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1969 In American History Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

There are many things that define the eventful, complex year of 1969, but the spirit of the time is depicted through contrast. President Richard Nixon struggled with balancing peace and American power. The spirit of the year is remembered by the struggle for peace and the conflict it created.
As it is often portrayed as a peaceful year, 1969 had its fair share of events that negatively impacted society. Differences in ideas, race, and culture caused a general upheaval among the people of the time. With so many different, extremely opposite beliefs, conflict was inevitable. In particular, minorities attracted disagreements sometimes resulting in violence. A prime example is the Stonewall ...view middle of the document...

The Battle of Hamburger Hill, a battle that caused outrage in America, occurred in 1969. This South-Vietnamese mountain was of little strategic value, but that didn’t stop the U.S. from capturing it by a frontal assault. The U.S. abandoned the territory soon after and to a lot of the American public; this battle was just an excuse for more American violence. Another event that the public saw as just another attempt at violence was the Cambodia bombing on March 15th. President Nixon and the secretary of state, Henry Kissinger thought the best way to put military balance in American favor was to destroy the Vietnamese bases in Cambodia and Laos. The two did this in secret and did not inform the public or the government of these actions. This secret violence speaks to the year in that opinions were so strong they required keeping things from the American public.
Although some events of 1969 negatively impacted society, there were many things that progressed American society. Important events in ’69 such as the Apollo 11 moon landing speak to the time. With the Vietnam War in action and riots taking place, the moon landing gave the public a great sense of togetherness and accomplishment. No matter ones political views, everyone could appreciate this event. America was appreciated worldwide and this achievement paints 1969 in a good, memorable light. It created a genuine patriotism that all Americans took part in after the moon landing, one of the only times showing America’s ability to unify. This theme of peace was not limited to just one event. 1969 was largely famous for the peace movements in action. On November 15th, what is believed to be the largest antiwar protest in United States history occurred (around half a million people). With the exception of a few acts of violence towards the end of the demonstration, this peace rally remained peaceful. The group of 1969 Americans that participated in the peace rally left a staple on the time period. Most commonly referred to as “hippies” the counterculture of the year consumed the majority of the population. As Brinkley says, “Long hair and freakish clothing became the badge not only of the hippies and radicals but of an entire generation” (725). When looking back on the year 1969, many would first think of hippies and the desire for peace. These protesters had a...

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