1965 1966 1967 - 1968 - 1969 1970 1971
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Events of 1968
- January 5 - Prague Spring: Alexander Dubček is elected leader of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia.
- January 15 - An earthquake in Sicily kills 231 and injures 262.
- January 21 - Vietnam War - Battle of Khe Sanh: One of the most publicized and controversial battles of the war begins, ending on April 8.
- January 21 - A U.S. B-52 Stratofortress crashes in Greenland, discharging 4 nuclear bombs.
- January 23 - North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo, claiming the ship violated its territorial waters while spying.
- January 25 - The Israeli submarine INS Dakar sinks in the Mediterranean Sea, killing 69.
- January 27 - A French submarine sinks in the Mediterranean Sea with 52 men.
- January 30 - Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive begins, as Viet Cong forces launch a series of surprise attacks across South Vietnam.
- January 31 - Viet Cong soldiers attack the United States Embassy in Saigon.
- January 31 - Nauru president Hammer DeRoburt declares independence from Australia.
- February 6–18 - The 1968 Winter Olympics are held in Grenoble, France.
- 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; 3 college students are killed.
- February 11 - Border clashes take place between Israel and Jordan.
- February 13 - Civil rights disturbances occur at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- February 17 - Administrative reforms in Romania divide the country into 39 counties.
- February 24 - Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive is halted; South Vietnam recaptures Hué.
- March 7 - Vietnam War: The First Battle of Saigon ends.
- March 8 - The first student protests spark the 1968 Polish political crisis.
- March 12 - Mauritius achieves independence from British rule.
- March 12 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson edges out antiwar candidate Eugene J. McCarthy in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, a vote which highlights the deep divisions in the country, as well as the party, over Vietnam.
- March 14 - Nerve gas leaks from the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground near Skull Valley, Utah.
- March 15 - British Foreign Secretary George Brown 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 leads to violence; 91 people are injured, 200 demonstrators arrested.
- March 18 - Gold standard: The Congress of the United States repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back U.S. currency.
- March 19–23 - 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 5-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 21 - Vietnam War: In ongoing campus unrest, Howard University students protesting the Vietnam War, the ROTC program on campus and the draft, confront Gen. Lewis Hershey, then head of the U.S. Selective Service System, and as he attempts to deliver an address, shout him down with cries of "America is the Black man's battleground!"
- March 22 - Daniel Cohn-Bendit ("Danny The Red") and 7 other students occupy the administrative offices of the University of Nanterre, setting in motion a chain of events that lead France to the brink of revolution in May.
- March 31 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will not seek re-election.
- April 2 - Bombs placed by Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin explode at midnight in 2 department stores in Frankfurt-am-Main; they are later arrested and sentenced for arson.
- April 2 - The film version of 2001: A Space Odyssey premieres in Washington, D.C.
- April 4 - Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot dead 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 6 - A shootout between Black Panthers and Oakland police results in several arrests and deaths, including 16-year-old Panther Bobby Hutton.
- April 11 - Josef Bachmann tries to assassinate Rudi Dutschke, leader of the left-wing movement (APO) in Germany, and tries to commit suicide afterwards, failing in both, although Dutschke dies of his brain injuries 11 years later.
- April 11 - German left-wing students blockade the Springer Press HQ in Berlin and many are arrested (one of them Ulrike Meinhof).
- April 11 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
- April 20 - Pierre Elliott Trudeau becomes Canada's 15th Prime Minister.
- April 20 - English politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial Rivers of Blood Speech.
- April 23 - President Mobutu releases captured mercenaries in the Congo.
- April 23 - Surgeons at the Hôpital de la Pitié, Paris, perform Europe's first heart transplant, on Clovis Roblain.
- April 23 - The United Methodist Church is created by the union of the former Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches.
- April 23–30 - Vietnam War: Student protesters at Columbia University in New York City take over administration buildings and shut down the university (see main article Columbia University protests of 1968).
- 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 2 - The Israel Broadcasting Authority commences television broadcasts.
