♪ ♪ (audience applauding) ANNOUNCER: Tonight, from Atlanta, live and in color: "The Nixon Answer."
Tonight, Richard Nixon in person is going to face a panel of citizens asking the questions they want answered.
Thank you very much, thank you.
(chuckles) Hi, how are you?
(applause continues) I thank all of you in the studio audience for your warm welcome, and I just hope my campaigning's a lot better than my putting.
(all laugh) And so we'll start over on this side with Mr. Murphy from Atlanta.
REG MURPHY: Mr. Nixon, General Curtis LeMay became Governor Wallace's running mate today, and he immediately said that he would use a nuclear bomb to win in Vietnam.
How do you feel about the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam or elsewhere?
I do not believe that nuclear bombs or nuclear weapons should be used in Vietnam, I do not think they're necessary to be used in Vietnam, and we should not risk a nuclear war in Vietnam by any matter or means.
(audience applauds) MORTON HALPERIN: We learned pretty quickly that his secret plan was to threaten the North Vietnamese with nuclear weapons.
That was his plan.
And he was convinced that the way to make the threat credible was for the North Vietnamese to fear that he was crazy and might actually do this.
♪ ♪ (explosions pounding) ♪ ♪ WALTER CRONKITE: Richard Nixon goes over the top with 287 electoral votes, and that seems to be the 1968 election.
(crowd cheering and applauding) DICK FERNANDEZ: After his election, there was a feeling in the anti-war movement of exhaustion.
We felt devastated by the Nixon election.
And there were a lot of questions like, what should we be doing, what needs to be done, and what do we do next?
We didn't know at that time that they were already planning to blow up Vietnam.
♪ ♪ NIXON: Dr. Kissinger is a man who is known to all people who are interested in foreign policy as perhaps one of the major scholars in America and the world today in this area.
And I trust, under his direction, he will develop new ideas and new policies for the critical problems America has in the field of foreign policy around the world.
(Nixon murmuring) Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored by the confidence that the president-elect has expressed in me.
And I shall serve the president-elect with all my energy and dedication.
HALPERIN: Kissinger and I had been colleagues together at Harvard.
I came into the government in '66, and I very quickly came to believe that we had no idea what we were doing in Vietnam, and that it was hopeless, and that we should get out.
Which, of course, Kissinger knew.
Kissinger and I taught a seminar at Harvard called the Defense Policy Seminar.
There's actually a very famous "New York Times" picture of the last class of the seminar in 1968, 'cause I alerted "The New York Times" to the fact that this was going to be Henry's last class.
The photographer walks in and Henry says, "This will be good for my megalomania."
After the class was over, Kissinger asked to talk to me.
He said that he wanted to ask me to come and work for him in the White House, and I immediately said yes.
Kissinger had a sense of urgency because by Inauguration Day, Nixon wanted a paper on options for what should be done in Vietnam.
We looked at a range of options all the way towards the one that I favored, which was announcing that we would withdraw all our forces.
The paper went to Nixon and his response was, "This is a good options paper, "but the option that I'm interested in is not in the paper, and that's the option of escalating."
♪ ♪ I was surprised by the escalation request, mostly because I thought it was infeasible, that the country wouldn't stand for it.
And I said to Kissinger, "If you go in this direction, it will become Nixon's war."
And Kissinger went off and talked to Nixon, and came back and said, "He will be proud to have it called Nixon's war."
("All Along the Watchtower" playing) TOM WELLS: Nixon wanted to end the war quickly.
And the way he hoped to do that was by threatening the North Vietnamese with a major escalation of the war.
And he had this idea that somehow he could convince the North Vietnamese that he was capable of anything-- to blow them to smithereens.
(flashes popping) DANIEL ELLSBERG: H.R.
Haldeman, who became Nixon's chief of staff, revealed in his memoirs that during the '68 campaign, Nixon had discussed with him how he expected effectively to win the war in Vietnam.
(bomb releasing and exploding) Nixon's secret plan was to threaten the North Vietnamese that he would go to a much higher level of escalation than President Johnson had ever managed, including the use of nuclear weapons.
But how to make the North Vietnamese believe that he would do it?
He said, "We'll get the word to them "that this guy is unpredictable, "crazy, we can't control him, and he has his finger on the nuclear button."
And Nixon said to Haldeman, "Ho Chi Minh will be in Paris the next day to negotiate."
And in his own mind, the word was used, madman.
He said, "I call it the Madman Theory, Bob."
♪ ♪ And, by the way, privately, I believe Nixon was that crazy.
FERNANDEZ: My name is Dick Fernandez.
I am a minister in the United Church of Christ.
I worked for eight years as a director of Clergy and Laity Concerned during the Vietnam War.
In February of 1969, there were a group of us that went to see Kissinger: Coretta Scott King, William Sloane Coffin at Yale, Rabbi Abraham Heschel.
And as we came in the door, you had these two Jewish men who had both escaped Nazi Germany and Poland, respectively.
You could kind of tell there was this recognition.
We said we wanted the war to end, and as our meeting went on, at one point, Kissinger said, "You know, I've just been here six weeks-- it takes a while."
He said to us, we need to be patient with them.
Rabbi Heschel, he kind of looked at Kissinger, and he said, "You know, Mr. Secretary, the children of Vietnam are dying, so you should hurry."
You could have heard a pin drop.
We didn't know at that time that they were already planning to blow up Vietnam.
SAM DONALDSON: It has now come to Richard Nixon as it came so often to his predecessor, Lyndon Johnson: the sight of hundreds of sign-carrying women marching in front of the White House, demanding an immediate end to the war in Vietnam.
It was all very peaceful and quiet.
So was Lyndon Johnson's first anti-war demonstration.
CAROLYN EISENBERG: Nixon is acutely aware of the fact that Lyndon Johnson's presidency had been essentially destroyed by the anti-war movement.
That's not lost on him at all.
And he doesn't want to be in that spot.
So from the very beginning, Richard Nixon is always paying attention to the anti-war movement.
CORA WEISS: Women Strike for Peace was a gathering of housewives, that's for sure.
And we were all over the country.
We began getting worried about the Vietnam War.
It was a war of atrocities.
We committed crimes against humanity.
It was horrible.
And we were going to work to try to prevent this war from escalating and end it.
DONALDSON: Today, they marched from the White House to Capitol Hill; at the Capitol, the women took turns listening to anti-war congressmen... SHIRLEY CHISHOLM: The war should be ended immediately.
We really need a complete re-evaluation of what this nation's priority is going to be.
And until we end the war in Vietnam and address ourselves to the domestic war at home, we are going to continue to be in trouble in our country.
DAVID HAWK: In the early '60s, what I was most concerned about was really the Civil Rights Movement.
I went to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 as part of Mississippi Freedom Summer.
And being concerned with the issue of poverty in America, you could see easily who was getting sent to Vietnam and where in American society the draftees were coming from-- the small towns, the farms, and the ghettos.
