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On this day in 1968

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posted on May, 8 2018 @ 01:59 PM
Leaders of the Warsaw Pact countries, not including Czechoslovakia, met in Moscow to discuss how to react to what was happening in Czechoslovakia.

posted on May, 8 2018 @ 02:30 PM
Meanwhile, somebody was trying to organise a coup in Britain, though the story would not emerge until the next decade.
The conspirator was the newspaper magnate Cecil King. His candidate for the leadership of the country was “Dickie” Mountbatten, who had a double prestige as member of the Royal Family (Prince Philip’s uncle) and former chief of the Defence Staff. King arranged a meeting with Lord Mountbatten, and Mountbatten brought in Solly Zuckerman, a government advisor. Hugh Cudlipp, who would later help to overthrow King from his own job, was also present.

King expounded his views on the gravity of the situation, the urgency for action, and then embarked on a shopping-list of the Prime Minister’s shortcomings… He explained that in the crisis he foresaw as being just round the corner, the government would disintegrate, there would be bloodshed in the streets, the armed forces would be involved. People would be looking to somebody like Lord Mountbatten as the titular head of a new administration, somebody renowned as a leader of men. [Would Mountbatten agree to act under those circumstances? Mountbatten asked Zuckerman for his comments]
Solly rose, walked to the door, opened it, and then made this statement; “This is rank treachery. All this talk of machine guns at street corners is appalling. I am a public servant and will have nothing to do with it. Nor should you, Dickie.” Then he left.
[Mountbatten agreed with him, and courteously but firmly turned down King’s offer] 3nr1j_sxHec&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwin8cL7tu7aAhVqAcAKHdJLA004ChDoAQgoMAA#v=onepage&q=%22Enough%20is%20enough%22%20Cecil%20King&f=false

posted on May, 9 2018 @ 03:40 PM
Robert Kennedy won his party's Indiana primary, another step upon the road.

Following yesterday's meeting of Russian "satellite" leaders in Moscow, Russian troops were reported to be manoeuvring in Poland around the Czech border.

posted on May, 10 2018 @ 02:47 PM
Prelimnary discussions were taking place in Paris about the practical arrangements for the Vietnam peace negotiations. The press were referring to this process as "talks about talks". As far as I recall, the shape of the negotiating table was going to be a big issue, because of the possibilities for symbolism. Places had to be found for representatives from the U.S., South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the VietCong. A four-sided arrangement would appear to give equal status to the South Vietnamese and the VietCong, so it might be suggested by the Communists and rejected by the Americans. Other shapes were possible, but I don't know what solution was adopted.

A couple of days previously, the British newspaper proprietor Cecil King had been balked in his attempt to involve a member of the Royal Family in a secret coup against the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. See a recent post. Nothing daunted, he now tried his hand at forcing a more public coup.
Local government elections had been taking place the previous day, with disastrous results for the governing Labour party, as everybody had been predicting.The headlines of most national newspapers were about these results.
Cecil King chose to take over the front page of his own paper, the Daily Mirror, for a personal editorial headlined "Enough is Enough", an intemperate rant against the current government.
"Mr Wilson and his government have lost all credit and we are now threatened with the greatest financial crisis in history. It is not to be resolved by lies about our [gold] reserves but only by a fresh start under a fresh leader."
It needs to be understood that the Daily Mirror was and remains the leading working-class newspaper in support of the Labour Party (the Guardian is more for intellectuals and "establishment" socialists). This action was the equivalent of the owner of CNN taking over a morning news bulletin to deliver a tirade against Obama, in about 2015, demanding his immediate impeachment and removal so that the Democrats would be more electable in 2016.
His initiative did not have the intended effect. The only possible reaction within the Labour Party was to rally openly around their existing leader. Instead of stimulating expressions of dissent, King had succeeded in stifling them.
Furthermore, Cecil King did not own his newspapers personally. He was only the Chairman of I.P.C, the company which owned them, and he was deposed from this position by a boardroom coup a few weeks later.

edit on 10-5-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 10 2018 @ 03:02 PM
I was a sophomore in high school in 1968. I remember vividly the news of King's assassination, and how sad I felt for our country. I worked locally on Bobby's campaign and was there at my home town train station when he made his whistle stop tour through the Central Valley of California, less than a week before the California Primary. I had wanted to stay up late to watch the election results, but my mother put her foot down and sent me to bed. I hid a transistor radio under my pillow, but fell asleep for a little while. When I woke up about midnight I turned the radio on and it was just chaos. I was devastated and horribly frightened, I felt like there were assassins outside my window and that the world was spinning into destruction. I went through the rest of the week at school in a fog of sadness.

