What’s Happening Here?

On April 30th, President Richard Nixon announced on television that a massive offensive into Cambodia was in progress. “We take these actions,” Nixon said, “not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam, and winning the just peace we all desire.”  Outraged at the expansion of the war, college campus across the nation  erupted in spontaneous protest in what Time called a nation-wide student strike estimated to include 4 million students.  At Kent State in Ohio, tensions had been brewing for days. The governor of Ohio ordered the National Guard to move onto the campus to suppress student unrest.  After 4 days of intermittent protest, the rally on May 4, 1970 suddenly took a turn for the worse when the National Guard opened fire with 67 rounds in 13 seconds.  In the end, four unarmed students were dead and another nine injured.   The war had been brought home in a horrible and haunting way.  It was never determined if the soldiers had been ordered to shoot.  No one was ever prosecuted.

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Filed under 1960s, Nixon, Politics, Vietnam

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