Why Is 1968 a Significant Turning Point in American History?

1968 is often regarded as a significant turning point in American history. This year was marked by several events that changed the course of the country and had a profound impact on American society.

The Vietnam War

One of the major events that defined 1968 was the ongoing Vietnam War. The war had been going on for several years and was becoming increasingly unpopular among Americans. In 1968, this sentiment reached a boiling point, with protests erupting across the country.

Tet Offensive

In January of 1968, North Vietnamese forces launched a surprise attack on South Vietnam, known as the Tet Offensive. This attack demonstrated that the war was far from over and led to increased opposition to the conflict.


Another defining feature of 1968 was the assassination of two prominent figures: Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

Martin Luther King Jr.

King was assassinated in April of 1968 while standing on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. His death sparked riots and protests across the country, highlighting racial tensions and inequality in America.

Robert F. Kennedy

Kennedy, who was running for president at the time, was assassinated just two months later in June while campaigning in Los Angeles. His death was another blow to an already tumultuous year.

Civil Rights Movement

The civil rights movement also played a significant role in shaping 1968. The year saw continued efforts to achieve equality for African Americans, including protests and demonstrations throughout the country.

Black Power Salute

One iconic moment from this era came during the summer Olympics held in Mexico City when two African American athletes raised their fists in a Black Power salute during their medal ceremony.


In conclusion, 1968 was a year of great upheaval and change in America. The Vietnam War, assassinations of prominent figures, and civil rights movement all contributed to a sense of unrest and division in the country. Despite these challenges, however, many Americans continued to push for progress and change, setting the stage for a new era in American history.