The 1960s (pronounced "nineteen-sixties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on 1 January 1960, and ended on 31 December 1969. The term "1960s" also refers to an era more often called the Sixties, denoting the complex of inter-related cultural and political trends around the globe. This "cultural decade" is more loosely defined than the actual decade, beginning around 1963 with the Kennedy assassination and ending around 1974 with the Watergate scandal.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Politics and wars
- 3 Economics
- 4 Assassinations and attempts
- 5 Disasters
- 6 Social and political movements
- 7 Science and technology
- 8 Additional notable worldwide events
- 9 Popular culture
- 10 People
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
"The Sixties", as they are known in both scholarship and popular culture, is a term used by historians, journalists, and other objective academics; in some cases nostalgically to describe the counterculture and revolution in social norms about clothing, music, drugs, dress, sexuality, formalities, and schooling; and in others pejoratively to denounce the decade as one of irresponsible excess, flamboyance, and decay of social order. The decade was also labeled the Swinging Sixties because of the fall or relaxation of social taboos especially relating to racism and sexism that occurred during this time. Commentator Christopher Booker described this era as a classical Jungian nightmare cycle, where a rigid culture, unable to contain the demands for greater individual freedom, broke free of the social constraints of the previous age through extreme deviation from the norm. He charts the rise, success, fall/nightmare and explosion in the London scene of the 1960s. Several Western nations such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, and West Germany turned to the political left in the early and mid-1960s.
By the end of the 1950s, war-ravaged Europe had largely finished reconstruction and began a tremendous economic boom. World War II had brought about a huge leveling of social classes in which the remnants of the old feudal gentry disappeared. There was a major expansion of the middle class in western European countries and by the 1960s, many working-class people in Western Europe could afford a radio, television, refrigerator, and motor vehicle. Meanwhile, the East such as the Soviet union and other Warsaw Pact countries were improving quickly after rebuilding from WWII. The United States, after sluggish economic growth during the 1950s, also experienced a major '60s boom. Real GDP growth averaged 6% a year during the second half of the decade. Thus, the overall worldwide economic trend in the 1960s was one of prosperity, expansion of the middle class, and the proliferation of new domestic technology.
The confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union dominated geopolitics during the '60s, with the struggle expanding into developing nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia as the Soviet Union moved from being a regional to a truly global superpower and began vying for influence in the developing world. After President Kennedy's assassination, direct tensions between the US and Soviet Union cooled and the superpower confrontation moved into a contest for control of the Third World, a battle characterized by proxy wars, funding of insurgencies, and puppet governments.
In response to civil disobedience campaigns from groups like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), U.S. President John F. Kennedy, a Keynesian and staunch anti-communist, pushed for social reforms. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 was a shock. Liberal reforms were finally passed under Lyndon B. Johnson including civil rights for African Americans· and healthcare for the elderly and the poor. Despite his large-scale Great Society programs, Johnson was increasingly reviled by the New Left at home and abroad. The heavy-handed American role in the Vietnam War outraged student protestors around the globe. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. upon working with underpaid Tennessee garbage collectors and the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the police response towards protesters of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, defined politics of violence in the United States.
In Western Europe and Japan, organizations such as those present at May 1968, the Red Army Faction, and the Zengakuren tested liberal democracy's ability to satisfy its marginalized or alienated citizenry amidst post-industrial age hybrid capitalist economies. In Britain, the Labour Party gained power in 1964. In France, the protests of 1968 led to President Charles de Gaulle temporarily fleeing the country. For some, May 1968 meant the end of traditional collective action and the beginning of a new era to be dominated mainly by the so-called new social movements. Italy formed its first left-of-center government in March 1962 with a coalition of Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and moderate Republicans. Socialists joined the ruling block in December 1963. In Brazil, João Goulart became president after Jânio Quadros resigned. In Africa the 1960s was a period of radical political change as 32 countries gained independence from their European colonial rulers.
Politics and wars
- The Cold War (1947–1991)
- The Vietnam War (1955–1975)
- 1961 – Substantial (approximately 700) American advisory forces first arrive in Vietnam.
- 1962 – By mid-1962, the number of U.S. military advisers in South Vietnam had risen from 900 to 12,000.
- 1963 – By the time of U.S. President John F. Kennedy's death there were 16,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam, up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors to cope with rising guerrilla activity in Vietnam.
- 1964 – In direct response to the minor naval engagement known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident which occurred on 2 August 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, was passed on 10 August 1964. The resolution gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of military force in Southeast Asia. The Johnson administration subsequently cited the resolution as legal authority for its rapid escalation of U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War.
- 1966 – After 1966, with the draft in place more than 500,000 troops were sent to Vietnam by the Johnson administration and college attendance soars.
- The Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961) – an unsuccessful attempt by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba with support from U.S. government armed forces, to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
- Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974) – the war was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies. It was a decisive ideological struggle and armed conflict of the cold war in African (Portuguese Africa and surrounding nations) and European (mainland Portugal) scenarios. Unlike other European nations, the Portuguese regime did not leave its African colonies, or the overseas provinces, during the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s, various armed independence movements, most prominently led by communist-led parties who cooperated under the CONCP umbrella and pro-U.S. groups, became active in these areas, most notably in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea. During the war, several atrocities were committed by all forces involved in the conflict.
- The Vietnam War (1955–1975)
- The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 began in September.
- Arab–Israeli conflict (early-20th century-present)
- Six-Day War (June 1967) – a war between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The Arab states of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria also contributed troops and arms. At the war's end, Israel had gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day.
- The Algerian War came to a close in 1962.
- The Nigeria Civil War began in 1967.
- Civil wars in Laos and Sudan rage on throughout the decade.
- The Al-Wadiah War was a military conflict which broke out on 27 November 1969 between Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of South Yemen.
- Cultural Revolution in China (1966–1976) – a period of widespread social and political upheaval in the People's Republic of China which was launched by Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Communist Party of China. Mao alleged that "liberal bourgeois" elements were permeating the party and society at large and that they wanted to restore capitalism. Mao insisted that these elements be removed through post-revolutionary class struggle by mobilizing the thoughts and actions of China's youth, who formed Red Guards groups around the country. The movement subsequently spread into the military, urban workers, and the party leadership itself. Although Mao himself officially declared the Cultural Revolution to have ended in 1969, the power struggles and political instability between 1969 and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976 are now also widely regarded as part of the Revolution.
- The Troubles in Northern Ireland began with the rise of the Northern Ireland civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, the conflict continued into the later 1990s.
- The Compton's Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. This incident was one of the first recorded transgender riots in United States history, preceding the more famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City by three years.
- The Stonewall riots occurred in June 1969 in New York City. The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when people in the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.
- The May 1968 student and worker uprisings in France.
- Mass socialist or Communist movement in most European countries (particularly France and Italy), with which the student-based new left was able to forge a connection. The most spectacular manifestation of this was the May student revolt of 1968 in Paris that linked up with a general strike of ten million workers called by the trade unions; and for a few days seemed capable of overthrowing the government of Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle went off to visit French troops in Germany to check on their loyalty. Major concessions were won for trade union rights, higher minimum wages and better working conditions.
- University students protested in the hundreds of thousands against the Vietnam War in London, Paris, Berlin and Rome.
- In Eastern Europe students also drew inspiration from the protests in the West. In Poland and Yugoslavia they protested against restrictions on free speech by communist regimes.
- The Tlatelolco massacre – was a government massacre of student and civilian protesters and bystanders that took place during the afternoon and night of 2 October 1968, in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco section of Mexico City.
Prominent coups d'état of the decade included:
- On 16 May 1961, a coup in South Korea led by army officer Park Chung-hee made the establishment of temporary military rule.
- In 1963, a coup in South Viet Nam leads to the death of President Ngô Đình Diệm and the establishment of temporary military rule.
- On 21 April 1967, in Greece a group of colonels established a military dictatorship for seven years.
- In 1968, a coup in Iraq led to the overthrow of Abdul Rahman Arif by the Arab Socialist Baath Party.
