Suez Canel and Yugoslovia
Merton makes a couple of journal notes in reference to world events:
"There is a firing at Suez and Tito says there will be a Third World War if the Russians try to take over Yugoslovia, etc., etc. Everyone has long ceased to listen to any of it."
At the time Egypt, the PLO, and Israel were engaged in a limited "War of Attrition" along the Suez Canal. Just one of the many "hot-spots" of the day. In Eastern Europe things had been pretty tense since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. NATO was becoming increasingly concerned that Soviet "interventions" in Romania and Yugoslovia were imminent (Tito was probably right about the likely consequences!). Fortunately for all these further "interventions" did not take place.
"The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less." Vaclav Havel
Czechoslovakia - 1968