How American Soldiers Opposed and Resisted the War in Vietnam
While mainstream narratives of the Vietnam War all but marginalize anti-war activity of soldiers, opposition and resistance from within the three branches of the military made a real difference to the course of America’s engagement in Vietnam. By 1968, every major peace march in the United States was led by active duty GIs and Vietnam War veterans. By 1970, thousands of active duty soldiers and marines were marching in protest in US cities. Hundreds of soldiers and marines in Vietnam were refusing to fight; tens of thousands were deserting to Canada, France and Sweden. Eventually the US Armed Forces were no longer able to sustain large-scale offensive operations and ceased to be effective. Yet this history is largely unknown and has been glossed over in much of the written and visual remembrances produced in recent years.
Waging Peace in Vietnam shows how the GI movement unfolded, from the numerous anti-war coffee houses springing up outside military bases, to the hundreds of GI newspapers giving an independent voice to active soldiers, to the stockade revolts and the strikes and near-mutinies on naval vessels and in the air force. The book presents first-hand accounts, oral histories, and a wealth of underground newspapers, posters, flyers, and photographs documenting the actions of GIs and veterans who took part in the resistance. In addition, the book features fourteen original essays by leading scholars and activists. Notable contributors include Vietnam War scholar and author, Christian Appy, and Mme Nguyen Thi Binh, who played a major role in the Paris Peace Accord.
The book originates from the exhibition Waging Peace, which has been shown in Vietnam and the University of Notre Dame, and will be touring the eastern United States in conjunction with book launches in Boston, Amherst, and New York.
"Waging Peace is an essential reminder of the collaboration between US soldiers and civilians to oppose the Vietnam War. The essays highlight the diversity of the anti-war movement and the war’s far-reaching impact on American and Vietnamese lives. It is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of what it means to be patriotic in a time of war." ~Heather Marie Stur, author, Beyond Combat: Women and Gender in the Vietnam War Era
"An extraordinary collection of first-hand accounts and unforgettable photos from the rank-and-file soldiers and GI organizers who spearheaded one of the most important yet often overlooked peace movements in U.S. history. Finally, the amazing story is told of how resistance to the Vietnam War from inside the military helped force an end to that tragic imperial conflict." ~Juan González, Richard D. Heffner Professor of Communications and Public Policy, Rutgers University, and co-host of Democracy Now.
"This collection of first-person accounts and essays on the GI peace movement is long over-due and much-needed. Active duty military men and women, as well as vets from all branches of the armed forces, marched against the War, reported war crimes or refused deployment to Vietnam, risking court martial and sometimes their lives. "For decades after the war, a sort of conspiracy of silence or forgetfulness seemed to erase the significance of these events in helping to end the war," Ron Carver writes. Yet the GI movement was crucial to bringing peace to Vietnam, as this book convincingly shows." ~Sophie Quinn-Judge, author, Ho Chi Minh: The Missing Years
"The popular protest and resistance to the US war in Vietnam that developed, most dramatically and effectively, among the soldiers who refused to take part in a criminal war, played a leading role in revealing its horrors. This powerful record of their struggles and achievements is a most welcome contribution, with critical lessons for the future." ~Noam Chomsky
"No one did more to bring an end to America's cruel and unjust war in Vietnam than the patriotic GIs and veterans who turned against it. This extraordinary history of their struggle should inspire all of us who seek to end the ongoing and interrelated threats of war, nuclear doomsday, and environmental catastrophe." ~Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers