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Campus Wars

The Peace Movement At American State Universities in the Vietnam Era

Kenneth Heineman

Publication Year: 1994

"At the same time that the dangerous war was being fought in the jungles of Vietnam, Campus Wars were being fought in the United States by antiwar protesters. Kenneth J. Heineman found that the campus peace campaign was first spurred at state universities rather than at the big-name colleges. His useful book examines the outside forces, like military contracts and local communities, that led to antiwar protests on campus."
—Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times

"Shedding light on the drastic change in the social and cultural roles of campus life, Campus Wars looks at the way in which the campus peace campaign took hold and became a national movement."
History Today

"Heineman's prodigious research in a variety of sources allows him to deal with matters of class, gender, and religion, as well as ideology. He convincingly demonstrates that, just as state universities represented the heartland of America, so their student protest movements illustrated the real depth of the anguish over US involvement in Vietnam. Highly recommended."

"Represents an enormous amount of labor and fills many gaps in our knowledge of the anti-war movement and the student left."
—Irwin Unger, author of These United States

The 1960s left us with some striking images of American universities: Berkeley activists orating about free speech atop a surrounded police car; Harvard SDSers waylaying then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; Columbia student radicals occupying campus buildings; and black militant Cornell students brandishing rifles, to name just a few. Tellingly, the most powerful and notorious image of campus protest is that of a teenage runaway, arms outstretched in anguish, kneeling beside the bloodied corpse of Jeff Miller at Kent State University.

While much attention has been paid to the role of elite schools in fomenting student radicalism, it was actually at state institutions, such as Kent State, Michigan State, SUNY, and Penn State, where anti-Vietnam war protest blossomed. Kenneth Heineman has pored over dozens of student newspapers, government documents, and personal archives, interviewed scores of activists, and attended activist reunions in an effort to recreate the origins of this historic movement. In Campus Wars, he presents his findings, examining the involvement of state universities in military research — and the attitudes of students, faculty, clergy, and administrators thereto — and the manner in which the campus peace campaign took hold and spread to become a national movement. Recreating watershed moments in dramatic narrative fashion, this engaging book is both a revisionist history and an important addition to the chronicle of the Vietnam War era.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiii

I thought that this work should begin by providing the reader with some autobiographical information which might explain in part why I came to have an interest in this topic. To begin with, I was born in 1962, too young...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvi

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pp. 1-9

In the turbulent decade of the 1960s, so scholars, political activists of the era, and contemporary journalists have written, an affluent, socially conscious generation of students flooded into the universities. This generation became inspired by the black civil...

Part One: "A New Generation of Americans…"

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pp. 11-125

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1. "Bastions of Our Defense": Cold War University Administrators

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pp. 13-41

Military-sponsored university research in the United States dramatically increased during World War II as the federal government attempted to achieve technological superiority over the Axis Powers. The advent and intensification of the...

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2. "Those People Would Do the Damndest Things": Faculty Peace Activists

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pp. 42-75

Faculty political activism did not become widespread until the 1930s when many academics drifted in and out of the Communist party and its Popular Front organizations. But it was a rare professor who publicly identified himself as a Communist...

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3. "The Genius of a Nation": Student Dissenters

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pp. 76-125

As late as 1940, just 16 percent of American college-aged youth could afford to attend an institution of higher education and prestigious private and public universities restricted the admission of Catholics and Jews. Liberals, from...

Part Two: "Tempered by War…"

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pp. 127-234

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4. "Let Us Try to Succeed with Reason": 1965-1967

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pp. 129-181

In response to Viet Cong attacks on U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson began in February 1965 to bomb North Vietnam. Opposition to his Indochina policy appeared on many campuses, coalescing once...

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5. "You Don't Need a Weatherman": 1968-1969

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pp. 182-234

From the Tet Offensive to King's assassination, which produced a new round of race rioting, America in 1968 was disenchanted with the Vietnam War and tired of social protest and Great Society reform. In the wake of the spring student...

Part Three: "Disciplined by a Hard and Bitter Peace"

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pp. 235-274

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6. "Tin Soldiers and Nixon's Coming": 1970

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pp. 237-256

On the evening of February 17,1970, 250 students assembled in the MSU Union to discuss ways of protesting the convictions of the Chicago Seven, the antiwar activists who had disrupted the 1968 Democratic convention. The MSU Weathermen...

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Epilogue: "We Stand against Fear, Hate, Systems, and Structures Not in the Service of Man": Legacies of Protest

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pp. 257-274

In the months following the 1970 strike, the campus Left collapsed. MSU SDS, crippled by ideological divisions and the loss of its most dynamic leaders and members, faded away. Steve Badrich and George Fish had left MSU, and Linda Evans had gone underground...


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pp. 275-313


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pp. 315-325


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pp. 327-348

E-ISBN-13: 9780814744802
E-ISBN-10: 081474480X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814735121
Print-ISBN-10: 0814735126

Page Count: 366
Publication Year: 1994