Kent State Shootings, 1970: Four Dead In Ohio

By | April 9, 2019

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National Guard Opening Fire on Kent State University Demonstrators, Ohio, USA, 1970. Source: (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Occurring on May 4, 1970, the Kent State Massacre was a shocking incident that saw Ohio National Guardsmen fatally shot four students. At the time the country was a powder keg. Hippies, who'd seen their vision fulfilled the previous August at Woodstock, were doing their best to believe their peace and love rhetoric even as the world grew increasingly violent. What were the reasons behind this nation-changing event that put the nail in the coffin of the '60s? Who caused this violent attack? And why was the National Guard there in the first place? 

The Students Were Protesting America’s Involvement In Cambodia

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The 1968 presidential election focused heavily on the quagmire of the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon ran on a platform of ending the war and getting the troops home. But after he was elected, the country became even more embroiled in the unending battle. The media ran with a story about the murder of nearly 500 civilians by American troops in the My Lai Massacre and days before the massacre the president announced that the troops were invading Cambodia.

Nixon’s announcement sent students across the country out into the streets and onto campus lawns in protest, and the protests in Kent, Ohio were among some of the most tense in the United States.