Ward, Brandon M. (2009-08). The War in the Desert: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement in the American Southwest. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • The Vietnam antiwar movement developed in the American Southwest out of a coalition of Chicanos, GI's, and students who agreed that the Vietnam War was racist, imperialist, costly, and negatively affected them and their communities. The antiwar movement in the Southwest formed in 1967, made possible by the emergence of the Chicano and GI movements. Chicanos criticized the military for a disproportionate number of Mexican American combat deaths in Vietnam. The military sent activist youth from across the country to bases in the Southwest, where they protested the war alongside Chicanos and college students. Connections between Chicanos, GI's, and students developed into a strong antiwar movement in 1968-1969. Beginning in 1970, the coalition fell apart as Chicanos increasingly pursued a strategy of separatism from mainstream American society as the key to self-determination. Frustration over perceived lack of progress in ending the war led the antiwar movement into an escalation in protest tactics and radicalization of its message, pushing out moderate voices and further weakening the movement. This thesis offers an original contribution because historians have failed to pay attention to the vibrant antiwar movement in the Southwest, instead, mostly focusing on the East Coast and San Francisco Bay Area. Historians of the Chicano movement have not adequately shown how it allied with other movements in the 1960s to achieve its goals. The use of underground newspapers allows a window into the writings and ideas of the protestors.

publication date

  • August 2009