It took me a very long time to even take an interest in politics after that.

I often wonder what this country would look like if that night in the Ambassador Hotel had turned out differently.
edit on 10-5-2018 by Jansy because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 10 2018 @ 03:41 PM
a reply to: Jansy
Thank you for those memories. All personal memories of what was happening in that year are very welcome.
If I understand "sophomore" correctly, I think I was about a year older (in the "Lower Sixth Form").

posted on May, 11 2018 @ 02:13 PM
The confrontation between French government and French students was escalating.
When the Sorbonne was closed following the early protests, the students began demonstrating against the closure. Once riot police were brought in to deal with the demonstrations, demonstrations were directed against the presence of the riot police.
Last night saw the eruption of intensified violence in the streets of Paris.

edit on 11-5-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 13 2018 @ 02:22 PM

In France, a one-day general strike was called by the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) and the Force Ouvrière (CGT-FO) as organized labor groups walked off of their jobs as a show of support to striking students. Prime Minister Georges Pompidou announced the release of prisoners and the reopening of the Sorbonne, but protests continued.

The weekend of the tenth anniversary of General de Gaulle's return to power produced the biggest demonstration so far against his regime. 'Ten years of Gaullism is enough,' the crowds in the streets chanted on Monday. It was an unhappy anniversary, but nothing was more striking about it than the emergence of M Pompidou as the heir apparent. The Prime Minister's return to Paris was magnificent. Within three hours of his arrival on Saturday evening he had stilled the mutiny. His televised speech was short, but it contained a sop to everybody. His travels in Persia and Afghanistan had revealed the immense intellectual, moral and political prestige which France enjoys in those distant lands: first sop to the General. He had never ceased to follow 'avec une grande tristesse' the developments at home—not a hint of condemnation. M Pompidou met the students' complaints by granting them, flat out. Not only that, he also felt strong enough at the end to cover his fellow ministers. He repeated their allegations that there were a few 'professional agitators' behind it all. When I first heard him, I thought that that would have caused him to fail. But no, the Prime Minister could get away with it. He concluded : 'Puisse chacun entendre mon appel.' The words should be savoured carefully. They are not those of a political lackey, though they could not have been uttered without the General's personal approval either.

The students' demands, of course, in so far as they were specific, were easier to concede than to oppose. That was the most obvious conclusion to be drawn from being behind the barricades on Friday night and Saturday morning. No civilised regime with a hope of survival could have gone on resisting them. Police power, as the slipping of the barricades showed, may be physically stronger than student power, but it is a great deal less attractive even to the bourgeois. And what were the students revolting about, apart from the way the police were treating them? Quite the most alluring slogan was that outside the Sorbonne: 'La gave est contre la technocratisation.

edit on 13-5-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 14 2018 @ 03:04 PM
While French students moved back into the Sorbonne (one of the government concessions which were announced yesterday), General de Gaulle went away ona visit to Rumania. In those days, Rumania was a semi-independent member of the Russian alliance, just as de Gaulle himself was a semi-independent member of NATO, so there seemed to be scope for his "middle way" diplomacy.

In England, meanwhile, trouble arising at the non-traditional University of Essex.
I have three sources of information.
The Labour minister Richard Crossman provides background knowledge from the previous day;

Simultaneously we are having at Colchester our own tiny student row, with the whole university paralysed because the students tried to prevent a lecture by an expert from Porton Down where they do research into germ warfare. Instead of hearing and heckling him as students should, they tried to stop him altogether, and the Vice-Chancellor then suspended three of them.