- On 1 September 1969, a small group of military officers led by the army officer Muammar Gaddafi overthrows monarchy in Libya.
- The Cuban Missile Crisis (16–28 October 1962) – a near-military confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union about the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. After an American Naval (quarantine) blockade of Cuba the Soviet Union under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove their missiles from Cuba in exchange for the U.S. removing its missiles from Turkey.
- On 13 February 1960, France detonated its first atomic bomb. France possessed a hydrogen bomb by 1968.
- On 16 October 1964, China detonated its first atomic bomb. China possessed a hydrogen bomb by 1967.
Decolonization and independence
- The transformation of Africa from colonialism to independence in what is known as the decolonisation of Africa dramatically accelerated during the decade, with 32 countries gaining independence between 1960 and 1968, marking the end of the European empires that once dominated the African continent. However, the noble aspirations of these new nations quickly faded, and many states descended into anarchy, kleptocracy, dictatorships, and/or civil war. The road to prosperity has been difficult: As of 2011[update], by many measures Africa continues to possess the poorest population in the world as well as the lowest life expectancy.
Prominent political events
- 1960 – United States presidential election, 1960 – The very close campaign was the series of four Kennedy–Nixon debates; they were the first presidential debates held on television. Kennedy won a close election.
- 1961 – President John F. Kennedy promised some more aggressive confrontation with the Soviet Union; he also established the Peace Corps.
- 1963 - Betty Friedan published the book The Feminine Mystique, reawakening the feminist movement and being largely responsible for its second wave.
- 1963 – Civil rights becomes a central issue, as the Birmingham campaign and Birmingham riot lead to President Kennedy's Civil Rights Address, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington, and the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing
- 1963 – Kennedy was assassinated and replaced by Vice President Lyndon Johnson. The nation was in shock. For the next half-century, conspiracy theorists concocted numerous alternative explanations to the official report that a lone gunman killed Kennedy.
- 1964 – Johnson pressed for civil rights legislation. Civil Rights Act of 1964 signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This landmark piece of legislation in the United States outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment. The first black riots erupt in major cities.
- 1964 – Johnson was reelected over Conservative spokesman Senator Barry Goldwater by wide landslide; Liberals gained full control of Congress.
- 1964 – Wilderness Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on 3 September.
- 1965 – After the events of the Selma to Montgomery marches the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 was lobbied for, and then signed into law, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Voting Rights Act outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had caused the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the United States.
- 1968 – U.S. President Richard M. Nixon was elected defeating Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey in November.
- 1969 – U.S. President Richard Nixon was inaugurated in January 1969; promised "peace with honor" to end the Vietnam War .
- The Quiet Revolution in Quebec altered the province-city-state into a more secular society. The Jean Lesage Liberal government created a welfare state État-Providence and fomented the rise of active nationalism among Francophone French-speaking Quebecer|Québécois.
- On 15 February 1965, the new Flag of Canada was adopted in Canada, after much anticipated debate known as the Great Canadian Flag Debate.
- In 1960, the Canadian Bill of Rights becomes law, and suffrage, and the right for any Canadian citizen to vote, was finally adopted by John Diefenbaker's Progressive Conservative government. The new election act allowed First Nations people to vote for the first time.
- The peak of the student and New Left protests in 1968 coincided with political upheavals in a number of other countries. Although these events often sprung from completely different causes, they were influenced by reports and images of what was happening in the United States and France.
- British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan delivered his Wind of Change (speech) in 1960.
- Construction of the Berlin Wall 1961 to prevent East Germans from escaping to the West.
- Pope John XXIII calls the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church, continued by Pope Paul VI, which met from 11 October 1962, until 8 December 1965.
- In October 1964, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was expelled from office due to his increasingly erratic and authoritarian behavior. Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin then became the new leaders of the Soviet Union.
- In Czechoslovakia, 1968 was the year of Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring, a source of inspiration to many Western leftists who admired Dubček's "socialism with a human face". The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August ended these hopes and also fatally damaged the chances of the orthodox communist parties drawing many recruits from the student protest movement.
- Relations with the United States remained hostile during the 1960s, although representatives from both countries held periodic meetings in Warsaw, Poland (since there was no U.S. embassy in China). President Kennedy had plans to restore Sino-US relations, but his assassination, the war in Vietnam, and the Cultural Revolution put an end to that. Not until Richard Nixon took office in 1969 was there another opportunity.
- Following Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's expulsion in 1964, Sino-Soviet relations devolved into open hostility. The Chinese were deeply disturbed by the Soviet suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968, as the latter now claimed the right to intervene in any country it saw as deviating from the correct path of socialism. Finally, in March 1969, armed clashes took place along the Sino-Soviet border in Manchuria. This drove the Chinese to restore relations with the U.S., as Mao Zedong decided that the Soviet Union was a much greater threat.
- In India a literary and cultural movement started in Calcutta, Patna, and other cities by a group of writers and painters who called themselves "Hungryalists", or members of the Hungry generation. The band of writers wanted to change virtually everything and were arrested with several cases filed against them on various charges. They ultimately won these cases.
- On 1 September 1969, the Libyan monarchy was overthrown, and a radical, revolutionary, government headed by Col. Muammar al-Gadaffi took power.
- In 1964, a successful coup against the democratically elected government of Brazilian president João Goulart, initiated a military dictatorship that caused over 20 years of oppression.
- The Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara travelled to Africa and then Bolivia in his campaigning to spread worldwide revolution. He was captured and executed in 1967 by the Bolivian army, and afterwards became an iconic figure for the left wing around the world.
- Juan Velasco Alvarado took power by a coup in Peru in 1968.
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The decade began with a recession from 1960–61, at that time unemployment was considered high at around 7%. In his campaign, John F. Kennedy promised to "get America moving again." His goal was economic growth of 4–6% per year and unemployment below 4%. To do this, he instituted a 7% tax credit for businesses that invest in new plants and equipment. By the end of the decade, median family income had risen from $8,540 in 1963 to $10,770 by 1969.
Although the first half of the decade had low inflation, by 1966 Kennedy's tax credit had reduced unemployment to 3.7% and inflation remained below 2%. With the economy booming Johnson began his "Great Society" which vastly expanded social programs. By the end of the decade under Nixon, the combined inflation and unemployment rate known as the misery index (economics) had exploded to nearly 10% with inflation at 6.2% and unemployment at 3.5% and by 1975 the misery index was almost 20%.
Assassinations and attempts
Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:
- 12 October 1960 – Inejiro Asanuma, leader of the Japan Socialist Party
- 17 January 1961 – Patrice Lumumba, the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Maurice Mpolo, Minister of Youth and Sports; Joseph Okito, Vice-President of the Senate. Assassinated by a Belgian and Congolese firing squad outside Lubumbashi.
- 20 February 1961 Alphonse Songolo, former Minister of Communications of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Gilbert Pongo, intelligence officer and communications official. Shot in Kisangani.
- 30 May 1961 – Rafael Trujillo Dictator of Dominican Republic for 31 years, by a number of plotters including a general in his army.
- 13 January 1963 – Sylvanus Olympio, the Prime Minister of Togo, is killed during the 1963 Togolese coup d'état. His body is dumped in front of the U.S. embassy in Lomé.
- 27 May 1963 – Grigoris Lambrakis, Greek left-wing MP by far-right extremists with connections to the police and the army in Thessaloniki.
- 12 June 1963 – Medgar Evers, an NAACP field secretary. Assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the Ku Klux Klan in Jackson, Mississippi.
- 2 November 1963 – Ngô Đình Diệm, President of South Vietnam, along with his brother and chief political adviser, Ngô Đình Nhu. Assassinated by Dương Hiếu Nghĩa and Nguyễn Văn Nhung in the back of an armoured personnel carrier.
- 22 November 1963 – John F. Kennedy, President of the United States. Assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
- 19 July 1964 – Jason Sendwe, President of North Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Executed by Simba rebels in Albertville.
