Counterculture

May 1968: A Month of Revolution Pushed France Into the Modern World

1960s: Days of Rage

A student hurling rocks at the police in Paris during the May 1968 student uprising. The protests transformed France.

“Just six weeks after France’s leading newspaper, Le Monde, pronounced that the country was ‘bored,’ too bored to join the youth protests underway in Germany and in the United States, students in Paris occupied the Sorbonne, one of the most illustrious universities in Europe. The day was May 3, 1968, and the events that ensued over the following month — mass protests, street battles and nationwide strikes — transformed France. It was not a political revolution in the way that earlier French revolutions had been, but a cultural and social one that in a stunningly short time changed French society. ‘In the history of France it was a remarkable movement because it was truly a mass movement that concerned Paris but also the provinces, that concerned intellectuals but also…

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