Berkeley Anti War Rally – October 15, 1965

5,000-10,000 demonstrators (The accounts vary) gathered at a Berkeley anti war rally on Saturday, October 15, 1965. It marked the beginning of a week of protests across the country. The crowd attempted to march from Berkeley through Oakland to the Oakland army base, but they were turned back by 300 Oakland policemen.The rally was sponsored by the Vietnam Day Committee. Their stated goal was to tell the soldiers stationed at the base that they would be violating international law if they fought in Vietnam.

Governor Edmund Brown (Jerry Brown’s father) said of the protest “It gives aid and comfort to Hanoi.”

The following day saw more anti war rallies, mostly on college campuses. There was also march on Fifth Avenue in New York that drew 10,000 protesters as well as a large number of hecklers and counter protesters.

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Mary Martin Performs Hello Dolly for 4,000 troops in ‘Nam – October 9, 1965

With Mary Martin performing the role of Dolly Levi, 4,000 American troops in Vietnam watched a full scale theatrical production of the Broadway show, “Hello Dolly.” October 9, 1965 saw the first of 11 shows that Martin and the cast of “Dolly” would perform in Vietnam. The Los Angeles Times reported that “Opening night for ‘Hello Dolly in Vietnam came at high noon in sweltering weather and suffering humidity, inside an Air Force maintenance hanger. General William C. Westmoreland and Premier Nguyen Cao Ky were also in attendance

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September 30 Movement, Indonesia – September 30, 1965

In the early morning hours of October 1, 1965, a group calling itself the September 30 Movement kidnapped and executed six generals of the Indonesian army, including its highest commander. The group claimed that it was attempting to preempt a coup, but it was quickly defeated as the senior surviving general, Haji Mohammad Suharto, drove the movement’s partisans out of Jakarta. Riding the crest of mass violence, Suharto blamed the Communist Party of Indonesia for masterminding the movement and used the emergency as a pretext for gradually eroding President Sukarno’s powers and installing himself as a ruler. Imprisoning and killing hundreds of thousands of alleged communists over the next year, Suharto remade the events of October 1, 1965 into the central event of modern Indonesian history and the cornerstone of his thirty-two-year dictatorship. Read more University of Wisconsin Pres

He is dead now, but his mad rhetoric still echoes in the mind for those who were there. Speech after speech, Sukarno’s cadence set the rhythm for our work and our lives in that long summer of 1965. We battened down the Embassy hatches and waited, straining to fathom his purpose and predict his next move. One after another, faster and faster, the PKI’s enemies were over-run; the domino theory was being tested before our eyes. “All of history,” Emerson once wrote, “stands in the long shadow of one man.” So too did Indonesia by September 30 of that year … until the last domino refused to fall. Read more The Central Intelligence Agency

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Vietcong Predict Long War – September 27, 1965

In what turned out to be a very prescient report, Seymour Topping reported in the New York Times that the Vietnamese Communists, soon to be known as The Vietcong were bracing for a long war with America.

He wrote:

The Vietnamese Communists are telling their followers to steel themselves for a “protracted war.” This is their response to the United States military build-up in South Vietnam. In a reversal of ‘the propaganda line instituted early this year, political cadres of Vietcong have stopped talking about 1965 as the “year of decision,” “It may take 5, 10 or 20 years to defeat the Americans and if this generation does not succeed the next will,” the Vietcong rank and file are now told. This position, defined in repeated Vietcong radio broad-casts, has profound implications for United States policy. Among United States officials in Saigon there is tacit acceptance of the prospect of protracted war and interest in negotiations with the Communists has diminished. In the prevailing mood in Saigon, the preoccupation of the Johnson Administration in its public pronouncements with the possibility of negotiations seems somewhat unreal to most observers.

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India Pakistan War Ceasefire – September 22, 1965

The India Pakistan War that lasted 17 days, ended on September 22, 1965 when the two countries more or less agreed to a U.N brokered ceasefire. Both sides also claimed victory.

The 1965 conflict began when Pakistan sent up to 30,000 troops into Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian soldiers invaded Pakistan in retaliation.
Over the years, both sides have claimed victory. Pakistan celebrates 6 September every year as “Defence of Pakistan Day” with a 21-gun salute and a victory parade. Indians meanwhile believe that their forces had the clear upper hand in the war. Read more, BBC

The 1965 War remains memorable for two things. One was a monumental miscalculation by Pakistan. President Ayub Khan, egged on by his scheming and feckless Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, sent a top-secret order to his army chief General Mohammed Musa: “As a general rule, Hindu morale would not stand for more than a couple of hard blows delivered at the right time and the right place. Such opportunities should therefore be sought and exploited.”

Secondly, India’s leadership – as it has done consistently over the past 2500 years – frittered away on the negotiating table what the soldiers won on the battlefield. Pradhan writes: “In a way, India’s leadership, out of its sense of restraint, fair play and endeavour to seek enduring peace and goodwill with the neighbour, seems to have missed opportunities to solve the problem.” Read more Russia Beyond the Headlines

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Longest Held Vietnam POW Captured – September 20, 1965

William Robinson became a POW when he was captured after his helicopter crashed in Ha Tinh Province, North Vietnam, on September 20, 1965. He remained a prisoner of war for 2,703 days. No other American was a POW in Vietnam for as long as Robinson.

While serving as a crew chief aboard a U.S. Air Force Rescue helicopter, Airman First Class William A. Robinson was shot down and captured in Ha Tinh Province, North Vietnam, on September 20, 1965. After a brief stint at the “Hanoi Hilton,” Robinson endured 2,703 days in multiple North Vietnamese prison camps, including the notorious Briarpatch and various compounds at Cu Loc, known by the inmates as the Zoo. No enlisted man in American military history has been held as a prisoner of war longer than Robinson. For seven and a half years, he faced daily privations and endured the full range of North Vietnam’s torture program. Read more, University of Kentucky Press.

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