In early June, 1968, I witnessed the second round of the student and worker revolt of May and June, but I had been studying student politics in France since 1963. I can only give a sketchy account of the revolt and what led up to it in this short article. For greater detail, the reader might consult my book Student Politics in France, and my essay “The Revolution Betrayed: The French Student Revolt of May-June 1968” in S. M. Lipset and P. G. Altbach, Students in Revolt.
What initially began as a student revolt against the banning of political activity and visits by the opposite sex in dorms rooms in the newly created campus at Nanterre, just outside of Paris, eventuated in barricades and violent street battles with the police and then in a general strike in which between nine and ten million workers walked off the job and brought the country to a halt. For many of the students, the goal went from liberalization of the hierarchical university to overthrowing the government of President De Gaulle.