Vietnam Era Unrest in Madison
Madison was highly active in protesting the United States involvement in Vietnam, earning the city the nickname of “The Third Coast”. Various demonstrations, mostly by students of the University of Wisconsin, and acts of sabotage took place in the late 1960s. By 1970 the protests had become frequent, some violent.

There was a belief that the war was an intolerable crime against innocent civilians, and a sense that the police and University officials preferred tear-gassing first and asking questions later.

The first major event, known today as “Dow Day” took place on October 18, 1967 when students clashed with police, leaving many on both sides injured. On August 24, 1970 everything seemed to come to a head with the Bombing of Sterling Hall, an event that shook everyone enough that the protests seemed to stop almost instantly.

One of the main characters during this time was Karl Armstrong. Armstrong was the leader of the “New Years Gang” that was responsible for most of the destructive acts of the period.