When President Lyndon Johnson lighted the National Christmas Tree in December 1964, he declared, “These are the most hopeful times in all the years since Christ was born in Bethlehem.” At the end of 1965, however, Americans were far less hopeful. Johnson’s actions had much to do with troubles and tensions we associate with the “Sixties.”
The disillusionment, rebellion, and upheaval we associate with the Sixties didn’t truly begin until 1965. What caused the change? One of the most important factors relates to escalation of the Vietnam War. By the end of 1965, 185,000 U.S. soldiers were in Vietnam and antiwar protests began in the USA on college campuses and city streets. This lecture draws attention to clashing perspectives on Vietnam that broke up a friendship between President Lyndon Johnson and the prominent journalist, Walter Lippmann. The presentation also examines how the changes that were occurring in American society in 1965 began to affect musical, television, and movie entertainment.