The year 1968 is considered one of the most turbulent, and pivotal, twelve month periods in American history. This single year was a flashpoint for many of the social, political, and cultural transformations for which the overall decade of the 1960s is known. During these years, the United States became entrenched in an unpopular war in Vietnam abroad, while unrest, experimentation, violence, and outspokenness raged throughout the nation. The Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, sit-ins and riots became commonplace, leaders were assassinated on a seemingly regular basis, and social experimentation and psychedelic music became the rage in San Francisco and elsewhere.
The Vietnam War occurred in present-day Vietnam, Southeast Asia. “It represented a successful attempt on the part of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam, DRV) and the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam (Viet Cong) to unite and impose a communist system over the entire nation. Opposing the DRV was the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam, RVN), backed by the United States” (Marlantes). The war in Vietnam occurred during the Cold War, and is generally viewed as an indirect conflict between the United States and Soviet Union, with each nation and its allies supporting one side.
The victories of the Civil Rights Movement raised the hopes of African Americans living all over the country. But segregation in the South was, in a way, easier to combat--Southern segregation was enforced by the law, and laws could be changed. Segregation in Northern urban areas had its roots in the unequal conditions that led to disproportionate poverty among African Americans. Nonviolence techniques had less effect in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles as a result. This timeline tracks the shift from the nonviolent phase of the Civil Rights Movement to the emphasis on black liberation. Word spread like wildfire when the news of Dr....
Cited: Marlantes, Karl. "Overview of the Vietnam War." What It Is Like to Go to War. New York:
Atlantic Monthly, 2011. N. pag. Print.
1968 with Tom Brokaw. Prod. Tim Beacham. Perf. Tom Brokaw. The History Channel, 2007.
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