- North Korea seizes US Navy ship Pueblo; holds 83 on board as spies (Jan. 23).
- North Vietnamese launch the Tet Offensive, a turning point in the Vietnam War (Jan.-Feb.).
- American soldiers massacre 347 civilians at My Lai (March 16). Background: Vietnam War
- Czechoslovakia is invaded by Russians and Warsaw Pact forces to crush liberal regime (Aug.
- Population: 3.556 billion
- President Johnson announces he will not seek or accept presidential renomination (March 31).
- Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, is slain in Memphis (April 4).
- James Earl Ray, indicted in King murder, is sentenced to 99 years.
- Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is shot and critically wounded in Los Angeles hotel after winning California primary (June 5)—dies June 6.
- President: Lyndon B. Johnson
Vice President: Hubert H. Humphrey
Life expectancy: 70.2 years
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 33.7
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000):
US GDP (1998 dollars): $910.6 billion
Federal spending: $178.13 billion
Federal debt: $368.7 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars): $7,743
Consumer Price Index: 34.8
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.05 ($0.06 as of 1/7/68)
Green Bay d. Oakland (33-14)
Detroit d. St. Louis Cardinals (4-3)
Boston d. LA Lakers (4-2)
Montreal d. St. Louis (4-0)
Women: Billie Jean King d. J. Tegart (9-7 7-5)
Men: Rod Laver d. T. Roche (6-3 6-4 6-2)
Kentucky Derby Champion
NCAA Basketball Championship
UCLA d. North Carolina (78-55)
NCAA Football Champions
Ohio St. (10-0-0)
- 60 Minutes airs on CBS, beginning its reign as the longest-running prime-time newsmagazine.
- The motion picture rating system debuts with G, PG, R and X.
- The rock musical Hair opens on Broadway.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Oliver!
- William H. Gass, In the Heart of the Heart of the Country
- Gore Vidal, Myra Breckenridge
- Pulitzer Prizes
Fiction: The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron
Music: Echoes of Time and the River, George Crumb
Oscars awarded in 1968
Academy Award, Best Picture: In the Heat of the Night, Walter Mirisch, producer (United Artists)Nobel Prize for Literature: Yasunari Kawabata (Japan)1968 Emmy Awards1968 Tony AwardsGrammys awarded in 1968
Record of the Year: “Up, Up and Away,” 5th Dimension
Album of the Year: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (Capitol)
Song of the Year: “Up, Up and Away,” Jimmy L. Webb, songwriterMiss America: Debra Dene Barnes (KS)
- Prototype of world’s first supersonic airliner. The Soviet-designed Tupolev Tu-144 made its first flight, Dec. 31. It first achieved supersonic speed on June 5, 1969.
- The largest reservoir of American petroleum north of Mexico is discovered in Alaska.
- Amniocentesis is developed. Background: reproduction
- Nobel Prizes in Science
Chemistry: Lars Onsager (US), for development of system of equations in thermodynamicsPhysics: Luis Walter Alvarez (US), for study of subatomic particlesPhysiology or Medicine: Robert W. Holley, Har Gobind Khorana, and Marshall W. Nirenberg (all US), for studies of genetic code
- John Coltrane
- Woody Guthrie
- Langston Hughes
- Alice B. Toklas
- Martin Luther King, Jr.