Then and Now: 1968

1968 was one of the most momentous years in American history. It was filled with challenging, transformative, and tragic events. Using our political, university, regional, and oral history collections, the Gore Center staff will look back at some of the year’s historic moments.

Follow our Twitter and Facebook feeds for updates, and check back regularly throughout the year as we complete the timeline.



January 30 – The Tet Offensive

During the lunar new year holiday (known as “Tet”), North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched attacks against targets in South Vietnam, typically in highly populated areas with an extensive U.S. military presence. The South Vietnamese troops and the U.S. Armed Forces suffered heavy losses. Many scholars and Vietnam War veterans consider the Tet Offensive as a turning point in the war. Most notably, it negatively influenced American public opinion toward the conflict, and weakened support for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

Andy Womack, interviewed by Gore Center staff in 2007, served in Vietnam from 1966-68 after being drafted into the Army. He discusses his experience with the Tet Offensive in the video posted below (a transcript is available on the YouTube page).

The Vietnam War lasted from 1955-1975. It was one of the most controversial military conflicts in United States history, and sparked waves of anti-Vietnam protests, especially on college campuses. Many Vietnam veterans had a difficult time readjusting to life upon their return home. Today, cultural heritage institutions strive to honor these veterans, their stories, and the complexities of the war through oral history projects, exhibits, and more.