1968: The year that changed the world?

1968: The year that changed the world?


Download or subscribe to this programme's podcast.

Anti-Vietnam War protests in Washington in 1968

In this four part series, using archive recordings and music from the time, Sir John Tusa examines what made 1968 such a climactic year

Student protests, Soviet might, assassinations, war and famine - although these dramatic events took place more than a generation ago they seem incredibly immediate and astonishingly relevant today.

Recapturing those events through the voices of those who made them, Sir John investigates if 1968 really did change the world.

Programme Two - The revolt of the young

The reality of US involvement in the Vietnam War had hit home - it racked nations, shook politics and destroyed leaders.

Resistance to the war was a universal rallying cry.

The wisdom of the East always had an allure, but now it offered solutions and new ways of thinking.

Voices of the young and angry were threatening those of authority.

This clash of generations was fuelled by frustration, driven by impatience and justified by an ideology.

1968 was the year when students took to the streets in all corners of the world.

In London, 10,000 students marched towards the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, in protest of what had happened in Vietnam.

In Paris, young people were not happy with their education system and clashed with police.

The rioting was so intense and lasted so long that some of those caught up in it believed the country was close to revolution.

The closure of the Sorbonne, the heart of the university intensified the riots.

Within days, rioting had spilled onto the streets and students had been joined by thousands of disaffected workers.

Across France, an estimated ten million workers went on strike.

Students in Japan, Germany and the US also took to the streets, as the rest of society looked on in anger and bewilderment.

A disintegration of order in the West was how some described 1968.

Join Sir John on this historic journey through a year which defines the world we live in today.

You can share your memories of 1968 with other BBC listeners here.

This series was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Part two was aired on BBC World Service on 8th December 2008.

Terms of Use

The BBC Podcasts are for your personal non-commercial use only.

All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the BBC Podcasts shall remain the property of the BBC or third parties.

You may not edit, alter, adapt or add to the BBC Podcast in any way. The BBC Podcasts are made available by the BBC on an "as is" and "as available" basis and the BBC gives no warranty of any kind in relation to the BBC Podcast.

To the maximum extent permitted by law the BBC will not be liable for any loss or damage which you may suffer as a result of or connected to the download or use of the BBC Podcasts.

See the full BBC Podcast: Standard Licence Terms here.