“Why Lose When You Can Win?” Scenes From a Pro-Vietnam War Rally 45 Years Ago

A photographer digs up his images of a April 1970 pro-war protest at the Washington Monument.

Fundamentalist demonstrators march at the Washington Monument in support of the Vietnam War in 1970. Tom Norpell

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


In April 1970, Tom Norpell was an aspiring photojournalist working as a darkroom technician in Washington, D.C. After hearing about a rally in support of US involvement in the Vietnam War, he borrowed his brother’s camera and headed to the Washington Monument with six rolls of film.

The pro-war protest held on Wednesday April 8, 1970, Norpell recalls, “was neither the largest pro-war rally nor one that represented the majority of Americans who supported the war.” The rally was organized by a fundamentalist coalition, though neo-Nazis and other extreme right-wingers also showed up, as did pro-peace counterprotesters. Nonetheless, “For marchers fed up with antiwar protests dominating the evening news, it was their moment in the sun.”

All photographs by Tom Norpell.

Political and religious zeal commingled at the rally, captured by this man’s button, “In This Sign Conquer.”
 
 

 

 

A man shelters himself from the rain during the rally.
 

 

A resting child looks at Norpell with suspicion.
 

 

An American Nazi Party member with a copy of White Power, “the newspaper of White Revolution.”
 

Armband-wearing members of the now-defunct National States Rights Party march with standards.
 

 

A man is restrained as he prepares to take a swing at an antiwar protester.
 

A World War II veteran talks with an antiwar counterprotester.
 

 

 

 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate