1968 - Turning Point

Jordan Henson

Tet Offensive

On January 31, 1968, some 70,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched the Tet Offensive (named for the lunar new year holiday called Tet), a coordinated series of fierce attacks on more than 100 cities and towns in South Vietnam. General Vo Nguyen Giap, leader of the Communist People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), planned the offensive in an attempt both to foment rebellion among the South Vietnamese population and encourage the United States to scale back its support of the Saigon regime. Though U.S. and South Vietnamese forces managed to hold off the Communist attacks, news coverage of the offensive (including the lengthy Battle of Hue) shocked and dismayed the American public and further eroded support for the war effort. Despite heavy casualties, North Vietnam achieved a strategic victory with the Tet Offensive, as the attacks marked a turning point in the Vietnam War and the beginning of the slow, painful American withdrawal from the region.

Democratic Convention

  1. The 1968 Democratic National Convention of the U.S.Democratic Party was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois, from August 26 to August 29, 1968.

Assassination of Robert Kennedy

Shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot three times by Palestinian immigrant Sirhan Sirhan after giving a speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Robert Kennedy died of his wounds 26 hours later. Robert Kennedy's assassination later led to Secret Service protection for all future major presidential candidates

Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

In early April 1968, shock waves reverberated around the world with the news that U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. A Baptist minister and founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King had led the civil rights movement since the mid-1950s, using a combination of powerful words and non-violent tactics such as sit-ins, boycotts and protest marches (including the massive March on Washington in 1963) to fight segregation and achieve significant civil and voting rights advances for African Americans. His assassination led to an outpouring of anger among black Americans, as well as a period of national mourning that helped speed the way for an equal housing bill that would be the last significant legislative achievement of the civil rights era.

Election of 1968

The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial Presidential Election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Rebulican nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon, won the election over the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphery. Nixon ran on a campaign that promised to restore law and order to the nation's cities, torn by riots and crime.