United States and American History: Late 1965

About the history of the United States in late 1965, Vietnam continues and Anti-Vietnam sentiment grows, cigarettes get warnings, riots in Watts, the draft increased, great black outs.


June 8 The U.S. announced that its ground troops in Vietnam would engage in direct combat if requested by the South Vietnamese army. On June 28, U.S. forces began their 1st full-scale combat offensive.

June 11-15 Chicago police arrested 526 anti-segregation demonstrators acting in response to the rehiring of the school superintendent. Protests continued through July 26, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led a march of 20,000 to City Hall, the 42nd such march in 47 days.

July 27 President Johnson signed the law requiring cigarette packages and ads to be printed with health warnings.

July 28 President Johnson announced that there were 125,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam and that draft calls would be doubled; he asked the UN to help negotiate peace.

Aug. 11-16 A rebellion broke out in the black Watts section of Los Angeles involving at least 10,000 blacks who burned and looted a 500-square-block area. Fifteen thousand police and National Guardsmen were brought in to control the situation. Thirty-four persons were killed, including 28 blacks; over 3,900 were arrested; and over 200 business establishments were totally destroyed.

Oct. 15 Anti-Vietnam War rallies were held in 4 U.S. cities, the largest (10,000) in New York and Berkeley. In New York, police made the 1st arrest under a new Federal draft-card-burning law. In Berkeley, marchers were blocked from entering Oakland by police, then attacked by the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang. When the Angels threatened to attack the next peace march, poet Allen Ginsberg and some friends went to the home of Angels president Sonny Barger to discuss the situation and share some LSD with Barger and his friends. By dawn the 2 groups had chanted together. The day before the march the Angels called a press conference and distributed a news release: "Although we have stated our intention to counter-demonstrate at this despicable un-American activity, we believe that in the interest of public safety and the protection of the good name of Oakland, we would not justify the VDC (Vietnam Day Committee) by our presence ... because our patriotic concern for what these people are doing to a great nation may provoke us into violent acts." The march was peaceful.

Nov. Through Look magazine, the American people learned that the U.S. had rejected secret peace talks with North Vietnam arranged by UN Secretary General U Thant in September, 1964.

Nov. 9-10 A "powder cascade" from a major electrical installation caused a "great blackout" from Pennsylvania to southern Canada, affecting over 30 million people and stranding some 800,000 in New York City subways.

Dec. 15 At its Biennial Convention, the AFLCIO declared "unstinting support" for "measures the Administration might deem necessary to halt Communist aggression and secure a just and lasting peace" in Vietnam.

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