The year 1968 witnessed the unfurling of historical political events that somehow evoked long concealed angst in people all over the world and turned them into instant revolutionaries. The US was struggling with a war that it had trouble controlling and winning, the former USSR…
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From the streets of First World cities like Memphis, London and Paris to Communist ones like Belgrade and Warsaw, protests, many of them violent, marked the year that was 1968. Civil right protesters, students and instructors, professionals, labour union groups, all trooped to the streets to denounce what they saw was imperialistic, oppressive, repressive and simply unjust status quo. In short, 1968 was simply a year of chaos and anarchy.
The Guardian called it the ‘Year of the Revolt’ and that was not an exaggeration. The events of 1968 were in themselves overwhelming, but more so because media, principally television, brought the images of these events into the intimacy of homes. The spirit of 1968 succeeded in changing the world chiefly because it changed the everyday life of people. It empowered, it prodded and it inspired people to take stock of their political world and go out in the streets and have a say on how things are done, whether rightly or wrongly. It simply politicised everyday life. Students became a power to be reckoned with, rattling and changing government policies and perspectives. Students, professionals, and the working-class were all part of the rampaging social segments that made 1968 the year that changed the history of the world.
To start with, 1968 was no ordinary year. The global scene was awash with arresting and dramatic political developments that would have naturally stirred attention and emotions. At the very first month of the year, the North Vietnamese Army and the Vietcong caught the Americans by surprise when they launched the Tet Offensive, so called because it was made on the 31st of January, which happened to be Tet Nguyen Dan or Vietnam’s first day of the year and its most important holiday. The Vietnam War that the US government was waging had previously already earned mounting protests at home and overseas because Americans felt it was not their war to fight and people abroad
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