1968 is an important year in terms of political, social, and economic causes for many reasons. Protests sprang up throughout Europe in which people called for more democratization of their governments. Although, at the core the protests called for deeper democracy, it is the depths in which the protestors wanted that differ between Eastern and Western European desires. Czechoslovakia was under Soviet Union influence at the time and therefore their people’s goals were different than those of France who was not. In both cases the post-World War II views changed and helped shape the goals they were seeking. Also, in both cases communism played a role, but in different ways.
The social, political, and economic climate was different in the 1960s than in previous decades. There was a new generation rising who did not grow up with memories of war and terror. Instead, this new generation of Europeans grew up with a heavy American influence, at least in Western Europe. In Western Europe the fear of communism was present and therefore a lot of propaganda went into “attacking communism through advertising, cultural publishing, traveling exhibitions, and film.” . Vast resources went into battling the perceived threat of communism. This use of propaganda effected many people and even permeated to Eastern Europe and showing its citizens the appeal of democracy and capitalism, while also appealing to the West Europeans and their post-war hatred of ideologies . The Marshall Plan and the United States’ influence on the Western economy also contributed to shifting views. The economic influence effected class relations which would later effect the protests especially in France.
In 1968 the uprising of the Parisian students took place. They want...
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...m was treated in Western Europe as a threat to national security. The De Gaulle government was worried about the influence and support that the student protests were gaining and called them communists in order to try to sway public opinion. In a way it seems ironic that the government would attach the word communism as their attack on the protests, because the protestors were calling for “far-reaching democratization of society and a governmental commitment to pursuing greater social justice” , something which does not seem to be completely in line with communist ideology. Overall, though the influence that the student’s gained was so important and widespread that it demonstrated a great show of strength to the people. It inspired other protests in Europe and made people begin to question their views on the government and the issues that effected everyday citizens.
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