- 13 February 1965 – Humberto Delgado. Assassinated by Portuguese dictator Salazar's political police PIDE in Spain, near the Portuguese border.
- 21 February 1965 – Malcolm X. Assassinated by members of the Nation of Islam in New York City. There is a dispute about which members killed Malcolm X.
- 6 September 1966 – Hendrik Verwoerd, Prime Minister of South Africa and architect of apartheid was stabbed to death by Dimitri Tsafendas, a parliamentary messenger. He survived a previous attempt on his life in 1960.
- 25 August 1967 – George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party. Assassinated by John Patler in Arlington, Virginia.
- 9 October 1967 – Che Guevara, assassinated by the CIA and Bolivian army.
- 4 April 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader. Assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee.
- 5 June 1968 – Robert F. Kennedy, United States Senator. Assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles, after taking California in the presidential national primaries.
- The 1960 Valdivia earthquake, also known as the Great Chilean earthquake, is to date the most powerful earthquake ever recorded, rating 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. It caused localized tsunamis that severely battered the Chilean coast, with waves up to 25 meters (82 ft). The main tsunami raced across the Pacific Ocean and devastated Hilo, Hawaii.
- 1963 Skopje earthquake was a 6.1 moment magnitude earthquake which occurred in Skopje, SR Macedonia (present-day Republic of Macedonia) on 26 July 1963 which killed over 1,070 people, injured between 3,000 and 4,000 and left more than 200,000 people homeless. About 80% of the city was destroyed.
- 1963 – Vajont dam disaster – The Vajont dam flood in Italy was caused by a mountain sliding in the dam, and causing a flood wave that killed approximately 2,000 people in the towns in its path.
- 1964 – The Good Friday earthquake, the most powerful earthquake recorded in the U.S. and North America, struck Alaska and killed 143 people.
- 1965 – Hurricane Betsy caused severe damage to the U.S. Gulf Coast, especially in the state of Louisiana.
- 1969 – The Cuyahoga River caught fire in Ohio. Fires had erupted on the river many times, including 22 June 1969, when a river fire captured the attention of Time magazine, which described the Cuyahoga as the river that "oozes rather than flows" and in which a person "does not drown but decays." This helped spur legislative action on water pollution control resulting in the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
- 1969 – Hurricane Camille hit the U.S. Gulf Coast at Category 5 Status. To date it is the strongest hurricane ever recorded at landfall in means of sustained windspeed in the Atlantic Basin, reaching sustained winds of 190 mph and a low pressure of 905 mbs. It is one of only three hurricanes in the Atlantic to ever make landfall at Category 5 Status and one of only four hurricanes worldwide to reach a maximum sustained windspeed of 190 mph.
- On 16 December 1960, a United Airlines DC-8 and a Trans World Airlines Lockheed Constellation collided over New York City and crashed, killing 134 people.
- On 15 February 1961, Sabena Flight 548 crashed on its way to Brussels, Belgium, killing all 72 passengers on board and 1 person on the ground. Among those killed were all 18 members of the US figure skating team, on their way to the World Championships.
- On 16 March 1962, Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, a Lockheed Super Constellation, inexplicably disappeared over the Western Pacific, leaving all 107 on board presumed dead. Since the wreckage of the aircraft is lost to this day, the cause of the crash remains a mystery.
- On 3 June 1962, Air France Flight 007, a Boeing 707, crashed on takeoff from Paris. 130 people were killed in the crash while 2 survived.
- On 20 May 1965, PIA Flight 705 crashed on approach to Cairo, Egypt. 121 died while 6 survived.
- On 4 February 1966, All Nippon Airways Flight 60, a Boeing 727, plunged into Tokyo Bay for reasons unknown. All 133 people on board perished.
- On 5 March 1966, BOAC Flight 911 broke up in mid-air and crashed on the slopes of Mount Fuji. All 124 aboard died.
- On 8 December 1966, the car ferry SS Heraklion sank in the Aegean Sea during a storm, killing 217 people.
- On 16 March 1969, a DC-9 operating Viasa Flight 742 crashed in the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo. A total of 155 people died in the crash.
Social and political movements
In the second half of the decade, young people began to revolt against the conservative norms of the time, as well as remove themselves from mainstream liberalism, in particular the high level of materialism which was so common during the era. This created a "counterculture" that sparked a social revolution throughout much of the Western world. It began in the United States as a reaction against the conservatism and social conformity of the 1950s, and the U.S. government's extensive military intervention in Vietnam. The youth involved in the popular social aspects of the movement became known as hippies. These groups created a movement toward liberation in society, including the sexual revolution, questioning authority and government, and demanding more freedoms and rights for women and minorities. The Underground Press, a widespread, eclectic collection of newspapers served as a unifying medium for the counterculture. The movement was also marked by the first widespread, socially accepted drug use (including LSD and marijuana) and psychedelic music.
The war in Vietnam would eventually lead to a commitment of over half a million American troops, resulting in over 58,500 American deaths and producing a large-scale antiwar movement in the United States. As late as the end of 1965, few Americans protested the American involvement in Vietnam, but as the war dragged on and the body count continued to climb, civil unrest escalated. Students became a powerful and disruptive force and university campuses sparked a national debate over the war. As the movement's ideals spread beyond college campuses, doubts about the war also began to appear within the administration itself. A mass movement began rising in opposition to the Vietnam War, ending in the massive Moratorium protests in 1969, as well as the movement of resistance to conscription ("the Draft") for the war.
The antiwar movement was initially based on the older 1950s Peace movement, heavily influenced by the American Communist Party, but by the mid-1960s it outgrew this and became a broad-based mass movement centered in universities and churches: one kind of protest was called a "sit-in". Other terms heard in the United States included "the Draft", "draft dodger", "conscientious objector", and "Vietnam vet". Voter age-limits were challenged by the phrase: "If you're old enough to die for your country, you're old enough to vote."
Civil rights movement
Beginning in the mid-1950s and continuing into the late 1960s, African-Americans in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against black Americans and voting rights to them. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1955 and 1968, particularly in the South. The emergence of the Black Power movement, which lasted roughly from 1966 to 1975, enlarged the aims of the civil rights movement to include racial dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency, and anti-imperialism.
The movement was characterized by major campaigns of civil resistance. Between 1955 and 1968, acts of civil disobedience and nonviolent protest produced crisis situations between activists and government authorities. Federal, state, and local governments, businesses, and communities often had to respond immediately to these situations that highlighted the inequities faced by African Americans. Forms of protest and/or civil disobedience included boycotts such as the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) in Alabama; "sit-ins" such as the influential Greensboro sit-ins (1960) in North Carolina; marches, such as the Selma to Montgomery marches (1965) in Alabama; and a wide range of other nonviolent activities.
Noted legislative achievements during this phase of the civil rights movement were passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, that banned discrimination based on "race, color, religion, or national origin" in employment practices and public accommodations; the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that restored and protected voting rights; the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, that dramatically opened entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than traditional European groups; and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, that banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.
Hispanic and Chicano movement
Another large ethnic minority group, the Mexican-Americans, are among other Hispanics in the U.S. who fought to end racial discrimination and socioeconomic disparity. The largest Mexican-American populations was in the Southwestern United States, such as California with over 1 million Chicanos in Los Angeles alone, and Texas where Jim Crow laws included Mexican-Americans as "non-white" in some instances to be legally segregated.
Socially, the Chicano Movement addressed what it perceived to be negative ethnic stereotypes of Mexicans in mass media and the American consciousness. It did so through the creation of works of literary and visual art that validated Mexican-American ethnicity and culture. Chicanos fought to end social stigmas such as the usage of the Spanish language and advocated official bilingualism in federal and state governments.
The Chicano Movement also addressed discrimination in public and private institutions. Early in the twentieth century, Mexican Americans formed organizations to protect themselves from discrimination. One of those organizations, the League of United Latin American Citizens, was formed in 1929 and remains active today.
