January, 1968. The Czechoslovak Communist Party chooses a new leader, liberal Alexander Dubcek.
January 30, 1968. The Tet Offensive begins, as Viet Cong forces launch a series of surprise attacks across South Vietnam.
February, 1968. the North Korean government refuses to release the U.S. spy ship Pueblo, captured last month within Korean waters.
March, 1968. In the U.S., Lockheed presents the world’s largest aircraft to date, the Galaxy.
April 4, 1968. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is shot dead in Memphis, Tennessee by escaped convict Jams Earl Ray. The night before his death Dr. King gave a speech at a church in Memphis:
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
May 6-13, 1968. Paris student riots; one million march through streets of Paris protesting the war in Vietnam and other grievances.
May 19, 1968. 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.
June 6, 1968. Robert Kennedy, younger brother of John F. Kennedy and Democratic candidate for president of the U.S., is assassinated in Los Angeles by lone Jordanian gunman Sirhan Sirhan.
August 22, 1968. The Prague Spring of increasing freedom in Czechoslovakia ends abruptly as 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5000 tanks enter the country to force the Czechs to remain within the Soviet sphere. Unarmed Czech youths try, unsuccessfully, to resist the Soviet tanks in the streets of Prague and other cities. Prime Minister Alexander Dubcek’s goal and policy was “socialism with a human face”, but the Soviet Union and its vassal states will not allow changes in Czechoslovakia.
August 24, 1968. France explodes its first hydrogen bomb.
September, 1968. At least 11,000 people die in a series of earthquakes in Iran lasting for two days.