What Major Events in 1968 Caused It to Be One of the Most Tumultuous Years in American History?

1968 was a year that shook America to its core. It was a year that saw protests, riots, assassinations, and political turmoil like never before. In this article, we will explore the major events that occurred in 1968 and how they contributed to making it one of the most tumultuous years in American history.

The Tet Offensive

One of the most significant events of 1968 was the Tet Offensive. On January 30th, 1968, North Vietnamese forces launched a surprise attack on over 100 cities and towns in South Vietnam during the Lunar New Year holiday known as Tet.

The attack caught the US military off guard and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. The Tet Offensive was a turning point in the Vietnam War and shattered confidence in US military leadership.

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 4th, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His death sparked riots across the country as African Americans protested against racial inequality and police brutality. King’s assassination was a devastating blow to the civil rights movement and left many feeling hopeless.

The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

Just two months after King’s assassination, on June 5th, 1968, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at a campaign event in Los Angeles. Kennedy was seen as a beacon of hope for many Americans who were disillusioned with politics at the time. His death left many feeling even more despairing about the state of their country.

The Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention held in Chicago from August 26th-29th quickly turned into chaos as protesters clashed with police outside while delegates argued inside over who would be their presidential nominee. The violence that erupted on the streets of Chicago during this time was broadcasted on national television and further fueled anti-war sentiment.

The Election of Richard Nixon

In November 1968, Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States. Nixon ran on a campaign of law and order, promising to restore stability to a country that many believed was falling apart. However, his presidency would be marred by scandal and controversy, including the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to his resignation in 1974.


In conclusion, 1968 was a year that saw America at its most tumultuous. The Tet Offensive shattered confidence in US military leadership, while the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy left many feeling hopeless.

The violence that erupted at the Democratic National Convention and the election of Richard Nixon further contributed to a sense of unease and uncertainty about America’s future. Despite all of this, however, Americans persevered and continued fighting for justice and equality for all.