And I went from concern about civil rights at home directly into concern for the escalation of the war in Vietnam, and many, many of my colleagues and friends from the Civil Rights Movement also transitioned into the anti-war movement.
I became the anti-war and anti-draft coordinator for the National Student Association, and I organized a "We Won't Go" letter addressed to Nixon, advising him of how deep and how wide opposition to the war was on the campuses.
And to our surprise, we were invited to meet with Henry Kissinger and Nixon's chief domestic adviser, John Ehrlichman, and had that meeting in the Situation Room in the White House.
ROGER BLACK: Dr. Kissinger repeated a, a number of times that, that we really should give them, give them more time, be patient.
Dr. Kissinger said that if we came back a year from now and the war was still in the same position, he would really have no moral argument against us.
HAWK: Kissinger left the room after 20, 30 minutes, and John Ehrlichman took the floor and was so hard-line, it shocked people.
He said, "If you think "that you can break laws you don't like, "you're going to force us to up the ante "to the point where we have to give out death sentences for traffic violations."
I mean, this was so off the wall and over the top that everybody's jaw just dropped.
(laughs): "What is this guy talking about?"
(guns firing) It was clear to everybody that the war was going to go on.
(explosion pounds) These guys were not going to end it, and they might even be worse than the last bunch.
ROGER MORRIS: I'm Roger Morris.
I was on the National Security Council staff under Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon.
Nixon intended to be very much his own secretary of state, as well as his own president.
In foreign policy, it would be, in the end, Henry and Dick.
As early as the spring of 1969, we knew that Nixon was making (chuckling): very, very definite and often somewhat furtively menacing approaches to the Soviet Union, what struck me at the time as almost childish, if not adolescent, playing with the whole issue: "You'll have to get on board here "with pressuring the North Vietnamese to end the war or terrible things will happen."
STEPHEN BULL: I was a very, very strong supporter of Richard Nixon.
He was my boss, I admired him.
And whatever his decision was, I was going to support it.
President Nixon wanted the Russians to believe that he would do anything.
He wanted to make them think that he was a madman.
However, my personal observation was, it was a bluff.
He wasn't going to do anything, he was never going to use nuclear weapons, but he wanted the threat to be out there to force them to the table.
ELLSBERG: By May of 1969, Henry Kissinger had told Dobrynin, the Russian ambassador, Soviet ambassador, that if the North Vietnamese did not agree to Nixon's terms, we would move to measures of the greatest consequence, the gravest consequence.
HALPERIN: I found out about the threats in which Kissinger says to the Russian ambassador, Dobrynin, "The president wants you to tell the Russians "that the North Vietnamese have nothing to gain by waiting, "that if they wait, things will get much worse.
There will be terrible destruction."
It did everything but use the word "nuclear weapons," but it was clearly meant to be a nuclear threat.
Which, of course, I found very disturbing.
EISENBERG: In May of 1969, you have the Battle of Hamburger Hill.
It's very close to the Laotian border, in a mountainous region.
Groups of soldiers are sent up the hill to get the North Vietnamese out, but they're in a terrible position.
The enemy troops are on the top and they're just killing them.
But their officer cannot bear to give up.
Hamburger Hill was a term that the men used because they were being ground up like ground meat.
Eventually, they actually take the hill, and of course, by that point, enemy's either dead or they've crossed back over the border into Laos.
So it's really a big nothing in terms of what they're achieving.
CRONKITE: Today, a squad leader wounded in those assaults, Sergeant Ken Tepper, talked about the fight.
It seemed so useless, because they just, they just kept sending us up there, and they were just slaughtering us.
My best friend was right behind me with his machine gun.
He got killed right there, got a bullet through his head, and it was, it was pretty awful.
And I cried that night, and many guys did.
EISENBERG: Nixon sees this, and he sends a message to Kissinger.
"How in the world do people like that get put on the television?
How did we allow that to happen?"
The absolute disconnection, both of them, between the things that they're deciding to do and the human costs of it, whether it's to our own soldiers or it's civilians, has absolutely no part in their thinking.
They don't care.
(hammers pounding) SAM BROWN: I was teaching a seminar at Harvard at the time.
In the seminar, I said, "Let's play a 'what if?'
What if you wanted to end the war in Vietnam?"
We were casting about to see what other people were thinking.
Jerry Grossman, who was a businessman, but deeply committed against the war, had come up with this idea of a national strike.
Jerry came to the seminar and pitched this.
And over a period of weeks, we carried on a conversation about, how is that going to work?
Who's going to be attracted to that?
Will people be put off by the word "strike"?
And also, the question was, could you pull it off?
That is, would people actually walk off their jobs?
We began to think, on the other hand, maybe we can use that idea, reframed, saying not, "We're gonna strike that day," but we're going to take some time to contemplate that day.
We're going to set aside business as usual.
And from that came the idea of the Moratorium.
HAWK: We thought there was a lot more latent opposition to the war that could be mobilized at the local level.
Since I had this active network of student leaders, we decided to bring some of them back to Washington, and Sam came down and laid out the idea.
BROWN: You know, we were basically political people.
We didn't think revolution was in the air.
We didn't think that the United States is going to change overnight.
So we wanted to find a way that made people feel comfortable, that made them feel like, "Oh, I've been thinking about the war, "and maybe now I can actually do something right here in my hometown."
So that was the intent of the Moratorium.
HAWK: We decided to give it a try, and set October 15 as the target date.
BROWN: Yeah, well, we didn't know any better.
Nobody had told us we couldn't do it, so we just sort of set out to do it.
("The I-Feel-Like- I'm-Fixing-to-Die Rag" playing) ♪ Well, come on, all of you big strong men ♪ ♪ Uncle Sam needs your help again ♪ ♪ Got himself in a terrible jam ♪ ♪ Way down yonder in Vietnam ♪ ♪ Put down your books and pick up a gun ♪ ♪ We're gonna have a whole lot of fun ♪ ♪ And it's one, two, three ♪ ♪ What are we fighting for?
♪ ♪ Don't ask me, I don't give a damn ♪ ♪ The next stop is Vietnam ♪ ♪ And it's five, six, seven ♪ ♪ Open up the Pearly Gates ♪ ♪ Well, there ain't no time to wonder why ♪ ♪ Whoopee!
We're all gonna die ♪ DAVID HARTSOUGH: I'm David Hartsough.
And I was a lobbyist working on ending the war.
My job was to help educate Congress and bring pressure on Congress about the war, and trying to bring the truth to Congress.
I was living the Vietnam War day and night, and feeling a heavy responsibility on my shoulders.
Every week, 300 American soldiers were dying, and thousands of Vietnamese.
Quakers decided somehow we had to publicly help the American people understand the reality of what the war was costing in lives, and came up with the idea of reading the names of the American war dead on the Capitol steps, which we proceeded to do.
MAN: Joe Mac Kemp.
Kent Alan Leonard.
