In the early part of the year, the Tet Offensive occurred in Vietnam. It was actually a ‘win’ for the US forces, but so many Americans were killed or wounded, it was seen as a defeat. It was a PR defeat when news anchor, Walter Cronkite of CBS, ‘the most trusted man in America” went to cover a story over there and came back and in an editorial comment (It had to be editorial, all news was supposed to be neutral in those days) that we were losing the war. Many middle class Americans who previously had been all for the war were turning against it, not to the degree of the hippies, but questioning our part in the war.
Then, exhausted by the war and constant criticism, Lyndon Johnson declared he would not run for President again in November, as he was expected to do. That was late March, and it opened the door for Senator Robert Kennedy, , former Attorney General and brother of the late President to be the front runner for the Democratic Party. Just within days, possibly the same week as Johnson said he would not run, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. 2 months later, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles after winning the California primary and pretty much assuring he would win the Democratic nomination later that summer.
The Democratic convention came and the party nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey, but he was beaten in November by Richard Nixon, in a close race. Nixon promised to end the war, but it took until Jan. of 1973 to do so and that was after the Watergate break ins that would bring Nixon down. The Democratic convention in Chicago was marred by violence, anti war demonstrations, and even some fights on the floor of the convention among delegates. Apollo 8 ended the year (or at least on Christmas) with the first manned orbits of the moon.
They did not land, but were just being sure the space craft could make it there and back. To one of the posters who questioned the importance of 1968: It is not THE most important or only important year in our history, of course, not like 1865 or 1941 or 1945; but it was a very eventful year and many things did happen that made it a significant year. And one many of the baby boomers remember first hand, unlike Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima or the start of WWI or the Civil War. .