1968 - Myth or Reality?
The Year of Revolutions
1968 was a year without precedent - a Year of Revolutions. Sir John Tusa will be hosting 4 studio discussions in London, Paris, Prague and Washington to gather together those who were part of the story
Programme 1, London. 9.00am, Tuesday 18 March
In the first of a series of programmes which tell the story of events around the world during this exceptional year, Sir John Tusa focuses on Britain in 1968.
Students demonstrated against the war in Vietnam, Enoch Powell made his controversial "rivers of blood" speech, in Northern Ireland the civil rights movement gathered pace, and the women's lib movement began to raise questions about the traditional roles of men and women.
In this first programme, marking the 40th anniversary of the demonstrations in London’s Grosvenor Square, John hears from Peter Hain, David Edgar, Anthony Barnett, Tony Benn, Martin Kettle, Douglas Hurd, Joan Bakewell, Donovan and Ann Leslie.
Programme 2, Paris. 9.00am, Tuesday 29 April
The student protests which hit Paris in May of 1968 are one of the most iconic events of the era, and in this impassioned discussion a selection of the Paris '68ers tell the story of those tumultuous days to examine why workers and students ultimately failed to make a common cause.
Programme 3, Prague. 9.00am, Tuesday 19 August
Picture: John Tusa in Prague during the making of this programme.
Continuing our series of programmes, Sir John Tusa is in Prague, where he will be telling the story of Czechoslovakia's experiment in "socialism with a human face" and its brutal suppression by the Soviet authorities. At the beginning of 1968 Alexander Dubcek became Communist party leader in Czechoslovakia.
His appointment led to a series of changes which came to be known as the Prague Spring, during which censorship was relaxed and many Czechoslovaks were able to travel abroad for the first time. In the programme we hear from those who were involved in supporting Dubcek's delicate balancing act and remember the dreadful moment in the middle of August when Soviet tanks rolled into Prague, meeting fierce resistance.
Programme 4, Chicago. 9.00am, Tuesday 26 August
Picture: John Tusa with the guests in the studio in Chicago: standing from left to right - Robert Lucas and John Tusa, seated from left to right - Marilyn Katz, Michael James, Barry Romo and Tom Roeser.
The situation in America in 1968 has many parallels with 2008, not least as this was also a bitterly fought election year, with a prospect for real change.
In the last of his special debates to mark the 40th anniversary of 1968, Sir John Tusa is in Chicago to tell the story of this momentous year in the USA. With the country facing an increasingly difficult war in Vietnam, and students across the nation engaged in bitter protests against the War and the draft, two particularly traumatic events stand out - the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. In today's programme, Sir John Tusa is joined by a panel of those who made 1968 such an extraordinary year in America. They'll recall their memories of those days, and reflect on parallels with the current political situation.