Life in the 60's

Timeline of the 1960's

•The first debate for a presidential election was televised. It was between Senator John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. Nikon seemed nervous, but Kennedy stood tall. The debate on TV changed many people's minds about Kennedy.
•This year NASA sent up ECHO, the first communications satellite to be seen with the naked eye.
•American "U2" spy plane shot down over the USSR.
•The Olympic Games were held in Rome and Wilma Rudolf won three gold medals.

•John F Kennedy moves into the White House. He gives his famous speech - "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
•The soviets have sent the first man into space and the Americans need a man in space, too. The event came on May 5, 1961. Alan Shepard was sent to space in the "Freedom 7". On May 25, Kennedy wanted to have a man on the moon and back before the decade was over.

•John Glenn became the first man to orbit the earth - 3 times. It was a five hour flight.
•Rachel Carson, a scientist and writer, warned that our earth would die of pollution and chemicals. Especially chemicals that were developed to kill bad insects. DDT was a real bad chemical. It killed bad insects, along with good insects, along with plants, along with animals. She wrote the book Silent Spring with a warning. At least five states banned DDT.

•Martin Luther King Jr. made the speech, "I have a Dream" on August 28, 1963. More than 200,000 peaceful demonstrators came to Washington DC to demand equal rights for Black and Whites. Part of the speech was - "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…"
•President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was never sent to trial. While being moved by police to a different jail, a man named Jack Ruby shot Oswald. Who killed President Kennedy nobody knows for sure.

•The Beatles, a British rock and roll band became VERY popular. The "Fab Four", John, Paul, George, and Ringo, were played on radio stations all over the world. They were seen on the "Ed Sullivan Show". They performed concerts that were quickly sold out. All the frenzy over the group became known as "Beatlemania", which was only the beginning.
•This was the first year the cigarette boxes had a warning printed on it "Smoking can be hazardous to your health". It had not occurred to the US government to give the warning that smoking lead to cancer and lung problems.
•The first Civil Rights bill was passed to stop racial discrimination.

•President Johnson ordered bombing raids on North Vietnam and Americans begin protesting the war.
•The world's first roofed stadium was built, the Houston Astrodome.

•Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse and a Pioneer of animated films, died of cancer on December 15, 1966, but his legend lives on.

•The first heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa.

•Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Two months later, Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy's brother was assassinated, too. Both were civil rights leaders.
•On November 5, 1968, Shirley Chisholm was elected America's first black woman to Congress.

•Nearly half a million people headed over to a 600 acre farm in New York for the Woodstock Festival. Many top rock musicians were there. It lasted three days, a weekend of music, love and peace.
•July 20, 1969, 4:18 p.m., one of the biggest events of history happened. Apollo 11 landed on the moon, astronauts aboard. Neil Armstrong's famous speech for the historical steps "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Dance and Music

The "Twist" was the most popular dance back in the 60's. People thought it became so popular because it helped them let go of the Cold War tension.
Pink Floyd was one of the first bands to play psychedelic music. Long instrumental solos and weird electronic effects were a crazy part of the bands style.

The hot music types of the 1960's were...


The 1960s didn't start out with colorful clothes. They were dully designed and looked better on older people. Then little shops called boutiques opened selling cheap and colorful clothing for younger people. During the decade, women started wearing mini skirts, leather boots and fake eyelashes. Men wore Paisley shirts, velvet trousers and high collared Regency jackets. Men also began to wear their hair long.

1960-1962 - At this time, there was a carry over from the 50's, including the "bouffant" look. A "bouffant" look is a dress where the top part is tight and the skirt of the dress puffs out. The popular hairstyle was a beehive, where they tease their hair and piled it high on their head. Another look during this time was the beatnik. The beat look included black berets, black slacks (tight for women) and dark glasses. Women wore float shoes while men wore sandals. Women wore dark eye makeup.

1963 - Cardin designed the Beatles suits which became popular for men. The suit had a single breasted collarless jacket and slim pants. Mary Quant started her own label, and is responsible for designing mini skirts, colored tights, and wet look vinyl fashions.

1964 - Space age clothing starts to become popular. Different materials were used such as discs of metal or plastic linked together with wire. Leather is also used. Metallic or neon colors were involved.

1965 - Mini skirts become much shorter. Op art becomes more popular. Optic trick using contrasting colors with black and white to make a sort of optical illusion.

1966 - Psychedelic clothing is now a hit. Colors (acid colors) are brighter and bolder. Men begin to dress "fancy".

1967 - Ethnic fashions begins to spread. The ethnic look is clothing picked up from other cultures. The Oriental look and the African/Middle Eastern looks were both port of the ethnic fashion.

1968-1969 - Skirts begin to lengthen out, along with hair. The "Hippie look" is now popular. The women wore long floor length dresses and skirts called maxies. Men continued to grow their hair longer. Hippies decorated everything, including painting their bodies.

Cool Clothes

Hot pants (extremely short shorts)
Mini skirts
No hats or gloves for day wear
Space age fashions in vinyl and other synthetics
Bold, solid color contrasts from the Op Art and Pop Art movements, commonly
called Mod fashions
Preppy fashions for upper class youth: Madras plaids, oversize hairy sweaters,
painstakingly matched accessories

The Vietnam War

The 1960's decade began, and so did the Vietnam War. Debate between politicians began as well, almost as bad as the war itself. White House records and transcripts show that the U.S. military leaders usually voted for the use of nuclear bombs, while Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy wanted not to get into those weapons. The Vietnam War did start in the 60's, but there had been trouble in Vietnam before that.

The trouble started when the people of North Vietnam wanted to take over South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese people didn't want that, so they tried to fight back. Soon, the Americans pushed their way in the war. They thought that if South Vietnam didn't want to be part of North Vietnam, they shouldn't be bossed around. America began to fight for South Vietnam.
In 1961, President Kennedy sent a group of people to Vietnam to report the conditions. A reporter known as the "December 1961 White Paper" argued for more in military and economic aid. It also had an introduction of a large scale American "advisers" to help stabilize the Diem regime and pound the NFL (National Liberation Front.)
Things had gotten worse in 1968 for the Johnson administration. In late January the DRV (or North Vietnam) and the NFL began to attack some major cities in South Vietnam. The attacks were known as the Tet Offensive, which was a way to fosre the Johnson administration to the bargaining table. The Americans were getting war weary, as The Communists Party correctly decided, and that they were not likely to succeed much longer in war. Many people thought that the Tet offensive was a military defeat, it had produced the desired results. Lyndon Johnson was disgraced, and announced he would not seek the Democratic Party's re-nomination for president, then hinted he was going to the bargaining table to end the war.


Roger Maris hit homer number 61, setting a record that wasn't broken until the September of 1998 by Mark McGwire.
Wlima Rudolph, a black American woman, received three Olympic gold medals in fast running. As a child, she was very ill with pneumonia and scarlet fever. She barely lived, and doctors said she probably would never be able to walk again. But she never gave up hope, and was not only able to walk again, but able to outrun everyone else in the Olympics to be rewarded with three gold medals.
In 1962, Jackie Robinson, the first black American to play in major league baseball, was placed in the Baseball Hall of Fame for his talent.
The first Super Bowl was played in 1967, with the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs; the Packers won.

•In 1961, physicist Theodore Maiman perfected the laser, now widely used in surgery, holography, communications, and printing.
•Douglas Englehart of Stanford University developed the computer mouse along with a five key "corded" keyboard in 1964.
•The first hand-held calculator was invented in 1967 by Texas Instruments, at a cost of $2,500 a piece.
•The first cash dispensing machine is installed by First Philadelphia Bank in 1968.

As you now know, the 1960's was much more than boring information about the least-important event, (remember there actually really was no boring or least-important event) but crammed with peace, love, war, and excitement. This busy decade was probably one of the most fun decades you'll ever learn about. All the fun and excitement of this decade will surely put some fun and excitement in your life.


1960s Timeline by Jane Duden
Fashions of a Decade by Connikie Yvonne
History of Inventions
A Timeline from Pottery to Computers
History Channel