The summer of 1968 is etched into American memory as one of nationwide turmoil, with political assassinations, anti-war protests, racial unrest and highly publicized clashes with police. But this isn’t just an American story. The conflict between a diverse, anti-war left, and a tightening of law-and-order efforts on the right spread far beyond U.S. borders, notably coming to a head in France in May 1968.
“What began as a student protest became a labor dispute which actually became a political crisis. And so by the end of the month it was possible that de Gaulle’s government – and maybe even the Fifth Republic– could fall,”
That’s when a violent confrontation between police and student protestors in Paris gave way to a nationwide general strike involving 11 million workers. As the 50th anniversary of the demonstrations arrives, the French people and their government are grappling with how best to commemorate the movement. Below is a brief guide, detailing what happened in Europe five decades ago [ . . . ]
Continue at SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE: Fifty Years Later, France Is Still Debating the Legacy of Its 1968 Protests | History | Smithsonian