Timeline: 1964

Jan 8  President Johnson declares "War on Poverty."

Jan 9  US high school students in the Panama Canal Zone violate an order banning the flying of any flag. A scuffle between US and Panamanian students ensues and escalates. Anti-US rioting erupts in the zone. Twenty-one Panamanians and four US soldiers are killed.

Jan 10  Panama severs relations with the US and demands revision of the Canal Treaty.

Jan 17  A loose confederation of fourteen Arab countries – the Arab League – meets in Egypt and creates the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Its charter claims that Israel is an illegal state and pledges "the elimination of Zionism in Palestine."

Jan 30  In a bloodless coup, General Nguyen Khanh takes over as Saigon's ruler. He had been a military officer with the French, fighting for French colonialism against his countrymen's desire for independence. 

Feb 1  President Johnson says that he sees no chance of negotiating peace for Southeast Asia as proposed by President de Gaulle.

Feb 7  The Beatles land in New York, making their debut in the United States. Their record, I Want to Hold Your Hand" is a best seller.

Feb 10  The US House of Representatives votes on and passes the Civil Rights Act that had been sent to Congress by President Kennedy in June 1963.

Feb 26  Saigon's forces (ARVN) surround the Viet Cong and keep their distance, hitting the Viet Cong instead with air strikes and artillery. The Viet Cong slips away. General Khanh is displeased and sacks five of his division commanders.

Mar 8  Malcolm X has broken with Elijah Mohammad's Nation of Islam. He believes in the separation of races and announces that he is forming a Black Nationalist Party.

Mar 13  In Queens, New York, residents fail to respond to the cries of Kitty Genovese, 28, as she is being stabbed to death.

Mar --  This month's issue of Playboy publishes an interview with Ayn Rand, who says, "I consider the Birch Society futile, because they are not for capitalism but merely against communism ... I gather they believe that the disastrous state of today's world is caused by a communist conspiracy. This is childishly naive and superficial. No country can be destroyed by a mere conspiracy, it can be destroyed only by ideas."

Apr 3  The US and Panama agree to resume diplomatic relations

Apr 4  In Brazil, landowners and industrialists have been unhappy with reformist President Joao Goulart. He is driven from power in a bloodless military coup, ending reforms called for by the Alliance for Progress and starting 21 years of dictatorship. US. Ambassador Lincoln Gordon will admit US encouragement to the plotters and that during the coup the US Navy stood off the coast. Aid will flow to the new government of Brazil that was denied to Goulart's government. 

Apr 19  Malcolm X is in Mecca meeting devout Muslims of different races. He has softened, believing that racial barriers can be overcome and that Islam is the religion that can do it. 

May 2  Four hundred to 1,000 students march through Times Square, New York, and another 700 in San Francisco, in the first major student demonstration against the Vietnam War. Smaller marches also occur in Boston, Seattle, and in Madison, Wisconsin.

May 14  In Egypt, Nikita Khrushchev joins President Nasser in setting off charges, diverting the Nile River from the site of the Aswan High Dam project.

May 22  President Johnson speaks to a graduating class and presents his idea for a "Great Society."

May 25  The Supreme Court rules that closing schools to avoid desegregation is unconstitutional.

May 27  The US has 16,000 military people in Vietnam, and so far 266 of its forces there have been killed. In a taped conversation, President Lyndon Johnson says to his national security advisor, McGeorge Bundy: "I don't think it's worth fighting for, and I don't think we can get out ... What in the hell is Vietnam worth to me? What is Laos worth to me? What is it worth to this country?"

Jun 2  Governor Nelson Rockefeller has been considered the front runner among Republicans for the presidency. In the California primary he has been attacking Goldwater as too dangerous, and Goldwater has attacked Rockefeller's morality. Social conservatives have been offended by Rockefeller's divorce and remarriage in 1963. Republican voters choose Goldwater by a margin of less than 3 percent, ensuring Goldwater's nomination at the upcoming Republican convention. 

