The ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech was made by British Member of Parliament Enoch Powell on 20 April 1968, to a meeting of the Conservative Political Centre in Birmingham, United Kingdom. His speech strongly criticised mass immigration, especially Commonwealth immigration to the United Kingdom and the proposed Race Relations Bill. It became known as the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, although Powell always referred to it as ‘the Birmingham speech’. The expression “rivers of blood” did not appear in the speech but is an allusion to a line from Virgil’s Aeneid which he quoted: “as I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.” The speech caused a political storm, making Powell one of the most talked about and divisive politicians in the country, and leading to his controversial dismissal from the Shadow Cabinet by Conservative Party leader Edward Heath. According to most accounts, the popularity of Powell’s perspective on immigration may have played a decisive factor in the Conservatives’ surprise victory in the 1970 general election, and he became one of the most persistent rebels opposing the subsequent Heath government.
The ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, 20th of April 1968
On June 5, 1968, 42-year-old presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was mortally wounded shortly after midnight PDT at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He had just won the California presidential primaries in the 1968 election. After winning the California and South Dakota primary elections for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, […]Read More
The 1968 Olympics Human Rights Salute was a political demonstration conducted by African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony on October 16, 1968, at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. After Smith and Carlos won gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200-meter running event, they […]Read More
The Prague Spring of 1968 is the term used for the brief period of time when the government of Czechoslovakia led by Alexander Dubček seemingly wanted to democratise the nation and lessen the stranglehold Moscow had on the nation’s affairs. The Prague Spring ended with a Soviet invasion, the removal of Alexander Dubček as party […]Read More