Hiroshima Day March, HUAC Protests, Vietnam War Escalation
After HUAC’s debacle in San Francisco when its 1960 hearings ended with fire hoses washing demonstrators down the steps of city hall, HUAC moved its witch hunt to Los Angeles where the anti-communists crusaders continued their efforts to purge Hollywood of non conformists and dissenters. Harvey Richards photographed the demonstrations against HUAC in LA in 1962. The FBI also photographed this demonstration and got photographed doing it.
In San Francisco, on August 6, 1962, Harvey Richards photographed the Women for Peace march to commemorate the anniversary of the U.S. dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. Marching in a time of complacency and mind numbing anti-communist media hype, these demonstrators received little or no publicity from the established media. Calling for “No More War”, protesters marched around an area in San Francisco equal in size to the area destroyed in Hiroshima by the bomb. Eva Helen Pauling spoke at the rally at Civic Center in San Francisco where the march ended. Alice Richards, one of the founders of Women for Peace, and also spoke at the rally.
Protest actions against nuclear testing continued in the early 1960’s, led by Women for Peace. Harvey Richards made a film about the formation of this group with the script written by his wife, Alice Richards and her friend Francis Herring, both co founders of the group. One of the first actions of Women for Peace was the protest against nuclear testing outside the testing zone in Mercury, Nevada where women picketed openly with helicopter surveillance flying over them. Photos of this demonstration are included in this gallery.
Students began to join the peace movement in the early 1960’s after the U.S. took over the colonial mission of France in Vietnam and began to send “advisers” and to fund the creation of a pro-western army and governement. After the defeat of the French forces in the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, pro western groups in Vietnam received support from the U.S. to continue the fight against nationalists led by Ho Chi Minh. U.S. cold warriors pitched the U.S. colonial war as part of the anti-communist crusade, accusing Vietnamese nationalists and peace demonstrators of being communists. This was the context in which the movement against the war in Vietnam began and it was the line of major media in covering it. One of the first demonstrations against the U.S. war in Vietnam happened in October, 1963 when Madam Nhu, the wife of the pro western leader Dgo Diem Nhu visited San Francisco. Harvey Richards’ photographic efforts to publicize Bay Area peace demonstrations arose to counter the anti-communist media bias and to bring positive attention to the movements for peace. His photos show the faces and picket signs that helped end the silence of the 1950’s and the effectiveness of its anti-communist crusade. Buy or license these photos.