1968: 50 Years After
50 years have now passed since the famous 1968, a year that has left its mark both on the West and on the East through its significant street protests, bringing about major social changes and, more importantly, shifts in collective consciousness. While the Eastern Block had been shaken by the emotionally stirring protests in Czechoslovakia, with Nicolae Ceaușescu being the country’s only supporter among all those under the Soviet Union’s area of influence - which made him into a tremendously popular figure outside of Eastern Europe -, the West was facing backlash from the younger generations that political leaders could barely understand. If in Czechoslovakia the aims of the protests were clear, and the people who wanted more freedom and to liberate themselves from the grip of the Soviet Union did so in full agreement with the country’s political decision makers, in France, Italy, or Brazil, the street movements were marked by an eclecticism which was difficult to account for politically, and even harder to turn into measures with immediate effect and to everyone’s satisfaction. Even though their respective details differ, all these movements have helped to build nothing short of a myth around the year 1968, now seen as a moment in time that could have spurred a real global revolution. But what it actually meant for the history of the world is still a matter of fierce and passionate debate.