Pentagon Papers
A collection of secret government documents that traced the history of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam since the Truman years
Revealed that government officials had been misleading the American people about the war for years
Daniel Ellsberg leaked the papers to the press.
Ellsberg originally supported the war, but then concluded that few South Vietnamese civilians supported the U.S.-backed government.
US Involvement in Vietnam Ends
Lowered the voting age from 21 to 18
Election of 1972
Nixon stressed law and order at home and told voters he would end the war.
Kissinger announced a breakthrough in the peace talks just weeks before the election.
The announcement helped Nixon win by a landslide.
Officials from North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the United States finally reached an agreement in January 1973.
The United States agreed to withdraw all of its troops and help rebuild Vietnam.
Both sides agreed to release all prisoners of war.
The agreement did not settle the political future of South Vietnam—the key issue behind the war from the start.
Voting Rights Act of 1965 ~ banned literacy tests and sent federal voter registers into several southern states
Civil Rights Act of 1964 ~ gave the federal government more power to enforce school-desegregation orders and to prohibit racial discrimination in all kinds of public accommodations and employment.
24th Amendment ~ abolished the poll tax in federal elections