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Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves

            In his book Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves, historian Melvin Small chronicles the anti-Vietnam War movement with much detail as he discusses the link between the decisions of the Johnson and Nixon administrations concerning the Vietnam War and the stream of protests that accompanied the war. Small's argument states that anti-war activities, from teach-ins and advertisements to massive demonstrations and the spectacle of the Kent State killings, contributed in both a direct and an indirect way to the decisions of the two presidents that served during the Vietnam War. .
             Small begins his outline of the anti-war movement with what he calls the "Americanization of the war" when the majority of Americans were supportive of action in Vietnam. The author exhibits public opinion patterns that show a very small percentage of people were opposed to the war in 1965 as the war began, ranging from a low twelve percent to a still insignificant seventeen percent. During this early stage, Small asserts that Lyndon Johnson was seen as a dove and that he had "little to fear from the American public" after the nearly unanimous passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and the widespread support for Johnson's "limited" dealings in Vietnam. Despite popular support of the president, this early stage of the war was also the beginning of the anti-war movement as teach-ins and demonstrations sprang up across the country. As the war heated up, Small describes a change in the anti-war movement as a gathering of the opposition, a phenomenon that is proven by the steady rise in the percentage of Americans who disapproved of the war, an incline that moved in lock-step with the increasing numbers of troops committed to the war effort in 1966 and 1967. Small examines of the effects of the anti-war movement with a number of examples, including the publication of mass media advertisements. In one of Small's examples, the White House was forced to take notice when a New York Times advertisement was posted by a team of academics and professionals in June of 1966.

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