HARTSOUGH: We got through 50, 60 names, and we were arrested and taken off to jail.
The next Wednesday, again, we went back and continued reading the names of the war dead.
And we were again arrested and taken off to jail.
Vacate the lane forthwith or subject yourself to arrest.
(woman reading names) HARTSOUGH: So I went to see Congressman George Brown of Southern California, and I said, "George, is there anything you could do to help us?"
He sits back on his swivel chair and says, "Yeah, I think I'll join you."
(laughs) REPORTER: For the fourth straight Wednesday, a group of Quakers tried to read from the Capitol steps the names of Americans killed in Vietnam.
They were joined today by members of Congress who sat with them on the steps.
HARTSOUGH: The congressmen, they had congressional immunity, so we got arrested and they just continued reading the names, for hours and hours and hours.
That got publicity, and more members of Congress joined us.
Charles Diggs from Detroit.
Ed Koch, who later became mayor of New York City.
Shirley Chisholm of New York.
♪ We shall not, we shall not be moved ♪ ♪ We shall not, we shall not be moved ♪ ♪ Just like a tree ♪ ♪ That's standing by the water ♪ ♪ We shall not be moved ♪ HARTSOUGH: I like to believe that our courage gave these congresspeople the courage to do what they believed was right.
And their courage gave courage and encouragement to the media to begin sharing this terrible story of how many Americans and how many Vietnamese were dying every single week.
Orrie Julius Buskey, Reuben Butcher... HARTSOUGH: Congresspeople inserted all 40,000 names of the American war dead into the Congressional Record, so that became public knowledge, and people began reading the names of the war dead all over the country.
MAN: Nathaniel Collins.
Thomas Edward Collins.
Farrell Richard Carew.
Randall Vincent Cook.
Joseph Henry Cooper, Jr. HARTSOUGH: The message we were trying to send out was, this war has to end.
This madness has to end.
JOHN LENNON: One, two, three, four!
("Give Peace a Chance" playing) ♪ Everybody's talking 'bout Bagism, Shagism, Dragism ♪ ♪ Madism, Ragism, Tagism, this-ism, that-ism ♪ ♪ Ism, ism, ism ♪ ♪ All we are saying ♪ ♪ Is give peace a chance ♪ (exclaiming) ♪ All we are saying ♪ ♪ Is give peace a chance ♪ We tried to do it in New York, but the American government wouldn't let us in.
So we ended up doing it in Montreal, instead, and broadcasting across the border.
♪ And Fishops and Rabbis and Popeyes and bye-bye, bye-bye ♪ ♪ All we are saying ♪ ♪ Is give peace a chance ♪ Okay, beautiful!
(all cheer and applaud) CHRISTIAN APPY: By the middle of 1969, many Americans, middle Americans, were beginning to think, you know, "Maybe it doesn't make sense for us to be continuing "to send our sons to fight this war that seems unwinnable."
(explosion pounds) NIXON: After five years in which more and more Americans have been sent to Vietnam, we finally have reached the point where we can begin to bring Americans home from Vietnam.
APPY: He did realize that he could no longer escalate the war of American ground troops in Vietnam.
Those soldiers had to be brought back.
He wanted to bring them back as slowly as possible, but he understood that the American public could no longer tolerate large numbers of American body bags coming home.
♪ ♪ BROWN: You could not forget that June issue of "Life" magazine.
I think "Life" may have had a circulation of five or six million or something.
It seemed like it came to every home in America, and suddenly, here are these pictures, and you have a face and a name.
Not just, oh, last week, people died, which is horrifying, but it had become so normalized.
That magazine brought back to reality that that new normal was terrible.
It was devastating.
(firing) HAWK: Nixon announced the withdrawal of 25,000 troops, but the rate of withdrawal they were talking about meant the war would go on for another four or five years.
We wanted to indicate that won't do it.
The war's gone on too long already.
Just simply end it-- end it!
Bring them home-- immediate withdrawal.
("Volunteers" by Jefferson Airplane playing) JOAN LIBBY: I was student body president at Mount Holyoke, and I hated the war.
I met David Hawk, who was looking to hire people who were good organizers and could get things done.
(chuckles): And of course, at 21, you knew that you could get anything done.
And I said, "I'm in."
I remember I packed my things in a cardboard box and went on an airplane, you know, I had no suitcase, even.
And it's a beehive.
It's frenetic, it's organized.
REPORTER: At 26, Sam Brown is the oldest of the four Moratorium organizers, and has a master's degree from Rutgers.
David Hawk is a quietly intense young man with the best connections to the radical left.
He graduated from Cornell, went to Harvard Divinity School, and expects to go to prison in a few months for refusing the draft.
At 22, Marge Sklencar is extraordinary.
She's been accepted at Yale Law School, works 18 hours a day, handles the money, breaks up the arguments, and knows everyone.
David Mixner was recruited by Brown for his long experience in student organization and his knowledge of Capitol Hill.
♪ We're the volunteers of America ♪ MIXNER: My family has always had a great military history.
All my uncles served in World War II, my father, and there was real pride in that.
And then I had four members of my family die in Vietnam.
And my best friend from high school and elementary school died in Vietnam.
All before they were 22.
It's something you never forget, and my sister and I became outspoken opponents against the war.
And then I got a draft notice.
There was no question in my mind-- I wasn't going.
The only question in my mind was whether to go overseas or jail.
And I dreaded telling my father.
But I said, "Dad, I got drafted."
And he sort of turned pale and I said, "I know you're not going to like this, but I ain't going."
I said, "I sent a letter to the Salem County draft board, saying, '(muted) you and (muted) your war, I ain't going.'"
And that's exactly what I wrote.
And he said, "Of course you're not going.
We've given enough already."
And he says, "You'll go when the Rockefellers start sending their sons."
Shocked the (muted) out of me.
LIBBY: I was from this working-class town called Revere, Massachusetts.
I did have a sense from my lower-middle-class upbringing and my father that I wanted to do something that would convince people who were like my parents to turn against the war.
My father was in World War II and was a master sergeant, and came back from the war and became a police officer.
My family is Jewish, and my father had been with General Patton and had helped liberate concentration camps.
So the notion of conscience was for me very important.
And when I thought about Vietnam, I didn't want to say I just, you know, finished college and went to grad school, honey.
I wanted to know that I did what I could, in the smartest way I knew how, to end the war in Vietnam.
I was not going to be the bystander.
MIXNER: Mary McGrory was a Pulitzer Prize columnist at the "Washington Evening Star" at the time.
Her column was in, like, 400 papers around the world.
I mean, she was a star.
And she was passionately committed against the war.
She fell in love with the Moratorium.
And she arranged a lunch with Ehrlichman.
And the lunch went well, and then he said, "You've got to call this off.
"This is treasonous, this is undercutting our troops.
And if you don't, we'll put you in jail."
BROWN: One of us said, "Eventually, you'll have to put us all in jail."
