GI’s Against the War in 1968

GI’s Join the Protests: 1968 San Francisco, Two Protests Marches Against the Vietnam War

October 12, 1968, San Francisco, CA. GI's Against the War march lead by soldiers in uniform

October 12, 1968, San Francisco, CA. GI’s Against the War march lead by soldiers in uniform

Protests that started on campus, moved into the community, then confronted the draft system, next spread into the armed forces directly. “GI’s for Peace” became the leading banner in the April 27, 1968 and October 12, 1968 marches against the war in Vietnam. Soldiers in uniform appeared at the October 12th rally and spoke against the war, disobeying orders and subjecting themselves to imprisonment and army discipline. Two days after this rally, soldiers, in uniform and out of uniform, assembled for a march on the San Francisco Presidio army base where imprisoned soldiers had been charged with mutiny for protesting the war.

In spite of the punishments heaped upon them, protesting soldiers continued to march against the war in Vietnam. They joined the world wide Vietnam war moratorium on November 15, 1969. The San Francisco Moratorium peace march joined together with large demonstrations around the country and the world, including 500,000 in Washington, D.C. Unlike earlier marches, this one has the clear stamp of labor and left wing organizations. The Communist Party of the USA appeared openly with their own banner. Labor union locals, teachers, students, librarians, engineers, scientists, doctors and health workers all carried banners protesting the war in Vietnam.

This post presents the Harvey Richards’ photographs of two marches to end the war in Vietnam in 1968 in San Francisco. The first gallery presents photos from the  April 27, 1968 march to end the war. It was led by GIs for Peace and had many other groups represented. The second is from the October 12, 1968 organized and led by GI’s For Peace.

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All images are copyrighted © Paul Richards 2001-2013.

On October 12, 1968, GI’s for Peace organized and led another march to end the war in Vietnam. Harvey photographed this march led by active duty soldiers in uniform in full defiance of U.S. Army orders not to do that.  See my blog post video about this march.  The march reflected the increased numbers of soldiers rebelling against the war. During 1968, there were 155,536 individuals who were Away Without Leave (AWOL) from the  U.S. Army (see  Of those 53,357 were designated desertions.  On October 14, 1968, two days after the march, 27 prisoners in the Presidio brig staged a sit down protest over conditions there.  Newspaper headlines read “Mutiny in the Presidio”.  The sit down protesters sang “We Shall Overcome” and were charged with desertion with a possible death penalty.  One of the Presidio 27 remembered the events here.   Photographs from that march are in the gallery below.


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