Jun 3  In Seoul, Korea, an estimated 10,000 student demonstrators over-power the police. President Park Chung Hee declares martial law.

Jun 5  In Seoul, student demonstrations continue, and demonstrations erupt in eleven other cities. The students, it is said, are impatient and frustrated concerning the country's economic misery. President Chung Hee Park accepts the resignation of his right-hand man, Kim Chong Pil, to placate student opinion.

Jun 12  President Chung Hee Park's ruling Democratic Republican party and opposition politicians agree to form a 24-man committee to solve problems resulting from student demonstrations.

Jun 12  In South Africa, Nelson Mandela and seven others are sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island prison.

Jun 15  The last of France's military leaves Algeria.

Jun 19  The Senate votes on and passes the Civil Rights Act. Senator Goldwater is one of only six Republican senators who votes against the bill.

Jun 20  General Westmoreland succeeds General Paul Harkins as head of the US forces in Vietnam.

Jun 21  A summer of civil rights activities are underway in the South. Three civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney are murdered near Philadelphia, Mississippi, by law enforcement officials. The governor of Mississippi, Paul Johnson, offers little help and dismisses fears that the three have been murdered. He says, "Maybe they went to Cuba," suggesting the Communist tie that was commonly used to discredit the civil rights movement in the South. Johnson is moderate for a white Mississippian regarding race, but conformism involved in appealing to voters led him in a 1963 to criticize advocacy of civil rights for blacks and to indentify the NAACP as standing for: "Niggers, alligators, apes, coons, and possums." (Time, August 16, 1963)

Jun 25  The Vatican condemns use of the contraceptive pill for females.

Jul 2  President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into Law.

Jul 6  Malawi declares its independence from Britain.

Jul 13  In San Francisco, the Republican Convention's party platform reads: "Humanity is tormented once again by an age-old issue – is man to live in dignity and freedom under God or be enslaved -- are men in government to serve, or are they to master their fellow men?" The platform accuses the Johnson Administration of seeking "accommodation with Communism without adequate safeguards and compensating gains for freedom." It describes the Democrats of having "collaborated with Indonesian imperialism by helping it to acquire territory belonging to the Netherlands and control over the Papuan people."  And it states that "This Administration has refused to take practical free enterprise measures to help the poor."

Jul 14  At the podium at the Republican convention, Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York is booed extensively when he denounces extremism.

Jul 16  Senator Barry Goldwater wins the nomination for president on the first ballot.

Jul 18  In Harlem, New York, six days of rioting begins. According to the New York Times, thousands of blacks "race through the center of Harlem shouting at policemen and white people, pulling fire alarms, breaking windows and looting stores." Whites had moved out of Harlem by 1950 and by 1960 middle class blacks had followed. 

Jul 19  In Harlem, Jesse Gray, leader of a rent strike, calls for "100 skilled black revolutionaries who are ready to die" to correct "the police brutality situation in Harlem."

Jul 21  Five days of race riots erupt in Singapore. It begins with Malays commemorating the Prophet Mohammad's birthday with a march.  A few marchers respond in anger to a policeman ordering some to return to the ranks of the marchers. Marchers attack Chinese passersby and spectators.  Retaliations against Muslims follow.

Jul 27  From the US, 5,000 more military "advisers" are sent to South Vietnam, bringing their total in Vietnam to 21,000.

Aug 1  The Republic of the Congo, formerly the Belgian Congo, changes its name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Aug 2  North Vietnamese torpedo boats retaliate against ships involved in attacks on a radio transmitter on the island of Hon Ngu off the coast of North Vietnam, in the Tonkin Gulf. The torpedo boats approach the US destroyer Maddox, which sinks two of the torpedo boats and damages a third.

Aug 4  On the USS Maddox, in the dark of night, an "overeager sonar man," to be described as such by the ship's captain, mistakenly believes that his ship is under attack again. For two hours the Maddox and another destroyer, the USS Turner Joy, fire at imaginary targets. Air support from two US aircraft carriers are sent on a retaliatory mission against targets on Vietnam's coast. President Johnson speaks to the American public about "deliberate attacks on US naval vessels" and his retaliation and adds that "we must and shall honor our commitments."

