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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 US. 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 society. 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 07:30, May 22, 2015, from