1968

  • Category: American History
  • Words: 1380
  • Grade: 100
"An Indignant Generation." With all its disruptions and rage, the idea of black revolution was something many white Americans could at least comprehend, if not agree with. When rebellion seized their own children, however they were almost completely at a loss. A product of the posts war "Baby Boom," nurtured in affluence and concentrated in increasing numbers on college and university campuses. It was a generation marked by an unusual degree of political awareness and cultural alienation. Some shared with the beat writers and poets of the late fifties, a deep disillusionment with this status quo, a restless yearning for something more than a "realistic" conformity. Others had been aroused by the southern sit-in movement, "The first hint," wore a contemporary, "That there was a world beyond the campus that demanded some kind of personal response. "Not so much ideological as moral, in Jessica Mitford's words, "An Indignant Generation."

Although an image of arrogance, even ruthlessness, had followed him from his early days as counsel to a Senate committee investigating labor racketeering, Robert Kennedy had shown a remarkable capacity to understand the suffering of others. More than this, he had demonstrated an untiring commitment to the welfare of those who had gotten little more than the crumbs of the Great American Banquet. In fact, Kennedy Appealed most strongly to precisely those groups most disaffected with American society in nineteen sixty-eight, they believed in him with a passion unmatched for any other national political figure, in part for what he had done, but also for the kind of man he was.

The collapse of communications made it impossible to determine the fate of the pacification program, but most assessments were pessimistic. When the communists launched their attacks, the government pulled nearly half of the five hundred and fifty revolutionary development teams out of the hamlets to help defend the cities, along with eighteen of the fifty-one army battalions assigned to protect the pacification teams. In so doing, Saigon abandoned the countryside and dealt the pacification program what many felt was a considerable setback. "There always was a semi vacuum in the countryside," said one United States pacification worker. "Now there's a complete vacuum." By the end of the February, orders have gone out for pacification teams and some troops to return to the hamlets, but progress was slow. Although ninety-five percent of the five thousand RD workers in the Saigon region reported back to their assigned locations once the capital had been secured, by mid-March only eighty out of three hundred RD teams had returned to the countryside in I Corps, while in the Delta, entire provinces had to be temporarily abandoned to the Vietcong

For six days prior to the first attack, waves of B-52's blasted enemy weapon sites, troop concentrations, and bunkers. Despite the tons of explosives rained down on the valley, the first helicopter assault on April nineteenth came under withering fire from antiaircraft batteries hidden in the surrounding hills. "There were white puffs of smoke everywhere," recalled a pilot who flew one of the earliest missions. "I mean, when I came in, the ground erupted right at me." On the first day of battle communist gunners brought down ten helicopters, including the first giant flying crane to be lost in the war. "I'll tell you this," said Major Charles Gilmer, executive officer of the first air cavalry's helicopter reconnaissance unit, " If you fly over that valley you have a good chance of getting killed."

Although they found themselves on the defensive in various parts of South Vietnam, it was imperative for the communists to maintain military pressure on the allies. To the American public the opening of negotiation became a tactic of warfare and warfare a tactic of negotiations. By continuing and increasing the intensity of fighting while the talks went on the communists hoped to demonstrate their capacity to wage a protracted war, capture territory that could later be given up as part of a face-saving American withdrawal, and convince the South Vietnamese and American people that however long it took, they could not be defeated.

By nineteen sixty-five, of course, most Americans had grown accustomed to images of death and destruction emanating from Vietnam. They littered the pages of daily newspapers and weekly news magazines and provided common fare for network news shows. They reminded Americans that the nation was at war and that the war continued.

HIPPIES
Hippies were set apart from the rest of society in 1968. They had their own ideas and options about life, love, war, peace, and more. They created something to fit their own culture. A "Counter Culture," that had its own dress, as well as its own attitudes about personal relationships. Not to mention that they were suspicious of every person that had power. They had many groups and get -togethers. One of which, "The Human Be-In," usually consisted of ten to twenty thousand radicals and hippies. It usually took place in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Also the "Merry Pranksters," a hippie troupe that traveled west to the LSD induced happenings, Ken Kessey was their leader.

The media called hippies, flower children. They would wear things such as beads, lots of jewelry, leather, and bright colored clothing that included bell-bottoms. They were not interested in mechanical or materialistic things but more along the lines of spiritual enlightenment. Hippies were also more concerned with "being" than "doing," to do this they looked to drugs like marijuana and LSD.

LYNDON JOHNSON
Lyndon Johnson was born on August 27, 1908 in Stonewall, Texas. As a democrat he was elected into the United States House of Representatives in 1938. He served for four terms. He became Senate majority leader in 1953. Johnson was elected vice president in 1960 and became president on November 22, 1963 upon Kennedy's death.

In 1968 Johnson decided to de-escalate from the Vietnam War after over ninety South Vietnamese cities were attacked by both Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army forces. On March 31, 1968, Johnson went on National Television announce that air and naval bombardment of North Vietnam would stop. At the end of his speech he shocked the United States by announcing that he will not try to get re-elected.

Johnson returned to his home in Texas in 1969, and died on January 22, 1973,

RICHARD NIXON
Richard Nixon was born on January 9, 1913 in Yurba Linda, California. During World War II he served as a United States navy officer. In 1946, he was elected to the House of Representatives and then the Senate in 1950. He served as Dwight Eisenhower's Vice President from 1952 to 1960. Nixon became the thirty-seventh president in 1968.

President Richard Nixon was the only president who realized that the United States did not and does not have the funds to win a war as big as the Vietnam War. To disengage from the Vietnam War, President Nixon came up with a five part strategy. A military campaign increased emphasis on pacification of South Vietnam, withdrawal of United States Combat Forces, and diplomatic strategies.

On December 1979, Nixon was no longer president of the United States of America.

NGO DIN DIEM
Ngo Din Diem was born in 1901 in Annam, Vietnam. He was active in Vietnamese politics during 1930 and 1931 and later on was minister of justice. He was asked to be Ho Chi Minh's minister of the Interior, but he rejected the offer. In late August of 1968, Diem initiated a series of assaults on dissidents. After these attacks a complex series of communications concerning the increasingly volatile situation went through Washington and Saigon. After considerable planning by the South Vietnamese generals, a coup took place on November 1, 1963.

Ngo Din Diem and his brother were assassinated on November 2, 1963.

WILLIAM WESTMORELAND
William Westmoreland was born on March 26, 1914 in Spartenburg County, South Carolina. He was a lieutenant colonel, during World War II and commanded a field artillery battalion. He also fought in the Korean War as commander of the 187th Airborne Infantry Regimental Combat Team. He was then promoted to a general when he returned to the United States. Westmoreland was selected as commander of the MACV(United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam). William Westmoreland left Vietnam in 1968 to assume duties as Army Chief of staff in Washington.

William Childs Westmoreland is 84 years of age and is still alive to this day.
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