Linus Pauling and the International Peace Movement Narrative  
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Vietnam
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During the mid-1960s, the Paulings developed a new focus for their peace work: Vietnam. After the 1964 election -- in which Pauling received more than twenty-five-hundred write-in votes for governor of California -- President Lyndon Johnson’s policy of increasing involvement in the war-torn Asian nation generated an antiwar reaction that the Paulings joined with enthusiasm. Pauling deplored the war both as unconstitutional -- Johnson was waging war, he said, without the necessary declaration from Congress -- and unnecessary. The aging activist made speeches, signed protest letters, and even tried to play peacemaker by communicating personally with North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, and passing on the lengthy written response he received to Johnson. His efforts were ignored by the White House. By the time Pauling celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday in February 1966, he was without a research group, without a big scientific problem to work on, and, increasingly, without a platform for his peace ideas. Other activists, younger, more radical, would lead the fight against the Vietnam War. A new generation would march, petition, and make attention-grabbing statements to the press -- employing many of the techniques Pauling had used to critique the government.

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Video Clip  Video: Speaking out against Vietnam. 1977. (0:55) Transcript and More Information

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See Also: Letter from Ava Helen Pauling to Albert Szent-Györgyi. April 7, 1965. 
See Also: Letter from Linus Pauling to Martin Luther King, Jr. June 21, 1965. 
See Also: "Note to Self." May 2, 1967. 
See Also: "Hostages for Peace Pledge." May 6, 1972. 

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"An Appeal by Recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize." 1965.


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Telegram from Ho Chi Minh to Linus Pauling. May 27, 1967.

"On many questions I have a better understanding of the issues than any politicians. If [Secretary of State] Dean Rusk had studied science as much as I have studied world affairs then I would consider him qualified to determine U.S. nuclear policy."

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