A 1970’s Time Capsule



Welcome to my take on the A to Z Challenge for 2016.  Where last year I brought you the most important aspect of the 1940s, World War II, this year I jump ahead a few decades and bring you the 1970’s.  If you didn’t see my blog reveal post in March, here is what you’ll find over the next 26 days.

Imagine that on December 31, 1979, a group of historians decide to bury a time capsule filled with news events and pop culture phenomena that were symbols of the 1970’s. What would be in this decades old time capsule? You are about to find out because for some reason unknown to anyone but these historians, the time capsule is scheduled to be unearthed on April Fools Day, 2016.  I know you’re curious.  Are you ready for a far out and groovy trip around the 1970’s? You cool cats come back on each of the 26 days where I will blog one or two posts covering two broad categories: News and Noteworthy – People or events that had a lasting impact on the world in the 1970’s.  Pop Culture – The music, film, television, fashion, cars and toys that made up our world in the 1970’s. I’m turning back time but you’re really going to dig it.  Catch you on the flip side.

Be sure to visit my Pop Culture post today as well.


Opposition to the war in Vietnam started long before the 1970’s however with the first draft since World War II on December 1, 1969, the antiwar movement in the early 1970’s is a significant aspect of the study of the Vietnam era.


  • On March 4 Antonia Martínez, a 21-year-old student at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras was shot and killed by a policeman while watching and commenting on the anti-Vietnam War and education reform student protests at the University of Puerto Rico.
  • Kent State/Cambodia Incursion Protest, Washington, D.C.: A week after the Kent State shootings, on May 4, 100,000 anti-war demonstrators converged on Washington, D.C. toprotest the shooting of the students in Ohio and the Nixon administration’s incursion into Cambodia. Even though the demonstration was quickly put together, protesters were still able to bring out thousands to march in the Capital. It was an almost spontaneous response to the events of the previous week. Police ringed the White House with buses to block the demonstrators from getting too close to the executive mansion. Early in the morning before the march, Nixon met with protesters briefly at the Lincoln Memorial but nothing was resolved and the protest went on as planned.
  • National Student Strike: more than 450 university, college and high school campuses across the country were shut by student strikes and both violent and non-violent protests that involved more than 4 million students, in the only nationwide student strike in U.S. history.
  • A Gallup poll in May shows that 56% of the public believed that sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake, 61% of those over 50 expressed that belief compared to 49% of those between the ages of 21–29.
  • On June 13, President Nixon established the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest. The commission was directed to study the dissent, disorder, and violence breaking out on college and university campuses.
  • In July 1970. the award winning documentary The World of Charlie Company was broadcast. “It showed GI’s close to mutiny, balking at orders that seemed to them unreasonable. This was something never seen on television before.” The documentary was produced by CBS News.  The full documentary is available on Youtube and too long to embed here.  Here is a 5 minutes video also from CBS News.
  • On August 24, 1970, near 3:40 a.m., a van filled with ammonium nitrate and fuel oil mixture was detonated on the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Sterling Hall bombing. One researcher was killed and three others were injured.
  • Vortex I: A Biodegradable Festival of Life: To avert potential violence arising from planned anti-war protests, a government-sponsored rock festival was held near Portland, Oregon from August 28 to September 3, attracting 100,000 participants. The festival, arranged by the People’s Army Jamboree (an ad hoc group) and Oregon governor Tom McCall, was set up when the FBI told the governor that President Nixon’s planned appearance at an American Legion convention in Portland could lead to violence worse than that seen at 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
  • The Chicano Moratorium: on August 29, some 25,000 Mexican-Americans participated in the largest anti-war demonstration in Los Angeles. Police attacked the crowd with billyclubs and tear gas; two people were killed. Immediately after the marchers were dispersed, sheriff’s deputies raided a nearby bar, where they shot and killed Rubén Salazar, KMEX news director and Los Angeles Times columnist, with a tear-gas projectile.

1971 and after

  • On April 23, 1971, Vietnam veterans threw away over 700 medals on the West Steps of the Capitol building. The next day, antiwar organizers claimed that 500,000 marched, making this the largest demonstration since the November, 1969 march.
  • Two weeks later, on May 5, 1971, 1146 people were arrested on the Capitol grounds trying to shut down Congress. This brought the total arrested during the 1971 May Day Protests to over 12,000. Abbie Hoffman was arrested on charges of interstate travel to incite a riot and assaulting a police officer.
  • In August, 1971, the Camden 28 conducted a raid on the Camden, New Jersey draft board offices. The 28 included five or more members of the clergy, as well as a number of local blue-collar workers.
The Camden 28

