United States, World

The Influence of Anti-War Music During the Vietnam Era

“And I ain’t marchin’ anymore, For I marched to the battles of the German trench, In a war that was bound to end all wars.” These lyrics were from the song “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” by the musical artist with the name of Phil Och. For every new artist that comes out with a new song or album, each of them had at least one influence that affected the art they created. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix or even the Beatles are great examples of artists that have been influenced by Bob Dylan. It can take several people to influence thousands or even millions. Traditions in music definitely are passed down throughout the generations which can create new traditions. The music during this time gave a voice to those who did not have one and helped spread the greater good. Anti-war music during the Vietnam war has a huge influence on how we as citizens protest social government problems throughout the country.

The Vietnam War started on November 1st, 1955 and ended on April 30th, 1975. This war had an huge impact on the United States due to how much money was spent, how many soldiers we had lost, and how North Vietnam had then later took over South Vietnam. Throughout the war, there had also been big problems in the communities of cities and towns protesting such as how upset they are towards the war which is deeply influencing the nation with their thoughts and feelings which most of the time were very negative to let the government know that they were doing something completely wrong. For example, someone would have written “End the war in Indochina Vietnam NOW or Get The HELL out of Vietnam” on posters to spread a message the government needed to see and hear. The citizens had known that we were not winning the war so they wanted to spread the message about the war but due to some not having power or fame, their voices weren’t able to spread out the message they were sending. This is what led to famous musical artists to create anti-war music during the Vietnam Era to let the government know that this is a serious problem that they are dealing with. War music had first become popular during the times of World War II but had been created to help promote the War to let all citizens know that they should do anything they can do to participate in the war. But during the Vietnam War, it had been changed to showing that this war wasn’t America’s to fight or win in.

Anti-War music can influence the daily lives of citizens throughout the nation. Music during the Vietnam War had taken a huge role in changing the tide of the war. Artists such as Phil Och who made the song “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” or Bob Dylan who created the song “Blowin’ in the Wind”. These artists played a big part in giving a voice to those who did not have one. Many other artists had contributed to this movement of anti-war which was making a big difference. According to Rebecca Sklaroff, she says “Because Vietnam-era musicians seemed to be the only people talking about America’s failure to live up to its democratic principles, many young people viewed them as ‘their own’”.(During Vietnam War, music spoke to both sides of a divided nation by Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, 2017). This quote is explaining that regular citizens who did not have power or fame did not have a voice which made it seem that the musical artists of this time were the only people talking about the failures of America during this time. Lyrics from Bob Dylan’s song “Blowin’ in the Wind” says “How many roads must a man walk down, Before they can call him a man? How many seas must a white dove sail, Before she sleeps in the sand? How many times must the cannonballs fly, Before they’re forever banned?” These lyrics are saying that how long it would take to end all of the war in order for it to be peaceful throughout the world.

Music and especially internet media are used as a way to protest and gives the youth a voice. Nowadays, these two sources of information can influence thousands or even millions of people in many topics, such as anti-war or even what is right for our country. We have problems within our political system where politicians or anyone in power have way more of a voice or say in anything we as a country do. Tomillions, this is not fair at all in any possible way. According to Ron Elving, he says “By 1968, anti-war marches had become a familiar part of life in the United States. But perhaps the most consequential anti-war demonstration came that summer, when tens of thousands of war protesters gathered in Chicago to demonstrate at the Democratic National Convention.” (How The Vietnam War Put Picking Presidents In The Hands Of The People by Ron Elving, 2014). This quote is showing that protesting in the US has become a very big part of the daily lives of Americans.

With all of this being said, anti-war music during the Vietnam war has influence on how we protest for our rights to the government as citizens of America . Internet media also had a huge influence on the people of America by being told what is actually the right thing. It has helped given the people a voice for them to speak through when most citizens do not have one. Protests from the horrific effect that was the Parkland Shooting has been influenced by Vietnam protests due to the fact that a Speech from a girl named Emma Gonzalez which questioned our government saying “The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call BS.” (“Florida Student Emma Gonzalez to Lawmakers and Gun Advocates: ‘We Call BS’.” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 Feb. 2018) Knowing this, the next time you listen to a song relating to a troubling topic about our nation or even a protest or speech spoken by an American citizen, remember that artists and protesters during the Vietnam war have influenced those today who make protests through music or internet media.

Article by Grant Friesen & Video by Vincent Sinclair



Written by Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff // September 13, 2017, “During Vietnam War, music spoke to both sides of a divided nation”  http://theconversation.com/during-vietnam-war-music-spoke-to-both-sides-of-a-divided-nation-83702

Written by Lily Ruthman // September 27, 2017, “Why the Vietnam War Produced Such Iconic Music” http://time.com/4949617/music-vietnam-war/

“Florida Student Emma Gonzalez to Lawmakers and Gun Advocates: ‘We Call BS’.” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 Feb. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/02/17/us/florida-student-emma-gonzalez-speech/index.html

Written by Ron Elving // May 1, 2015, “How The Vietnam War Put Picking Presidents In The Hands Of The People” https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/05/01/403507851/how-vietnam-put-picking-presidents-in-the-hands-of-the-people


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