1968 Essay

This essay has a total of 2218 words and 11 pages.

1968


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.

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