Essay on Kent State Shooting

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  880 Words
Date:  2022-05-12


The Kent State Shootings took place in 4th May 1970 at the Kent State University located in Ohio State (Jackson, np). The event has been categorized as a dark spot in the American history. The Kent State Shootings is also being remembered the Kent State Massacre that left four students dead and nine students injured. The massacre began after President Nixon's speech informing the public that America had just invaded Cambodia (Harris, 101). The students did like the president's action because one of his election pledges was to end the Vietnam War Era. The paper purposes to answer the following questions; what happened during the Kent State shootings? What caused the Kent State massacre?

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The question that many Americans were asking after the incidence the Kent University is what transpired at Kent State University. However, on May 4, 1970, violence, disruption, and protest erupted in the Kent State University's ground (Jackson, np). These actions took place as a form of student's reaction to American soldiers' invasion of Cambodia under President's Nixon's administration. The event led to the death of fours students and leaving nine others injured due to their disorderly and violent nature. The Guards shot students who were actively protesting during the shooting, other were passersby, and onlookers who were observing the protest (Harris, 101). Kent massacre became a symbol of deep social and political division that divided the nation during the era of Vietnam War. The massacre provoked nationwide protests among various students and the general public. Kent State Massacre led to the change of public opinion towards war. The government was the main cause of the shooting. The reason is because its decision to invade Cambodia led to the rise of anti-war Protestants after President Nixon gave out a speech that America had invaded Cambodia on April 3O, 1790. His speech was as follows, "If, when the chips are down, the world's most powerful nation, the United States of America, acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and institutions around the world, I would rather be a one term president and do what I believe is right than to be a two-term president at the cost of seeing America become a second-rate power (Harris, 102)." Learners did not approve the decision Nixon took and protest emerged in different universities a day after his speech. The students from Kent State University were among the protestors who did not agree with Nixon. The invasion of Cambodia outlined a watershed in the feelings of students who attended Kent University towards American approach in the Indochina war (Harris, 102).

Various students were protesting the action of Nixon during the first two days of May. Students felt betrayed because the public was under the impression that their soldiers were vacating Vietnam, only for American to involve in another war. Besides, the country started another conflict after the Cambodian invasion. Additionally, several unknown individuals destroyed the ROTC building. This incidence was significant because the ROTC was a program situated in the university and it was mandated to teach students on how to become military personnel. This action was a direct attack on the military and their actions. It was a message that the students were sending opposing the president's decision (Harris, 102). The following day, the National Guardsmen came in large number to control the already rioting students in the university. Nevertheless, the units that had been called upon to calm the riot had just come from another riot duty and were fatigued. The mayor issued a state of emergency in an attempt to stop the riot. The Guards applied the use of tear gas to try and disperse the angry crowd, but all were in vain. This action forced a group of 77 National Guardsman to use their loaded weapons on the students leading to the death of four students and injuring nine of them (Jackson, np).


The incidence took place on May 4th, 1970 at Kent State University. The Kent State Shootings was also known as the Kent Massacre of 1970. The riot, protest, and destruction of properties began after the day President Nixon announced that America had invaded Cambodia. The public among them students felt betrayed because they thought the American troops were being vacated from Vietnam ending the Vietnam War Era. Students at Kent State University held a demonstration at the Kent University's ground protesting Nixon's action. The students burnt down ROTC building that was a program meant to educate and train students how to be military officers. The burning of the building was a form of passing a message against the military's action of evading Cambodia. The National Guardsmen responded by redeploying other units to try and help them control the students. The protest got out of hand forcing the Guardsmen to use their loaded weapons and live bullets on the students. This action led to the death of 4 students and injuring nine of them. The shootings at Kent State University led to the enactment of policies that govern the USA.

Work Cited

Jackson, Miriam R. We Shall Not Be Moved: The May 4Th Coalition, the" Gym Struggle" of 1977 at Kent State University and the Battle over Ultimate Control of the Vietnam Era National Narrative. Trafford Publishing, 2017.

Harris, Jerry. "Kent State: death and dissent in the long sixties." (2017): 101-103.

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Essay on Kent State Shooting. (2022, May 12). Retrieved from

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