Witnessing Peace: The Milwaukee Fourteen, 1968-1971
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Much has been written and researched about the antiwar movement during the Vietnam Era. The relatively small segment of Catholic antiwar radicals of this time period have been less examined. This thesis focuses upon the ideas, language, organization, and tactics of the Catholic radicals who employed the “hit and stay” model of protest, in which groups of mostly Catholic activists would break into draft board offices, remove draft files, incinerate or destroy the files, and then wait to be arrested. This thesis focuses upon one draft board action, perpetrated by “The Milwaukee Fourteen, composed mostly of clergy and Catholic lay people, in September, 1968. In particular, it examines the influence of the Catholic Workers and the philosophy of personalism in the beliefs and motivations of the Fourteen. This influence led most of the participants to view their antiwar action as witness-bearing, rather than simply an effort to impede the draft process in a major city in the United States. Through historical monographs focused upon Catholic radicalism, letters from the Fourteen and other archival sources, and through oral interviews, this thesis argues that Catholic Worker influences best explain why and how the Fourteen planned this action, turned their trial into an indictment of the state and the Vietnam War, and bore ultimate witness in prison.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Draft resisters--Wisconsin--Milwaukee
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Wisconsin--Milwaukee
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 --Religious aspects--Catholic Church