1965 1966 1967 – 1968 – 1969 1970 1971
| Decades: |
1930s 1940s 1950s – 1960s – 1970s 1980s 1990s
| Centuries: |
19th century – 20th century – 21st century
Lists of leaders:
1968 was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1968 calendar).
Table of contents
- Booker Prize for Fiction is established by Booker plc.
- 1968 is known as the year of the Prague Spring and also the year of the Paris riots.
- The ASCII character code is standardized as ANSI Standard X3.4.
- Nauru adopt its national anthem of the Nauru Bwiema
- The Hong Kong Flu pandemic begins in Hong Kong
- The International Baccalaureate Organisation was founded in 1968.
- January 5 – Alexander Dubček elected as leader of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party – the "Prague Spring" begins in Czechoslovakia
- January 15 – An earthquake in Sicily – 231 dead, 262 injured
- January 21 – US B-52 bomber crashes in Greenland and in the process discharges four nuclear bombs
- January 23 – North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo, claiming the ship violated its territorial waters while spying.
- January 25 – The Israeli Submarine Dakar sinks in the Mediterranean Sea – 69 dead
- January 27 – French submarine sinks in the Mediterranean with 52 men
- January 30 – Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive begin when Viet Cong forces launch series of a surprise attacks in South Vietnam.
- January 31 – Viet Cong attack the United States embassy in Saigon
- January 31 – Nauru's president Hammer DeRoburt declares independence from Australia
- February – Classical Gas by Mason Williams is released.
- February 1 – Vietnam War: A Viet Cong officer is executed by Nguyen Ngoc Loan a South Vietnamese National Police Chief. The execution was videotaped and photographed and helped sway public opinion against the war.
- February 8 – Boeing 747 in its maiden flight
- February 8 – American civil rights movement: A civil rights protest staged at a white-only bowling alley in Orangeburg, South Carolina is broken-up by highway patrolmen leading to the deaths of three college students
- February 11 – Israeli-Jordan border clashes.
- February 11 – Madison Square Garden III closes, Madison Square Garden IV opens in New York.
- February 13 – Civil rights disturbances at the University of Wisconsin and University of North Carolina
- February 16 – In Haleyville, Alabama the first 9–1–1 emergency telephone system goes into service
- February 18 – British Standard Time introduced
- February 24 – Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive is halted – South Vietnam recaptures Hué
- March 7 – Vietnam War: The First Battle of Saigon begins.
- March 12 – Mauritius achieves independence from British Rule
- March 15 – George Brown, British Minister of Foreign affairs, resigns
- March 16 – Vietnam War: My Lai massacre American troops kills scores of women and children
- March 17 – A demonstration in London's Grosvenor Square against US involvement in the Vietnam War leads to violence – 91 police injured, 200 demonstrators arrested
- March 18 – Gold standard: The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency
- March 27 – Russian space pioneer Yuri Gagarin killed in a crash during a training flight.
- March 31 – American President Lyndon Johnson announces he will not seek re-election.
- April – Carl Brashear, the first African American United States Navy diver, becomes the first amputee certified to make diving missions, after a long battle which started with the accident which amputated his leg in 1966.
- April 2 – Bombs placed by Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin explode at midnight in two department stores in Frankfurt-am-Main – 3 dead. Culprits are later arrested and sentenced for arson
- April 4 – In the morning after delivering his "mountaintop" speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee.
- April 11 – Premiere of the musical Hair on Broadway.
- April 11 – London Bridge sold to Robert McCullough for £1 million. It is later re-erected in Arizona
- April 11 – Joseph Bachmann tries to assassinate Rudi Dutschke, leader of a left-wing movement APO in Germany and tries to commit suicide afterwards – failing in both
- April 11 – German left-wing students blockade the Springer Press HQ in Berlin and many are arrested – one of them Ulrike Meinhof
- April 20 – Pierre Elliott Trudeau becomes Canada's fifteenth prime minister.
- April 20 – English politician Enoch Powell makes controversial Rivers of Blood Speech
- April 23-April 30 – Vietnam War: Student protesters at Columbia University in New York City take over administration buildings and shut down the university.
- April 23 – Surgeons at the Hopital de la Pitie, Paris, perform Europe's first heart transplant on Clovis Roblain
- April 29 – Official opening of the musical Hair on Broadway.
- May - "May of 68" is a symbol of the resistance of that generation. Agitations and strikes in Paris led many young to believe that a revolution was starting. Student and worker strikes sometimes referred to as the French May nearly bring down the French government
- May 22 – The nuclear-powered submarine the USS Scorpion sinks with 99 men aboard 400 miles southwest of the Azores
- June 1 – Helen Keller dies in her sleep in Connecticut.
- June 3 – Valerie Solanas shoots at Andy Warhol in his studio
- June 5 – U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Sirhan Sirhan (He died on June 6)
- June 8 – James Earl Ray is arrested for the murder of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
- June 20 – Austin Currie, Member of Parliament (MP) at Stormont in the six counties of northern Ireland, along with others, squats a house in Caledon to protest discrimination in housing allocations.
