Vietnam War (detail from a photograph of U.S. troops)

When Will It Ever End?

By 1970, President Richard Nixon began to withdraw American troops, but expanded the war into Cambodia and Laos, resulting in widespread protests at home.

On May 2, 1970, the governor of Ohio dispatched more than 900 National Guardsmen to quell antiwar protests at Kent State University. During a campus confrontation on May 4, twenty-eight guardsmen opened fire: four students were killed and nine wounded. The incident fueled vehement protests and student strikes; hundreds of colleges and universities canceled exams and graduations and sent students home.

As the war dragged on and home-front protests became more widespread, many troops in Vietnam—often unwilling draftees—became increasingly disillusioned with the war. Many modified their uniforms or ignored military regulations; some sported peace signs. And they adopted as their mantra a popular song by the Animals, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place (if it’s the last thing we ever do).”

U.S. forces left Vietnam in 1973 and South Vietnam fell to the Communists in 1975.

Vietnam moratorium demonstration in Washington, D.C.
Richard M. Nixon taking the oath as thirth-seventh president
President Nixon explaining expansion of the war into Cambodia
Prowar demonstration in New York City
Reaction to Kent State Massacre
Police dispersing students at University of Maryland
Students at New York University being urged to strike
U.S. Air Force F-4 fighters refueling at Phu Cat Air Base
U.S. Air Force B-52 bombing Vietcong targets
Demonstration after testimony by antiwar veterans
GI with a peace-sign medallion
"U.S. Army soldiers on the border between South Vietnam and Cambodia near an area know as the 'Parrots Beak' are interviewed by a NBC television news crew shortly after their pullback from Cambodia in May of 1970"
South Vietnamese soldiers celebrating on top of an NVA tank
President Nixon conferring with advisor Henry Kissinger
Civilians fleeing South Vietnamese napalm attack
U.S. Navy jet ready to launch in the Gulf of Tonkin
Actress Jane Fonda visiting Hanoi to support North Vietnam
President Gerald Ford ended U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

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