Conclusion: When Did 1968 End?

  • William Outhwaite


My 1968 began promptly on New Year’s Day when I caught the slow cross-country train from Manchester to Harwich and thence to Hoek van Holland and by train to Basle. After that, the year was substantially one of missed opportunities. I spent the next four months learning German in the Black Forest and a further four months consolidating it in a temporary job in Basle. By then, the German movement was substantially over. (Die Zeit recently published a photo of Ralf Dahrendorf and Daniel Cohn-Bendit debating at an open-air meeting in nearby Freiburg, but that was the previous year.) In Basle, I was only a tram ride from the French border, and crossed it occasionally, but there was nothing to see in the small border town and with the general strike no obvious way of getting to Paris. I again missed seeing Cohn-Bendit when he was replaced on a visit to a student meeting in Basle by another member of the Mouvement du 22 mars, which seemed to have been worried about a personality cult developing round him. There were some more demonstrations and meetings, including one addressed by Elmar Altvater, but that was about it as far as I was concerned. Back in England in the autumn, and beginning to study PPE (Politics, Philosophy, Economics) at Oxford, I went on the big anti-Vietnam demonstration in London at the end of October, which so scared the BBC that they sent programme tapes to Birmingham in case their buildings were occupied, but I opted out of the more adventurous side-trip to attack the US Embassy.


Grand Coalition Frankfurt School Student Movement Nuclear Disarmament Personality Cult 
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© William Outhwaite 2009

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  • William Outhwaite

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