Episode 32: The Kent State Shooting
Fifty-one years ago this month, the war in Vietnam came home to the United States. On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen fired sixty-seven rounds over thirteen seconds on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio. Thirteen bodies fell to the ground; four of them died. At that moment, a largely complacent anti-war movement was electrified. The students had been protesting America's movement of ground troops into neighboring Cambodia during the Vietnam War. President Richard Nixon had hoped to settle the war by turning the fight over to America’s allies in South Vietnam and cutting a deal with the enemies in Hanoi. But as the feckless South Vietnamese regime crumbled, and the protest movement gathered steam, Nixon was forced to delay negotiations. The Kent State shooting remains one of the most misunderstood moments in that war. In subsequent years, Kent State, much like the Tet Offensive, the My Lai massacre, and the release of the Pentagon Papers, became a cultural event unto itself. Like these moments, the Kent State shooting has become the subject of mythology and misunderstanding, its meaning shifting over time. On this riveting episode of the 18th Airborne Corps podcast, host Joe Buccino, alongside guest host Pete Nguyen, dives deep into the truth and myth of Kent State. This is an episode for anyone interested in the Vietnam War, in the antiwar movement, or in this pivotal moment in recent American history.