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Shock Year: 1968

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Elvis Comeback December 3
Elvis Comeback

Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special airs on NBC, marking the return of "The King of Rock 'n' Roll."

December 9
First Word Processor

Douglas Engelbart and fellow researchers unveil their "writing machine" at Stanford University. The world's first word processor, the "oNLine System" or "NLS," features the first computer mouse and the ability to call up electronic documents, cut and paste text, create hyperlinks and communicate with others over a network.

December 10
Nobel Science Prizes

The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded to Luis W. Alvarez for his work in subatomic particle physics; the Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Lars Onsanger for his work in thermodynamics; and the Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to Robert W. Holley, Har Gobind Khorana and M. W. Nirenberg for their work in protein synthesis and cracking the genetic code.

Nobel Peace and Literature Prizes

The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to Japanese novelist Yasunari Kawabala and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to René Cassin, a human rights activist who contributed to the drafting of the United Nations's Declaration of Human Rights.

December 12
Rory Kennedy Born

Robert and Ethel Kennedy's eleventh and last child, Rory, is born, six months after her father's assassination. The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards program is founded and dedicated to her. The awards "encourage and recognize outstanding achievement" in journalism covering topics of interest to RFK.

December 21
Apollo 8

NASA's Apollo 8 begins the first manned mission to the vicinity of the Moon. Frank Borman, James Lovell Jr. and William A. Anders orbit the moon ten times at an altitude of 69.8 miles.

1968 War Casualties December 31
1968 War Casualties

By the year's end, more than one million American soldiers have fought in Vietnam. At 549,000, the number of U.S. troops has reached its peak. In 1968 alone, 14,314 U.S. soldiers are killed and more than 200,000 wounded, bringing the cost of the war to $70 billion and total U.S. casualties to 31,000.

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