Was they implied, saving lives in the

Was the anti-war movement actually successful in regards to influencing the U.S. and it’s military to put the Vietnam war to an end? The students and “hippies” protesting had an impact on the government making the decision to exiting the war.  Although there are opposing views that claim the government was planning on withdrawing from the Vietnam war anyway.  The anti-war movement was a widespread counterculture that encouraged many people to go against the norm of patriotic beliefs and fight for peace. The controversy of giving the anti-war movement  too much credit for bringing the war to an end or the antiwar movement succeeded in inhibiting further American escalation in the Vietnam War. “When evaluating the success or failure of the anti-war movement can be tricky because you have to imagine what would be happening if the anti-war movement was not here,” (Scott Sigmund Gartner, a political science professor, University of California).            By maintaining constant and even boisterous public pressure and gradually convincing the American public that the war was irrational and immoral, the movement changed the equation in national politics. In so doing, the movement made it impossible for a leading politician to be aggressively prowar and greatly limited the range of American military options. Unable to prosecute a widened war, U.S. officials were left with two choices: to continue fighting in a losing cause or to negotiate a way out.            However, there are many good reasons to doubt this interpretation of the war’s history. More-skeptical scholars have pointed out that the movement itself was always quite diffuse, disorganized, and usually rent by some internal division among its various factions. A prominent part of the movement was its most vocal wing, young student activists who engaged in active resistance through draft-card burning, sit-ins, marches, and other high-profile demonstrations. Especially after a series of violent demonstrations in 1967, this wing of the movement took on an increasingly anti-American tone, which greatly put off the majority of Americans. Many people objected to the anti patriotic attitudes of the protestors; many could not help but notice that the protestors were middle- and upper-class college students who had avoided the draft through college deferments. To a significant part of the public, the anti war activist appeared to be spoiled children rejecting the nation that had given them so much.            Yes, the antiwar movement succeeded in inhibiting further American escalation of the Vietnam War. Debate over the impact of domestic opposition to the Vietnam War has been raging since before the war ended. Activists-turned-academics and the first historians to take up the subject generally credited the antiwar movement with ending the war and, they implied, saving lives in the process. Other scholars, particularly those who believe the United States could have won the war, have judged the antiwar movement as ineffective. Their most damning critique, clearly articulated by Adam Garfinkle in Telltale Hearts: The Origins and Impact of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement (1995), argues that the antiwar movement was counterproductive. “It did not help stop the war,” Garfinkle asserts, “but rather helped prolong it,” and therefore bears some responsibility for the death and destruction that continued in the war’s later years.           No, the antiwar movement received too much credit for bringing the war to an end, because other factors influenced American foreign policy. In judging the effectiveness of the Vietnam Era anti war movement, it is important to distinguish between the active movement and the many other opponents of the war, between movement influence and changes in public opinion, and between policies shaped for public consumption and policies compelled by the brute facts of foreign relations. A close look at each of these distinctions strongly suggests that the antiwar movement has taken far too much credit for bringing the war to an end.            There has been an unexamined tendency among writers to give the antiwar movement credit for all of the opposition to the war, organized and otherwise. The organized antiwar groups were an extremely varied lot, and from the earliest days of protests there were tensions and profound disagreements over strategy and ideology. When Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and assorted radical pacifists such as David Dellinger and Staughton Lynd assumed the leadership of the most notable active protests after 1965, many mainstream opponents of the war felt obliged to distance themselves, both because they disagreed with the radical analysis of the war and because they saw the movement tending toward confrontation with authorities. The most notable effort to join the various organizations into a unified front, under the Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE), mostly revealed the dominance of radicals in the activist part of the movement. Only the aging pacifist A. J. Muste was able to keep any sense of mutuality alive. Hence the movement itself, that wing of antiwar sentiment that engaged in active protest, was not necessarily representative of antiwar opinion as a whole.            The whole thing was a lie. We weren’t preserving freedom in South Vietnam. There was no freedom to preserve. To voice opposition to the government meant jail or death. Neutralism was forbidden and punished. Newspapers that didn’t say the right thing were closed down. People are not even free to leave and Vietnam is one of those rare countries that doesn’t fill its American visa quota. It’s all there to see once the Red film is removed from the eyes. We aren’t the freedom fighters. We are the Russian tanks blasting the hopes of an Asian Hungary.           It’s not democracy we brought to Vietnam—it’s anti-communism. This is the only choice the people in the village have. This is why most of them have embraced the Viet Cong and shunned the alternative… This is one of the many reasons why the protesters were fighting to end this war.

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