And he made some joke in a kind of mock German accent about, "Well, we'll build the walls higher and higher."
(chuckles): That's pretty unnerving, thank you.
MIXNER: I was very much in the closet as a gay man.
And I was living in total fear of that coming out.
And before he left, he patted me on the knee and he said, "David, don't forget, we know all about you-- all about you."
And I knew what he was talking about.
And it was, uh, scary.
FERNANDEZ: Over the July 4 weekend, a large group of us gathered in Cleveland, Ohio, to plan a march on Washington.
We called our coalition the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, or simply the Mobe.
REPORTER: The New Mobilization is a big, floppy umbrella, a loose, sometimes quarrelsome coalition of old left, new left, and ordinary liberals.
It does not include the Yippies nor the Students for a Democratic Society.
Its 60-member-plus steering committee does include a member of the Communist Party and two members of the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party.
FRANK JOYCE: If you can't handle a meeting that lasts 18 hours, you're not ready to be in the movement.
Now, that's kind of a joke and it's kind of funny, and it's also kind of true, because we had really incredibly intense and lengthy discussions and debates at any Mobe meeting that I was ever at.
WEISS: I had to fight all the way for my points, and I frequently won.
My role, which I gave to myself, was to make sure that any demonstration that was planned would be safe for families.
If I couldn't bring my children, I wasn't going to go to the demonstration, and I wouldn't let them move off that issue until they agreed.
I said we would triple our numbers if we let the whole family come, or quadruple our numbers.
And violence was not going to win us any friends.
MARGERY TABANKIN: Cora was one tough cookie.
She was one of the only people, in combination with this incredible guy, Reverend Dick Fernandez, who was, like, the gentle giant of the anti-war movement.
They were the only people who could actually hold together all the different wings of what was now a really massive anti-war movement in the country.
FERNANDEZ: At the Cleveland meeting, we agreed to organize major anti-war demonstrations in November, a three-day protest in Washington and a large march and rally in San Francisco.
We were able to figure out a way to lock arms going toward the fall, fanning out across the country to stir up interest for the fall anti-war protests.
WEISS: The public and the press spoke of November and October as the Moratorium days, not distinguishing between the two.
We all wanted the war in Vietnam to stop.
And we appealed to the conscience of the American people.
All of the leaders had some contact with religion.
I couldn't believe it.
Dave Hawk and Sam Brown both went to theological seminary.
Marge Sklencar had spent a year in a nunnery.
Even Dave Dellinger, from the New Mobe, went to theological seminary.
I mean, God must have been on our side!
ANTHONY LAKE: I'm Tony Lake.
Vietnam was very much a part of my early life.
I served in Vietnam for two years at the American Embassy, and then as the vice consul in Hue in Central Vietnam.
In 1969, Kissinger convinced me to become his special assistant.
He told me that he was going to end the war in Vietnam, and he knew I was passionate by then in my belief that the war was a horrible mistake.
And he was offering me the opportunity to work to try to end it.
And so I agreed.
I flew with Kissinger to the secret meetings.
The State Department was being completely cut out, including the Secretary of State.
I did not believe that was the right way to run a railroad, but I wasn't going to violate the secrecy that Kissinger had sworn me to.
MORRIS: Kissinger asked Tony Lake and me to be his, what he called his special project staff in those talks with the North Vietnamese.
It was a stunning venture for me, meeting in safe houses in Paris, completely off the record.
LAKE: The strategy was to convince the North Vietnamese to withdraw their forces from South Vietnam.
How do you do that?
Well, the answer was to threaten them, and Kissinger began implementing threats built around the ultimatum that if they did not withdraw their forces, or agree to withdraw their forces, by November 1, then there would be measures of great force taken against them.
The threats were never specific.
It was simply "measures of great force."
And it was clear from the face of the North Vietnamese negotiator that he was not particularly intimidated by the threat.
They'd built their whole lives around Vietnamese independence.
I did not believe that any blow short of the almost complete destruction of North Vietnam was going to deter these people and those leaders who had spent their lifetimes fighting against foreign domination of their country.
MORRIS: The approaches to the North Vietnamese had not yielded very much of any value.
So, if I had to characterize the late summer of 1969, it would be a kind of frustration and dismay, and that inevitably made for the planning for a resort to extreme violence.
WELLS: The plan for a dramatic escalation of the war was known as Operation Duck Hook.
And I'm not sure how they came up with that name.
It's a golf term for slicing it to the left when you hit a golf ball.
EISENBERG: Duck Hook was a plan that Kissinger and his staff are working on.
For Kissinger, the idea is that you're going to hit North Vietnam very hard, very dramatically, get a lot of casualties, scare them out of their wits, and then pray that the North Vietnamese will now accept their terms.
MORRIS: A special working group was assembled and came to be known in some quarters as the September Group.
It was strictly select people from the NSC staff handpicked by Kissinger.
Its marching orders were very clear, and had been cast by Kissinger himself, which was his famous remark, "I can't believe that a fourth-rate power like North Vietnam does not have a breaking point."
We'd formulated plans for a very, very punishing blow.
And those plans were very sophisticated and detailed in military terms.
LAKE: The military planning was being done in the military section of the NSC staff.
I do remember looking at a draft, and I do remember that it referred to the bombing of the dikes around the Red River in North Vietnam, and being appalled at the thought of the devastation that would cause.
ELLSBERG: The plans for escalation, code-named Duck Hook, called for all kinds of escalations and options, including going into Cambodia and Laos, and possibly a full invasion of North Vietnam.
Definitely for an expansion of bombing to all areas of North Vietnam, up to the northernmost areas on the border with China, including the use of nuclear weapons.
♪ ♪ Only a handful of people in the White House and the Pentagon knew that the war was on the verge of becoming much larger and possibly nuclear.
MORRIS: The massive, savage blow that we contemplated in the September Group was going to kill hundreds of thousands of people.
It was going to risk confrontation with the great powers.
It was an extraordinarily risky and punishing option.
I think Kissinger and Nixon were ruthless.
I think, in many respects, they were savage.
I think they were expedient.
I think that for both men, the end justified the means.
And I think that they were, if not blind, relatively insensate to the sheer depth and breadth and horror of the human cost.
HARTSOUGH: When I heard that there were some young people organizing what they called the Vietnam Moratorium, and their office was over on Vermont Avenue, I went over to visit them.
And it was really inspiring.
They were in touch with student groups and church groups, community people, all over the country.
by The Byrds playing) LIBBY: The people in the office were fantastic.
They were bright and they were funny, and they all came from somewhere different.
You got there early and fueled yourself on coffee and soda and cheap food, and worked until midnight, 1:00, or 2:00, every day.
There was George Wiley, who ran the Poor People's Campaign.
There were numerous people out of the Civil Rights Movement, like Fannie Lou Hamer.
Paul Newman came in to kind of cheer us up at times, but also to use his network to help raise money and visibility and keep things going.
