Decades – The 1960’s The Beginning
The changing world of the 1960s was when I made my first appearance in society a society that had just been shocked by recent assassination of Americas president John F Kennedy in Dallas. I was born in Norfolk,England not long after this dramatic time which I believe fundamentally changed the world from a insular country by country mind your own business looking world to one that was dominated by the old style media of radio and newspapers and the sleepy colossus soon to be awaken television.
After a short while I was living in Essex and my earliest memories are a little hazy to say the least however it was a happy time with no major upheavals or problems. My memories of that time probably centre around holidays and television which had exploded into most people homes by the mid sixties.
Children’s programming was in its infancy and in black & white and here in England most were imaginative and made on a shoestring budget. “Watch with Mother” was the lunchtime children’s programme which aired for 15 minutes at 1.30 pm. Each day had a different programme ranging from Pogles Wood a family living in a wood in an old tree to Bill & Ben the flowerpot men. My father work in the print which was competitive and being night manager meant we’d not see him for two nights each week.
The sixties were a time of creativeness as little in a cultural sense had been created since the Victorian age so albums were released,television programmes were made in great numbers and many became cult classics. Even the word Cult This usage became mainstream by the 1960s.
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, sexuality, formalities, and schooling; and in others pejoratively to denounce the decade as one of irresponsible excess, flamboyance, and decay of social order.
The decade was also labelled the Swinging Sixties because of the fall or relaxation of social taboos especially relating to racism and sexism that occurred during this time. Commentator Christopher Booker, described this era as 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. He charts the rise, success, fall/nightmare and explosion in the London scene of the 1960’s. Several Western nations such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, and West Germany turned to the political left in the early and mid-1960’s.
In response to civil disobedience campaigns from many groups pushed for social reforms. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 was a shock and liberal reforms were finally passed.In Western Europe and Japan, organizations such as those present at May 1968, the Red Army Faction, and the Zengakuren tested liberal democracy’s ability to satisfy its marginalized or alienated citizenry amidst post-industrial age hybrid capitalist economies.
In Britain, the Labour Party gained power in 1964.In France, the protests of 1968 led to President Charles de Gaulle temporarily fleeing the country. For some, May 1968 meant the end of traditional collective action and the beginning of a new era to be dominated mainly by the so-called new social movements. Italy formed its first left-of-centre government in March 1962 with a coalition of Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and moderate Republicans. Socialists joined the ruling block in December 1963. In Africa too, the 1960’s was a period of radical political change as 32 countries gained independence from their European colonial rule.