1968 -- list of events


January 5 Prague Spring: Alexander Dubček is elected leader of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia.

January 22 The innovative Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In debuts on NBC.

January 30 Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive begins, as Viet Cong forces launch a series of surprise attacks across South Vietnam.

February 1 Vietnam War: A Viet Cong officer is executed by Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a South Vietnamese National Police Chief. The event is photographed by Eddie Adams. The photo makes headlines around the world, eventually winning the 1969 Pulitzer Prize, and sways U.S. public opinion against the war.

February 6 - February 18 The 1968 Winter Olympics were held in Grenoble, France. Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy won three gold medals in all the alpine skiing events.

February 8 American civil rights movement: A civil rights protest staged at a white-only bowling alley in Orangeburg, South Carolina is broken-up by highway patrolmen, leading to the deaths of 3 college students.

February 13 Civil rights disturbances occur at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

March 7 Vietnam War: The First Battle of Saigon begins.

March 15 George Brown, British Foreign Secretary, resigns.

March 16 Vietnam War: My Lai massacre - American troops kill scores of civilians.

March 16 U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy enters the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

March 17 A demonstration in London's Grosvenor Square against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War March 19 - March 23 Afrocentrism, Black power: Students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., signal a new era of militant student activism on college campuses in the U.S. Students stage rallies, protests and a five-day sit-in, laying siege to the administration building, shutting down the university in protest over its ROTC program, and demanding a more Afrocentric curriculum.

March 22 - Daniel Cohn-Bendit and seven other students occupy Administrative offices of Nanterre, launching France into a state of revolution in the month of May.

March 31 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will not seek re-election.

April 4 Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities for several days afterward.

April 4 Apollo Program: Apollo-Saturn mission 502 (Apollo 6) is launched, as the second and last unmanned test-flight of the Saturn V launch vehicle.

April 4 Eurovision Song Contest 1968. La, la, la by Massiel (music and text by Manuel de la Calva and Ramón Arcusa) wins for Spain.

April 6 A shootout between Black Panthers and Oakland police results in several arrests and deaths, including 16-year-old Panther Bobby Hutton.

April 7 Racing driver Jim Clark is killed in a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim.

April 11 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

April 20 - English politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial Rivers of Blood Speech. April 23-April 30 Vietnam War: Student protesters at Columbia University in New York City take over administration buildings and shut down the university.

April 29 The musical Hair officially opens on Broadway.

May "May of 68" is a symbol of the resistance of that generation. Agitations and strikes in Paris lead many youth to believe that a revolution is starting. Student and worker strikes, sometimes referred to as the French May, nearly bring down the French government.

May 29 Soccer: Manchester United defeat SL Benfica 4-1 in the European Cup Final, becoming the first English team to do so, the game being 1-1 at FT, extra time strikes from Best, Kidd and Charlton (who had scored earlier) sealed the game.

June 5 U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy dies from his injuries the next day.

June 8 James Earl Ray is arrested for the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.

June 10 Soccer: Italy beats Yugoslavia 2-0 in a replay to win the 1968 European Championship. The original final on June 8 ended 1-1.

June 20 Northern Ireland: Austin Currie, Member of Parliament (MP) at Stormont in Northern Ireland, along with others, squats a house in Caledon to protest discrimination in housing allocations.

July 4 Yachtsman Alec Rose, 59, receives a hero's welcome as he sails into Portsmouth, England after his 354-day round-the-world trip.

July 5 First Professional Wimbledon. Laver (Aus) beat Tony Roche (Aus), 6-3,6-4,6-2 to win the title.

July 6 First Professional Wimbledon. King (USA) beat Judy Tegart (Aus), 9-7,7-5 to win the title.

July 17 Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq.

July 25 Pope Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, condemning birth control. Many American Catholics defy it.

August 5-August 8 US The Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida nominates Richard Nixon for U.S. President and Spiro Agnew for Vice President.

August 11 The last steam passenger train service runs in Britain. A British Rail steam locomotive makes the 120-mile journey from Liverpool to Carlisle and returns to Liverpool before being dispatched to the wrecking yard.

August 20 Soviet invasion: The Prague Spring of political liberalization ends, as 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia.

August 24 France explodes its first hydrogen bomb, thus becoming the world's fifth nuclear power.

August 22-August 30 US Democratic Convention. Police clash with antiwar protesters in Chicago, Illinois outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President.

August 27 Cricket - the Ashes: England defeated Australia in the final Test at the Oval to draw the series. Top England scorers were John Edrich 164, Basil D'Oliveira 158, Tom Graveney 63 and Derek Underwood 7-50. Australia retained the Ashes though.

September 7 Feminism:150 women protest against the Miss America Pageant, as exploitative of women. It is one of the first large demonstrations of Second Wave Feminism.

September 17 The D'Oliveira Affair: The Marylebone Cricket Club tour of South Africa is cancelled when the South Africans refuse to accept the presence of Basil D'Oliveira, a Cape Coloured, in the side.

September 29 A referendum in Greece gives more power to the military junta.

October 5 Northern Ireland. An illegal civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland, which included several Stormont and British MPs, is batoned off the streets by the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

October 11 Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission (Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, Walter Cunningham). Mission goals include the first live television broadcast from orbit and testing the lunar module docking maneuver.

October 12-October 27 Olympics: The Games of the XIX Olympiad are held in Mexico City, Mexico

October 14 Vietnam War: The United States Department of Defense announces that the United States Army and United States Marines will send about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours.

October 16 Black power and the Olympics. In Mexico City, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, 2 African-Americans competing in the Olympic 200-meter run, raise their arms in a black power salute after winning the gold and bronze medals for 1st and 3rd place.

October 20 Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry on the Greek island of Skorpios.

October 31 Vietnam War: Citing progress in the Paris peace talks, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1.

November 5 U.S. presidential election, 1968: Republican challenger Richard M. Nixon defeats Vice President Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party candidate George C. Wallace.

November 22 The White Album is released by The Beatles

December 17 Mary Bell -, 11-years-old, = sentenced to life in detention after being found guilty at Newcastle Assizes of the manslaughter of two small boys.

December 24 Apollo Program: U.S. spacecraft Apollo 8 enters orbit around the Moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William A. Anders become the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and planet Earth as a whole. The crew also reads from Genesis.