Aug 6  In a meeting with US legislators, Defense Secretary McNamara gives a distorted description of  US naval activities in the Tonkin Gulf.  

Aug 7  US congressmen and senators vote in favor of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, giving President Johnson powers in lieu of a declaration of war. The vote in the House of Representatives is 416 to 0, in the Senate 88 to 2.

Aug 11  Since the rioting in Harlem, trouble has been expected in Paterson, New Jersey. According to one report "carousing teenagers in the slum Fourth Ward began pelting passing police cars with bottles and rocks. Soon hundreds of Negroes were racing through the streets, smashing windows and hurling debris at police."

Aug 12  Twenty miles south of Paterson, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, rioting erupts. People pitch Molotov cocktails into three taverns, and soon, a report says, "hundreds of Negroes were flinging bottles and bricks from rooftops and street corners."

Aug 21  In Saigon, students and Buddhist militants begin a series of escalating protests against the General Khanh's regime. General Khan brings in others to share power. People unhappy with the US backed regime are encouraged, and mob violence erupts.   

Aug 22   At the Democratic Party's convention, Fannie Lou Hammer, representing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, challenges the all-white Mississippi delegation. Johnson hurridly calls a press conference to tell reporters things they already know, to get the television cameras off Ms Hamer, and this succeeds, but the networks will rebroadcast her speech repeatedly, with Hamer in an electrifying speech, asking that her delegation be seated to represent MIssissippi. Johnson calls Hamer an "ignorant woman." He needs to compromise with southern whites in order to get civil rights and other legislation passed. Humphrey and labor leader Walther Reuther help sway the Democrats to side with Johnson. There will be no seating of the Mississippi Freedom delegation.

Aug 28-30  In predominately black neighborhoods on the north side of Philadelphia, well-publicized allegations of police brutality have created unrest. Two policemen, one white, one black, try to remove a black woman from her car after she refuses to cooperate with them. Rumors spread that a pregnant black woman has been beaten to death by white cops. Three days of rioting follow, with mobs looting and burning mostly white-owned stores. 341 are injured and 774 arrested.

Sep 1  "Freedom Summer" in Mississippi is drawing to a close. White Mississippians fear what will happen if civil rights including the right to vote are extended to blacks. They remain opposed to the freedom schools that have advanced literacy and delighted blacks. There have been 35 shootings incidents, 6 murders of activists, 80 beatings and 65 houses and chuches burned.

Sep 4  At the University of California at Berkeley, students have returned from summer vacation, some of them from civil rights activities in the South. US Senator William Knowland's newspaper, the Oakland Tribune, is picketed by a civil rights group that organizes on campus.

Sep 14  On the Berkeley campus, Dean Katherine Towle bans posters, easels and tables on campus and reminds student groups of prohibitions against collecting funds or using university facilities in planning or implementing off-campus political and social action.

Sep 17  Some twenty student activist organizations form a coalition to oppose the regulations announced by Dean Towle. The "Free Speech Movement" is born.

Sep 21  Malta becomes independent from Britain.

Sep 27  The Warren Commission Report is released. It concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of President Kennedy.

Oct 1  Campaigning for the presidency in Hammond, Indiana, Senator Goldwater promises his audience that he will liberate Eastern Europe, and he tells them that only victory can end Communism.

Oct 1  A  Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) volunteer, Jack Weinberg, sitting at a table on the Berkeley campus, is put into a police car by campus police. A crowd growing to about 3,000 surround the police car.  Mario Savio, fresh from civil rights activities in the South, climbs on top the police car after respectfully removing his shoes, and he makes a speech.

Oct 2  Approximately 450 policemen rescue the police car, book and then release Jack Weinberg. Student activists take up a collection to repair the police car's dented roof.

Oct 13  Nikita Khrushchev returns from a vacation and finds that members of the Presidium (formerly the Politburo) have called a special meeting. Its members vote to send him into retirement. Khrushchev will be given a pension and watched closely by the KGB. His successor as Premier will be Alexei Kosygin and as Communist Party First Secretary will be Leonid Brezhnev. 

