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Shock Year: 1968

  Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

January 1
Mumps Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration approves a vaccine against mumps for human use. By 1987, reported cases will decrease by more than 98 percent.

January 6
Heart Transplant

Dr. Norman Shumway performs the first successful human heart transplant in the United States at Stanford University.

Learn more about pioneer heart surgeons on American Experience's Partners of the Heart Web site.

January 14
Super Bowl II

The Green Bay Packers win the National Football League's second annual Super Bowl, defeating the Oakland Raiders 33-14.

January 16
Yippies Founded

Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and other activists establish the Youth International Party -- known as the "Yippies." Counter-culture themes and imagery invade popular culture and advertising.

January 17
State of the Union

President Lyndon Johnson addresses the nation, boasting that in Vietnam "the enemy has been defeated in battle after battle," and that "our patience and our perseverance will match our power."

Read President Johnson's 1968 State of the Union address on American Experience's The Presidents site.

U.S. Ship Captured January 23
U.S. Ship Captured

A North Korean patrol boat captures the U.S.S. Pueblo, an American intelligence-gathering vessel. Its 83-man crew is accused of violating a twelve-mile territorial limit. President Johnson uses the crisis to justify calling up 14,000 military reserves. It will take most of the year to negotiate the crew's release.

January 30
RFK Critiques LBJ

Senator Robert Kennedy tells reporters he is not planning on challenging President Johnson for the Democratic presidential nomination. But he criticizes Johnson's Vietnam policy, and his indifference to the plight of urban blacks. When asked why, he says, "It's a political decision. There are more white people than black people."

Tet Offensive January 31
Tet Offensive

Shortly after midnight, North Vietnamese soldiers begin the Tet Offensive. The assault involves nearly 70,000 North Vietnamese troops and lasts for weeks. Americans watch on television as the North Vietnamese wage war up and down the country, even taking the U.S. Embassy in Saigon for a few hours.

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