MIXNER: Bill Clinton was working with Senator Fulbright as an intern.
He came over, and Clinton and I hit it off instantly and became friends.
Big country man, big hillbilly.
And I mean, it was so clear that he wanted to be president.
BROWN: A regular volunteer in our office, Betty Ann Ottinger, Dick Ottinger's wife, was den mother to us all.
She was ten or 15 years older, and she was in the office every day.
Wife of a congressman.
♪ ♪ MIXNER: I was put in charge of labor.
The big unions had been very pro-war, the rank and file.
But these were the people we needed.
A man named Bill Dodds was Walter Reuther's top aide at the United Automobile Workers.
And I went to Bill, and Bill had behind him Ben Shahn's lithograph of Gandhi, and I knew I was in the right place.
And I said, "Bill, we're not going to stop this war "until labor comes.
"And the only one that can make it a reality "is Mr. Reuther and his brother Victor.
How do we do this?"
He said, "First of all, "you have to understand there is strong support "in the UAW members for the war, so if it's not done right, Mr. Reuther could get hurt very badly."
But we hammered out an agreement where Walter Reuther would be the first major labor leader to come out against the war.
So Sam Brown came with me, and we met with Mr. Reuther, and outlined what he would do and what he wouldn't do.
And I'll never forget, he hugged us and said, "I'm so proud of you.
"You remind me of Victor and I in the early years of the labor movement."
And I said, "I can't think of any greater compliment that you could have given us, Mr.
And we're walking through the door, and he has his arms on Sam and my shoulder, he said, "Did I ever tell you about going to the dentist?"
And I thought, "What the (muted) is this?
Is it some sort of joke?"
And he said, "I hated to go to the dentist "more than anything in the world.
"But finally, I got this toothache "that I couldn't live with.
"So I went in and I got in that chair.
"And that dentist came at me (drill whirring) "with that buzz saw towards my tooth.
"And I grabbed him by the (muted) "and squeezed them hard and looked him in the eyes and said, 'We're not going to hurt each other, are we, Doctor?'"
I knew what that story was about.
It was, like, "Don't you (muted) me, or I'll have you both by the balls."
And I said, "Mr. Reuther, that story is not wasted on us."
And he said, "I thought you would get it, David.
I thought you would."
♪ Come, senators, congressmen, please heed the call ♪ ♪ Don't stand in the doorway ♪ ♪ Don't block up the hall ♪ MIXNER: We got a huge number of endorsements which had never before come out publicly as a unified opposition to the war.
Congressman Don Riegle, Congressman Pete McCloskey.
Senator Hatfield, McGovern.
And we got it being for immediate withdrawal.
We didn't budge on that.
And I remember one senator saying, "David, you can't do that."
And I said, "Well, we have to."
And they said, "Well, how would you do it?
It's just not practical."
And I said, "It's real easy, stop making it complex.
"You put them on ships and planes, and you point them East, and you bring them home."
♪ For the times, they are a-changin' ♪ Sit down, please-- good.
REPORTER: Mr. President, what is your view, sir, concerning the student moratorium and other campus demonstrations being planned for this fall against the Vietnam War?
I understand that there has been and continues to be opposition to the war in Vietnam on the campuses and also in the nation.
As far as this kind of activity is concerned, we expect it.
However, under no circumstances will I be affected whatever by it.
(reporters talking) HAWK: As soon as he said, "Under no circumstances will I be affected by it whatsoever," we knew that it was much too harsh and cavalier a statement.
So we seized on it.
(laughs) BROWN: Good morning.
I'm Sam Brown, one of the co-coordinators of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee.
HAWK: We immediately called a press conference, which was extremely well attended, with TV cameras and national reporters.
BROWN: And we intend to build a movement which will make it imperative that the United States withdraw from Vietnam.
HAWK: Our response to Nixon ended up on the front page of "The Washington Post."
At which point, newspapers editors around the country realized that the Moratorium was a big national story.
♪ ♪ LAKE: I was there when Kissinger told Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin that the train has left the station, i.e., that we were now going to go after the North Vietnamese with measures of great force, if the Soviets didn't help us by making the North Vietnamese agree.
WELLS: If the North Vietnamese did not come to satisfactory peace terms by November 1, they were going to dramatically escalate the war: Operation Duck Hook, what Kissinger called "a savage punishing blow," possibly even using nuclear devices.
ELLSBERG: We had no notion that as of October 1969, the possibility of nuclear war lay weeks ahead.
(bell tolling) REPORTER: The Mennonite bell at Bethel College was rung once for each of the American men killed in the war.
It is still ringing tonight.
It will still be ringing tomorrow.
(bell continues) (crowd cheering, shouting) A dove was released above Chicago's Civic Center this afternoon, symbolizing, in its flight to freedom, the hopes of 5,000 peace demonstrators gathered in the plaza below.
(crowd singing "Let the Sunshine In") REPORTER: They came across the Charles River from Harvard and they marched from M.I.T.
and Boston University.
They came from almost all of the city's colleges and universities, and despite their numbers, their marches were peaceful.
Perhaps 100,000 came.
At any rate, never before has Boston seen so many demonstrate so peacefully for peace.
("Chimes of Freedom" by the Byrds playing) LIBBY: It was a really beautiful day.
All of a sudden, it is real.
And that was, like, jubilant.
♪ Far between sundown's finish ♪ ♪ And midnight's broken toll ♪ ♪ We ducked inside the doorway ♪ ♪ Thunder crashing ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ As majestic bells of bolts ♪ ♪ Struck shadows in these sounds ♪ ♪ Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Flashing for the warriors ♪ ♪ Whose strength is not to fight ♪ ♪ Flashing for the refugees ♪ ♪ On the unarmed road of flight ♪ ♪ And for each and every ♪ ♪ underdog soldier in the night ♪ ♪ And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing ♪ MELVIN SMALL: Nothing like this had ever been seen before.
On October 15, 1969, there were demonstrations, vigils, marches, appeals, in at least 200 cities, involving at least two million people, and maybe as many as three million people.
And it went from the East Coast, from Maine, from New England, all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
(song ends) The word "protester" generally evokes an image of long hair and love beads.
But today, the crowds that marched and chanted and cheered the speeches looked more like a cross-section picked by the Census Bureau.
I speak for Business Executives Move for Vietnam Peace, of which I am a co-founder, and which has some 2,600 executives who have endorsed and who support the Vietnam Moratorium.
We're proud, we business executives, to stand behind them and support them in this remarkable popular effort which they have launched and which is now taking on the proportions of a tidal wave.
MAN: Alan Robert Haugen, Grass Valley.
WOMAN: Roy Lockhart, Vallejo.
MAN: Gary Allaen Machado, Oakland.
HAMER (on loudspeaker): Bring those men home from Vietnam!
I am sick of the racist war in Vietnam when we don't have justice in the United States.
