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The volatile period of civil unrest in France during May 1968 was punctuated by demonstrations and massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France. At the height of its fervor, it virtually brought the entire advanced capitalist economy of France to a dramatic halt.<ref name="SitInt12"/> The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution; the national government itself momentarily ceased to function after President Charles de Gaulle secretly left France for a few hours. Although the events sometimes turned violent, they also had artistic and festive aspects with numerous quasi-improvised debates and assemblies, songs, imaginative graffitis, posters and slogans.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

"May 68" had a resounding impact on French society that would be felt for decades to come. It is considered to this day as a cultural, social and moral turning point in the history of the country. As Alain Geismar—one of the leaders of the time—later pointed out, the movement succeeded "as a social revolution, not as a political one".<ref name="Erlanger 2008"/>

The unrest began with a series of student occupation protests against capitalism, consumerism and traditional institutions, values and order. It then spread to factories with strikes involving 11,000,000 workers, more than 22% of the total population of France at the time, for two continuous weeks.<ref name="SitInt12">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The movement was characterized by its spontaneous and de-centralized wildcat disposition; this created contrast and sometimes even conflict between itself and the establishment, trade unions and workers' parties.<ref name="SitInt12"/> It was the largest general strike ever attempted in France, and the first ever nationwide wildcat general strike.<ref name="SitInt12"/>

The student occupations and wildcat general strikes initiated across France were met with forceful confrontation by university administrators and police. The de Gaulle administration's attempts to quell those strikes by police action only inflamed the situation further, leading to street battles with the police in the Latin Quarter, followed by the spread of general strikes and occupations throughout France. De Gaulle went to a French military base in Germany, and after returning dissolved the National Assembly, and called for new parliamentary elections for 23 June 1968. Violence evaporated almost as quickly as it arose. Workers went back to their jobs, and when the elections were finally held in June, the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before.


May 1968 events in France sections
Intro  Events before May  Events of May  Events of June and July  Slogans and graffiti  Legacy   In popular culture    See also   References  Sources  Further reading  External links  

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{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use dmy dates |date=__DATE__ |$B= }} {{#invoke:Infobox|infobox}}

The volatile period of civil unrest in France during May 1968 was punctuated by demonstrations and massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France. At the height of its fervor, it virtually brought the entire advanced capitalist economy of France to a dramatic halt.<ref name="SitInt12"/> The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution; the national government itself momentarily ceased to function after President Charles de Gaulle secretly left France for a few hours. Although the events sometimes turned violent, they also had artistic and festive aspects with numerous quasi-improvised debates and assemblies, songs, imaginative graffitis, posters and slogans.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

"May 68" had a resounding impact on French society that would be felt for decades to come. It is considered to this day as a cultural, social and moral turning point in the history of the country. As Alain Geismar—one of the leaders of the time—later pointed out, the movement succeeded "as a social revolution, not as a political one".<ref name="Erlanger 2008"/>

The unrest began with a series of student occupation protests against capitalism, consumerism and traditional institutions, values and order. It then spread to factories with strikes involving 11,000,000 workers, more than 22% of the total population of France at the time, for two continuous weeks.<ref name="SitInt12">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The movement was characterized by its spontaneous and de-centralized wildcat disposition; this created contrast and sometimes even conflict between itself and the establishment, trade unions and workers' parties.<ref name="SitInt12"/> It was the largest general strike ever attempted in France, and the first ever nationwide wildcat general strike.<ref name="SitInt12"/>

The student occupations and wildcat general strikes initiated across France were met with forceful confrontation by university administrators and police. The de Gaulle administration's attempts to quell those strikes by police action only inflamed the situation further, leading to street battles with the police in the Latin Quarter, followed by the spread of general strikes and occupations throughout France. De Gaulle went to a French military base in Germany, and after returning dissolved the National Assembly, and called for new parliamentary elections for 23 June 1968. Violence evaporated almost as quickly as it arose. Workers went back to their jobs, and when the elections were finally held in June, the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before.


May 1968 events in France sections
Intro  Events before May  Events of May  Events of June and July  Slogans and graffiti  Legacy   In popular culture    See also   References  Sources  Further reading  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Events before May
<<>>