The movement gained momentum after World War II when groups such as the American G.I. Forum, which was formed by returning Mexican American veterans, joined in the efforts by other civil rights organizations.
Mexican-American civil-rights activists achieved several major legal victories including the 1947 Mendez v. Westminster U.S. Supreme Court ruling which declared that segregating children of "Mexican and Latin descent" was unconstitutional and the 1954 Hernandez v. Texas ruling which declared that Mexican Americans and other racial groups in the United States were entitled to equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The most prominent civil-rights organization in the Mexican-American community, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), was founded in 1968. Although modeled after the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, MALDEF has also taken on many of the functions of other organizations, including political advocacy and training of local leaders.
Meanwhile, Puerto Ricans in the U.S. mainland fought against racism, police brutality and socioeconomic problems affecting the three million Puerto Ricans residing in the 50 states. The main concentration of the population was in New York City.
In the 1960s and the following 1970s, Hispanic-American culture was on the rebound like ethnic music, foods, culture and identity both became popular and assimilated into the American mainstream. Spanish-language television networks, radio stations and newspapers increased in presence across the country, especially in U.S.–Mexican border towns and East Coast cities like New York City, and the growth of the Cuban American community in Miami, Florida.
The multitude of discrimination at this time represented an inhuman side to a society that in the 1960s was upheld as a world and industry leader. The issues of civil rights and warfare became major points of reflection of virtue and democracy, what once was viewed as traditional and inconsequential was now becoming the significance in the turning point of a culture. A document known as the Port Huron Statement exemplifies these two conditions perfectly in its first hand depiction, "while these and other problems either directly oppressed us or rankled our consciences and became our own subjective concerns, we began to see complicated and disturbing paradoxes in our surrounding America. The declaration "all men are created equal..." rang hollow before the facts of Negro life in the South and the big cities of the North. The proclaimed peaceful intentions of the United States contradicted its economic and military investments in the Cold War status quo." These intolerable issues became too visible to ignore therefore its repercussions were feared greatly, the realization that we as individuals take the responsibility for encounter and resolution in our lives issues was an emerging idealism of the 1960s.
A second wave of feminism in the United States and around the world gained momentum in the early 1960s. While the first wave of the early 20th century was centered on gaining suffrage and overturning de jure inequalities, the second wave was focused on changing cultural and social norms and de facto inequalities associated with women. At the time, a woman's place was generally seen as being in the home, and they were excluded from many jobs and professions. In the U.S., a Presidential Commission on the Status of Women found discrimination against women in the workplace and every other aspect of life, a revelation which launched two decades of prominent women-centered legal reforms (i.e., the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title IX, etc.) which broke down the last remaining legal barriers to women's personal freedom and professional success. Feminists took to the streets, marching and protesting, writing books and debating to change social and political views that limited women. In 1963, with Betty Friedan's revolutionary book, The Feminine Mystique, the role of women in society, and in public and private life was questioned. By 1966, the movement was beginning to grow in size and power as women's group spread across the country and Friedan, along with other feminists, founded the National Organization for Women. In 1968, "Women's Liberation" became a household term as, for the first time, the new women's movement eclipsed the civil rights movement when New York Radical Women, led by Robin Morgan, protested the annual Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The movement continued throughout the next decades. Gloria Steinem was a key feminist.
Gay rights movement
The United States, in the middle of a social revolution, led the world in LGBT rights in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Inspired by the civil-rights movement and the women's movement, early gay-rights pioneers had begun, by the 1960s, to build a movement. These groups were rather conservative in their practices, emphasizing that gay men and women are no different from those who are straight and deserve full equality. This philosophy would be dominant again after AIDS, but by the very end of the 1960s, the movement's goals would change and become more radical, demanding a right to be different, and encouraging gay pride.
The symbolic birth of the gay rights movement would not come until the decade had almost come to a close. Gays were not allowed by law to congregate. Gay establishments such as the Stonewall Inn in New York City were routinely raided by the police to arrest gay people. On a night in late June 1969, LGBT people resisted, for the first time, a police raid, and rebelled openly in the streets. This uprising called the Stonewall Riots began a new period of the LGBT rights movement that in the next decade would cause dramatic change both inside the LGBT community and in the mainstream American culture.
The rapid rise of a "New Left" applied the class perspective of Marxism to postwar America, but had little organizational connection with older Marxist organizations such as the Communist Party, and even went as far as to reject organized labor as the basis of a unified left-wing movement. Sympathetic to the ideology of C. Wright Mills, the New Left differed from the traditional left in its resistance to dogma and its emphasis on personal as well as societal change. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) became the organizational focus of the New Left and was the prime mover behind the opposition to the War in Vietnam. The 1960s left also consisted of ephemeral campus-based Trotskyist, Maoist and anarchist groups, some of which by the end of the 1960s had turned to militancy.
The 1960s was also associated with a large increase in crime and urban unrest of all types. Between 1960 and 1969 reported incidences of violent crime per 100,000 people in the United States nearly doubled and have yet to return to the levels of the early 1960s. Large riots broke out in many cities like Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, New Jersey, Oakland, California and Washington, D.C. By the end of the decade, politicians like George Wallace and Richard Nixon campaigned on restoring law and order to a nation troubled with the new unrest.
Science and technology
The Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union dominated the 1960s. The Soviets sent the first man, Yuri Gagarin, into outer space during the Vostok 1 mission on 12 April 1961 and scored a host of other successes, but by the middle of the decade the U.S. was taking the lead. In May 1961, President Kennedy set for the U.S. the goal of a manned spacecraft landing on the Moon by the end of the decade.
In June 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. In 1965, Soviets launched the first probe to hit another planet of the Solar system (Venus), Venera 3, and the first probe to make a soft landing on and transmit from the surface of the moon, Luna 9. In March 1966, the Soviet Union launched Luna 10, which became the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.
The deaths of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee in the Apollo 1 fire on 27 January 1967 put a temporary hold on the U.S. space program, but afterward progress was steady, with the Apollo 8 crew (Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders) being the first manned mission to orbit another celestial body (the moon) during Christmas of 1968.
On 20 July 1969, Apollo 11, the first human spaceflight landed on the Moon. Launched on 16 July 1969, it carried mission Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and the Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin. Apollo 11 fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's goal of reaching the moon by the end of the 1960s, which he had expressed during a speech given before a joint session of Congress on 25 May 1961: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."
The Soviet program lost its sense of direction with the death of chief designer Sergey Korolyov in 1966. Political pressure, conflicts between different design bureaus, and engineering problems caused by an inadequate budget would doom the Soviet attempt to land men on the moon.
Other scientific developments
- 1960 – The female birth-control contraceptive, the pill, was released in the United States after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
- 1965 – AstroTurf introduced.
- 1967 – First heart transplantation operation by Professor Christiaan Barnard in South Africa.
- 1967 – Discovery of the first known pulsar (a rapidly spinning neutron star).
As the 1960s began, American cars showed a rapid rejection of 1950s styling excess, and would remain relatively clean and boxy for the entire decade. The horsepower race reached its climax in the late 1960s, with muscle cars sold by most makes. The compact Ford Mustang, launched in 1964, was one of the decade's greatest successes. The "Big Three" American automakers enjoyed their highest ever sales and profitability in the 1960s, but the demise of Studebaker in 1966 left American Motors Corporation as the last significant independent. The decade would see the car market split into different size classes for the first time, and model lineups now included compact and mid-sized cars in addition to full-sized ones.
The popular modern hatchback, with front-wheel-drive and a two-box configuration, was born in 1965 with the introduction of the Renault 16，many of this car's design principles live on in its modern counterparts: a large rear opening incorporating the rear window, foldable rear seats to extend boot space. The Mini, released in 1959, had first popularised the front wheel drive two-box configuration, but technically was not a hatchback as it had a fold-down bootlid.
Japanese cars also began to gain acceptance in the Western market, and popular economy models such as the Toyota Corolla, Datsun 510, and the first popular Japanese sports car, the Datsun 240Z, were released in the mid- to late-1960s.