(crowd cheering) ♪ All the world over ♪ ♪ So easy to see ♪ ♪ People everywhere just wanna be free ♪ ♪ Listen, please, listen, that's the way it should be ♪ ♪ Peace in the valley ♪ ♪ People got to be free ♪ We ask every citizen to examine his own conscience.
♪ See that train over there?
♪ GAME ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the fourth game of the 1969 World Series.
The amazing New York Mets, underdogs when this series began, now lead the Baltimore Orioles two games to one.
(bat hits, crowd cheers) ("Chimes of Freedom" by Bob Dylan playing) ♪ Far between sundown's finish ♪ ♪ And midnight's broken toll ♪ ♪ We ducked inside the doorways ♪ ♪ Thunder went crashing ♪ ♪ As majestic bells of bolts ♪ TABANKIN: The brilliance of the Moratorium was that it put front and center real Americans from real America.
What a brilliant idea to mainstream it and give it a face in the public that was not as threatening and was more understandable to the average person.
"This is for everybody."
♪ And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing ♪ ♪ ♪ (song ends) EISENBERG: Nixon is very disturbed by the Moratorium, even though he announces that he's paying no attention to it.
And he's very, very worried about the second demonstration that's coming in November.
WELLS: Nixon was concerned that the protests in the fall of '69 undercut the credibility of his ultimatum by convincing the North Vietnamese that he would not have enough domestic support to carry out his ultimatum, and that if he dramatically escalated the war, the country might explode.
SMALL: Nixon folded.
He did not go through with Operation Duck Hook because he didn't think the American public would settle for the kind of military escalation that he had in mind.
LAKE: I know that Kissinger was very unhappy, but do not ask me to get into the mind of Richard Nixon and tell you exactly what was going through it.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ WILLIAM BURR: Nixon and Kissinger ordered a secret worldwide nuclear alert, in the hope that it would lend credibility to their prior warnings to Moscow and Hanoi.
It was to be what Nixon called "a special reminder" of how far he might go.
♪ ♪ JOE URGO: After serving in Vietnam, in 1969, I was assigned to a base in Atlantic City.
And we had nuclear bunkers with nuclear weapons at this base.
In the fall of 1969, between the October 15 Moratorium and the November 15 Moratorium, all of a sudden, we go on this alert.
We had F-106 fighter interceptor jets, and the planes are sitting out on the taxiway loaded with nuclear weapons.
Nobody was explaining anything to us, and I was freaked out by this-- seeing those planes out of the hangar loaded with nuclear weapons.
♪ ♪ ELLSBERG: Nixon ordered a Strategic Air Command-- SAC-- alert that would make it look as though we were on the edge of launching nuclear war, done in a way that would not be visible to the American people, Nixon demanded, but would be visible to the Soviets.
BURR: There was a risk that the Soviets could see the nuclear alert as threatening, but it was a risk that Nixon and Kissinger apparently thought was worth taking.
It involved military operations around the world carried out between October 13 and October 30, 1969.
The activities included movements of aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines to destroyers and to the shadowing of Soviet merchant ships sailing towards Haiphong Harbor.
Beginning on October 27, the SAC plan put six B-52s in the air for 18-hour stretches each day for three days in a row, all over Northern Alaska.
Nixon assumed that he could bend Cold War adversaries to his will by making them fear that he was crazy enough to launch a nuclear attack.
It remains to be learned what exactly Moscow made of the alert.
What is known is that the nuclear ploy failed to move the Soviets, and that failure marked a turning point in the administration's strategy for exiting from Vietnam.
Good evening, my fellow Americans.
Tonight I want to talk to you on a subject of deep concern to all Americans and to many people in all parts of the world: the war in Vietnam.
EISENBERG: Nixon had planned to give a speech on November 3, and the speech that he had intended to give was supposed to be announcing his escalation of the war.
But that's no longer in the hopper, and so now he is very clear that he's going to direct his November speech really to the question of how to defuse the peace movement.
In San Francisco a few weeks ago, I saw demonstrators carrying signs reading, "Lose in Vietnam-- bring the boys home!"
As president of the United States, I would be untrue to my oath of office if I allowed the policy of this nation to be dictated by the minority who hold that point of view and who try to impose it on the nation by mounting demonstrations in the street.
HAWK: In Nixon's November 3 speech, he made very clear that the war was going to go on, and that he was going to attack the opponents of the war.
And so tonight, to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support.
Let us be united for peace.
Let us also be united against defeat.
Because let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States.
Only Americans can do that.
♪ ♪ BULL: I believe the "silent majority" speech gave permission of those who were being cowed by the left to stand up and say, "No, you violent, anti-American people are wrong.
"We're standing up for America, and we're standing up for this president."
I remember him being in a very good mood the next morning.
His desk was covered with a mountain of telegrams congratulating the president on his speech and pledging support.
SMALL: Now, obviously a lot of people sent in telegrams and letters to the White House, but a lot of the letters that arrived at the White House were a part of a secret program run by the Republican National Committee.
EISENBERG: They want to make sure that the White House is flooded with telegrams and phone calls that will express vast enthusiasm for what he's just said.
They've already developed a network for doing it.
They have a whole set of organizations that are in place to get their members to make phone calls, to send these telegrams, so that's a setup by them.
APPY: As a backlash to the anti-war demonstrations of the fall of 1969, many powerful people around the country who supported the war rallied around Nixon.
And he began to really successfully turn the debates around Vietnam into a debate around patriotism, and cast anti-war activists as unpatriotic, playing a kind of divisive politics that the Nixon administration was really expert at doing.
A massive anti-war march with a quarter- to a half-million people is supposed to come down Pennsylvania Avenue and past the White House November 15.
SMALL: Nixon is going into an offensive mode against the demonstrators, and he knows that on November 15, there is going to be a mass demonstration led by the New Mobe.
♪ ♪ EISENBERG: The positive coverage that had been the case with the Moratorium, Nixon doesn't want that to happen again.
PAT BUCHANAN: So I wrote Nixon a memo, and I said, "It's time to attack the media."
And I said, "The vice president of the United States ought to deliver this speech," and so I wrote that Agnew speech.
And there was one editor for that Agnew speech: Richard Milhous Nixon.
And he said, "This'll tear the scab off those bastards."
And we broke out laughin'.
(laughs) And it did.
(laughs) How many marches and demonstrations would we have if the marchers did not know that the ever-faithful TV cameras would be there to record their antics for the next news report?
(audience cheering and applauding) EISENBERG: They get Agnew to give a major speech attacking the media, and they put pressure on the media to run Agnew's speech in its entirety, which they do.
SMALL: Nixon has his vice president, Spiro Agnew, go on the attack directly against the media.
He attacked the elitism of the Eastern elites, the people in Washington and New York.
He earlier had called them "the nattering nabobs of negativism.
Who elected these people to tell you what to think?"
AGNEW: The views of a majority of this fraternity do not-- and I repeat, not-- represent the views of America.
