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nineteen sixty-eight

JULIAN BOURG


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


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1968 was an eventful year. That twelve-month period witnessed the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the Prague spring and its suppression by Soviet troops, student protests in Poland, large-scale French revolts in May and June, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy, the removal of António de Oliveira Salazar from power in Portugal, the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the massacre of student demonstrators in Mexico City on the eve of the Olympic Games, where Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos commemorated their awards ceremony with black power salutes. There were also major protests and agitation in Brazil, Egypt, England, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Senegal, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, and West Germany, among other places. Also in 1968 the Chinese Cultural Revolution was reaching its climax; the German student leader Rudi Dutschke survived an assassination attempt; police killed three African-American student protesters in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in Oakland, California, police held a deadly shootout with Black Panthers, and in Atlantic City, New Jersey, feminists picketed the Miss America Pageant. As these examples suggest, many signature events of 1968 were associated with political radicalism and social unrest. The crowded explosiveness of that year has given rise to the view that 1968 emblematized “the long sixties” (c.1956–77) as a whole (Marwick, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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