The antiwar movement against the war in Vietnam is popularly portrayed as one of student radicals and civilians. Yet there was a wide-scale revolt inside all branches of the American Armed Forces that led, by 1971, to the breakdown of the military’s ability to wage war. The GI movement, as it was known, involved nearly half of all enlisted men at its height, published nearly three hundred antiwar newspapers, and, in concert with mass civilian protest and the resistance of the Vietnamese, worked to force the United States out of Vietnam. Particularly active on the Pacific Northwest’s large military bases, like Fort Lewis, the GI movement is a little-known but central part of the vibrant history of Pacific Northwest social protest.
This special section brings together video oral histories from soldiers and veterans who organized at Fort Lewis and civilian activists who worked closely with them, a history and timeline of the GI movement in the Northwest, and digitized issues of the three underground newspapers published at Fort Lewis. It is our hope that this special section will contribute to a deeper understanding of the antiwar movement in the Northwest and nationally, and serve as a resource for soldiers looking to draw inspiration from this hidden military history.
Jessie Kindig is the coordinator of this special section.