15 October 1969: Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam Demonstrations Around the World

With anti-war sentiment reaching fever-pitch in America and around the world, political activist Jerome Grossman, together with other activists David Hawk and Sam Brown, organised the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. In its essence, the Moratorium called for a general strike throughout the US if the war had not concluded by October 1969.

The event was a clear success, with millions participating throughout the world. Boston was the site of the largest turnout; roughly 100,000 attended a speech by anti-war Senator George McGovern. Future US President Bill Clinton, then a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, organized and participated in the demonstration in England, which later became an issue in his Presidential campaign.

In New York City, the day marked Game 4 of the 1969 World Series and included controversy as Mayor John Lindsay wanted the US flag to be flown at half-mast. However, Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn overruled the mayor and ordered the flag to be flown at full mast. Also, Mets Game 4 starter Tom Seaver had his face depicted on some anti-Moratorium Day literature distributed before the game. Seaver claimed that his picture was used without his knowledge or approval.

Moratorium Day – 1969 | Today In History, published by AP Archive, 14 October 2017.

President Nixon continued to work from the White House without comment as thousands marched around him in Washington. In total, it is estimated that two million people were involved in the Moratorium, making it possibly the largest demonstration in US history.

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