What event led to the anti-war protest at Kent State in 1970?
The Invasion of Cambodia
The North Vietnamese Army was creating stockpiles of weapons and supplies as well as Headquarter areas just inside the Cambodian Border for an attack of South Vietnam. A complex regime change had taken place in Cambodia and the pro US government of Lon Nol had taken over. Then President Nixon saw a window of opportunity to support the new government and ordered the attack on Cambodia.
The US attack netted a great deal of weapons and stores but the Headquarters units managed to evade capture, but just.
In the USA campuses rose in anti war demonstrations. In Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, National Guardsman shot and killed 4 students and wounded 9 others. There was another shooting in Mississippi 10 days later. Campuses across the US closed in reaction to the Kent State shootings.
The shootings in Kent State appeared to have lacked immediate cause and charges were laid against the Guardsmen.
American involvement was greater than this.
The coming to power of Lon Nol was orchestrated by the Americans. His brutal military regime sparked a civil war which led to the coming to power of the Khmer Rouge in 1975.
The US invasion of Cambodia was not an opportunity but was carefully planned. It was illegal as Cambodia was neutral, although that neutrality had been routinely broken by both sides.
Also the Americans secretly and illegally bombed Cambodia, falsifying the logs. They dropped more explosives than were dropped in the whole of World War 2. Over 500,000 Cambodians were killed and 80% of the countryside was destroyed. Again these were factors which contributed to the coming to power of the Khmer Rouge.
It was such actions that the students were protesting against.
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