Worldwide "Moment of Madness"

Horn, Gerd-Rainer

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/09/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23398

A look at 1968 a legendary year in history. Analysis of how student- and worker-led revolts played out in different parts of Europe.



THE YEAR 1968 marked one of those exceptional "moments of crisis and opportunity" that periodically occur throughout history and leave a lasting mark on societies. They are characterized by a rapid succession of turbulent events, frequently taking place in multiple countries and not limited to one specific calendar year.

Other such "transnational moments of change" are the years 1848-9, 1917-1923, 1943-1948 and last but not least 1989-90. But 1968 was the first truly transcontinental "moment of madness," although Western Europe certainly played a crucial role as one of the epicenters of this revolt. What, then, happened in Western Europe to catapult 1968 into such iconic status that even fifty years later, major academic and journalistic attention is bestowed on the analysis and commemoration of this particular transnational moment of change?

Virtually no part of Europe remained unaffected by the turbulent events of this era of momentous changes. Even calm and proper Switzerland witnessed its relatively vibrant "1968." But, on the whole, it is possible to postulate the existence of two rather contrasting versions of 1968 in Europe as a whole.

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