These lines printed in bold on the front pages of national newspapers and magazines dated May 5, 1970, conveyed the essence of what had happened during Kent students' protest against the war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion to Cambodia. The Cambodian invasion took place in late April of 1970. According to the statement of President Nixon broadcasted nationwide on April 30, 1970 the goal of the invasion was to attack the Viet Cong headquarters located on Cambodian territory. The first protests followed the next day after Nixon's statement. Hundreds of American students, whose anti-war sentiment was the highest as compared with other social groups protested in their campuses across the country. Kent State University campus was also involved in the anti-military demonstrations. The protests peaked on Monday, May 4, when several hundreds students of Kent State University gathered at noon to declare their disapproval of the U.S. military policies in Asia2.
By strange coincidence the Kent State University shootings bore frightening resemblance to another prominent event of the U.S. history, namely the Boston Massacre of 1770. The Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770 between a group of Boston citizens and British troops. A group of British soldiers shot five colonists during a public protest action against the Townshend Acts and the excessive presence of British troops in Boston and New York. The soldiers, struck by snow and ice balls thrown by the crowd, fired into the demonstrants killing five and wounding half a dozen people3.
The first thing one might notice about these two events is striking similarity of dates and numbers. Separated by almost exactly two centuries both shootings occurred in the spring, and both cases produced nearly the same number of victims. In-depth analysis of the historical background of the shootings, comparison of the implications produced by them and examination of their impact on the society reveals even more interesting details.
The second half of 20th century was marked by a series of events that determined the modern visage of American society. Nuclear disarmament movement and Civil rights movement in the USA of the late 1950s - early 1960s, Anti-Vietnam War movement in the USA and worldwide of the mid 1960s - early 1970s, students movement in the USA of the mid 1960s - early 1970s, women's movement in the USA that began in the late 1960s and soon spread to Europe - these are only most notable examples of such events. The shootings at Kent University went down in history as the turning point of the Vietnam War era. In those days the nation was torn by deep cultural and political conflict. Richard Nixon won the 1968 election promising to end the Vietnam War, but failed to stick to his promise. Instead, the first draft lottery since World War II was announced followed by the invasion into Cambodia that made the war even more intensive. Thousands of American students responded to the increased risk of being drafted by protests and demonstrations setting the stage for the Kent University shootings4.
The historical background of the Boston Massacre was characterized by a number of similar features, though the context was totally different. Political and economic