1960s

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"'60s" redirects here. For decades comprising years 60–69 of other centuries, see List of decades.
Top, L-R: A soldier crawls on the ground during the Vietnam War; The Beatles, part of the British Invasion, change music in the United States and around the world. Centre, L-R: John F. Kennedy is assassinated in 1963, after serving as President for three years; Martin Luther King Jr. makes his famous I Have a Dream Speech to a crowd of over a million; millions participate in the Woodstock Festival of 1969. Bottom, L-R: China's Mao Zedong puts forward the Great Leap Forward plan; the Stonewall Inn, site of major demonstrations for gay and lesbian rights; for the first time in history, a human being sets foot on the Moon, in the Moon landing of July 1969.
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The 1960s was a decade that began on 1 January 1960 and ended on 31 December 1969.[1] The 1960s term 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 and ending around 1974.[2][3]

"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. Conservatives 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.

The 1960s became synonymous with the new, radical, and subversive events and trends of the period. In Africa the 1960s was a period of radical political change as 32 countries gained independence from their European colonial rulers.

Commentator Christopher Booker [4] 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. However, this analysis fails to explain the mass nature of the phenomenon.[citation needed]

Several nations such as the U.S., France, Germany and Britain turned to the left in the early and mid-1960s. 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[5] and staunch anti-communist, pushed for social reforms. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 was a stunning 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, as they found peasant rebellion typified by Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara more appealing. For example, American cities began to witness Black Panther Party chapter proliferation, an organization characterized with Black Nationalist and Maoist undertones, began to offer free health clinics, breakfast programs for schoolchildren, free clothing facilities, busing to prisons with families of incarcerated individuals, and self-defense classes for minorities subjected to police harassment. 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. 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 Britain, the Labour Party gained power in 1964.[6] In Brazil, João Goulart became president after Jânio Quadros resigned. 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.

Politics and wars[edit]

Wars[edit]

Vietnam War (1955–1975)
The maximum territorial extent of countries in the world under Soviet influence, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961
  • The Cold War:
    • 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.[7]
      • 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.[8]
      • 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 US 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 US 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.

Pakistan and India went to war in September 1965.

A child suffering the effects of severe hunger and malnutrition during the Nigerian blockade of Biafra 1967–1970.

Internal conflicts[edit]

  • 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 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.

Coups[edit]

Prominent coups d'état of the decade included:

Nuclear threats[edit]

Pictures of Soviet missile silos in Cuba, taken by United States spy planes on 14 October 1962.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis (October 16–28, 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 US removing its missiles from Turkey.
  • On October 16, 1964, China detonated its first atomic bomb. China possessed a hydrogen bomb by 1967.

Decolonization and independence[edit]

Prominent political events[edit]

Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., 28 August 1963

United States[edit]

Canada[edit]

  • 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.

Europe[edit]

East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, 20 November 1961.

China[edit]

  • 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 US 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 US, as Mao Zedong decided that the Soviet Union was a much greater threat.

Mexico[edit]

  • 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.[15]
By the late 1960s, Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara's famous image had become a popular symbol of rebellion for the New Left

Middle East[edit]

  • On 1 September 1969, the Libyan monarchy was overthrown, and a radical, revolutionary, government headed by Col. Muammar al-Qadaffi took power.

South America[edit]

  • 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 leftists around the world.
  • Juan Velasco Alvarado took power in Peru in 1968.

India[edit]

  • 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.[16]

US Economics[edit]

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.[17]

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 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%.[18]

Assassinations[edit]

John F. Kennedy assassination – President Kennedy with his wife, Jacqueline, and Texas Governor John Connally in the presidential limousine, minutes before his assassination.

The 1960s were marked by several notable assassinations:

Disasters[edit]

Natural:

  • 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 - The 1963 Skopje earthquake was a 6.1 moment magnitude earthquake which occurred in Skopje, SR Macedonia (present-day Republic of Macedonia) on July 26, 1963 which killed over 1,070 people, injured between 3,000 and 4,000 and left more than 200,000 people homeless. About 80 percent 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 USA 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.

Non-natural:

Social and political movements[edit]

Counterculture/social revolution[edit]

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 US 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.

Anti-war movement[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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[edit]

Further information: Civil Rights Movement
Civil Rights leaders in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, 28 August 1963

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 restoring 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,[19] 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[edit]

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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22][23]

The most prominent civil-rights organization in the Mexican-American community, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), was founded in 1968.[24] 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 50 states, the main concentration 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 US-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.

Second-wave feminism[edit]

Main article: Second-wave feminism

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. Commercials often portrayed a woman as being helpless if her car broke down. In the US, 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[edit]

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.

New Left[edit]

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. 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.

Crime[edit]

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.[25] 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[edit]

Science[edit]

Space exploration[edit]

The Apollo 11 mission landed the first humans on the Moon in July 1969.

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 1966, the Soviet Union launched Luna 10, which later became the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.

The deaths of astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward Higgins 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.

A succession of unmanned American and Soviet probes traveled to the Moon, Venus, and Mars during the 1960s, and commercial satellites also came into use.

Other scientific developments[edit]

The birth control pill was introduced in 1960.

Technology[edit]

Automobiles[edit]

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[edit]

Examples of 1960s technology, including two rotary-dial telephones and a Kodak camera.

Popular culture[edit]

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.

Music[edit]

See also: 1960s in music

"The 60′s were a leap in human consciousness. Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, Mother Teresa, they led a revolution of conscience. The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix created revolution and evolution themes. The music was like Dalí, with many colors and revolutionary ways. The youth of today must go there to find themselves."