Oct 13  The Soviet Union has spectacular success launching a three-man spacecraft that returns after 24 hours. N 

Oct 15  President Johnson says if he is elected he will take important new steps to reduce world tensions. 

Oct 16  China explodes an atomic bomb in Sinkiang province.

Oct 16  In his first major campaign speech on civil rights, Goldwater declares that "forced integration is just as wrong as forced segregation."

Oct 16  Former Vice President Richard M. Nixon says that a Johnson administration would be "a sitting duck" for the ruthless and tough-minded leaders who have replaced Nikita Khrushchev.

Oct. 20  Goldwater describes Johnson's foreign policy as a "policy of drift, deception and defeat."

Oct 21  Campaigning for re-election in Akron, Ohio, President Johnson says "[We] are not about to send American boys nine to ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves."

Oct 22  Jean Paul Sartre, French philosopher and novelist, declines the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Oct 23  The Republic National Chairman, Dean Burch, says that a private Republican poll shows that Senator Goldwater leads President Johnson in electoral votes, 261 to 258.

Oct 24  Goldwater repudiates his campaign film, "Choice," which contends that social "rot" is undermining American society.

Oct 27 A speech by Ronald Reagan is broadcast on television for the Goldwater campaign. Reagan tells of switching from Democrat to "another course." He complains about tax burdens and he asks whether a "little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves." The speech enhances his standing in the Republican Party.

Nov 1  A pre-dawn mortar assault by the Viet Cong at the Vien Hoa air base, 12 miles north of Saigon, kills five Americans, two South Vietnamese and wounds nearly one hundred others. President Johnson dismisses recommendations for a retaliatory air strike against North Vietnam.

Nov. 1  Senator Barry Goldwater says that the attack on Bienhoa airbase shows that the United States is involved in an undeclared war. He adds that it is "high time" for the president to speak frankly about it to the people.

Nov 2  A radio program titled "Goldwater's New World," creates a minor panic among listeners in the Netherlands.

Nov 3  It is election day. Goldwater carries only Arizona and five segregated states of the deep South,  from Louisiana east to South Carolina, excluding Florida. Johnson is re-elected with 61 percent of the vote. The Democrats win both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Robert Kennedy wins the race for US Senator from New York.  

Nov 4  Lenny Bruce, stand up comic, is arrested in New York City for using "bad language" in one of his routines. 

Nov 9  In Britain, the House Commons abolishes the death penalty for murder. 

Nov 18  Martin Luther King has accused FBI agents in Georgia of failing to act on complaints filed by blacks. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover retaliates, describing King as "the most notorious liar in the country."

Nov 24  In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Belgian paratroopers liberate around 1,600 Europeans who had been taken hostage by a rebel army in early August.

Nov 29  In the US, the Catholic Church changes its liturgy, including the use of English rather than Latin.

Dec 2-3  The chancellor at U.C. Berkeley has refused to drop plans to discipline "Free Speech Movement" leaders. More than 500 students stage an overnight sit-in takeover of the campus administration building. California's governor, Pat Brown, a liberal Democrat, gives a deputy Alameda district attorney permission to bring in off-campus police: sheriff's deputies and officers from the Highway Patrol. Removing the students is a job made harder by the students refusing to cooperate and made easier by dragging them down flights of stairs, bumpety bumpety bump, to waiting police vans. Students on their way to class that next morning are appalled by the site of fellow students being manhandled, and liberal faculty members are also appalled.

Dec 18  The University of California Regents affirm that university rules should follow the US Supreme Court decisions on free speech.

Dec 20-21  Another military coup occurs in Saigon, led by Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu, which keeps General Khanh as part of the new government. US Ambassador Taylor reacts with anger, summons the young officers to the US embassy and tells them he is "tired of coups." General Khanh retaliates, saying that the US is reverting to "colonialism" in its treatment of South Vietnam.

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