Richard Crossman, The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, Vol3

There is the broader analysis of a political commentator;

The first thing that strikes you about Essex University is the architecture: four great black slabs of brick rising into the clear East Anglian air—the residential towers—and the teaching buildings lying low into a gentle ravine. The juxtaposition of aggressively functional modern buildings with a pastoral landscape is at first as jarring as the architect meant it to be. But after a while the logic of the whole enterprise asserts itself : the hectic city-like island of buildings at sea in uncluttered countryside that has changed little since Constable painted it.

The second thing that strikes you about Essex, at least if you mingle with the students, is how middle-class the place is. Here are the sons and daughters of prosperous professional and business people; the proportion of offspring of manual workers is probably lower than at Oxford. There are no class distinctions at Essex, to be sure, but that is mainly because there is only one class.

Of course, some of the students like to identify themselves with the toiling masses. Last week a student deputation called on building workers on the site, wondering whether they would like to strike in sympathy with the three suspended students. The labourers listened politely but declined to strike until they had heard both sides. 'Anyway,' one of them said, `if we strike, we lose a day's pay. It's all right for them: they get paid for by their parents.' News of local authority grants doesn't seem to have got through.

The position of the protesting British student is at once comfortable and vulnerable : comfortable because, except in extremis, the term's grant always comes through; vulnerable because he has nowhere else to go. The American student who gets into trouble with his college authorities or just doesn't like a place can always transfer to somewhere else; his course credits at one university will usually be accepted at others. Not only can the British student not transfer easily: if he loses his LEA grant at one university, he loses it at all. The news that two of the three suspended students had had their grants cut off sent a thrill of horror through the student body.

The anarchy is, up to a point, mainly the university's fault. Essex is often described as being liberal. It is; but it's also anarchic, which is different and more important. A liberal university is presumably one where students are allowed to get on with their private lives free from the petty harassments of Oxford and Cambridge. At Essex the mistake—and it was a very understandable one to make—was to suppose that treating students like adults meant not imposing any rules on them, whereas, in fact, adult life is replete with rules and constraints. Essex students are treated not like adults but like children in an unusually permissive family.

Permissive—and inconsistent. And it was the inconsistency rather than the permissiveness that led to last week's troubles. Ever since the university began it has been plagued by vandalism and sporadic acts of violence, and also by a minority of militant students determined to goad Dr Sloman and his colleagues into some rash action that the students could capitalise on. Until recently the militants' chief grievance— one they felt very keenly—was their lack of a grievance.

The university's reaction to provocation was for nearly four years that of a well-meaning, rather baffled parent. Vandalism and violence were as far as possible left to the police to deal with. The militant agitation was responded to ad hoc. Some useful institutions such as departmental staff-student liaison committees emerged, but few rules and no settled disciplinary procedure. Students knew they could get away with a good deal but were never quite sure how much.

And then from Porton Down came Dr Inch. Among the many rules Essex didn't have was one prohibiting the disruption of academic lectures, so when Dr Inch was prevented from speaking the Vice-Chancellor felt he had no option but to by-pass the disciplinary procedures and take action on his own authority. His tactical error— he still passionately believes he was right on the main issue—was not to summon the chief culprits before him.

Much of the responsibility must be assigned to a section of the junior staff: lecturers and assistant lecturers mainly in their early thirties or younger. Some junior staff have remained silent. Others, including practically the whole of the economics department, have criticised Dr Sloman on the narrow ground of his failure to summon the three suspended students, but have otherwise urged restraint. But others—perhaps a quarter of the total—have both condemned the Vice-Chancellor and set out permanently to disrupt the university.

Politics has something to do with it. One leading militant is a communist of long standing; several others are associated with the various fragments of the 'new left.' But, looking at them, one suspects that personal considerations are more important for most. Essex is a high- pressure institution, demanding not only a high standard of teaching but also much in the way of research and publication. And for some the pressure may be too great. Essex's staff rebels include a grossly disproportionate number of the bookless, the PhD-less, even the promotion-less. In one arts department, the hard core of militants apparently coincides almost exactly with members of staff recently warned that they may not be granted tenure.

