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Shock Year: 1968

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

RFK Explores Run March 2
RFK Explores Run

Robert Kennedy and his advisors meet at Hickory Hill to discuss his entry into the presidential race. Kennedy's reasons for considering the move include his unhappiness over President Johnson's handling of Vietnam, and the White House's near-silence about a Kerner Commission report on the corrosive effects of racism in America.

March 9
The Beatles at the Grammys

Winners at the 10th Grammy Awards include The 5th Dimension's "Up, Up and Away" (Record of the Year) and Bobbie Gentry (Best New Artist). The Beatles take home four awards for their album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Farm Workers Protest March 10
Farm Workers Protest

Robert Kennedy flies to Delano, California, to help labor organizer Cesar Chavez end a 25-day fast to protest violence against striking migrant farm workers.

NH Primary March 12
NH Primary

Minnesota senator Eugene McCarthy comes within a few hundred votes of beating President Lyndon Johnson in New Hampshire's Democratic primary. McCarthy's surprisingly strong showing is powered by an anti-war message and a "children's crusade" by several thousand student volunteers who cut their hair and become "clean for Gene" to attract more conservative voters.

March 16
RFK Announces

Senator Robert Kennedy ends months of speculation by announcing his candidacy for president. Anticipating accusations of selfishness and opportunism, he opens by saying, "I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies."

My Lai Massacre

Though it will not become publicly known for more than a year, U.S. soldiers massacre more than 500 Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai.

Reactions to RFK March 18
Reactions to RFK

Although newspaper editorials question Kennedy's motives for entering the presidential race, voters show frenzied support at the candidate's first campaign stops. After he speaks at Kansas State University, journalist Jack Newfield writes, "The fieldhouse sounded as though it was inside Niagara Falls. It was like a soundtrack gone haywire."

March 22
Thaw in Communist Bloc

In Czechoslovakia, a movement for liberal reform of the centrally-planned economy gains supporters, following years of recession and a weak government response. President Antonin Novotny resigns amid charges of corruption, and the liberalizing "Prague Spring" begins. The events put Moscow on alert and prompt a meeting of Warsaw Pact countries in East Germany to discuss the crisis.

March 31
LBJ Withdraws

President Johnson delivers a national television address to explain a de-escalation of the U.S. bombing campaign in Vietnam. He includes a shocking announcement: "I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president."

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