The peace movement and the counter-culture associated with the antiwar beliefs greatly affected public opinion. Quite the contrary to what many people think today collage and student antiwar movements were not the only participants, in fact many and most of the middle-class, well educated people were opposed to war and wanted to see troops withdrawn from Vietnam as the antiwar impulse largely reflected moral repulsion against bombing and killing thousands of innocent lives.
Although the large majority of people were opposed to war many never came open about their views on the issue because of the widespread criticism of the stereotypical antiwar protestor- hippies with long hair, no job and tripping on drugs who believed in making love not war and it was this small minority that the media and politicians picked up on and degraded on many occasions. Nixon, who was a president of America at the time of the Vietnam War, did not feel he received the credit he deserved for his part in the Vietnam War and as a result he publicly slammed the student demonstrators, calling them "bums". He was heartless and very hard towards the protestors with little regard for their legal rights and when four student protestors were killed at Kent State University Nixon did not care.
Many youths embraced this counter-culture because of the freedom it symbolised and the love and community it offered. The positive attributes drew far less attention that the free sex, bad trips and outlandish activities that they often appeared to define themselves by and instead they were often only seen as dirty cultural rebels by a large proportion of the general population. .
By April 1965 senators Ernest Gruening, Wayne Morse, Frank Church and George McGovern all openly opposed war. This was a direct result of the realisation by politicians that the general population did not embrace war and it was more than just a few students and free- lance hippies that felt that way and wanted and end to, in their opinion, a pointless war.