Finally, there is the TV news as filtered through the views of a conservative-minded schoolboy;

In Essex University, the students and half the staff have "abolished" lectures and demand a democratic system of self-government by the students, so that the tail can wag the dog... If the universities are turned into self-run student organisations, this would ruin the university as the highest centre of education and the degree as a qualification. I should get in there quickly, before the decline and fall of the university system.

edit on 14-5-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 14 2018 @ 03:33 PM
The Beatles announced the creation of Apple Records.
A couple of years previously, they had lent their names to a campaign promoting apple-eating as "nature's toothbrush".

posted on May, 14 2018 @ 03:45 PM
a reply to: Jansy

I;m the same age and had my radio going all night...just that night...

and I had strange dreams.....and kept waking to the chaos on the radio....

posted on May, 15 2018 @ 03:12 PM
The Wiki page records no political events this day.
Nevertheless, these topics were being reported on the news;

In Britain, a one-day token strike by engineers. Amongst other things, this meant that no newspapers were printed (apart from the Commnuist paper Morning Star).

Another session of Vietnam peace talks in Paris.

It was announced that negotiations between the Nigerian government and the secessionist Ibo state of Biafra would begin in Kampala on the 23rd. Tanzania, Gabon, and the Ivory Coast had already recognised Biafra. However, there were reports that Nigerian soldiers were virtually practising genocide on their own account, killing captured Ibo civilians.

There were riots following the Presidential elections in Panama.

Robert Kennedy and Richard Nixon won their respective primaries in Nebraska.

In the second leg of the semi-final of the European Cup, Manchester United drew 3-3 with Real Madrid, thus winning 4-3 on aggregate (having scored a goal in the first leg).
edit on 15-5-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2018 @ 02:13 PM
The turmoil in France spread from the students to the workers, who began taking over factories of the Renault company.

In London, the collapse of Ronan Point, a residential tower block, following a gas explosion.

As the first clip reminds us, this building was owned by Newham Council, which is also the governing local authority in the more recent case of Grenfell Tower.
edit on 16-5-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 17 2018 @ 02:11 PM
The strikes by French workers spread more widely.

Alexei Kosygin, Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, flew suddenly into Prague, ostensibly for medical reasons.
People in the West thought Kosygin was the leader of his country. But Leonid Brezhnev was at the head of the Communist Party, and Czechoslovakia would soon be the first victims of the "Brezhnev Doctrine".

posted on May, 18 2018 @ 01:54 PM
The number of striking workers in France was thought to have grown to two million.

Not all the news was bad. I went into Ely for an eye-test and discovered that my astigmatism had disappeared.

posted on May, 19 2018 @ 02:11 PM
The Nigerian army captured Port Harcourt, which had been, as sea-port and airport, Biafra's point of contact with the outside world.

posted on May, 20 2018 @ 02:24 PM
In France, six million were estimated to be on strike. Transport and industry were paralysed.

One more nation, namely Zambia, was now recognising Biafra, though the loss of Port Harcourt meant that their regime was nearly cut off from the outside world.

posted on May, 21 2018 @ 02:04 PM
By now, the estimated number of strikers in France was eight million.
The banks had closed, including the Banque de France, and also the Bourse.

posted on May, 22 2018 @ 02:08 PM
In the French National Assembly, a motion of censure against the government was defeated.

The iconic leader of the French students had been the (German) Daniel Cohn-Bendit, nicknamed "Danny the red". The Paris Diary of Nancy Mitford calls him "Cohn-Bandit". He was now expelled from France, or not allowed to re-enter France (sources differ).

posted on May, 23 2018 @ 02:28 PM
The Paris street battles resumed at night. The next morning, Nancy Mitford's Paris Diary (later printed in the Spectator), records;

All night a pitched battle raged around Jean de Gaigmeron's house. I hope he's gone away. These battles are a nightmare for those in nearby houses because of the tear gas which seeps in and can't be got out for ages.

Meanwhile, students had taken over the university in Brussels, and the stand-off in Columbia university was continuing.
edit on 23-5-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

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