Peace Protests

During the 1960s the United States was involved in the Vietnam War. This war was highly controversial and many peace protests were held at colleges and in big cities. There were many different ways people protested the war. Some people, such as the Berrigan Brothers, openly did illegal things to draw the attention of the country. Others did things that people wouldn't know of, such as refuse to pay taxes. Others dodged the draft or attended big peace protests.


 
The Berrigan Brothers
 
The Berrigan brothers, Philip and Daniel, were two catholic priests who openly protested against the war in Vietnam. As part of the group, The Catonsville Nine, the two men broke into a Draft Board on May 17, 1968 and stole 378 draft files and proceded to burn them in the street with homemade napalm. Consequently, the police tried to arrest them but they went into hiding. Philip was arrested right away but Daniel was able to avoid the FBI, even popping up every now and then to give a sermon. Daniel became the first priest to ever be on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Eventually, Daniel was arrested and he and the other eight people in the Catonsville Nine were charged with destruction of government property, destruction of selective service files, and interference with the Selective Service Act of 1967. They were sentenced to three years in prison.(1)
 
 
College Protests
 
In May of 1970 President Richard Nixon announced that troops had been sent into Cambodia, a neutral country, which in turn extended the Vietnam War. Many college campuses erupted into protests and the most notorious was the Kent State University protest. On May 2, 1970 Governor James A. Rhodes sent the National Guard to campus to keep the peace. On May 4 another rally was being held on the campus but when the students were asked to leave they did not. The Guardsmen started to advance, forcing the students to retreat to the parking lot but the Guards continued to follow. They went onto the football field and knelt down, pointing their guns at the students. After a little while the guards got up and started up a hill, going away from the students. That is when the students started yelling, "That's right, go back to where you came from!" At the top of the hill some of the Guardsmen turned around and opened fire on the parking lot, killing four unarmed students and injuring twelve others. The FBI found no cause for the shooting but no one was ever charged with any crimes. (2)
 
 
For More On The Vietnam War Click Here
 
The Draft
One way men protested the war was by burning their draft cards. During large peace protests men would bring their draft cards and burn them which was illegal. All men had to register for the draft at age 18 and if drafted had to go to war. If they refused to go to war they would be sent to prison. There were a few ways, however, that a man could dodge the draft. Some men fled to Canada, got married, faked disabilities or homosexuality, joined the National Guard or Reserves, or went to prison. (1)
 
 
The Writers and Editors War Tax Protest
Another way that people protested the war was the Writers and Editors War Tax Protest which as a vow that people would not pay their taxes to protest the war. (1)
 
 
A student stands over the body of Jeff Miller who was shot and killed at the Kent State University protest on May 4, 1970 (3)