Photojournalist Eddie Adams took one of the most iconic images of the Vietnam War on Feb. 1. The photo captured police chief Gen. Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Vietcong prisoner, Nguyễn Văn Lém.
The photo helped create a turning point in the war and became a prominent image for the anti-war movement.
Adams won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for this image.
Feb. 27, Walter Cronkite reported on his recent trip to Vietnam in his CBS News special Report from Vietnam: Who, What, When, Where, Why? Cronkite’s highly critical and pessimistic view of the war changed Americans’ perception of what was really going on in Vietnam.
On March 16, the men of Charlie Company murdered between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians; the victims include women, children, and infants. Some of the women’s bodies were found to show signs of being gang-raped.
The event, known as the My Lai Massacre, marked one of the darkest chapters in the Vietnam War. It would not become public knowledge until 1969.
On March 31, President Lyndon Johnson shocked the nation when he announced he would not seek re-election.
Johnson also announced a bombing halt in Vietnam.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968. He was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he died within the hour, at 7:05 p.m., at age 39.
April 8, following the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte, and Coretta Scott King with her children, lead a three-mile procession in Atlanta, Ga.
The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. sparked five days of rioting in various cities across the country. The largest riots taking place in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Louisville, Detroit, Kansas City, and Chicago.
Across the country 46 deaths are blamed on the riots.
On April 11, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The 1968 act expanded on on Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, and national origin.
On April 23, students at Columbia University started a weeklong occupation of the Low Library to protest the school’s ties with the Institute for Defense Analysis, a non-profit corporation that supported the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
Shortly after midnight on June 5, after winning the California primary, Robert Kennedy is assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
The 42-year-old Kennedy dies in the early morning of June 6.
Anti-Vietnam War demonstrators (called Yippies) clash with police outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The convention, held from Aug. 26–29, was marked by serious violence.
On Aug. 20, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia with over 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 2,000 tanks, crushing the Prague Spring (which was a brief eight-month period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia).
On Oct. 16, four days after the start of the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, two African American sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, cause an uproar after they give the black power salute during the “Star-Spangled Banner” at their medal ceremony.
Smith said of the event, “If I win, I am American, not a black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.”
On Nov. 5, Richard Nixon, is elected the 37th President of the United States.
On Dec. 3, NBC airs Elvis’ ‘68 Comeback Special. The successful TV special reinvigorates his career.
The special would go on to become a blueprint for shows like MTV Unplugged.
Dec. 24, Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders became the first humans to orbit the Moon. The astronauts held a live Christmas Eve broadcast, during which they showed pictures of the Earth and Moon as seen from their spacecraft.
Americans/the world saw the first photo ever of the Earth rising above the Moon’s surface. As well as the first photo ever taken by human of the whole Earth.
- Joyce Mitchell, the prison worker who was accused of helping inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from a New York prison, pleaded guilty and faces up to seven years in prison.
- Several people have been wounded after a shooting near Barcelona's famed La Rambla street, according to Spanish media.
- President Obama addressed the 54-member African Union, a first for a sitting U.S. president. The speech marks the end of his historic five-day trip to East Africa.