(audience applauds) SMALL: It is interesting to note that journalism scholars think this is the beginning of the American people beginning to lose faith in their media.
♪ ♪ BROWN: A day or two before the November march, Bill Ayers, who was then with the Weathermen, he came into the office to say that their intent was to mount an attack on the Justice Department during the demonstration.
But he knew that we had been very successful raising money, and that if we gave them, as I recall, $20,000, they would call off the demonstration at the Justice Department.
This was hard to believe that it was actually taking place.
Of course, we said, "Go away, get out of here."
But we knew that that was a potential for incredible trouble.
BILL DOWNS: It's estimated that some 3,000 troops will be bivouacked here under canvas during the crisis period.
Marines from the 2nd Marine Division, which will be flown in later tonight, making up the total of 9,000 troops activated.
They have been especially trained in civil disturbance and mob control.
They brought their duffle bags, their M-16s... MIXNER: They played for keeps.
I remember the trucks coming in, federal troops with their bayonets and their gas masks, and they put buses around the White House.
BULL: In preparation for this huge demonstration that was expected, President Nixon had the White House ringed by buses, parked bumper to bumper.
There were troops in full gear-- full military troops, not National Guard.
And it certainly was pretty stark and quite tangible evidence that this country was close to a revolution.
BRENDA CAVANAGH: There were many, many buses with protesters from all over the states going to Washington.
My sister, Jill, was four years younger than me.
So she was 17 at the time.
And we took a bus to Washington.
Of course my sign was my husband, Dick Genest.
He was in the 197th Artillery of the National Guard.
There were five members of the New Hampshire National Guard in his convoy coming home.
They hit a mine and killed them all instantly.
♪ ♪ (voice breaking): I'm sorry.
I'm going to cry.
The pain never goes away.
It just takes part of your heart.
It's cut out.
That's the only way to describe it.
(drum beating) STEWART MEACHAM: In this march we will carry the names of those who are the victims of U.S. military policy in Vietnam.
We will carry the names of the Americans.
We will carry the names of the towns and the villages that have been bombed and burned out of existence.
Through this march we commit ourselves to continue our protest and our resistance to this vast inhumanity until it has been ended.
(drum beating) BOY: Well, my brother Mike was killed in the war.
And our, our whole family is here.
MAN: I'm here because there are a whole lot of soldiers over in Vietnam that would like to be here themselves.
And they can't be here so I'm here protesting.
WOMAN: I keep thinking of the man whose name I'm carrying and of the candle I'm carrying for him.
It keeps flickering out.
And I see the candle as symbolic of his life.
And I'm just very moved by this one man.
(drum continues) SUSAN MILLER: Between 47,000 and 50,000 people marched.
The March Against Death lasted for 39 hours day and night.
It took between three and four hours to walk the distance from Arlington, past the White House, over to the Capitol grounds.
It was not a short walk.
And it was freezing.
I have never been so cold in my entire life.
(beating drum) APPY: At one point during the candlelight ceremony out in front of the White House, Nixon turned to his aides and said "Can't we get some helicopters to fly over that demonstration and blow out the candles?"
Which shows you the level to which he was concerned about it.
♪ ♪ PROTESTERS: ♪ We shall live in peace ♪ ♪ We shall live in peace ♪ ♪ Someday ♪ ♪ Oh, deep in my heart ♪ ♪ I do believe ♪ ♪ We shall overcome ♪ ♪ Someday ♪ ♪ ♪ (car honking) MARY POSNER: About 35 of us got to Washington, DC, any way we could to participate in the national mobilization.
Me and a few other students crashed someplace in Washington, DC.
I have no idea who with.
And we got up early on the morning of November 15, and made our way to the Mall, and it was just this huge, huge crowd.
And we just knew we were a part of this amazing group of people who all believed what we did, which was a great feeling to know that that many people were against the war.
("Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival playing) ♪ Yeah, some folks inherit star-spangled eyes ♪ ♪ Ooh, they send you down to war ♪ ♪ And when you ask 'em, "How much should we give?"
♪ ♪ Ooh, they only answer, "More, more, more" ♪ ♪ It ain't me, it ain't me ♪ ♪ I ain't no military son, son ♪ ♪ It ain't me, it ain't me ♪ WEISS: It was a very peaceful bipartisan demonstration.
Charlie Goodell, a Republican member of the Senate, and George McGovern, a Democratic member of the Senate, literally held hands leading the demonstration.
(crowd chanting indistinctly) DAVID CORTRIGHT: The march was led by a contingent of active-duty service members and then behind us was a group of veterans.
So if you look at the photos from those days, you can see, there we are with our short hair and these caps that say "G.Is.
We are definitely unmistakable.
We're active-duty people in the military, we have to follow orders and do our duty in the military, but we're also citizens, and we oppose this war and we're going to speak out against it.
♪ So if you love your Uncle Sam ♪ ♪ Bring 'em home, bring 'em home ♪ ♪ Support our boys in Vietnam ♪ BOTH: ♪ Bring 'em home, bring 'em home ♪ KIRKPATRICK: ♪ Richard Nixon thinks he's slick ♪ BOTH: ♪ Bring 'em home, bring 'em home ♪ KIRKPATRICK: ♪ We've got to outwit that Tricky Dick ♪ BOTH: ♪ Bring 'em home, bring 'em home ♪ Last month, the president of the United States said nothing you young kids would do would have any effect on him.
Well, I suggest to the president of the United States, if he wanna know how much effect you youngsters can have on a president, he should make one long-distance phone call to the LBJ Ranch and ask that boy how much effect you can have.
(cheering) BULL: There were about a half a million demonstrators from all over the country that gathered in Washington.
And it just annoyed the heck out of me that here are these guys coming after President Nixon.
I felt, and I think so many others of us felt, that they were wrong and we felt that they were left-wing useful idiots of the growing left-wing movement in the United States.
APPY: Nixon of course said that he would pay no attention whatsoever to these demonstrations.
In effect, the only college students he was interested in were the ones playing football on television.
But he was in fact deeply obsessed with the anti-war movement and was paying serious attention to the November demonstration.
The White House became a kind of bunker and fortress, and he had military personnel stationed throughout the White House itself for fear that these demonstrators might actually assault the center of power.
(chanting): One, two, three, four, Tricky Dick, stop the war.
KISSINGER: You know, the White House was ringed by students.
(chanting continues) There are facilities in the White House in case of a bombing attack.
And I moved into one of these facilities for a few days and slept in the basement of the White House.
MAN: When do you want it?
MAN: What do you want?
When do you want it?
LAKE: They were extremely concerned about their security and they were concerned by the size of the demonstration, and how it was helping keep the issue of Vietnam front and center.
(protesters chanting) I found it extremely painful.
My wife, many of my friends, were outside the White House demonstrating, while I was inside.
And I wanted to be outside.