Carlos Santana[26]

Popular music entered an era of "all hits", as numerous artists released recordings, beginning in the 1950s, as 45-rpm "singles" (with another on the flip side), and radio stations tended to play only the most popular of the wide variety of records being made. Also, bands tended to record only the best of their songs as a chance to become a hit record. The taste of the American listeners expanded from the folksinger, doo-wop and saxophone sounds of the 1950s to the Motown sound, folk rock and the British Invasion led by The Beatles in 1964. The Los Angeles and San Francisco Sound began in this period with many popular bands coming out of LA and the Haight-Ashbury district, well known for its hippie culture. The rise of the counterculture movement, particularly among the youth, created a market for rock, soul, pop, reggae and blues music.

Significant events in music in the 1960s:

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Film[edit]

The highest-grossing film of the decade was 20th Century Fox's The Sound of Music (1965).[29]

Some of Hollywood's most notable blockbuster films of the 1960s include:

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, ; La Notte; L'Eclisse, The Red Desert; Blowup; 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:

Television[edit]

Main article: 1960s in television

The most prominent American TV series of the 1960s include: The Ed Sullivan Show, Peyton Place, Star Trek, 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.

Walt Disney, the founder of the Walt Disney Co. died on 15 December 1966, from a major tumor in his left lung.

Fashion[edit]

Main article: 1960s in fashion

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 mini-skirt which became one of the most popular rages in the late 1960s.
  • 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.

Literature[edit]

Sports[edit]

Olympics[edit]

There were six Olympic Games held during the decade. These were:

Association football[edit]

There were two FIFA World Cups during the decade:

Baseball[edit]

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.

Disc Sports (Frisbee)[edit]

Main article: Ken Westerfield
Ken Westerfield playing Frisbee
Ken Westerfield helped to popularize Frisbee as an alternative disc sport in the 1960s and 70s

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.[30] 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.[31][32] Two sports, the team sport of disc ultimate and disc golf are very popular worldwide and are now being played semi professionally.[33][34] 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

Racing[edit]

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.

People[edit]

World leaders[edit]

(alphabetically by country)

Political figures[edit]

Activists[edit]

Some Activist leaders of the 1960s period include:

Musicians[edit]

Entertainers[edit]

Filmmakers[edit]

Intellectuals[edit]

Writers[edit]

Visual artists, painters and sculptors[edit]

Sports figures[edit]

Additional notable world-wide events[edit]

See also[edit]

Timeline[edit]

The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:

1960196119621963196419651966196719681969

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joshua Zeitz "1964: The Year the Sixties Began", American Heritage, Oct. 2006.
  2. ^ John Barth (1984) intro to The Literature of Exhaustion, in The Friday Book.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (5 November 2007). "Brokaw Explores Another Turning Point, the '60s". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Christopher Booker: The Neophiliacs: A Study of the Revolution in English Life In The Fifties and Sixties, Gambit Incorporated, London, 1970
  5. ^ "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."" 
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Brief Overview of Vietnam War". Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  8. ^ "Gulf of Tonkin Measure Voted in Haste and Confusion in 1964". The New York Times. 25 June 1970. 
  9. ^ Krauthammer, Charles (18 May 2007). "Prelude to the Six Days". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  10. ^ [1].
  11. ^ Curtis Cate, The Ides of August: The Berlin Wall Crisis—1961 (1978).
  12. ^ Giuseppe Alberigo, and Matthew Sherry, A Brief History of Vatican II (2006)
  13. ^ William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (2003),
  14. ^ Günter, et al. eds. Bischof, The Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (Lexington Books, 2010)
  15. ^ Jaime Pensado, "The (forgotten) Sixties in Mexico." The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture (2008) 1#1: 83-90.
  16. ^ Krishna Dutta (2008). Calcutta: A Cultural History. Interlink Books. p. 220. 
  17. ^ "U.S. History - 1960s". 
  18. ^ "Inflation and CPI Consumer Price Index 1960-1969". 
  19. ^ Civil Rights Act of 1964
  20. ^ History | LULAC-League of United Latin American Citizens
  21. ^ American GI Forum – About Us
  22. ^ LatinoLA – Latino Hollywood – On Screen and Behind the Scenes
  23. ^ Oyez: Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954), U.S. Supreme Court Case Summary & Oral Argument
  24. ^ MALDEF – About Us
  25. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Data http://www.census.gov/statab/hist/HS-23.pdf
  26. ^ Carlos Santana: I'm Immortal interview by Punto Digital, 13 October 2010
  27. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst (1998). Elvis Presley: A life in music. The complete recording sessions, p.120. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-18572-3
  28. ^ Sullivan, Denise. "You Really Got Me". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  29. ^ [2]. Box Office Mojo.
  30. ^ Jordan Holtzman-Conston (2010). Countercultural Sports in America: The History and Meaning of Ultimate Frisbee. Waltham, Mass. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "World Flying Disc Federation". WFDF Official Website. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  32. ^ "World Flying Disc Federation". History of the Flying Disc. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Professional Disc Golf Association". PDGA Official Website. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  34. ^ "American Ultimate Disc League". AUDL Official Website. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Unger, Debi, and Irwin Unger, eds. The Times Were a Changin': The Sixties Reader (1998) excerpt and text search

Historiography[edit]

  • 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. "The Sixties as History: A Review of the Political Historiography." Reviews in American History (2005) 33#1 pp 133–152.
  • 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" Feb 4, 2014, History News Network
  • "1964" (PBS documentary, 2013)

External links[edit]