Electronics and communications
- 1960 – The first working laser was demonstrated in May by Theodore Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories.
- 1960 – Tony Hoare announces the Quicksort algorithm, the most common sorter on computers.
- 1961 – Unimate, the first industrial robot, was introduced.
- 1962 – First transatlantic satellite broadcast via the Telstar satellite.
- 1962 – The first computer video game, Spacewar!, was invented.
- 1962 – Red LEDs were developed.
- 1963 – The first geosynchronous communications satellite, Syncom 2 is launched.
- 1963 – First transpacific satellite broadcast via the Relay 1 satellite.
- 1963 – Touch-Tone telephones introduced.
- 1963 – Sketchpad was the first touch interactive computer graphics program.
- 1963 – The Nottingham Electronic Valve company produced the first home video recorder called the "Telcan".
- 1964 – 8-track tape audio format was developed.
- 1964 – The Compact Cassette was introduced.
- 1964 – The first successful Minicomputer, Digital Equipment Corporation's 12-bit PDP-8, was marketed.
- 1964 – The programming language BASIC was created.
- 1964 – The world's first supercomputer, the CDC 6600, was introduced.
- 1964 – Fairchild Semiconductor released ICs with dual in-line packaging.
- 1967 – PAL and SECAM broadcast color television systems started publicly transmitting in Europe.
- 1967 – The first Automatic Teller Machine was opened in Barclays Bank, London.
- 1968 – Ralph Baer developed his Brown Box (a working prototype of the Magnavox Odyssey).
- 1968 – The first public demonstration of the computer mouse, the paper paradigm Graphical user interface, video conferencing, teleconferencing, email, and hypertext.
- 1969 – Arpanet, the research-oriented prototype of the Internet, was introduced.
- 1969 – CCD invented at AT&T Bell Labs, used as the electronic imager in still and video cameras.
Additional notable worldwide events
- The Manson Murders occurred between 8 and 10 August 1969, when actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and several others were brutally murdered in the Tate residence by Charles Manson's "family." Rosemary LaBianca & Leno LaBianca were also murdered by the Manson family the following night.
- Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary of Confederation in 1967 by hosting Expo 67, the World's Fair, in Montreal, Quebec. During the anniversary celebrations, French president Charles De Gaulle visited Canada, and caused a considerable uproar by declaring his support for Québécois independence.
The counterculture movement dominated the second half of the 1960s, its most famous moments being the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967, and the Woodstock Festival in upstate New York in 1969. Psychedelic drugs, especially LSD, were widely used medicinally, spiritually and recreationally throughout the late 1960s, and were popularized by Timothy Leary with his slogan "Turn on, tune in, drop out". Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters also played a part in the role of "turning heads on". Psychedelic influenced the music, artwork and films of the decade, and a number of prominent musicians died of drug overdoses (see 27 Club). There was a growing interest in Eastern religions and philosophy, and many attempts were made to found communes, which varied from supporting free love to religious puritanism.
The rock-and-roll movement of the 1950s quickly came to an end in 1959 as explained in the song Day The Music Died, the revelation that Jerry Lee Lewis had married his 13 year old cousin, and the induction of Elvis Presley into the US Army. As the 1960s began, the major rock-and-roll stars of the '50s such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard had dropped off the charts and popular music in the US came to be dominated by Motown girl groups and novelty pop songs. Another important change in music during the early 1960s was the American folk music revival which introduced Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, The Kingston Trio, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Odetta, and many other Singer-songwriters to the public.
Girl groups and female singers, such as the Shirelles, Betty Everett, Little Eva, the Dixie Cups, the Ronettes, and the Supremes dominated the charts in the early 1960s. This style consisted typically of light pop themes about teenage romance, backed by vocal harmonies and a strong rhythm. Most girl groups were African-American, but white girl groups and singers, such as Lesley Gore, the Angels, and the Shangri-Las also emerged by 1963.
Around the same time, record producer Phil Spector began producing girl groups and created a new kind of pop music production that came to be known as the Wall of Sound. This style emphasized higher budgets and more elaborate arrangements, and more melodramatic musical themes in place of a simple, light-hearted pop sound. Spector's innovations became integral to the growing sophistication of popular music from 1965 onward.
Also during the early '60s, surf rock emerged, a rock subgenre that was centered in Southern California and based on beach and surfing themes, in addition to the usual songs about teenage romance and innocent fun. The Beach Boys quickly became the premier surf rock band and almost completely and single-handedly overshadowed the many lesser artists in the genre. Surf rock reached its peak in 1963–65, then gradually gave way to bands influenced by the counterculture movement.
The car song also emerged as a rock subgenre in the early 60s, which coupled with the surf rock subgenre. Such notable songs include "Little Deuce Coupe," "409," and "Shut Down," all by the Beach Boys; Jan and Dean's "Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and "Drag City," among many others.
The early 60s also saw the golden age of another rock subgenre, the teen tragedy song, which focused on lost teen romance caused by sudden death, mainly in traffic accidents. Such songs included Mark Dinning's "Teen Angel," Ray Peterson's "Tell Laura I Love Her," Jan and Dean's "Dead Man's Curve," the Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack," and J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers' "Last Kiss."
While rock 'n' roll had 'disappeared' from the US charts in the early '60s, it never died out in Europe and Britain in particular was a hotbed of rock-and-roll activity during this time. In late 1963, the Beatles embarked on their first US tour. A few months later, rock-and-roll founding father Chuck Berry emerged from a 2-1/2 year prison stint and resumed recording and touring. The stage was set for the spectacular revival of rock music.
In the UK, the Beatles played raucous rock 'n' roll – as well as doo wop, girl-group songs, show tunes – and wore leather jackets. Their manager Brian Epstein encouraged the group to wear suits. Beatlemania abruptly exploded after the group's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Late in 1965, the Beatles released the album Rubber Soul which marked the beginning of their transition to a sophisticated power pop group with elaborate studio arrangements and production, and a year after that, they gave up touring entirely to focus only on albums. A host of imitators followed the Beatles in the so-called British Invasion, including groups like the Rolling Stones and the Kinks who would become legends in their own right.
As the counterculture movement developed, artists began making new kinds of music influenced by the use of psychedelic drugs. Guitarist Jimi Hendrix emerged onto the scene in 1967 with a radically new approach to electric guitar that replaced Chuck Berry, previously seen as the gold standard of rock guitar. Rock artists began to take on serious themes and social commentary/protest instead of simplistic pop themes.
A major development in popular music during the mid-1960s was the movement away from singles and towards albums. Previously, popular music was based around the 45 single (or even earlier, the 78 single) and albums such as they existed were little more than a hit single or two backed with filler tracks, instrumentals, and covers. The development of the AOR (album oriented rock) format was complicated and involved several concurrent events such as Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, the introduction by Bob Dylan of "serious" lyrics to rock music, and the Beatles' new studio-based approach. In any case, after 1965 the vinyl LP had definitively taken over as the primary format for all popular music styles.
Blues also continued to develop strongly during the '60s, but after 1965, it increasingly shifted to the young white rock audience and away from its traditional black audience, which moved on to other styles such as soul and funk.
Jazz music during the first half of the '60s was largely a continuation of '50s styles, retaining its core audience of young, urban, college-educated whites. By 1967, the death of several important jazz figures such as John Coltrane and Nat King Cole precipitated a decline in the genre. The takeover of rock in the late '60s largely spelled the end of jazz as a mainstream form of music, after it had dominated much of the first half of the 20th century.
Country music gained popularity on the West Coast, due in large part to the Bakersfield sound, led by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Female country artists were also becoming more mainstream (in a genre dominated by men in prior decades), with such acts as Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette.
Significant events in music in the 1960s:
- Elvis Presley returned to civilian life in the U.S. after two years away in the U.S. Army. He resumes his musical career by recording "It's Now or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" in March 1960.
- Country music stars Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, and Hawkshaw Hawkins were killed when their plane crashed in Camden, TN while returning home from a Kansas City benefit show in March 1963.