RICHIE HAVENS: ♪ A long ♪ ♪ Way from my home ♪ ♪ Which is freedom ♪ ♪ Freedom ♪ ♪ Freedom!
♪ ♪ This land is your land ♪ ♪ And this land is my land ♪ ♪ From California ♪ ♪ To the New York island ♪ ♪ From the redwood forest ♪ ♪ To the Gulf Stream water ♪ ♪ This land was made for you and me ♪ (crowd cheering and applauding) CORETTA SCOTT KING: My dear peace-loving friends.
I want to thank you for providing me with one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life.
There is only one other experience that reminds me of this one today and that was the March on Washington in 1963.
(cheers and applause) SEEGER: ♪ All we are saying ♪ ♪ Is give peace a chance ♪ ♪ All we are... ♪ HAWK: We were concerned to make it a hugely successful event.
And it was!
(laughs) Primarily, in my opinion, thanks to the music, which was out of this world.
You know, a couple of hundred thousand people singing "Give Peace a Chance" within earshot of the White House.
That was the high point of Saturday.
PROTESTERS: ♪ Is give peace a chance ♪ SEEGER: Are ya listening, Nixon?
PROTESTERS: ♪ All we are saying ♪ SEEGER: Are ya listening, Agnew?
PROTESTERS: ♪ Is give peace a chance ♪ SEEGER: Are ya listening in the Pentagon?
PROTESTERS: ♪ All we are saying ♪ ♪ Is give peace a chance ♪ ♪ This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius ♪ ♪ Age of Aquarius ♪ MEL WAX: Here in San Francisco, Moratorium Day protesters assembled early for the seven-mile march through downtown San Francisco to Golden Gate Park.
Estimates of crowd size vary, but all agree it was the largest peace demonstration ever held in Western United States, and it was peaceful.
CROWD: ♪ Let the sunshine in ♪ ♪ The sunshine in ♪ ♪ Let the sunshine in ♪ What do you want?
ABERNATHY: What do you want?
ABERNATHY: When do you want it?
ABERNATHY: When do you want it?
ABERNATHY: Who is the one callous individual who is going against the current of history and social change?
Nixon's the one!
Who writes himself telegrams?
(crowd laughing) (guitar playing) ♪ It's always the old to lead us to the wars ♪ ♪ It's always the young to fall ♪ ♪ Now look at all we've won with a saber and a gun ♪ ♪ Tell me, is it worth it all?
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Call it peace or call it treason ♪ ♪ Call it love or call it reason ♪ ♪ But I ain't marchin' anymore ♪ ♪ No, I ain't marchin' anymore ♪ Thank you very much.
(cheers and applause) CARL REINER: I have three words for you: Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
(cheers and applause) ("Find the Cost of Freedom" by Crosby, Stills and Nash playing) (crowd clapping to beat) ♪ Find the cost of freedom ♪ ♪ Buried in the ground ♪ ♪ Mother Earth ♪ ♪ Will swallow you ♪ ♪ Lay your body down ♪ ♪ Find the cost of freedom ♪ ♪ Buried in the ground ♪ ♪ Mother Earth will swallow you ♪ ♪ Lay your body down ♪ We love you.
(cheers and applause) And so it went off, the largest political demonstration in American history.
Almost without violence.
Late in the afternoon, several thousand demonstrators, led by a hard core of militants, clashed with police outside the Justice Department.
They were driven off with tear gas.
(shouting, screaming) BROWN: A group of people did go attack the Justice Department, but it was isolated.
FERNANDEZ: This was not a Sunday school picnic.
People were upset and angry.
We were part of a long train of people, tried to make things right.
And I thought it was a terrific day for American democracy.
("Something in the Air" by Thunderclap Newman playing) ♪ ♪ ♪ And you know that it's right ♪ ♪ We have got to get it together ♪ ♪ We have got to get it together ♪ ♪ Now ♪ MILLER: We had brought 500,000 people to Washington, which at that time and for quite a long time to come, was the largest demonstration that had ever been organized.
(song resumes): ♪ And you know that it's right ♪ ♪ We have got to get it together ♪ ♪ We have got to get it together ♪ ♪ Now ♪ (song ends) The White House acknowledged that the latest protests generally were peaceful, but stressed again that President Nixon does not intend to let policy be made in the streets.
♪ ♪ JOYCE: It quickly set in that the war raged on.
That, however proud of ourselves we might have been, we obviously, at that point, hadn't stopped the war.
ELLSBERG: The demonstrations in October and November of 1969 did not have the appearance of changing anything because the war went on as before.
And none of the people who participated knew that the war had been within days or weeks of erupting enormously and becoming much bigger.
(explosion echoes) The bottom line is, I believe we would have had the first nuclear attacks since Nagasaki in 1969 had it not been for the October 15 demonstrations and the demonstrations in November.
HAWK: At the time we had no idea.
It was only decades later, when the archives were released, that we realized what, in fact, we had accomplished.
FERNANDEZ: We now know we had a big impact on Nixon and Kissinger.
What they thought they could get away with in November, namely blowing to bits Vietnam, and maybe even using nuclear weapons, they had to take it off the table.
There were too many of us who were saying no now.
POSNER: And when I heard that news, I, I just cannot express what that meant to me.
That after all these years, I finally knew that what we did had made such a significant difference.
MILLER: Nobody understood at the time that we had prevented an escalation of the war and actually saved people's lives.
It tells me that this was the most amazing and most important thing I'd ever done in my life.
RIEGLE: The people stopped the war and made the Congress stop the war.
And that's what finally brought the war to the end.
They thought they could strongarm and bomb North Vietnam into submission, and that didn't work.
And what we found was the limits of U.S. power when you're trying to do the wrong thing in the wrong place.
MORRIS: And the absolutely torturous, haunting reality hanging over all of this are the casualties.
We must remember that when Nixon is inaugurated and Henry Kissinger hired, the names on that long black wall in Washington were only half as long as they ended up being.
And absolutely agonizing, the mounting casualties on the Vietnamese side.
And the price of Nixon's "peace with honor" would be enormous.
And, I think, in the end, unforgivable.
♪ ♪ JOYCE: When I talk to young activists today, one of the points I make is, you will not know in the moment the real impact of what you are doing.
And you may not know it in a week.
You may not know it in a month.
You may not know it in a decade, but you are having an impact.
It does matter.
WEISS: Never give up.
It's very important.
It's easy to get tired.
It's easy to get discouraged.
But we can't afford that.
So don't give up.
We didn't give up until it was over.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ANNOUNCER: Next time...
The sun's energy is absorbed and transformed into heat.
MAN: Mária Telkes was a solar evangelist.
WOMAN: She really imagined this as revolutionizing the way that people lived.
WOMAN: Nothing else would even get close to the Dover sun house.
WOMAN: She's laying the foundation for pretty much everything now that we do with solar.
ANNOUNCER: "The Sun Queen," next time on "American Experience."
Made possible in part by Liberty Mutual Insurance.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