The magical year 1968 is to be seen as the dramatic climax of a period of upheaval and change in society, but this was initiated before 1968. After reconstruction after the war, Germany had developed into a prosperous society. And now the young generation, through purposefully provocative behaviour, now pursued a conscious demarcation from the "old", the "establishment" as its goal.
The political protest was bundled in the APO (Extra-Parliamentary Opposition) and the SDS (Socialist German Student Union).
The beginning of the year was marked by the SDS's International Vietnam Conference, including mass demonstrations against US politics in Vietnam, student protests such as sit-ins or staffing of institutes. Rudi Dutschke was assassinated on 11 April and the already heated-up atmosphere escalated. Thousands of people went out on the streets and did engage in violent clashes with the police, not only in Berlin.
A second influential event was the adoption of the German Emergency Acts, which was perceived as cementing the system, which was already perceived as formally democratic.
Despite massive protests by the trade unions, the student movement and other circles, the Emergency Acts were passed in the Bundestag on 30 May and incorporated into the German Constitution on 27 June 1968.
The protest of the' 68s was anti-authoritarian, antitechnocratic, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist and contributed to the dynamisation of transformation and value change in society.