Catonsville Nine Research Paper

1152 Words5 Pages
Callum Darnell, Anthony Adamcheck Mr. Sacerdote Asian Studies, Group 3 3/07/15 The Catonsville Nine The Catonsville Nine was a group of nine Catholic activists who burned draft files in order to protest the drafting of citizens into the Vietnam War, and the war itself. On May 17th, 1968, these activists entered the Selective Service Offices in Catonsville, Maryland. Selective Service Offices were U.S Post Offices that were used as centers for draft organization. The government used the Offices to store draft files, records, and other important information. The activists were able to remove 378 of these files and escaped to a nearby parking lot. There, they used homemade napalm to burn them. This was an immense symbol of protest against the…show more content…
His experience with multiple organizations such as The Catholic Worker Movement and Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam (founder) turned him into an early voice of opposition against the war in Vietnam. The remaining of the group, Br. David Darst, John Hogan, Tom Lewis, Majorie Bradford Melville, Thomas Melville, and Mary Moylan all had similar catholic influences in they're lives that led them to this protest. The way that The Catonsville Nine performed their protest was very unique in that they used homemade napalm to burn the files. Napalm is a mixture of plastic polystyrene, hydrocarbon benzene, and gasoline. This mixture creates a jelly-like substance that, when ignited, sticks to practically anything and burns up to ten minutes. The effects of napalm on the human body are unbearably painful and almost always cause death among its victims. Napalm was first used in flamethrowers for U.S. ground troops; they burned down sections of forest and bushes in hopes of eliminating any enemy guerrilla fighters. Later on in the war B-52 Bombers began dropping napalm bombs and other incendiary explosives. Air raids that used napalm were much more devastating than flamethrowers; a single bomb was capable of destroying areas up to 2,500 square yards. Throughout the duration of the war, 1965 – 1973, eight million tons of bombs were dropped over Vietnam; this was more than three times the amount used…show more content…
They performed the protest on May 17th, 1968, which was about a month after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also, around this time and Following a lengthy period of debate and discussion, North Vietnamese and American negotiators agree on a location and start date of peace talks. Talks are slated to begin in Paris on May 10 with W. Averell Harriman representing the United States, and former Foreign Minister Xuan Thuy heading the North Vietnamese delegation. The Tet Offensive was making 1968 the worst year of the decade-long war; Lyndon B. Johnson, the President at the time, had committed more military troops in Vietnam, taking the total U.S. soldiers in Vietnam to nearly 550,000, and 24,000 young men were being inducted each month to fill the quota. Back in the U.S, the country was separated in a tense presidential campaign that had already forced Johnson to refrain from seeking re-election. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated the month before and Robert Kennedy's assassination would soon follow. The times were chaotic, conflicted and confused. Because of this, some question the timing for the file burning. Some say it happened too late in the war to have a significant enough impact, and that it should've have happened earlier during the war period. Some think that, if it had happened earlier, it would have caused the United Sates

    More about Catonsville Nine Research Paper

      Open Document