- June 29 – Pope Paul VI announces an encyclical entitled "Humanae Vitae", condemning birth control
- July 1 – The CIA's Phoenix Program is officially established.
- July 15 – The soap opera One Life To Live premieres on the ABC network.
- July 26 – Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu is sentenced to five years hard labor for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war
- July 17 – Saddam Hussein becomes the Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup
- August 20 – 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to end the "Prague Spring" of political liberalization
- August 22-August 30 – Police clash with antiwar protesters in Chicago outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention
- July 29 – Arenal Volcano erupts in Costa Rica for the first time for centuries
- September 6 – Swaziland becomes independent
- September 17 – the D'Oliviera Affair – MCC tour of South Africa is cancelled when the South Africans refuse to accept the presence of a Cape Coloured in the side
- September 27 – Marcelo Caetano becomes Prime Minister of Portugal
- September 29 – A referendum in Greece gives more power to the military junta
- October 2 – A student demonstration ends in a massacre at the La Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, Mexico.
- October 5 – A civil rights march in Derry, (of the six counties of northern) Ireland, which included several Stormont and British MPs, is batoned off the streets by the Royal Ulster Constabulary
- October 8 – Vietnam War: Operation Sealords – United States and South Vietnamese forces launched a new operation in the Mekong Delta
- October 11 – Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham aboard. Goals for the mission include the first live television broadcast from orbit and testing the lunar module docking maneuver
- October 14 – Vietnam War: The United States Department of Defense announces that the United States Army and United States Marines will be sending about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours
- October 16 – Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two African-Americans competing in the Olympic 200 meter run, raise their arms in a black power salute after winning the gold and bronze medals for first and third place.
- October 16 – Kingston, Jamaica is rocked by the Rodney Riots, inspired by the banning of Walter Rodney from the country.
- October 20 – Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry on the Greek island of Skorpios
- October 31 – Vietnam War: Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, US President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1.
- November 5 – U.S. presidential election, 1968: In one of the closest elections in US history, Republican challenger Richard M. Nixon defeats Vice President Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party candidate George C. Wallace
- November 5- Luis A. Ferre is elected Governor of Puerto Rico.
- November 11 – Vietnam War: Operation Commando Hunt initiated – The goal of the operation is to interdict men and supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, through Laos into South Vietnam (by the end of the operation, 3 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos, which slowed but did not seriously disrupt trail operations).
- November 11 – A second republic is declared in the Maldives
- November 26 – Vietnam War: United States Air Force 1st Lt. and Bell UH-1F helicopter pilot James P. Fleming gets and responds to an urgent message from an Army Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong fire. After a failed first rescue attempt Fleming lands under heavy fire and picks up the unit (he was later rewarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery).
- December 24 – Apollo 8 enters moon orbit. Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William A. Anders are the first humans to see the far side of the moon and planet earth as a whole.
Year in topic
- 1968 in film
- 1968 in art
- 1968 in literature
- 1968 in music
- 1968 in politics
- 1968 in culture
- 1968 in sports
- 1968 in television
- January 22 – Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, debuts on NBC.
- October 14 – First live network transmission of video from inside a manned U.S. space capsule in orbit ("Apollo 7") There were six such broadcasts during their eleven-day mission.
- CBS uses a portable minicam for political convention coverage.
- Nearly 200 million households now own television sets, (78 million of which are in the U.S.).
