On 1968

1968 – 50 years ago; a year of triumph and tragedy; a year of social unrest and cultural changes; the year that some describe as the most tumultuous in history; a year I remember as a 15 year old; a year captured below with randomly ordered events.


1968 – A leap year starting on a Monday

1968 – World leaders included Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Charles de Gaulle, Indira Gandhi, Leonid Brezhnev, Lyndon Johnson, Harold Wilson, Mao Tse-tung

1968 – Vietnam War, Tet Offensive, My Lai massacre, and the end of US bombings

1968 – Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April) and Robert F Kennedy (June)

1968 – Eastern Bloc armies (Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary) invade Czechoslovakia

1968 – Intel Corporation created

1968- Super Bowl II (2) – Packers vs. Raiders

1968 – Anti-Vietnam War protests throughout the US and the Western World

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1968 – The Beatles White Album

1968 – Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France – the first Winter Olympics broadcast in color

1968 – North Korea captured the USS Pueblo (an American surveillance ship) and its crew

1968 – General Strike in France by students and workers

1968 – Enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 in US

1968 – Dutch Elm disease

1968 – Earthquake in Sicily with 231 dead, 262 injured

1968 – South African Dr. Christian Barnard performs his third human heart transplant

1968 – London Bridge sold for $1 million and re-erected in Arizona

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1968 – US President Johnson surprisingly announces he would not run for another term

1968 – Redwood National Park created in California

1968 – Pope Paul VI bans Catholics from using the contraceptive pill for birth control

1968 – The Poor People’s March on Washington, DC

1968 – Zodiac serial murderer in California

1968 – France becomes the world’s fifth nuclear power

1968 – Several major US cities elect black mayors

1968 – Unrests on college campuses across the US

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1968 – Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry

1968 – The Ferry TEV Wahine capsizes in Wellington Harbour, New Zealand_

1968 – The nuclear-powered US submarine Scorpion sinks in the Atlantic Ocean (99 crew members died)

1968 – Hong Kong Flu pandemic begins in Hong Kong

1968 – Student riots threaten Mexico Olympics

1968 – Black power salute after the gold and bronze medalists at Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico

1968 – Completed: The Aswan Dam in Egypt and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

1968 – The border between Spain and Gibraltar is closed

1968 – Riots at the Democratic Party National Convention in Chicago, Illinois

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1968 – The first Big Mac goes on sale at McDonalds at a cost of 49 cents

1968 – The Beatles create Apple Records and release “Hey Jude” as the first single on the label

1968 – Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace for US President (Wallace is the last third-party candidate to win Electoral votes)

1968 – Boeing introduces 747 aircraft

1968 – Mattel introduces Hot Wheel Cars

1968 – Kymer Rouge forms in Cambodia

1968 – Led Zeppelin performs for the first time

1968 – Allen K Breed invents an airbag for cars

1968 – Yale University announces it will admit women

1968 – Apollo 8 orbits the Moon (first manned mission to do so)

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1968 – US Explodes experimental hydrogen bomb and France explodes its first

1968 – Emergency 911 Telephone service starts in the US

1968 – The first ATM (automated teller machine) in the US (Philadelphia)

1968 – CBS airs “60 Minutes” shown for the first time

1968 – Musical Hair, featuring nudity and taking drugs) opens in London and then New York City

1968 – Popular films include The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, The Odd Couple, Planet of the Apes, Rosemary’s Baby, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

1968 – Popular Songs include Hey Jude (Beatles), Mrs. Robinson (Simon & Garfunkel), Hello I Love You (Doors), Honey (Bobby Goldsboro), I Heard it through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye), Love is Blue (Paul Mauriat), The Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding), People Got to Be Free (Rascals)

1968 – Birth year for Will Smith, Celine Dion, LL Cool J, Cuba Gooding Jr, Guy Fieri, Kenny Chesney, Michael Weatherly, Barry Sanders, Rachael Raye, Mary Lou Retton

1968 – Death year for Yuri Gagarin, Helen Keller, Charlie Chaplin, Robert F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr

1968 – First interracial kiss on US television (Star Trek)

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66 thoughts on “On 1968

  1. What a great list of events! I remember most, if not all, of course, but I couldn’t have said the year they occurred. Somewhat coincidentally I’m currently reading Lawrence O’Donnell’s book “Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics.” I’m really enjoying living the era again, from a very different perspective than my high school memory! I had recently been wondering when the Hong Kong flu came to the U.S. because I remember that I got it and was terribly sick. You answered my question! I enjoyed reading this and taking a little walk in memory, Frank. Very nice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      We lived it these times, and the youngsters won’t understand the craziness of 1968 nor its impact. One had to be there are simply be a true student of the era. The fact that you are reading O’Donnell’s book about the 1968 election is another one of our serendipitous moments. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember that year very well; I was a husband and a father then, and television was just becoming popular here. There are some things on your list that were felt just as much here as in your country… but what was striking about the list, was realizing how much the perspective matters and how different the lists would be from different parts of the world. Thanks for the reminder, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shimon,
      Definitely a year that one who lived it will remember. Simply so much. The world was changing very much at that time. Perspective is so important and interesting. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Many of the US events you list made an impact here too – especially the assassinations, the riots and the moon flights. I was 18 years old and in Wellington city on the day known to us as ‘The Wahine Storm’ and saw an aged and huge oak tree uprooted from the earth. I became part of a team that made tea and scones for the survivors of the shipwreck. It was a helluva day!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, 1968 sure was a relevant year! I had no idea the emergency 911 service started then, in fact I don’t think I have ever thought about when it started – it seems like it has always just been there! I wonder what people used to do before it came into existence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post had me googling nonstop this morning as I started at the top of your list and searched for details on some of the events which impacted my life at that time. In Nov. of 1968 I was a 21 year old Hong Kong Flu wracked college senior looking into the face of the military draft along with the end of my deferment. I survived. But some of my classmates and friends didn’t. One event on your 1968 list stopped me in my tracks – “Yale University announces it will admit women.” I googled it thinking it was a misprint. It wasn’t. Thanks especially for including Paul McCartney singing “Hey Jude.” It helped with some tears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim,
      1968 – a year of many emotions … and especially impacted from an age perspective. I can’t imagine being 21 at that time. Wow … thanks for sharing an important time in your life.


  6. What a year! Something was in the stars, the moon, the galaxy (maybe mercury was in retrograde? whatever that means) in 1968. I was about your age, and although most of these things impacted me, the impact was less felt as a teenager than if I’d been an adult. But worry I did – the assassinations, the war, the hate, the protests. Thank goodness I had the Beatles to keep me singing!! (By the way, I’ve seen Paul in concert three times in the past decade, and the crowd stood and roared and sang along each time when he began “Hey Jude.”)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam,
      Agree – as teens we may be aware, but probably don’t know enough to understand. So much going on … yet I like that you included the music that served to lift the spirits and voices. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kerry,
      The Democratic side was absolutely crazy. I wasn’t sure who opposed Nixon, so I looked it up … George Romney … then Nelson Rockefeller and Ronald Reagan entered the race … plus it may have been the last year primaries actually had “favorite sons” candidates.


  7. Pingback: On a Yearly Transition – A Frank Angle

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