By The Learning Network November 15, 2011 4:09 am November 15, 2011
The event in Washington, believed to be the largest antiwar protest ever held in the United States, drew hundreds of thousands on Nov. 15, 1969. Historic Headlines. Learn about key events in history and their connections to today.
On Nov. 15, 1969, the Vietnam Moratorium Committee staged what is believed to be the largest antiwar protest in United States history when as many as half a million people attended a mostly peaceful demonstration in Washington. Smaller demonstrations were held in a number of cities and towns across the country.
The rally featured speeches by antiwar politicians, including Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Charles Goodell, the only Republican to take part. It also included musical performances by Peter, Paul and Mary, Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger, who led the crowd in the singing of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”
The New York Times described the crowd as “predominantly youthful” and “mass gathering of the moderate and radical Left … old-style liberals; Communists and pacifists and a sprinkling of the violent New Left.”
Though a small section of the crowd began protesting violently near the end of the demonstration, the day was mainly peaceful; “The predominant event of the day was that of a great and peaceful army of dissent moving through the city,” The Times reported. This stood in contrast to many of the violent antiwar protests of previous years, like the rioting at the 1968 Democratic Convention.
President Richard M. Nixon had promised in his 1968 campaign to begin a troop withdrawal but 10 months after taking office had yet to take action. He was unmoved by the demonstration, later claiming that he watched sports on television in the White House as it happened.
The antiwar movement continued to gain support in 1970, particularly after the invasion of Cambodia and the killing of four antiwar protesters at Kent State University. Antiwar sentiment continued to grow and the United States ended its official involvement in the war in 1973.
Version:1.0 StartHTML:000000257 EndHTML:000063742 StartFragment:000043636 EndFragment:000063704 StartSelection:000043975 EndSelection:000063653 SourceURL:https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/nov-15-1969-anti-vietnam-war-demonstration-held/ Nov. 15, 1969 | Massive Anti-Vietnam War Demonstration Held – The New York Times