Yes, The Vietnam Protesters Ended The War

I was happy to see the column about the anti war movement of 50 years ago (“Fifty Years Ago,” EW 5/13). I, too, was there and part of that movement.

Much of what happened in those days has been forgotten or rewritten. The column cites just such an example of a rewrite. The piece says that according to historian Christian Appy and “other historians” the anti-war movement did not end the war, surging negative public opinion did.

Appy and other “historians” seem unaware of what the goal of the anti-war movement was and how we accomplished it.  For Appy and those of you who weren’t there, the goal was to change U.S. opinion about the war and get a majority of the citizens to call for its end.

That is exactly what we started out to accomplish and that is what we did. The lies by the administrations, the generals and the war industries helped. Media coverage of the daily atrocities by U.S. soldiers helped. Publishing the Pentagon Papers helped. But it was the work by those of us on the streets, interfering with business as usual, drawing attention to the lies of the administration that did it. We kept attention focused on the unthinkable idea that the citizens of this country could end an illegal, racist and catastrophe war.

It was this unprecedented effort that brought about the end of that war. We did that. Don’t let “historians” tell you otherwise.

Matthew Johnson


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