1968 — a year that saw the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the “police riot” at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a near revolution in France, and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Now close to forty years later — in a new century — we have a chance to look back at this momentous year and reflect on what it meant to the world.
1968: THE YEAR THAT SHAPED A GENERATION examines the turbulent political and social landscapes of 1968 by combing dramatic archival footage with interviews of many key witnesses from that year’s most pivotal events.
1968 marked the high crest of student protest all over the world and the backlash that ensued. In one sense, it was a year of repression and defeat. Bombing escalated in Vietnam, police crushed the student insurrection in Paris and massacred students in Mexico City, and the Soviet government smashed the peaceful reforms movement known as Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia.
Yet, in retrospect, these causes and insurgencies succeeded — at least in certain respects: The antiwar movement eventually compelled the U.S. Congress to cut funding for the Vietnam War; student protests led to the French government's overhaul of the country's antiquated educational system; and dissident playwright, Vaclav Havel, endured to become president of an independent, democratic Czech Republic.
Produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting.