Portal:1960s
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Portal:1960s

The 1960s Portal

Stonewall Inn, site of the Stonewall riots

The Stonewall Inn, site of major demonstrations for gay and lesbian rights


"The Sixties", as they are known in both scholarship and popular culture, is a term used by historians, journalists, and other objective academics; in some cases nostalgically to describe the counterculture and revolution in social norms about clothing, music, drugs, dress, formalities and schooling. Conservatives denounce the decade as one of irresponsible excess and flamboyance, and decay of social order. The decade was also labeled the Swinging Sixties because of the fall or relaxation of social taboos especially relating to racism and sexism that occurred during this time.

The 1960s became synonymous with the new, radical, and subversive events and trends of the period. In Africa the 1960s was a period of radical political change as 32 countries gained independence from their European colonial rulers.

Some commentators have seen in this era a classical Jungian nightmare cycle, where a rigid culture, unable to contain the demands for greater individual freedom, broke free of the social constraints of the previous age through extreme deviation from the norm. Christopher Booker charts the rise, success, fall/nightmare and explosion in the London scene of the 1960s. However, this alone does not explain the mass nature of the phenomenon.

Several nations such as the U.S., France, Germany and Britain turned to the left in the early and mid 1960s. In the United States, John F. Kennedy, a Keynesian and staunch anti-communist, pushed for social reforms. His assassination in 1963 was a stunning shock. Liberal reforms were finally passed under Lyndon B. Johnson including civil rights for African Americans and healthcare for the elderly and the poor. Despite his large-scale Great Society programs, Johnson was increasingly reviled by the New Left at home and abroad. The heavy-handed American role in the Vietnam War outraged student protestors across the globe, as they found peasant rebellion typified by Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara more appealing. Italy formed its first left-of-center government in March 1962 with a coalition of Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and moderate Republicans. Socialists joined the ruling block in December 1963. In Britain, the Labour Party gained power in 1964. In Brazil, João Goulart became president after Jânio Quadros resigned.

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Buzz Aldrin on the Moon as photographed by Neil Armstrong (Armstrong seen in the visor reflection)

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed the American crew that landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC. Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface six hours and 39 minutes later on July 21 at 02:56 UTC; Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and they collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Command module pilot Michael Collins flew the Command Module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon's surface. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the lunar surface at a site they named Tranquility Base before lifting off to rejoin Columbia in lunar orbit.

Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16 at 13:32 UTC, and it was the fifth crewed mission of NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo spacecraft had three parts: a command module (CM) with a cabin for the three astronauts, the only part that returned to Earth; a service module (SM), which supported the command module with propulsion, electrical power, oxygen, and water; and a lunar module (LM) that had two stages--a descent stage for landing on the Moon and an ascent stage to place the astronauts back into lunar orbit. Read more...

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The history of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, referred to as the Brezhnev Era, covers the period of Leonid Brezhnev's rule of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). This period began with high economic growth and soaring prosperity, but gradually significant problems in social, political, and economic areas accumulated, so that the period is often described as the Era of Stagnation.

Nikita Khrushchev was ousted as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) (as well as Chairman of the Council of Ministers) on 14 October 1964, due to his failed reforms and disregard for Party and Government institutions. Brezhnev replaced Khrushchev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin replaced him as Chairman of the Council of Ministers. Anastas Mikoyan, and later Nikolai Podgorny, became Chairmen of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Together with Andrei Kirilenko as organizational secretary, and Mikhail Suslov as Chief Ideologue, they made up a reinvigorated collective leadership, which contrasted in form with the autocracy that characterized Khrushchev's rule. Read more...

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Malcolm X
Malcolm X was an American Black Muslim minister and a spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Born Malcolm Little, he changed his surname to "X" as a rejection of his "slave name". Tensions between him and the Nation of Islam caused him to break from the group in 1964. He claimed to have received daily death threats and his house was burned to the ground in February 1965. One week later, Malcolm X was assassinated, having been shot in the chest by a sawed-off shotgun and 16 times with handguns. Three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted.

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Lennon in 1969

John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as the founder, co-lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in musical history. In 1969, he started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, Yoko Ono. After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Lennon continued as a solo artist and as Ono's collaborator.

Born in Liverpool, Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze as a teenager. In 1956, he formed his first band, the Quarrymen, which evolved into the Beatles in 1960. He was initially the group's de facto leader, a role gradually ceded to McCartney. Lennon was characterised for the rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. In the mid-1960s, he had two books published: In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works, both collections of nonsensical writings and line drawings. Starting with 1967's "All You Need Is Love", his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture. Read more...

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Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock (13 August 1899 - 29 April 1980) was an English film director and producer. He is one of the most influential and extensively studied filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as "the Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1965). His films garnered a total of 46 Oscar nominations and six wins.

Born in Leytonstone, Essex, Hitchcock entered the film industry in 1919 as a title card designer after training as a technical clerk and copy writer for a telegraph-cable company. He made his directorial debut with the British-German silent film The Pleasure Garden (1925). His first successful film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), helped to shape the thriller genre, while his 1929 film, Blackmail, was the first British "talkie". Two of his 1930s thrillers, The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938), are ranked among the greatest British films of the 20th century. Read more...

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The Late Late Show, with its title often shortened to The Late Late, is an Irish chat show. It is the world's second longest-running late-night talk show, after the American The Tonight Show. Perceived as the official flagship television programme of the Republic of Ireland's public service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), it is regarded as an Irish television institution (even abroad) and is broadcast live across two hours plus in front of a studio audience on Friday nights between September and May at 21.30. Certain segments are sometimes pre-recorded and aired within the live parts of the show.

Having maintained the same name and format continuously, The Late Late Show was first broadcast on Friday, 6 July 1962 at 23.20 and in colour from 1976. Originating as temporary summer filler for a niche Saturday night audience (airing at 23.30), it later moved to its current home on Friday night schedules. The format has remained largely the same throughout--dialogue, comic sketches, musical performances, discourse on topical issues. It has influenced attitudes of the populace towards approval or disapproval of its chosen topics, directed social change and helped shape Irish societal norms. It averages 650,000 viewers per episode and has consistently achieved RTÉ's highest ratings. Read more...

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