- In July 1964, a plane crash claimed the life of another country music legend, Jim Reeves, when the plane he was piloting crashed in a turbulent thunderstorm while on final approach to Nashville International Airport.
- Sam Cooke was shot and killed at a motel in Los Angeles, California [11 December 1964] at age 33 under suspicious circumstances.
- Motown Record Corporation was founded in 1960. Its first Top Ten hit was "Shop Around" by the Miracles in 1960. "Shop Around" peaked at number-two on the Billboard Hot 100, and was Motown's first million-selling record.
- Newcastle born Eric Burdon and his Band "The Animals" hit the No. 1 in charts in the U.S. with their hit single, "House Of The Rising Sun" in 1964.
- Folksinger and activist Joan Baez released her debut album on Vanguard Records in December 1960.
- The Marvelettes scored Motown Record Corporation's first US No. 1 pop hit, "Please Mr. Postman" in 1961. Motown would score 110 Billboard Top-Ten hits during its run.
- The Four Seasons released three straight number one hits
- In a widely anticipated and publicized event, The Beatles arrive in America in February 1964, spearheading the British Invasion.
- The Mary Poppins Original Soundtrack tops record charts. Sherman Brothers receive Grammys and double Oscars.
- Lesley Gore at age 17 hits number one on Billboard with "It's My Party" and number two with "You Don't Own Me" behind the Beatles "I Want To Hold Your Hand".
- The Supremes scored twelve number-one hit singles between 1964 and 1969, beginning with "Where Did Our Love Go".
- The Kinks release "You Really Got Me" in August 1964, which tops the British charts; it is regarded as the first hard rock hit and a blueprint for related genres, such as heavy metal.
- John Coltrane released A Love Supreme in late 1964, considered among the most acclaimed jazz albums of the era.
- The Grateful Dead was formed in 1965 (originally The Warlocks) thus paving the way for the emergence of acid rock.
- Bob Dylan went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
- Cilla Black's number-one hit "Anyone Who had a Heart" still remains the top-selling single by a female artist in the UK from 1964.
- The Rolling Stones had a huge No. 1 hit with their song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" in the summer of 1965.
- The Byrds released a cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", which reached No. 1 on the U.S. charts and repeated the feat in the U.K. shortly thereafter. The extremely influential track effectively creates the musical subgenre of folk rock.
- Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" is a top-five hit on both sides of the Atlantic during the summer of 1965.
- Bob Dylan's 1965 albums Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited ushered in album-focused rock and the "folk rock" genre.
- Simon and Garfunkel released "The Sound of Silence" single in 1965.
- The Beach Boys released Pet Sounds in 1966, which significantly influenced the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album released the following year.
- Bob Dylan was called "Judas" by an audience member during the Manchester Free Trade Hall concert, the start of the bootleg recording industry follows, with recordings of this concert circulating for 30 years – wrongly labeled as – The Royal Albert Hall Concert before a legitimate release in 1998 as The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert.
- In February 1966, Nancy Sinatra's song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin' " became very popular.
- In 1966, The Supremes A' Go-Go was the first album by a female group to reach the top position of the Billboard magazine pop albums chart in the United States.
- The Seekers were the first Australian Group to have a number one with "Georgy Girl" in 1966.
- Jefferson Airplane released the influential Surrealistic Pillow in 1967.
- The Velvet Underground released its self-titled debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico in 1967.
- The Doors released its self-titled debut album The Doors in January 1967.
- Love released Forever Changes in 1967.
- The Procol Harum released A Whiter Shade Of Pale in 1967.
- Cream released "Disraeli Gears" in 1967.
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience released two successful albums during 1967, Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold as Love, that innovate both guitar, trio and recording techniques.
- The Moody Blues released the album Days of Future Passed in November 1967.
- R & B legend Otis Redding has his first No. 1 hit with the legendary Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. He also played at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 just before he died in a plane crash.
- Pink Floyd released its debut record The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
- Bob Dylan released the Country rock album John Wesley Harding in December 1967.
- The Bee Gees released their international debut album Bee Gees 1st in July 1967 which included the pop standard "To Love Somebody".
- The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 was the beginning of the so-called "Summer of Love".
- The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. It was nicknamed "The Soundtrack of the Summer of Love".
- Johnny Cash released At Folsom Prison in 1968.
- 1968: after The Yardbirds fold, Led Zeppelin was formed by Jimmy Page and manager Peter Grant, with Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones; and, released their debut album Led Zeppelin.
- Big Brother and the Holding Company, with Janis Joplin as lead singer, became an overnight sensation after their performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and released their second album Cheap Thrills in 1968.
- Gram Parsons with The Byrds released the extremely influential LP Sweetheart of the Rodeo in late 1968, forming the basis for country rock.
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience released the highly influential double LP Electric Ladyland in 1968 that furthered the guitar and studio innovations of his previous two albums.
- Simon and Garfunkel released the single "Mrs. Robinson" in 1968; featured in the film "The Graduate".
- Country music newcomer Jeannie C. Riley released the country and pop hit "Harper Valley PTA" in 1968, which is about a miniskirt-wearing mother of a teenage girl who was criticized by the local PTA for supposedly setting a bad example for her daughter, but turns the tables by exposing some of the PTA members' wrongdoings. The song, along with Riley's mod persona in connection with it, apparently gave country music a sexual revolution of its own, as hemlines of other female country artists' stage attire began rising in the years that followed.
- Sly & the Family Stone revolutionized black music with their massive 1968 hit single "Dance to the Music" and by 1969 became international sensations with the release of their hit record Stand!. The band cemented their position as a vital counterculture band when they performed at the Woodstock Festival.
- The Gun released "Race with the Devil" in October 1968.
- After a long performance drought, Elvis Presley made a successful return to TV and live performances after spending most of the decade starring in movies, beginning with his '68 Comeback Special in December 1968 on NBC, followed in 1969 by a summer engagement in Las Vegas, setting the stage for Presley's many concert tours and continued Vegas engagements throughout the 1970s until his death in 1977.
- The Rolling Stones filmed the TV special The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus in December 1968 but the film was not released for transmission. Considered for decades as a fabled "lost" performance until released in North America on Laserdisc and VHS in 1996. Features performances from The Who; The Dirty Mac featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell; Jethro Tull and Taj Mahal.
- Spooky Tooth released their second album Spooky Two in March 1969. The album was an important hard rock milestone.
- The Woodstock Festival, and four months later, the Altamont Free Concert in 1969.
- The Who released and toured the first rock opera Tommy in 1969.
- Proto-punk band MC5 released the live album Kick Out the Jams in 1969.
- Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band released the avant garde Trout Mask Replica in 1969.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival released "Fortunate Son" in 1969. The song amassed popularity with the Anti-War movement at the time and would later be used in films, TV shows, and video games depicting the Vietnam War or the U.S during the late 1960s and early 1970s
- The Stooges released their debut album in 1969.
- The Beatles released Abbey Road in 1969.
- King Crimson released their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King in 1969.
Some of Hollywood's most notable blockbuster films of the 1960s include:
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Apartment
- The Birds
- I Am Curious (Yellow)
- Bonnie and Clyde
- Breakfast at Tiffany's
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
- Carnival of Souls
- Cool Hand Luke
- The Dirty Dozen
- Doctor Zhivago
- Dr. Strangelove
- Easy Rider
- Funny Girl
- The Graduate
- Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
- How the West Was Won
- The Hustler
- Ice Station Zebra
- In the Heat of the Night
- The Italian Job
- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
- Jason and the Argonauts
- Judgment at Nuremberg
- The Jungle Book
- Lawrence of Arabia
- The Lion in Winter
- The Longest Day
- The Love Bug
- A Man for All Seasons
- The Manchurian Candidate
- Mary Poppins
- Medium Cool
- Midnight Cowboy
- My Fair Lady
- Night of the Living Dead
- The Pink Panther
- The Odd Couple
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians
- One Million Years B.C.
