Re: VVAW (multiple posts)
Sun, 27 Apr 1997 20:00:41 -0400

From: Ted Morgan (
>To all,
>if the VVAW was not formed until 1967, to what extent were there
>protests against the war by GI's before then? Was it organised or
>simply a growing movement that needed codification in 67? Also is
>anyone has any statistics on the official membership of the VVAW I
>would be grateful. In particular, did memebership and support
>increase dramatically after the Tet offensive?
>C. Davidson

Well, one notable event --that had spin-offs within the military-- was the
refusal in June, 1966 of the so-called "Fort Hood Three" (three Army privates)
to report to duty in Vietnam as ordered. They became something of a cause
celebre. There are plenty of good sources on their action & subsequent
events; cf. for example, Tom Wells' "The War Within."
Ted Morgan

Department of Political Science
Maginnes Hall #9
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015
phone: (610) 758-3345
fax: (610) 758-6554

From: Aaron M Brenner <>

Check out: Richard Moser, The New Winter Soldiers: GI and Veteran Dissent
in the Vietnam Era (Rutgers) and Fred Halstead, Out Now!. Halstead also
has a book/pamphlet on early U.S.-based GI protest. Also, check out VVAW's
website. They're still going strong. Ben Chitty, East Coast coordinator,
just gave a fabulous talk to my Vietnam War class today at Marymount
Manhattan College. His speech suggested that Tet was indeed a turning
point for GIs. VVAW had some 25,000 members in 1971 or so.

From: Kim Heikkila <>

To C. Davidson --

There was a fairly loosely-organized antiwar movement among GIs even prior
to 1967, known as the GI movement. It seems to have been spawned, in part,
by the influence of black nationalism that made its way into the military
via black GIs. Socialist groups, such as the Young Socialist Alliance,
were also actively "infiltrating" the military so as to stir up opposition
to the war and the military. There have been debates over the extent to
which GIs participated in this movement, how serious/effective it was, when
it began, etc. Though it too seems to have picked up in the later 1960s,
especially after Tet, some have been able to trace its origins to the early
60s when fairly isolated incidents of GI resistance to the war were
cropping up (doctors refusing to serve in the war arena, etc.).

My research relative to this has focused on female GIs and their
involvement in the GI movement as represented in the underground GI press.
The University of WI, Madison/WI State Historical Society has a large
collection of the underground papers on microfilm. There were 150-200
papers in operation at various points, so there clearly was some widespread
affinity for the antiwar (which evolved into a more general anti-military)
position; however, most of the papers I looked at seemed also to date
mostly from the later 1960s. I could give you a longer spiel on the papers
and the movement, but don't know if this is what you're looking for.

Some books/articles that I used in my research that may be germane include:

Barbara Tischler, "Breaking Ranks: GI Antiwar Newspapers and the Culture
of Protest," Vietnam Generation 2.1 (1990);

James R. Hayes, "The War Within a War: Dissent in the Vietnam-Era
Military," in Vietnam Generation, 2.1 (1990).

David Cortright wrote a book (1970-1 I think) called _Soldiers in Revolt_
that gives a more contemporary view of the resistance movement.

More recent scholarship indicates that involvement in the movement among
GIs was quite widespread. See David Cortright and Max Watts, _Left Face:
Soldier Unions and Resistance Movements in Modern Armies_ (New York:
Greenwood Press, 1991); they based their findings on two official military
reports on soldier dissent (I think they were completed in 1970 or so and
are available via ILL; that the military was commissioning these lengthy
report suggests a movement significant enough to warrant official concern).

Richard R. Moser, The New Winter Soldiers: GI and Veteran Dissent During
the Vietnam Era (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996); he
contends that the GI movement can be termed a mass movement.

I also was able to find some articles in official military journals (like
_Armed Forces Journal_, for example) that talked about the dissent among
the troops, all the while trying to dismiss its severity and potency --
but, again, those articles were late 60s, early 70s.

I hope this helps. If you want more info, please feel free to contact me

Kim Heikkila

Graduate Student
Program in American Studies, University of Minnesota