On this day in the United States, San Jose State College students demonstrate against the Dow Chemical Company, the maker of napalm. Police were sent in, but the students refused to disperse and several protest leaders were arrested. The next day the students defied California governor Ronald Reagan’s warning against further demonstrations and again staged an anti-Dow demonstration.
Napalm was an acronym derived from naphthetic and palmic acids, whose salts were used to manufacture the jellied gasoline–napalm–that was used in flame-throwers and bombs. Napalm first came into widespread use during World War II, especially in flame throwers used to destroy entrenched Japanese positions in the Pacific war. It was also used extensively in aerial bombs during the Korean War against Chinese and North Korean entrenchments. The use of napalm in the Vietnam War concerned many Americans who considered it an especially cruel and barbaric weapon.