- Planet of the Apes
- Romeo and Juliet
- Rosemary's Baby
- The Sound of Music
- Swiss Family Robinson
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Valley of the Dolls
- West Side Story
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- The Wild Bunch
The counterculture movement had a significant effect on cinema. Movies began to break social taboos such as sex and violence causing both controversy and fascination. They turned increasingly dramatic, unbalanced, and hectic as the cultural revolution was starting. This was the beginning of the New Hollywood era that dominated the next decade in theatres and revolutionized the film industry. Films of this time also focused on the changes happening in the world. Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider (1969) focused on the drug culture of the time. Movies also became more sexually explicit, such as Roger Vadim's Barbarella (1968) as the counterculture progressed.
In Europe, Art Cinema gains wider distribution and sees movements like la Nouvelle Vague (The French New Wave) featuring French filmmakers such as Roger Vadim, François Truffaut, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Luc Godard; Cinéma vérité documentary movement in Canada, France and the United States; Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, Chilean filmmaker Alexandro Jodorowsky and Polish filmmakers Roman Polanski and Wojciech Jerzy Has produced original and offbeat masterpieces and the high-point of Italian filmmaking with Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini making some of their most known films during this period. Notable films from this period include: La Dolce Vita, 8½; La Notte; L'Eclisse, The Red Desert; Blowup; Fellini Satyricon; Accattone; The Gospel According to St. Matthew; Theorem; Winter Light; The Silence; Persona; Shame; A Passion; Au Hasard Balthazar; Mouchette; Last Year at Marienbad; Chronique d'un été; Titicut Follies; High School; Salesman; La jetée; Warrendale; Knife in the Water; Repulsion; The Saragossa Manuscript; El Topo; A Hard Day's Night; and the cinema verite Dont Look Back.
In Japan, a film version of the story of the forty-seven ronin entitled Chushingura: Hana no Maki, Yuki no Maki directed by Hiroshi Inagaki was released in 1962, the legendary story was also remade as a television series in Japan. Academy Award-winning Japanese director Akira Kurosawa produced Yojimbo (1961), and Sanjuro (1962), which both starred Toshiro Mifune as a mysterious Samurai swordsman for hire. Like his previous films both had a profound influence around the world. The Spaghetti Western genre was a direct outgrowth of the Kurosawa films. The influence of these films is most apparent in Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964) starring Clint Eastwood and Walter Hill's Last Man Standing (1996). Yojimbo was also the origin of the "Man with No Name" trend which included Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly both also starring Clint Eastwood, and arguably continued through his 1968 opus Once Upon a Time in the West, starring Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, and Jason Robards. The Magnificent Seven a 1960 American western film directed by John Sturges was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 film, Seven Samurai.
The 1960s were also about experimentation. With the explosion of light-weight and affordable cameras, the underground avant-garde film movement thrived. Canada's Michael Snow, Americans Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Andy Warhol, and Jack Smith. Notable films in this genre are: Dog Star Man; Scorpio Rising; Wavelength; Chelsea Girls; Blow Job; Vinyl; Flaming Creatures.
Significant events in the film industry in the 1960s:
- Removal of the Motion Picture Association of America's Production Code in 1967.
- The decline and end of the Studio System.
- The rise of 'art house' films and theaters.
- The end of the classical hollywood cinema era.
- The beginning of the New Hollywood Era due to the counterculture.
- The rise of independent producers that worked outside the Studio System.
- Move to all-color production in Hollywood films.
- The invention of the Nagra 1/4", sync-sound, portable open-reel tape deck.
- Expo 67 where new film formats like Imax were invented and new ways of displaying film were tested.
- Flat-bed film editing tables appear, like the Steenbeck, they eventually replace the Moviola editing platform.
- The French New Wave.
- Direct Cinema and Cinéma vérité documentaries.
The most prominent American TV series of the 1960s include: The Ed Sullivan Show, Star Trek, Peyton Place, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Andy Williams Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Wonderful World of Disney, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, Batman, McHale's Navy, Laugh-In, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Fugitive, The Tonight Show, Gunsmoke, The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan's Island, Mission: Impossible, The Flintstones, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Lassie, The Danny Thomas Show, The Lucy Show, My Three Sons, The Red Skelton Show, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. The Flintstones was a favoured show, receiving 40 million views an episode with an average of 3 views a day. Some programming such as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour became controversial by challenging the foundations of America's corporate and governmental controls; making fun of world leaders, and questioning U.S. involvement in and escalation of the Vietnam War.
Significant fashion trends of the 1960s include:
- The Beatles exerted an enormous influence on young men's fashions and hairstyles in the 1960s which included most notably the mop-top haircut, the Beatle boots and the Nehru jacket.
- The hippie movement late in the decade also had a strong influence on clothing styles, including bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye and batik fabrics, as well as paisley prints.
- The bikini came into fashion in 1963 after being featured in the film Beach Party.
- Mary Quant invented the miniskirt, which became one of the most popular fashion rages in the late 1960s among young women and teenage girls. Its popularity continued throughout the first half of the 1970s and then disappeared temporarily from mainstream fashion before making a comeback in the mid-1980s.
- Men's mainstream hairstyles ranged from the pompadour, the crew cut, the flattop hairstyle, the tapered hairstyle, and short, parted hair in the early part of the decade, to longer parted hairstyles with sideburns towards the latter half of the decade.
- Women's mainstream hairstyles ranged from beehive hairdos, the bird's nest hairstyle, and the chignon hairstyle in the early part of the decade, to very short styles popularized by Twiggy and Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby towards the latter half of the decade.
- African-American hairstyles for men and women included the afro.
The mop-top haircut, which became popular due to the Beatles but was considered at the time a rebellious hairstyle, was particularly fashionable among young men during the decade
The bikini became a fashionable item in the Western world during the decade
"Swinging London" fashions on Carnaby Street, c. 1966
There were six Olympic Games held during the decade. These were:
- 1960 Summer Olympics – 25 August to 11 September 1960, in Rome, Italy
- 1960 Winter Olympics – 18 to 28 February 1960, in Squaw Valley, California, United States
- 1964 Summer Olympics – 10 to 24 October 1964, in Tokyo, Japan
- 1964 Winter Olympics – 29 January to 9 February 1964, in Innsbruck, Austria
- 1968 Summer Olympics – 12 to 27 October 1968, in Mexico City, Mexico
- 1968 Winter Olympics – 6 to 18 February 1968, in Grenoble, France
There were two FIFA World Cups during the decade:
- 1962 FIFA World Cup – hosted in Chile, won by Brazil
- 1966 FIFA World Cup – hosted and won by England
Major League Baseball expansion in 1961 included the formation of the Los Angeles Angels, the move to Minnesota to become the Minnesota Twins by the former Washington Senators and the formation of a new franchise called the Washington Senators. Major League Baseball sanctioned both the Houston Colt .45s and the New York Mets as new National League franchises in 1962.
In 1969, the American League expanded when the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots, were admitted to the league prompting the expansion of the post-season for the first time since the creation of the World Series. The Pilots stayed just one season in Seattle before moving and becoming the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970. The National League also added two teams in 1969, the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres. By 1969, at the end of the 1960s the New York Mets won the World Series in only the 8th year of the team's existence.
The NBA tournaments during the 1960s were dominated by the Boston Celtics, who won eight straight titles from 1959 to 1966 and added two more consecutive championships in 1968 and 1969, aided by such players as Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and John Havlicek. Other notable NBA players included Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson.
At the NCAA level, the UCLA Bruins also proved dominant. Coached by John Wooden, they were helped by Lew Alcindor and by Bill Walton to win championships and dominate the American college basketball landscape during the decade.
