America in Protest: Records of Anti-Vietnam War Organizations: Part 1: Vietnam Veterans Against the War, 1968-1975

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This collection provides researchers with essential primary documents on the history and organizational development of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, an organization that transformed the antiwar movement by placing Vietnam veterans in the forefront of the nationwide struggle to end the war.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War members were mostly young men who served in Vietnam and returned profoundly disillusioned with the rationale for the war and with American conduct in Southeast Asia. Angry, impassioned, and uncompromisingly militant, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, chronicled in these files, posed a formidable threat to America’s Vietnam policy and further contributed to the sense that the nation was under siege from within.

Although there were many anti-war groups at the time, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War seems to have gathered more attention from the FBI than most. The sight of uniforms, medals, and missing limbs caused a greater stir along all sectors of the ideological spectrum of opinion about the Vietnam War. There also may have been a feeling in the FBI that members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War were more dangerous than hippies, because Vietnam Veterans Against the War members had military training and had seen combat. The files show the United States domestic intelligence infrastructure’s level of concern about the possibility of subversion and sedition, among those who were strongly critical of American Vietnam policy.

These files document:

  • Winter Soldier Investigations of alleged atrocities in Vietnam by American soldiers
  • Activities of John Kerry as congressional candidate and VVAW national steering committee member
  • Accusations of a conspiracy to riot during the 1972 Republican National Convention
  • The arrest of a Connecticut VVAW chapter member with an explosive device en route to a speech given by Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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