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1968The Topic: 1968


The Basics - The year 1968 marked many changes for the United States. It signaled the end of the Kennedy-Johnson presidencies, the end of the civil rights movement, and the beginning of the end of the war in Vietnam. More than that, it meant a change in public attitudes and beliefs.
More Detail - 1968 is recognized as being a pivotal year in United States and the world. On January 31st, Viet Cong opened the Tet Offensive by attacking major cities of South Vietnam, a move that triggered President Lyndon B. Johnson's call for peace negotiations. March 31st, L.B.J. surprised the nation by choosing not to run for reelection. On April 4th, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, leading to riots in Washington, D.C. and other cities. In June, Robert F. Kennedy, former U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator from New York, was assassinated in Los Angeles while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination. At Mexico City's Summer Olympic Games, African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze medals, then bowed their heads and raised clenched fists during the playing of the U.S. national anthem in protest of U.S. racism. In August, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago was marred by clashes between Vietnam War protesters and Mayor Daley's police force. And in November, Richard Nixon was elected President with running mate Spiro Agnew, making one of the most extraordinary political comebacks in U.S. history. These and other events marked the year as a benchmark of unrest, tumult, and change.

42eXplore 4 Teens

1968 from Information Please
A summary of the year's events.
Related Websites:
2) 1968 at Answers.com
3) 1968 at Wikipedia
4 ) 1968 in Music at Wikipedia
5) Counterculture Timeline: The High Sixties: Magical Mystery Tour 1967 - 1968 (For mature, high school students)

History in the Streets: 1968 and the Counterculture from the Hoover Institution http://www.hoover.org/publications/uk/3420216.html
What happened in 1968 and why? William F. Buckley Jr., Editor-at-large at the National Review, and Christopher Hitchens, Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair chose opposing sides that year and now take a look back, explaining the rights and wrongs of the Right and the Left and their personal triumphs and regrets.
Related Website from the Hoover Institution:
2) You Said You Wanted a Revolution: 1968 and the Counter-Counterculture

Media 68 http://www.media68.net/eng/core.htm
Media 68 is a project that is partially funded by the European Community (DG XIII, Info2000) dedicated to the ideas, facts, movements and briefly to the history of the year 1968 in the world.

Whole World Was Watching, The: An Oral History of 1968
http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/1968/ This website includes audio files, transcripts, and edited stories from 30 interviews conducted by high school students about various people's recollections of the events of 1968.  

Activities 2 eXplore

Choose and complete a 1968 project:
Conduct an Interview. Visit The Whole World Was Watching, then conduct your own interviews; you could interview a veteran, a college student, a protester, a teacher, or anyone who recollects specific events of the year. For an overview of major events, visit the calendar at sites like 1968 from Information Please.
Then and Now. Compare and contrast popular music from 1968 to today's music. Make a list of things (products) that we have and use today that did not exist in 1968. What television shows were popular during 1968, are any still being rerun? What were the movies and best-selling books of the time? How are they like and unlike ours today?
Debate the Vietnam War. In addition to looking at The Whole World Was Watching and other sites like The Sixties Project, visit Vietnam 1968. Then take a position for or against the U.S. involvement in the war; be a hawk or a dove. Who would support your position and who would not? Should the U.S. have withdrawn from Vietnam? Create a chart showing the relationships between people and attitudes.
Adopt a 1968 Role. Select a public figure from 1968 and learn all that you can about them. Then play their role in an event that occurred that year.

More 2 eXplore

1968, August: Disturbances at the Democratic National Convention (Chicago Public Library)  http://www.chipublib.org/004chicago/disasters/1968dem_convention.html
Some of the country's most publicized antiwar demonstrations took place at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Allegations of unwarranted violence and brutality against police, demonstrators, reporters and bystanders abounded.
More sites about 1968 Convention:
2) Brief History Of Chicago's 1968 Democratic Convention (CNN)
3) Chicago 1968-An introduction by D. Blobaum http://geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/1553/
4) CPL Chicago: 1968 August: Disturbances at the Democtratic National Convention

1968 Mexico City Olympics History

An overview of the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexico.
Related Website:
2) 2 Black Power Advocates Ousted from Olympics http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/1018.html#article&txtSearchFor=1968%7C1968S

1968: The Year of the Barricades by S. Steven Kreis at The History Guide
Read a historinan's lecture on the 1968 revolutionary events and their causes.

Demand the Impossible! Posters from the 1968 Paris Uprising http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Paris/paris.html
An overview of the May, 1968 revolution of students and workers in Paris. See the revolt's posters and descriptions of each.
Related Website:
2) 1968 from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1968

Lisa Law: The Counterculture http://americanhistory.si.edu/lisalaw/4.htm
Lisa Law's photographs provide glimpses into California's blossoming counterculture.

Shock Year : 1968  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/rfk/sfeature/sf_1968.html
From a PBS American Experiece program about Robert F. Kennedy, this section looks at events of the year.

Sixties Project, The 
The site is designed to be useful to scholars and students, but also to provide a place where those who lived through the Sixties can tell their own stories about the era, meet others with common interests, and reflect on their experiences.

Vietnam 1968 by Tim Lickness  http://grunt.space.swri.edu/vn68.htm
Website contains memories of an infantry platoon leader who arrived in Vietnam shortly after the Tet Offensive.
Related Websites:
2) Vietnamese Say G.I.'s Slew 567 in Town http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0316.html#article&txtSearchFor=1968%7C1968S
3) Vietnam War, The: 1965-1968 by D. Simon http://faculty.smu.edu/dsimon/Change-Viet2.html
4) Vietnam War 1965-1968 from The History Place http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/vietnam/index-1965.html

Words 2 eXplore

Vietnam War

Richard M. Nixon

Robert F. Kennedy

civil rights

Black Panthers

Richard J. Daley

Martin Luther King, Jr.



Lyndon B. Johnson



Viet Cong

Cold War


underground press

National Guard

Ladybird Johnson


antiwar movement

hawks and doves

Olympic Games


democratic party

racial prejudice

Pueblo incident

open (fair) housing


military draft


Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 7/99, Updated 7/07.

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