This song was actually written by this fine piece of cake:
If you don’t know who that is (shame on you), it’s Bob Dylan (when his skin didn’t sag).
However, it was covered and popularized by Peter, Paul and Mary during the era of protests against the Vietnam War. I could see why, it is a very catchy tune but it also contains powerful lyrics, like:
“Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?”
To me, this line is saying “how much more destruction can we take before we get fed up with it?
“Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?”
This asks how many people must die for this fighting to stop. In Vietnam, the number of deaths was growing.The protesters wanted to get the soldiers back home and just end the madness.