The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam was a massive demonstration against the United States involvement in the Vietnam War that took place across the United States on October 15, 1969. The Moratorium developed from Jerome Grossman's April 20, 1969, call for a general strike if the war had not concluded by October. David Hawk and Sam Brown, who had previously worked on the unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy, changed the concept to a less radical moratorium and began to organize the event as the Vietnam Moratorium Committee with David Mixner, Marge Sklenkar, John Gage, and others.
By the standards of previous anti-war demonstrations, the event was a clear success, with millions participating throughout the world. Boston was the site of the largest turnout; about 100,000 attended a speech by anti-war Senator George McGovern. Bill Clinton, then a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, organized and participated in the demonstration in England; this later became an issue in his Presidential campaign.
The first nationwide Moratorium was followed a month later, on November 15, 1969, by a second massive Moratorium march on Washington, D.C., which attracted over 500,000 demonstrators against the war, including many performers and activists on stage at a rally across from the White House. Most demonstrators were peaceful; however, late in the day conflict broke out at DuPont Circle, and the police sprayed the crowd with tear gas. Over 40,000 people gathered to parade silently down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where protesters walked single file all evening, each calling out the name of a dead soldier as he or she reached the sidewalk directly in front of the White House. The people of Washington, D.C., generously opened schools, seminaries, and other places of shelter to the thousands of students and others who converged for this purpose. A daytime march before the White House was lined by uniformed police officers, some flashing peace symbols on the inside of their jackets in a show of support for the crowd.
President Richard Nixon said about the march, "Now, I understand that there has been, and continues to be, opposition to the war in Vietnam on the campuses and also in the nation. As far as this kind of activity is concerned, we expect it, however under no circumstances will I be affected whatever by it."
Activists at some universities continued to hold monthly "Moratoria" on the 15th of each month.
At the Moratorium, a quarter of a million demonstrators were led by Pete Seeger in singing John Lennon's new song "Give Peace A Chance."
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