Chapter 29.2: A Generation in Conflict Student Activism, the Draft, and

Chapter 29.2:
A Generation in Conflict
Student Activism, the Draft, and
American Soldiers in Vietnam
• Generation Gap - nation is split: people
who favored increasing war effort (hawks)
vs. people who believed war was morally
wrong (doves)
•SDS – Students for a Democratic Society
opposed the war effort and greatly
supported freedom of speech – “New Left”
- 1964 California at
Berkley students took
over administration
building over free
•Teach-Ins – University
faculty members led
antiwar sessions
The Draft
• Selective Service Act – drafted men between 18 and 26 into the military
• conscientious objectors – people who were opposed to fighting the war for moral
or religious reasons
• In December 1967, 70% of Americans felt that the protests were “acts of
• In spring of 1967 nearly 500,000 gathered in NYC’s Central Park: “Hell no we
won’t go!” “Burn Cards not People!”
• As more people were drafted, the number of protests against the War increased
• College students could receive a deferment – postponement of service
• 100,000 “draft dodgers” move to Canada
The Working Class War-Soldiers in Vietnam
• Young Soldiers (average age was 19)
• Lower class whites and minorities
• “Working Class”
• African Americans made up only 10% of the
population but 20%-30% of the combat deaths
• 10,000 US Women served in Vietnam
– Most served as military nurses
– Thousand more served in the Red Cross and the USO
(United Services Organizations)
Vietnam Soldiers video
Conclusion: Draft Questions
• What do you think a citizen’s responsibilities are to this
• During the Civil War people paid $500 to stay out of the
military. Should people with money be able to avoid military
service during wartime?
• Some conscientious objectors in the Vietnam War served in
hospitals or as Army medics, while others fled to Canada.
Discuss your feelings about each scenario.
• If you were old enough to serve in a war or be drafted, what
would you choose to do?
• Was it fair for young men to legally avoid the draft through a
college deferment during the war?
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