This Day in History

April 24, 1971: Anti-War Protests in D.C. and San Francisco

Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Wars & Related Anti-War Movements

antiwar_protest_unitedwomenscontingentOn April 24, 1971, 500,000 people demonstrated against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. It was the largest-ever demonstration opposing a U.S. war. Simultaneously, 150,000 people marched at a rally in San Francisco.

Prior to the massive rally, Vietnam Veterans Against the War staged a week-long series of demonstrations culminating in a protest at the U.S. Capitol where veterans threw back their service medals.

During the weeks following the April 24 protest, massive civil disobedience was conducted attempting to shut down the U.S. government during the People’s Coalition for Peace & Justice and Mayday demonstrations.

A Vietnam veteran hurls his service recognition memorabilia toward the U.S. Capitol April 23, 1971.
That morning more than 800 veterans individually tossed their medals, ribbons, discharge papers, and other war mementos on the steps of the Capitol, rejecting the Vietnam War and the significance of those awards. Source: Washington Area Spark

Find teaching resources below, including a 100-page teaching guide from the Zinn Education Project on the long history of Vietnam War, the anti-war movement, and whistleblowers.