- May 15 - An outbreak of severe thunderstorms produces tornadoes causing massive damage and heavy casualties in Charles City, Iowa, Oelwein, Iowa, and Jonesboro, Arkansas.
- May 19 - General elections are held in Italy.
- May 19 - Nigerian forces capture Port Harcourt and form a ring around the Biafrans. This contributes to a humanitarian disaster as the surrounded population already suffers from hunger and starvation.
- May 22 - The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Scorpion sinks with 99 men aboard, 400 miles southwest of the Azores.
- June 4 - The Standard & Poor's 500 index closes above 100 for the first time, at 100.38.
- 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 20 - 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 1 - The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty opens for signature.
- 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 17 - Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d'état.
- July 23–28 - Black militants led by Fred (Ahmed) Evans engage in a fierce gunfight with police in the Glenville Shootout of Cleveland, Ohio.
- July 25 - Pope Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, condemning birth control. Many Catholics defy it.
- July 26 - Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu is sentenced to 5 years hard labor, for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.
- July 29 - Arenal Volcano erupts in Costa Rica for the first time in centuries.
- July 30 - Thames Television starts transmission in London.
- August 5–8 - The Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida nominates Richard Nixon for U.S. President and Spiro Agnew for Vice President.
- August 18 - Two charter buses push into the Hida River on National Highway Route 41 in Japan, in an accident caused by heavy rain; 104 are killed.
- August 20 - 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.
- August 22–30 - Police clash with anti-war protesters in Chicago, Illinois, outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President.
- September 6 - Swaziland becomes independent.
- September 11 - French General René Cogny and 94 others die in a Air France Caravelle jetliner crash near Nice in the Mediterranean.
- September 13 - Albania officially retreats from the Warsaw Pact upon the Soviet Union- led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Indeed, Albania had already ceased to participate actively in any Warsaw Pact activity since 1962.
- September 27 - Marcelo Caetano becomes prime minister of Portugal.
- September 29 - A referendum in Greece gives more power to the military junta.
- October 2 - Tlatelolco massacre: A student demonstration ends in a bloodbath at La Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, Mexico, 10 days before the inauguration of the 1968 Summer Olympics.
- October 3 - In Peru, Juan Velasco Alvarado takes power in a revolution.
- October 5 - Police baton civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland, marking the beginning of The Troubles.
- October 8 - Vietnam War - Operation Sealords: United States and South Vietnamese forces launch a new operation in the Mekong Delta.
- 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 11 - In Panama, a military coup d'état, led by Col. Boris Martinez and Col. Omar Torrijos, overthrows the democratically-elected (but highly controversial) government of President Arnulfo Arias. Within a year, Torrijos ousts Martinez and takes charge as de facto Head of Government in Panama.
- October 12–27 - The Games of the XIX Olympiad are held in Mexico City, Mexico.
- October 12 - Equatorial Guinea receives its independence from Spain.
- 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 - In Mexico City, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, 2 black Americans competing in the Olympic 200-meter run, raise their arms in a black power salute after winning, respectively, the gold and bronze medals for 1st and 3rd place.
- October 16 - Kingston, Jamaica is rocked by the Rodney Riots, provoked by the banning of Walter Rodney from the country.
- October 20 - Former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis 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 11 - Vietnam War: Operation Commando Hunt is initiated to interdict men and supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, through Laos into South Vietnam. By the end of the operation, 3 million tons of bombs are dropped on Laos, slowing but not seriously disrupting trail operations.
- November 11 - A second republic is declared in the Maldives.
- November 14 - Yale University announces it is going to admit women.
- December 20 - The Zodiac Killer is believed to have shot Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on Lake Herman Road.
- December 22 - Mao Zedong advocates that educated youth in urban China be re-educated in the country. It marks the start of the "Up to the mountains and down to the villages" movement.
- 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.
- 25 April - Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz, German general (b. 1893)
- August 25 - Harry Elmer Barnes, American historian (b. 1889)
- September 25 - Hans F.K. Günther, German race theorist (b. 1891)
- November 25 - Upton Sinclair, American author and Socialist politician (b. 1878)
- December 20 - John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)