would the current round of protesters exist if not for vietnam?

I’m not sure if I phrased that correctly, so I’ll try again.

If the Vietnam War had never happened, and the 60s and 70s hadnt been overrun with anti-war demonstrations, would all the anti-war demonstrations now exist? Were the times in the 60s and 70s a necessary development for the protests of today, or would people be protesting today regardless?

I am not sure, and so I pose the question.


Pacifism wasn’t invented in the sixties. It has been around as long as war has been around. There were pacifists in WWI, there were pacifists in the Civil War, there were probably pacifists in the Peleponisian war.

What is new is media coverage of pacifism. An objective mass media allows individual pacifists to recognize that they are not alone in their philosophies, and gives pacifism as a whole a little more legitamicy. An objective media can counteract propaganda. Once again, this would happen wether or not the Vietnam war occured.

Ah, but the question isn’t about pacifism, Sven, but demonstrations and protests.

But my answer is still yes. Antiwar demonstrations would still certainly exist. But I do think some aspects might be different had the Vietnam-era protests not been given the attention they were. It strikes me that many of today’s protestors are basing their actions on their understanding of the Vietnam protests. That makes them less effective, IMO.

Vietnam was the first major conflict where television cameras were present to record events in detail for daily news programmes.

A defeat or setback which is reported on television has a much greater impact on the people at home than one which is merely reported in the press.

This is especially true of those actions which resulted in the deaths of US soldiers. The higher the death toll in Vietnam the greater the support became for the anti-war movement.

I believe that Vietnam was a turning point in war coverage by the media, and that mass demonstrations would have started during any subsequent televised war if Vietnam had not happened.

I’d agree that some (certainly not all and maybe not even most) protestors are hippie wannabes, and see the 60’s protestors as role models. They want to protest something, and this is as good as anything else.

On a deeper level, Vietnam showcased the weaknesses of US policy and the military, and made us leary to go into combat.

In other words, both because the hippies were cool, and becasue they had a point, they encouraged future protests.