The Sixties

.. ace. One of the most violent wars happened in the sixties. The United States lost more people in the Vietnam War than in any other war the United States ever participated in. Though the war started in the fifties, it did not hit home hard until the sixties.

In 1961, the U.S. provided the first direct military support to South Vietnam, which included 36 army helicopters and air and ground crews, totaling nearly 400 men. The U.S. really got into the war when President Kennedy gave the signal on February 14, 1962 to return fire if fired upon. (Hooland 126). In 1965, the U.S.

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began to bomb North Vietnam because of an alleged attack on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. In 1966, the war spread into Cambodia. The USSR and Red China supported North Vietnam giving the Viennese a slight advantage over the Americans. The Americans fought in the war because they were afraid of Communism and how fast it was spreading.

It had already spread to the Western Hemisphere and the U.S. did not want another country to fall to Communism. Peace talks began in 1968 in Paris between the United States and North Vietnam. The late sixties began the end of Vietnam. The My Lai incident was a massacre of Vietnamese civilians by U.S.

soldiers. On March 16, 1968, a unit of the U.S. army Americal division, led by Lt. William L. Calley, invaded the South Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai, an alleged Viet Cong stronghold.

In the course of combat operations, unarmed civilians, including women and children, were shot to death. The death toll totaling 347 people. The incident remained unknown to the American public until the Autumn of 1969, when a series of letters by a former soldier to government officials forced the army to take action. Only one soldier was actually convicted of murder but that verdict was later overturned. Along with every war comes an anti-war movement. Back at home, the Nation was divided: The Hawks and The Doves. The Hawks supported the war while the Doves did not support the war.

The anti-Vietnam War movement was a domestic and international reaction in opposition to U.S. policy during the Vietnam War. During the four years following passage of the Tonkin Gulf resolution, which authorized U.S. military action in Southeast Asia, the American air war intensified and troop levels climbed to over 500,000. Opposition to the war grew as television and press coverage graphically showed the suffering of both civilians and conscripts. In 1965, demonstrations in New York City attracted 25,000 marchers; within two years, similar demonstrations drew several hundred thousand participants in Washington, DC, London, and other major capitals.

Most of the demonstrations were peaceful, though acts of civil disobedienceintended to provoke arrestwere common. Much of the imputes for the antiwar protests came from college students. Objections to the military draft led some protesters to burn their draft cards and to refuse to obey induction notices. By 1967, the Students for a Democratic Society invoked the language of revolution in its denunciations of the war in Vietnam as an inevitable consequence of American imperialism. There was also a more moderate opposition to the war from clergy, elected politicians, and people such as Dr. Benjamin Spock. In 1968, President Johnson, who was challenged by two antiwar candidates within his own party for the presidential nomination, Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, chose not to run.

The election of Richard Nixon in 1968 and his reduction of U.S. ground forces did little to dampen the antiwar movement. His decision to invade Cambodia in 1970 led to massive demonstrations on college campuses, most tragically at Kent State University. where four people were killed by members of the Ohio National Guard. The legacy and meaning of the massive protests against the Vietnam War are still being debated to this day. The anti-war protest brought the popular flower power trend.

The new generation trusted no one over the age of thirty and did not like and rebelled against the country and the war. The young people of the 1960s became known as hippies. They wanted peace and tried everything from music to drugs to sit-ins to protests. Music was their biggest contribution to the sixties American soldiers. Music came alive in the sixties.

The Beatles came alive along with Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and a lot of other music tycoons. One of the most unforgettable concerts happen in the summer of 1969, Woodstock. It was a time when everyone came together from anti-war protesters to Vietnam vets; it was three days of freedom, music, drugs, and sex, Woodstock had everything. Woodstock even had two babies born and two people pass away. The sixties was filled with many medical break throughs.

The birth control pill was put onto the market in 1960. Also in 1960, CPR is first demonstrated and used. In 1963, Thalidomide, a drug found to cause birth defects, is taken off the market. A year later silicone gel sacs are used in plastic surgery for breast implants. President Johnson made Medicare in 1965. People started to be warned of smoking hazards in 1966. In 1967, the first heart transplant was performed by Dr.

Christiaan Barnard in South Africa. Finally, in 1969, a vaccine becomes available in the United States for rubella. When people think of the sixties, one thing comes into mind, the space race. Although in 1961 the USSR got the first man into space, the United States was less than a month off getting Alan B. Shepard into space. On February 20, 1962 John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth.

Sadly, the race tragedy also struck, 3 U.S. astronauts were killed in a fire during a launch drill in Cape Kennedy. At 10:56 P.M. on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human on the moon. It was Apollo 11 which had the crew of Edwin Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong. The United States won the great race to the Moon.

The sixties were filled with so many memorable events. This decade saw the first Playboy Club, the invention of the first laser, the formation of the Peace Corps and the passage of the Immigration Act. The sixties also had extraordinary people. Some people in the sixties were: Robert F. Kennedy (President Kennedys brother, who was running for President but was killed by Sirhan Sirhan) Jacqueline Kennedy (President Kennedys widow, married Greek shipping businessman, Aristotle Onassis), and Charles Manson (who was convicted of the murder of actress Sharon Tate and six others).

Television also became very popular and shows such as The Flintstones, Wide World Of Sports, The Beverly Hillibillies, My Favorite Martian, Jeopardy, Day of Our Lives, Mission: Impossible, The Flying Nun, The Mod Squad, The Brady Bunch, and Sesame Street came to be in the sixties. New products such as canned Coca-Cola, Total cereal, Polaroid color film, the Trimline phone, Ford Mustang, Gatorade, Bac*os, Fresca soda, McDonalds Big Mac, and Frosted Mini-Wheats all became popular in the sixties. In conclusion, the sixties was filled with so many events and important people that the sixties can not be explained in one or even a thousand words. The American Camelot, the Civil Rights Movement, some of the many movements, the Vietnam War and the anti-war, medical breakthroughs, the space race, and finally, the music and youth were all part of the sixties. Some people called it the decade of discontent because of all the protests on the war and the civil rights movement.

Others called it the decade of peace, love, and harmony because of the peace movement and the emergence of the flower children. To some, it was acid trips and mind expansion: Far out, man. But all of the baby boomers can not say that the sixties did not changed the whole century one way or another. So, the flowers did have some power in sixties. American History.