The Youth Movement, Counterculture, and Anti-War Protests Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What effect or effects did the antiwar movement have on American society in the 1960s?

The anti-war movement of the 1960s ultimately contributed to ending the Vietnam War, and it also opened up a major ideological divide in America. The dubious motives for the war in Vietnam incited widespread distrust in the US government on an unprecedented scale. This disillusionment especially affected the younger generations. Huge numbers of young people became politically active in speaking out against the Vietnam War. This force culminated in the Twenty-Sixth Amendment (1971), which lowered the voting age to 18. The anti-war movement ultimately inspired a general wariness of the powers of government that lasted long after the war.

Expert Answers info

Philip Arrington eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write1,340 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

The antiwar movement against the Vietnam War began in the United States soon after President Lyndon Johnson escalated the bombing of North Vietnam after an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964. It continued for years, disrupting American society in several ways.

First of all, the antiwar movement created a polarization of American society between those who were for the war and those who were against the war. In the beginning, the movement consisted mainly of a minority of college students, but as the war escalated and the draft was implemented, the antiwar movement became more and more popular and rallies became massive. For instance, crowds of up to 100,000 people gathered to protest the war in April of 1967 in New York and in October of 1967 in Washington D.C. Although President Richard Nixon affirmed that the "silent majority" of Americans supported the war effort, it was clear that the number of protestors opposed to it continued to grow.

The antiwar movement became a part...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 938 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mrkirschner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write934 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

Michael Koren eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write2,982 answers

starTop subjects are History, Law and Politics, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


gsenviro | Student

American society saw a complete change in its outlook due to the antiwar movement and the way the war was going for Americans. To fight a war on foreign soil the US committed a large force, the maintenance of which required a lot of capital. The draft system was introduced to build up the military force. It was observed that South Americans and Africans were given more combat duties compared to Caucasians. When the war started, Americans were supportive of the war, but the growing body count, increasing expense and the realization that war was being fought to overthrow a democratic government turned the public against the government and large-scale antiwar protests took place. This antiwar movement changed the perception of people towards the war and introduced them to more liberal ways of dealing with the situation (and refraining from fighting someone else's war at personal expense).