Hans Morgenthau leads a debate on Vietnam that was broadcast to teach-ins across the nation on May 15, 1965.
“When the teach-ins protesting the Vietnam War erupted on many campuses across the country in 1965, academic administrators complained that the professors were politicizing their universities. But it was the universities that had already politicized the professors. Large increases in federal funding throughout the Cold War, including projects sponsored by the CIA and the Department of Defense, led to a politically driven reorientation of teaching and research aimed at combating the ‘Communist threat’—as by purging professors suspected of affiliation with it. While the physical sciences were directly involved in military research, the social sciences were largely realigned in conformity with the global geopolitics of the conflict, developing an emphasis on geographies, languages, economies, anthropologies, and histories of strategic Third World regions that had previously been marginal to their concerns. … ‘Insurgency prophylaxis’ is how it was called in the documents of the notorious Project Camelot operation of 1964–65. A multimillion-dollar enterprise in anthropological espionage, primarily focused on Latin America, Project Camelot blew up when it was accidentally and prematurely exposed in Chile. The severe political and academic censure from Latin America that followed was not lost on the dissident faction of North American social scientists who were already turned off by the perverse effects of Cold War on the academy. It would soon be all too easy for them to see the connections between the research-and-destroy projects of their colleagues in Latin America with the search-and-destroy missions of the American military in Vietnam. In February of 1965, just a few months after successfully campaigning for the presidency against Barry Goldwater on a platform that declared ‘peace is our first concern,’ Lyndon Johnson dramatically escalated the Vietnam War by ordering a sustained bombing of the North and dispatching the first American combat troops to the South. The effect of the bait and switch in dissident university circles was redoubled opposition to American imperial policies, ultimately culminating in a campus-specific mode of political resistance. …”
The Vietnam War and the Assembly of Unrepresented People
The Movement Against War