RE: vets/antiwar (multiple posts)
Sun, 28 Sep 1997 12:45:49 -0400

From: "Mike Bennett" <>
As a friend of Karl's, I think I can safely say that his presence in the US
Army on a daily basis probably did More to screw up the war effort than any
hundred hippy's presence in demonstrations.

From: M Bibby <>

On Wed, 24 Sep 1997, Jeff Hale wrote:

> Karl:
> No argument here -- in fact, my post was an attempt to WIDEN the focus of
> those who struggled and correctly deserve recognition. Indochina was not
> the end all and be all of the sixties -- although it sure colored the
> scenery.
> Would there have been a sixties "movement" (or many movements) absent the
> war? I have been chewing on this one for my U.S. History/Sixties classes
> for about a decade with no satisfactory conclusion (counterfactual history
> never quite quenches the thirst).


I would agree with the 1st paragraph here--the war in Vietnam was
certainly not the be all & end all of the 60s--and yet it did "color" it.

But obviously there would have been a "movement" understood in the
broad sense of organized social/political activism among groups of people
and/or a shared set of cultural discourses--the Civil Rights movement
pre-dated the "Mobe" or any other Vietnam War antiwar movement by several
decades--and certainly much of the black liberationist activism of the
period would have happened without the war, although in very different
ways--and the effect of BL was extended across a range of social groups
(AIM, the Brown Berets, the Nuyoricans, Women's Liberation, Gay
Liberation, etc.) which would probably have come about without the war. I
don't think the "war" is the sine qua non of the widespread
oppositionalism typical of the 60s--a position I think tends to give
Vietnam studies a certain myopia--a tendency to ignore or marginalized the
homefront issues erupting in the period and link everything to military
adventures abroad. To my mind, what makes the "movements" of the 60s so
significant is that the long struggles in the US against racial and
gender injustice were made more urgent by the protracted and morally
questionable war in Vietnam--the borders between traditionally domestic
social issues and global military issues became blurred in radically
transformative ways.

Michael Bibby
Department of English
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 532-1723