Without a doubt, one of the most important speeches ever delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. was a "A Time to Break Silence. In his speech, which he delivered at New York's City's Riverside Church on April 4 (1967), King delivered a speech that criticized the envoy of American troops to Vietnam. In 1964, just three years before King's speech, US president Lyndon Baines Johnson ordered the direct intervention in the conflict. In his speech, King expressed his opposition, not only to the American involvement in the military conflict that was taken place in Vietnam at the time, but also to all military conflicts in general.
In his speech, King highlights the moral dilemma of opposing one's government, particularly when the country is involved in a military conflict. Speaking in deeply personal terms, King is able to reinforce its argument by looking directly at his feelings delivering a speech that directly opposes the foreign policy of his own country. He claimed that, "even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war" (King, 1967). And this opposition is particularly painful when is clear there is evil in both sides of the conflict. Nevertheless, King admitted that the most violent side of the two was the American.
Despite the fact that his speech was destined to receive criticism from many, he again used directly personal terms, King stated that "who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak" (ibid), and reiterating that the Nobel Prize for Peace also encouraged to fight the evils inside and outside America.
[...] Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?" An important factor that has to be taken into consideration when analysing the reasons for the U.S. participation in the Vietnam War, is legitimacy of the American intervention. The problematic situation in Indochina did not threat directly U.S. security. Therefore, had the United States the right to intervene in Vietnam, since there was not a clear threat against American national security? [...]
[...] The ‘only clear winner of the Vietnam War …. was the Soviet Union' (Lind, 2003: 11). In Lind's opinion, the Soviet Union managed to humiliate and deteriorate the influence in the context of the cold war, without a significant investment in the conflict. King's speech does not take into account any issues related directly to the cold war. In addition, he indicated that any possible reasons as not worthy of the loss of lives that the conflict generated in both sides, the US and Vietnam. [...]
[...] (2008) Martin Luther King's Speech Against the Vietnam War. http://antiwar.com/orig/bromwich.php?articleid=12844 Herring, G.C. (2000) ‘Why the United States Failed in Vietnam', in Dennis, M. and T. G. Patterson, eds., Major Problems in American Foreign Relations Vol. II, 5th edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin). Karnow, S. (1997) Vietnam, A History, 2nd edition (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books). King, M. L. (1967) Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm Lind, M. (2003) ‘The Necessary War', in McMahon, R. J., ed., Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War, 3rd edition (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin). [...]
[...] Analysis of Martin Luther King's speech against the Vietnam War "A Time to Break Silence" Without a doubt, one of the most important speeches ever delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. was a "A Time to Break Silence.” In his speech, which he delivered at New York's City's Riverside Church on April 4 (1967), King delivered a speech that criticized the envoy of American troops to Vietnam. In 1964, just three years before King's speech, US president Lyndon Baines Johnson ordered the direct intervention in the conflict. [...]
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