- Hawaii Five-O premieres
- January 2 – Cuba Gooding Jr., American actor
- January 6 – John Singleton, director and writer
- January 14 – LL Cool J, rapper, actor (Toys, In Too Deep, Any Given Sunday)
- January 24 – Mary Lou Retton, gymnast
- January 27 – Mike Patton, singer
- January 28 – Sarah McLachlan, singer
- January 29 – Edward Burns, actor
- February 1 – Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley, actress
- February 5 – Roberto Alomar, baseball player
- February 8 – Gary Coleman, actor
- February 14 – Jules Asner, model, television personality
- February 22 – Brad Nowell, Musician
- February 22 – Jeri Ryan, actress (Star Trek: Voyager, Boston Public)
- February 27 – Matt Stairs, professional baseball player
- March 3 – Jim Goodman, Ticketing System/Event expert
- March 4 – Patsy Kensit, actress
- March 11 – Lisa Loeb, singer
- March 23 – Damon Albarn, musician ("Blur")
- March 26 – James Iha, musician ("Smashing Pumpkins")
- March 28 – Iris Chang, author (d. 2004)
- March 29 – Lucy Lawless, actress, singer
- March 30 – Céline Dion, singer
- April 3 – Sebastian Bach, musician ("Skid Row")
- April 8 – Patricia Arquette, actress
- April 15 – Stacey Williams, supermodel
- April 19 – Ashley Judd, actress
- May 1 – D'Arcy Wretzky, musician
- May 7 – Traci Lords, erotic actress
- May 9 – Marie-José Perec, French athlete
- May 12 – Tony Hawk, skateboarding legend
- May 22 – James Luecke, saxophonist, musician
- May 26 – Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark
- May 27 – Jeff Bagwell, baseball player
- May 27 – Frank Thomas, baseball player
- May 28 – Kylie Minogue, actress and singer
- June 4 – Rachel Griffiths, actress
- June 26 – Shannon Sharpe, American football player, commentator
- June 28 – Adam Woodyatt, British actor
- June 29 – Theoren Fleury, Canadian ice hockey player
- June 30 – Philip Anselmo, heavy metal musician
- August 9 – Eric Bana, actor
- August 17 – Ed McCaffrey, American football player
- August 31 – Todd Carty, British actor
- September 1 – Mohammed Atta, Egyptian hijacker and terrorist
- September 4 – Mike Piazza, baseball star
- September 7 – Marcel Desailly, French footballer
- September 11 – Kay Hanley, musician
- September 18 – Toni Kukoc, Croatian basketball player
- September 20 – Darrell Russell, NHRA drag racer (d. 2004)
- September 25 – Will Smith, rapper, actor
- September 26 – James Caviezel, actor (The Passion of the Christ)
- September 28 – Naomi Watts, actress (Mulholland Drive, 21 Grams)
- October 7 – Toni Braxton, singer
- October 11 – Jane Krakowski, actress
- October 12 – Hugh Jackman, actor
- October 31 – Vanilla Ice, rapper
- November 8 – Zara Whites, Dutch porn actress
- November 12 – Sammy Sosa, baseball player
- November 13 – Pat Hentgen, baseball player
- November 15 – Jennifer Charles, singer
- November 15 – Ol' Dirty Bastard, rapper (d. 2004)
- November 18 – Owen Wilson, actor (Rushmore, Zoolander, The Royal Tenenbaums)
- November 27 – Michael Vartan, actor
- December 2 – Lucy Liu, actress
- December 8 – Mike Mussina, baseball player
- December 9 – Kurt Angle, Olympic gold medalist in amateur wrestling, now a WWE performer
- December 17 – Paul Tracy, auto racing champion
- January 19 – Ray Harroun, race car driver (b. 1879)
- January 22 – Duke Kahanamoku, American swimmer (b. 1890)
- January 26 – Merrill C. Meigs, newspaper publisher and aviation promoter (b. 1883)
- February 4 – Neal Cassady, writer (b. 1926)
- February 11 – Howard Lindsay, American playwright
- February 20 – Anthony Asquith, British director and writer (b. 1902)
- February 22 – Peter Arno, cartoonist (b. 1904)
- February 27 – Frankie Lymon, singer (b. 1942)
- March 16 – Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Italian composer (b. 1895)
- March 27 – Yuri Gagarin, cosmonaut (b. 1934)
- April 1 – Lev Davidovich Landau, Russian physicist (b. 1908)
- April 4 – Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights activist and minister (b. 1929)
- April 7 – Jimmy Clark, race car driver (b. 1936)
- April 10 – Gustavs Celmins, politician (b. 1899)
- April 14 – Al Benton, Major League Baseball player (b. 1911)
- April 22 – Stephen H. Sholes, American record executive (b. 1911)
- April 25 – John Tewksbury, American athlete (b. 1876)
- May 9 – Mercedes de Acosta, American poet, playwright, costume designer, and socialite (b. 1893)
- June 1 – Helen Keller, spokeswoman for deaf and blind (b. 1880)
- June 6 – Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General (assassinated) (b. 1925)
- June 15 – Sam Crawford, Baseball Hall of Famer (b. 1880)
- July 11 – Mervyn Peake, British writer and illustrator (b. 1911)
- August 27 – Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (b. 1906)
- September 12 – Tommy Armour, golfer (b. 1894)
- October 2 – Marcel Duchamp, French artist (b. 1887)
- October 13 – Bea Benaderet, actress (b. 1906)
- October 30 – Rose Wilder Lane, author and reporter (b. 1886)
- November 4 – Michel Kikoine, Belarusian painter (b. 1892)
- November 6 – Charles Munch, French conductor and violinist (b. 1891)
- November 26 – Arnold Zweig, German writer (b. 1887)
- December 10 – Thomas Merton, American author (b. 1915)
- December 10 – Karl Barth, Protestant theologian (b. 1888)
- December 12 – Tallulah Bankhead, American actress (b. 1902)
- December 19 – Norman Thomas, American politician (b. 1884)
- December 20 – John Steinbeck, American writer (b. 1902)
- December 30 – Trygve Lie, first United Nations Secretary General (b. 1896)
- December 30 – Vladimir Peter Tytla, American animator (b. 1904)
- Berthold Bartosch, Czech animator (b. 1893).