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1968: A Tumultuous Year

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Alex Dietsch

on 15 January 2014

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Transcript of 1968: A Tumultuous Year

1968: A Tumultuous Year

January: The Tet Offensive
In January, the Viet Cong launch a surprise attack in over 100 South Vietnamese cities on Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.
It caught most off guard, as they had thought the Viet Cong were close to defeat.
The Tet Offensive changed most Americans' opinions on the war, further widened the credibility gap, and caused the mainstream media to harshly criticize the war.
March: Johnson Does Not Seek Reelection
Due to division within the democratic party and plummeting approval ratings, Lyndon Johnson announced, "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president."
His decision created even more problems for the democratic party and left the Great Society in ruin.
April: Assassination of MLK, Jr.
On April 4th, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on his hotel balcony by James Earl Ray.
King's death caused violence to erupt across the country: more than 100 cites had riots by angry citizens who were upset about the death of the civil rights leader.
He died before he could see his dream become reality.
June: Assassination of Robert Kennedy
One June 5th, one month after King's death, democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, the beloved brother John F. Kennedy, was shot to death in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen by a Palestinian immigrant, who disliked Kennedy's support of Israel.
Kennedy's death sent the nation further into a distraught state. According to Jack Newfield, "We had already glimpsed the most compassionate leaders our nation could produce, and they had all been assassinated."
His death also left the Democrats with no good candidates for the presidency, which would cause chaos later on.
August: Democratic National Convention
During the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, thousands of protestors showed up, trying to make sure the Democrats adopted an anti-war platform. Little did they know, Hubert Humphrey had already been selected, and his policies were not anti-war. Violence between demonstrators and police ensued, and the demonstrators shouted that "the whole world was watching."
The world was indeed watching, and all faith was lost in the Democratic Party. A Republican victory for the presidency seemed inevitable.
November: Presidential Election
The Presidential Election went to Richard M. Nixon, a Republican who had just made his comeback into politics. He became the first Republican president since Eisenhower.
Nixon would eventually bring an end to the Vietnam war, as he had promised in his campaign for president.
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