What happened in 1968 and why? From a bloody war in Vietnam to a bloody struggle for equality in our nation's streets, what is the legacy of '68? William F. Buckley, Jr., late Editor-at-large at the National Review, and Christopher Hitchens, Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair chose opposing sides that year and now take a look back, explaining the rights and wrongs of the Right and the Left and their personal triumphs and regrets.
William F. Buckley Jr.
William F. Buckley Jr. was a political commentator and columnist. He founded the political magazine National Review and hosted the television show "Firing Line."
Christopher Hitchens is an author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in 2008.
Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits the Hoover Institution's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's television program, "Uncommon Knowledge."
Robinson is also the author of three books: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life; It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP; and the best-selling business book Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA.
Journalists William F. Buckley Jr. and Christopher Hitchens debate the true motives behind the protest movements of the 1960s. Buckley attributes the rise of counterculture movements to a general "listlessness" that "called for a kind of masturbatory relief."
(195475) Protracted conflict between South Vietnam (and its U.S. allies) and North Vietnam, in which South Vietnam was fighting to prevent the countries from being united under communist leadership. After the First Indochina War, Vietnam was partitioned to separate the warring parties until free elections could be held in 1956. Ho Chi Minh's popularand communist- sympathizingViet Minh party from the north was expected to win the elections, which the leader in the south, Ngo Dinh Diem, refused to hold. In the war that ensued, fighters trained by North Vietnam (the Viet Cong) fought a guerrilla war against U.S.-supported South Vietnamese forces; North Vietnamese forces later joined the fighting. At the height of U.S. involvement, there were more than half a million U.S. military personnel in Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968, in which the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacked 36 of 44 South Vietnamese provincial capitals and 64 district capitals, marked a turning point in the war. Many in the U.S. had come to oppose the war on moral and practical grounds, and Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson decided to shift to a policy of de-escalation. Peace talks were begun in Paris. Between 1969 and 1973 U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, but the war was expanded to Cambodia and Laos in 1970. Peace talks, which had reached a stalemate in 1971, started again in 1973, producing a cease-fire agreement. Fighting continued, and there were numerous truce violations. In 1975 the North Vietnamese launched a full-scale invasion of the south. The south surrendered later that year, and in 1976 the country was reunited as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. More than 3,000,000 people (including 58,000 Americans) died over the course of the war, more than half of them civilians.