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To some people the 1960s were the best of times; to others it was a period when things went wrong. Why do people have such different ideas about the 60s?

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To some people the 1960s were the best of times; to others it was a period when things went wrong. Why do people have such different ideas about the '60s? Many people who lived through the 60s decade feel it was revolutionary; a 'swinging' period after years of austerity and gloom with the young people commanding the army of change. However, as in every debate, there are two opposing opinions. To some people, the 1960s was a time when the post-war stress was finally over, a time when Britain became 'Cool Britannia' because of its fashion, music and art scenes. The 1960s was a decade which people still regard as the 'swinging sixties,' when people were out to have fun. It was also a period of more freedom and opportunities for many people and prosperity. This has highlighted by Harold Macmillan, who exclaimed, "you've never had it so good." ...read more.


However, many people that were pro-establishment saw these groups as dangerous to the traditional values of authority and order. Whilst there were big achievements nationally and internationally such as England winning the world cup and the first man to travel to space, as well as the moon, there were also damaging political events. The building of the Berlin wall officially began a cold war between superpowers, which left the world with anticipation of not knowing what was going to happen. The Cuban Missile Crisis threatened nuclear war. In America, there was the assassination of President Kennedy and the Vietnam War. Both were destructive and sad events. Locally in England, there was the profumo affair where a British politician had an affair with a Russian who was considered an enemy because of the cold war. This struck chaos into political values in England. ...read more.


However, this greater power given to women seemed to lower marriages and general partnerships. The number of illegitimate births rose from 5.8% in 1960 to 8.2% in 1970 and the number of marriages ending in divorce rose from one in fifteen to one in ten. However, these two statistics had begun rising from 1945 and there was no significant increase in them throughout the 1960s. The fact is that men and women were gaining more independence and deciding to use it in different ways. One key question is 'Would the changes that took place during and since the sixties have taken place anyway? The answer is almost certainly yes. With more mature, better educated and higher earning young people it is inevitable that these changes in society would have taken place anyway. However, there is a question that will always be contested and argued about, 'were the 1960s the best of times, or was it a period where many things went wrong in society?' There are strong views each way but there is no clear answer. ...read more.

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