The Vietnam War started in 1955 and it ended in 1975. It was a cold war skirmish that took place in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from first of November 1955 to 30th 1975.The Vietnam War was a war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The communist allies supported the Northern Vietnam while the United States of America and other anti-communists states supported the government of Southern Vietnam. The Vietnam War and its impact on Martin Luther King, jr are discussed in the book Vietnam and America: A documented history by Gentleman, M. E. (1995). He says that no single event since the Second World War had marked United States of America foreign policy and national image as did the war in Vietnam. Martin Luther king, Jr., was the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a civil rights activist. This essay analyses the different opinions by different writers on the impact of Vietnam War on Martin Luther king, Jr.
Martin Luther also believed that Vietnam War also diverted money and resources from the countries programs that had been created to help the poor black people. In Luther’s opinion the war was only demoralizing the expectations of the underprivileged at home. Martin Luther anti-war stance and support for peace led to his assassination in the 4th of April 1968. From the above discussion the Vietnam War impacts on Martin Luther can be seen as development of a strong feeling of fighting for human rights and peace, declining in the relationship with the president, and his assassination.
Other authors also looked at the Vietnam War and the impacts on Martin Luther. Robbins, M. S. (2007). Against the Vietnam War: Writings by activists also discussed the impacts. According to him, Martin Luther articulated qualms about the role of the United States in the Vietnam War. I his speech "Beyond Vietnam: the time to break the silence” he said that the U S occupied the country as an American colony. He also said that the United States needed a significant moral transformation. Luther expressed his negative attitude on going overseas in countries in Africa, Asia, and South America and devoting huge sums of money just to make profits without any concerns for societal developments in these countries. He saw this as prejudicial. According to this book, Martin Luther also believed that the United States participation in the Vietnam War was a barrier to the attainment of the goal of President Johnson, which was a war against poverty.
Luther believed that using the country’s resources in the war would lead to increment in poverty as the resources used in the war were ones assigned to fighting poverty. The speech made many white racists hate him and many key Medias also turned against him. Luther was said to have weakened his expediency to his cause, his country and his people. Martin Luther was also concerned about the human rights in North Vietnam where thousands of people especially children were killed by American forces. Martin Luther was also concerned as to why United States rebuked instead of backing revolutions in the developing countries. In this speech Luther was addressing need for fundamental changes in political, economic and social life of the nation. He communicated his point of view on battle and redistribution of resources to address racial and social injustices. The impacts brought out by this author are hatred from media and White activists, and his change in views politically, socially, and economically.
In the book the American Experience in Vietnam, immediately after President John F. Kennedy sending his first American troops into Vietnam Martin Luther King gave out his first public proclamation on the war. He said that the war would not accomplish anything. as much as he was personally against the war, he was concerned that criticizing the united states foreign policies publicly would destroy his relationship with the president. President Lyndon B. Johnson had been helpful in passing civil rights laws and had acknowledged that he was ready to discuss a diplomatic end of war in Vietnam. Due to the above reasons Martin Luther king avoided condemning the war publicly. However in an annual Southern Christian Leadership Conference Martin Luther called for a cessation to bombing in North Vietnam. He requested that the United Nation be given the power to resolve the conflict. While addressing the multitude, he said that only a slight step was prerequisite to institute a new spirit in shared confidence, a step able to break the cycle of mistrust, violence, and war. He supported the presidents’ peaceful negotiations and economic progress as the inauguration to such a step.
As a gospel minister, Martin Luther also viewed the war as a moral issue. He condemned it as evil. The human rights activists’ colleagues criticized Luther in that spreading his message of peace would harm the black freedom struggle in America. In fear of being called a communist, which would have resulted to decline in Martin Luther’s civil rights work impact, he stopped criticizing the United States foreign policies on Vietnam in late 1965 and 1966. Later in 1966, before a congressional committee on budget priorities, the king maintained for a rebalancing of fiscal main concern away from Vietnam and towards greater support for anti-poverty packages in America. He also led an anti-war march in Chicago and strengthened the connection between the wars abroad and prejudices at home. In his opinion the war would harm the dream and goal for a decent America. Luther also made it clear that his battle on peace was undertaken not as a leader but as an individual, and a clergy man who was significantly apprehensive about making peace.
In the last year of his life, King operated with Spock to develop ‘‘Vietnam Summer,’’. This was a group whose aim was to increase peace activism in the grassroots. He described three teething troubles he saw dogging the nation: racism, poverty, and the war in Vietnam. The impact of Vietnam War on Martin Luther can therefore be analyzed by his reactions towards the war and the implications it had on him. The war made him express his strong hold on human rights, equal distribution of wealth, and Christianity where as a church minister he advocated for peace. The US government was not happy with him and his aggressiveness in fighting for peace. This finally led to his assassination. His views were later seen a true and five years after his death the war was stopped.
Aptheker, H. (1967). Dr. Martin Luther King, Vietnam and Civil Rights. New Outlook Publishers.
Eldridge, L. A. (2011). Chronicles of a two-front war civil rights and Vietnam in the African American press. Columbia [Mo.: University of Missouri Press.
Gettleman, M. E. (1995). Vietnam and America: a documented history (2nd ed.). New York: Grove Press.
Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks out against the war — History.com This Day in History — 4/4/1967. (n.d.).History.com — History Made Every Day — American & World History. Retrieved February 25, 2013, from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/martin- luther-king-jr-speaks-out-against-the-war
Robbins, M. S. (1999). Against the Vietnam War: Writing by Activists. Syracuse University Press.
Sevy, G. (1989). The American experience in Vietnam: a reader. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Taulbert, C. L. (1997). Watching our troops come in. New York, N.Y.: Viking.