The Cold War was a dominant factor in the 60s. The world was recovering from World War II, and growing up from the idealism and prosperity of the 50s. The Cold War was a social war. Basically, the 60s were a time of social change.
There were all kinds of changes going on in various places around the globe during this decade.
Looking at the world as whole (and not just at the United States) one of the most important changes going on was the rise of independent nations in Africa. Before the 1960s, very few African countries were independent. Beginning in 1960, however, the majority of African countries were freed from their colonial status and became independent countries.
This trend had significance both in Africa and worldwide. Worldwide, the major significance of African independence was on the Cold War. The US and the USSR had to scramble to try to win the allegiance of the newly independent countries in Africa.
Although there were many other changes going on in the world in the 1960s, the decolonization of Africa was one of the most important.
The 1960’s was a time of immense change throughout the world. It was a time of revolution both personally and politically – it was a time of protest, demonstration, and tragedy. It was the time of hippies, psychedelic mood, free love, revolution and rebelling against the mainstream world. It was dominated by the Vietnam War, Cold War, Berlin Wall, Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights Act, race to the moon, the Six Day War.
The 1960’s saw great men such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King rise to prominence and be assassinated in the same decade along with the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. Extreme idealism also became prominent during the 1960’s with the German Baader-Meinhof group and the Italian Red Brigade, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution implemented by Mao Tse Tung. It was the time of the rise of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat.