The creation and “divide” of the reactionary hardhats and elite doves during the 60s and 70s was more of a misunderstanding and exaggeration of what it actually was. The elite doves were the groups of people opposed to war and pro-peace, most of whom were college educated and non-veterans. The hardhats were mainly white, working-class men. The hardhats weren’t particularly fond of the dove’s protest, making it seem as if all work-class men were pro-war. When their resistant to the anti-war movement dealt more with wanting to back those who were already in battle (Lewis 173). It was because of their disliking that each side was portrayed as each other’s opposite extremes by media and influenced by George Wallace and Richard Nixon.
The hardhats opposition to the doves led to the “discovery of middle America” as Penny Lewis calls it. These forgotten “middle Americans” were mainly white, middle age people who kind of just existed. And it was hard to figure out where this group of people were heading politically (Lewis 166).
In order for Republican Nixon to gain political popularity, he tried appealing to this “silent majority” (Lewis 165). He had said in a speech that they needed unity in order to have peace. Which is, ultimately, what both doves and hardhats wanted. A while ago we read another article that talked about who had been fighting the wars – the working class. There had been a large misrepresentation between lower and upper class on the field. And that lack of shared experience between both classes was present during and after the war. I don’t think this divide could have been prevented based off how war troop selection ended up playing out.