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"1968": A Pivotal Year in American History and Politics

It was the year that encapsulated all the tumultuousness, the
violence, the anger and the idealism of the 1960s. So many important and
tragic events occurred in 1968 that it is rightly considered the most
pivotal year in recent American history.
Vietnam was on everyone's mind in 1968 and it was the bloodiest year
of the entire War[1]. The astonishing Tet offensive by the North Vietnamese
forces that swept through South Vietnam and even threatened to over-run the
American Embassy in Saigon exploded the myth of an imminent American
victory in the War. The event shocked the American public and convinced
them about the futility of the Vietnam War. The My Lai Massacre, in which
American soldiers killed hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians on March
16, 1968, outraged the world and further reduced support for the War in the
The President Johnson, confronted by the ferocity of the anti-war
sentiments, saw the writing on the wall and announced his decision not to
seek re-election. Senator Robert Kennedy decided to run for the
Presidential election and evoked enthusiastic support from a broad range of
Americans, including the increasingly estranged African Americans. The
brief optimism generated by Kennedy's candidature was tragically nipped in
the bud when he was assassinated on June 5 in San Francisco. Coming as it
did on the heels of the killing of Martin Luther King just two months
earlier, the event signified to many the unraveling of the American
The year is also significant in American history as the American
public elected Richard Nixon, albeit by a narrow margin, as their President
in 1968. The decision served to extend the Vietnam War as Nixon, despite
his campaign pledge to withdraw from the War, further escalated it by
bombing Cambodia in 1970.
1968 was indeed a pivotal year in American history that signified all
the complexities and contradictions of the time...

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"1968": A Pivotal Year in American History and Politics. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:49, October 05, 2015, from