The Camden 28

  • Beginning December 26, 1971, 15 anti-war veterans occupied the Statue of Liberty, flying a US flag upside down from her crown. They left on December 28, following issuance of a Federal Court order. Also on December 28, 80 young veterans clashed with police and were arrested while trying to occupy the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • On March 29, 1972, 166 people, many of them seminarians, were arrested in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for encircling the Federal Courthouse with a chain, to protest the trial of the Harrisburg Seven.
  • On April 19, 1972, in response to renewed escalation of bombing, students at many colleges and universities around the country broke into campus buildings and threatened strikes. The following weekend, protests were held in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and elsewhere.
  • On May 13, 1972, protests again spread across the country in response to President Nixon’s decision to mine harbors in North Vietnam and renewed bombing of North Vietnam (Operation Linebacker).
  • On July 6, 1973, four Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur on a White House Tour stopped and began praying to protest the war. In the next six weeks, such kneel-ins became a popular form of protest and led to over 158 protestors arrests.

Public Opinion

William L. Lunch and Peter W. Sperlich conducted a study where they collected public opinion data measuring support for the war from 1965–1971. Support for the war was measured by a negative response to the question:

“In view of developments since we entered the fighting in Vietnam, do you think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam?”.

Here were the results:

Month Percentage who agreed with war
August 1965 61%
March 1966 59%
May 1966 49%
September 1966 48%
November 1966 51%
February 1967 52%
May 1967 50%
July 1967 48%
October 1967 46%
December 1967 48%
February 1968 42%
March 1968 41%
April 1968 40%
August 1968 35%
October 1968 37%
February 1969 39%
October 1969 32%
January 1970 33%
April 1970 34%
May 1970 36%
January 1971 31%
May 1971 28%

After May 1971 Gallup stopped asking this question.


And now something completely different.  1970s and the Economy.  In a word INFLATION

Inflation of the 1970s

Inflation of the 1970s

Did you know (source http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1970s.html)?

In 1970 a new house cost $23,400.00 and by 1979 was $58,500.00
In 1970 the average income per year was $9,350.00 and by 1979 was $17,550.00
In 1970 a gallon of gas was 36 cents and by 1979 was 86 cents
In 1970 the average cost of new car was $3,900.00 and by 1979 was $5,770.00

All images in this article are in the public domain. For any YouTube clips embedded in my posts, I am not the uploader.

22 responses

  1. What I like about the Anti-War movement of the 1970s is that it was united on all fronts, but especially racial. White folk started becoming aware of the inequalities and struggles that Black folk faced, especially in regards to the draft. Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember going to an anti-war rally on campus in 1966 for a sociology class. I bought a car in 1969 for about $4000 (a Dodge Charger) and remember seeing gas for as low as 14.9 cents per gallon.


  3. Miss Andi says:

    It’s interesting how we put a romantic spin on those demonstrations today. Thanks for the factual summary!


  4. cleemckenzie says:

    Ah yes, the good old days when people spoke out and took to the streets. I was there, but oddly enough I was in a country called Laos and trying to stay up on what was happening stateside. I got a look at the war from a very different perspective.



  5. Really interesting post, I will definitely be back to read more. thanks


  6. Thanks for all of the remembrances. Having grown to adult in the 70’s it was quite a ride.


  7. It was an interesting time to grow up. Youv’e put alot into this – thanks
    I’m A to Zing from: moondustwriter and Fill the Cracks


  8. John Holton says:

    Speaking of inflation, remember “Whip Inflation Now”?


    • I was a little young to actually remember it but I looked it up after receiving your comment. I bet know President tried slogan buttons again with the way it was turned into a joke.


  9. Birgit says:

    These were such turbulent times because of the Vitenam War. It was so volatile. I found the stats at the end very interesting especially the income since so many people now still make only $17,500


  10. In many ways, a very troubling time for our nation. I was eleven in 1971. The violence and noise I was on newscasts seemed so far removed from the life I was living in my small home town.

    As an adult, I look back and the saddest part to me is how little support our government gave those troops on the ground once public opinion dropped so low in support of the war. If they were going to keep troops there, the government should have given them everything they needed. If they weren’t prepared to do that, they should have brought them home immediately.

    Stateside, it was a sad, sorry disgrace that anyone, anywhere greeted our troops with disrespect. The troops were not responsible for Vietnam. They were our boys, our sons, our fathers.

    Financially, my parents viewed the 70’s as one of the worst decades. And they were children of the Great Depression.

    Revisit the Tender Years with me during the #AtoZChallenge at Life & Faith in Caneyhead!


  11. yvonne2807 says:

    Having been born in the 70s I look forward to following your posts 🙂

    Visiting from the A-Z Challenge