Disc sports (Frisbee)
Alternative sports, using the flying disc, began in the mid-sixties. As numbers of young people became alienated from social norms, they resisted and looked for alternatives. They would form what would become known as the counterculture. The forms of escape and resistance would manifest in many ways including social activism, alternative lifestyles, experimental living through foods, dress, music and alternative recreational activities, including that of throwing a Frisbee. Starting with promotional efforts from Wham-O and Irwin Toy (Canada), a few tournaments and professionals using Frisbee show tours to perform at universities, fairs and sporting events, disc sports such as freestyle, double disc court, guts, disc ultimate and disc golf became this sports first events. Two sports, the team sport of disc ultimate and disc golf are very popular worldwide and are now being played semi professionally. The World Flying Disc Federation, Professional Disc Golf Association and the Freestyle Players Association are the official rules and sanctioning organizations for flying disc sports worldwide. Major League Ultimate (MLU) and the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) are the first semi professional ultimate leagues
In motorsports, the Can-Am and Trans-Am series were both established in 1966. The Ford GT40 won outright in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Graham Hill edged out Jackie Stewart and Denny Hulme for the World Championship in Formula One.
- Note: Names of world leaders shown below in bold remained in power continuously throughout the decade.
Some Activist leaders of the 1960s period include:
- Joan Baez
- Bob Dylan
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti
- Allen Ginsberg
- Dick Gregory
- Abbie Hoffman
- Barbara Jordan
- Martin Luther King
- Timothy Leary
- John Lennon
- Yoko Ono
- Jerry Rubin
- Mario Savio
- Malcolm X
Actors / Entertainers
- Allen Ginsberg
- John Lennon
- Yoko Ono
- Malcolm X
- Bob Dylan
- Abbie Hoffman
- Timothy Leary
- Dick Gregory
- Joan Baez
- Jerry Rubin
- Barbara Jordan
Musicians and bands
The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:
- Joshua Zeitz Archived 6 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine. "1964: The Year the Sixties Began", American Heritage, Oct. 2006.
- John Barth (1984) intro to The Literature of Exhaustion, in The Friday Book.
- Maslin, Janet (5 November 2007). "Brokaw Explores Another Turning Point, the '60s". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- Christopher Booker: The Neophiliacs: A Study of the Revolution in English Life In The Fifties and Sixties, Gambit Incorporated, London, 1970
- "The Economy: We Are All Keynesians Now". Time. 31 December 1965. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
Keynesianism made its biggest breakthrough under John Kennedy, who, as Arthur Schlesinger reports in A Thousand Days, "was unquestionably the first Keynesian President."
- Arthur Marwick, The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c.1958-c.1974 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0-19-210022-1), 247–248.
- Erlanger, Steven (29 April 2008). "May 1968 – a watershed in French life". New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
- Staricco, Juan Ignacio (2012) https://www.scribd.com/doc/112409042/The-French-May-and-the-Roots-of-Postmodern-Politics
- "Brief Overview of Vietnam War". Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Archived from the original on 3 August 2016. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "Gulf of Tonkin Measure Voted in Haste and Confusion in 1964". The New York Times. 25 June 1970.
- Krauthammer, Charles (18 May 2007). "Prelude to the Six Days". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Jaime Pensado, "The (forgotten) Sixties in Mexico." The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture (2008) 1#1: 83–90.
- Curtis Cate, The Ides of August: The Berlin Wall Crisis–1961 (1978).
- Giuseppe Alberigo, and Matthew Sherry, A Brief History of Vatican II (2006)
- William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (2003),
- Günter, et al. eds. Bischof, The Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (Lexington Books, 2010)
- Krishna Dutta (2008). Calcutta: A Cultural History. Interlink Books. p. 220. ISBN 978-1-56656-721-3.
- "U.S. History – 1960s".
- "Inflation and CPI Consumer Price Index 1960–1969".
- "CIA man recounts Che Guevara's death". BBC. 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
- "Civil Rights Act of 1964 - CRA - Title VII - Equal Employment Opportunities - 42 US Code Chapter 21".
- History | LULAC-League of United Latin American Citizens
- "americangiforum.org". americangiforum.org. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015.
- "LatinoLA – Hollywood :: Mendez v. Westminster". LatinoLA.
- "Hernandez v. Texas – The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law". oyez.org.
- MALDEF – About Us Archived 22 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- U.S. Census Bureau Data https://www.census.gov/statab/hist/HS-23.pdf Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
- Carlos Santana: I'm Immortal interview by Punto Digital, 13 October 2010
- Jorgensen, Ernst (1998). Elvis Presley: A life in music. The complete recording sessions, p.120. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-18572-3
- Sullivan, Denise. "You Really Got Me". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- . Box Office Mojo.
- Jordan Holtzman-Conston (2010). Countercultural Sports in America: The History and Meaning of Ultimate Frisbee. Waltham, Mass. ISBN 978-3838311951.
- "World Flying Disc Federation". WFDF Official Website. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- "World Flying Disc Federation". History of the Flying Disc. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "Professional Disc Golf Association". PDGA Official Website. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- "American Ultimate Disc League". AUDL Official Website. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Anastakis, Dimitry, ed. The Sixties: passion, politics, and style (McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, 2008.) Canadian emphasis
- Baugess, James S., and Abbe Debolt, eds. Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture (2 vol, 2012; also E-book) 871pp; 500 entries by scholars excerpt and text search; online review
- Berton, Pierre. 1967: the Last Good Year (Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1997). Canadian events
- Brooks, Victor. Last Season of Innocence: The Teen Experience in the 1960s (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012) 207 pp.
- Brown, Timothy Scott. West Germany and the Global Sixties (2013)
- Farber, David, ed. The Sixties: From Memory to History (1994), Scholarly essays on the United States
- Flamm, Michael W. and David Steigerwald. Debating the 1960s: Liberal, Conservative, and Radical Perspectives (2007) on USA
- Marwick, Arthur. The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c.1958-c.1974 (Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0-19-210022-1)
- Padva, Gilad. Animated Nostalgia and Invented Authenticity in Arte's Summer of the Sixties. In Padva, Gilad, Queer Nostalgia in Cinema and Pop Culture, pp. 13–34 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, ISBN 978-1-137-26633-0).
- Palmer, Bryan D. Canada's 1960s: The Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Era. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009.
- Sandbrook, Dominic. Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles (2006) 928pp; excerpt and text search
- Sandbrook, Dominic. White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties (2 vol 2007)
- Strain, Christopher B. The Long Sixties: America, 1955–1973 (Wiley, 2017). xii, 204 pp.
- Unger, Debi, and Irwin Unger, eds. The Times Were a Changin': The Sixties Reader (1998) excerpt and text search
- DeKoven, Marianne. The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern (Duke University Press, 2004)
- Farber, David R. The Sixties: From Memory to History (1994) excerpt and text search
- Heale, Michael J. (March 2005). "The Sixties as History: A Review of the Political Historiography". Reviews in American History. 33 (1): 133–152. JSTOR 30031497.
- Hunt, Andrew. "When Did the Sixties Happen? Searching for New Directions", Journal of Social History (1999) 33#1 pp 147–161.
- Pensado, Jaime. "The (forgotten) Sixties in Mexico." The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture(2008) 1#1: 83–90.
- Rising, George Goodwin. "Stuck in the sixties: Conservatives and the legacies of the 1960s." (PhD U. of Arizona, 2003). online
- Ira Chernus, "When Did "the '60s" Begin? A Cautionary Tale for Historians" 4 Feb 2014, History News Network
- "1964" (PBS documentary, 2013)
- Zurawik, David (20 January 1991). "On PBS, Six Hours Of The '60s". The Baltimore Sun Times. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1960s.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: 1960s|
- The 1960s: A Bibliography
- CBC Digital Archives – 1960s a GoGo
- The Sixties Project
- Heroes of the 1960s – slideshow by Life magazine
- The 60s: Literary Tradition and Social Change, exhibit at the University of Virginia, Library, Special Collections.
- 1960s protest movements in America
- The 1960s in Europe (Online Teaching and Research Guide)
- "1960s Fashion Feature, including biographies, interviews, clothing and resources". Victoria and Albert Museum. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008.
- The 1960s – articles, video, pictures, and facts
- A 1960s photographic archive