Beginning Year:       Ending Year:      
1945
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
The Arab League is founded in Cairo by Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
Government
United Nations: The United Nations opens in San Francisco. Senate ratifies UN Charter by a vote of 89 to 2.
Government
The Medal of Freedom is established. It is awarded to civilians for meritorious acts or service.
Government
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) is inaugurated as President for a fourth term; Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) is inaugurated as the nation's 34th Vice President.
Government
Vice President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) becomes the nation's 33rd President upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945). No new Vice President is selected.
War
World War II: The Russians liberate the Auschwitz concentration camp, where the Nazis killed over 1.5 million people, including over 1 million Jews.
War
World War II: U. S. Marines raise the American flag on Iwo Jima.
War
World War II. The United States drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan; the rationale is that it will shorten the war and save thousands of American and Japanese lives. Several days after the bombing, Japan surrenders, bringing World War II to an end.
War
World War II: The Yalta Agreement is signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965), and Soviet leader Josef Stalin (1879-1953).
War
World War II: World War II ends; cold war begins; Soviet Union becomes prime adversary of U.S; President Truman (1884-1972) pressured to take a hard-line on Communists, foreign and domestic.
Medicine
Woodward determines the chemical structure of penicillin by using a spectroscope.
Medicine
Spies proves that folic acid (a B-vitamin) is necessary for proper development of red blood cells.
Technology
Railroad History: The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, uses the first railroad car with an observation dome. The dome is 19.5 feet long and extends the full width of the railroad car.
Technology
Weather radar is developed.
Education
Children's Books: E.B. White (1899-1985) publishes the children’s classic Stuart Little.
Arts and Letters
Drama: Sartre (1905-1980) writes the play "No Exit."
Roosevelt, Eleanor
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd president of the United States, dies of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Economics
FCC sets aside 13 channels for commercial broadcasting.
Daily Life
Rationing of shoes, butter, and tires ends.
Daily Life
Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), Italian dictator and ally of Nazi Germany, is executed.
Daily Life
German dictator Adolph Hitler (1889-1945), and his newly married mistress, Eva Braun (1912-1945), commit suicide in his Berlin bunker.
Daily Life
Anne Frank (1929-1945), the Dutch Jewish teenager who kept a diary of her wartime experiences, dies at 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.
Popular Culture
Popular radio shows include: "The Red Skeleton Show," "The Green Hornet," "Superman," "Inner Sanctum," "The Fred Allen Show," "One Man’s Family," and "Queen for a Day."
Popular Culture
Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) organizes an orchestra featuring the “bop” style of jazz.
Religion
Italian writer Carlo Levi (1902-1975) causes a sensation with his novel "Christ Stopped at Eboli."
Social Issues
Immigration: The War Bride Act and the G.I. Fiancées Act allows immigration of foreign-born wives, fiancé(e)s, husbands, and children of U.S. armed forces personnel.
Reform
Women''s Suffrage Movement: Women win the vote in France.
1946
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Chief Justices: President Harry S. Truman nominates Fred M. Vinson as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the Senate confirms his nomination and he serves for seven years until his death in 1953.
Politics
McCarthy Era: November 1946 -- Joseph R. McCarthy (1908-1957)is first elected Senator from Wisconsin, defeating progressive titan Robert Lafollette (1855-1925). Richard Nixon (1913-1994) is elected Congressmen from Whittier, CA. The Democrats lose 12 Senate seats and 55 House seats.
Government
League of Nations: (April 18) The League transfers all its assets to the United Nations. Contract signed by W. Moderow, representative of the League, and Sean Lester, the last Secretary-General of the League of Nations.
Government
United Nations: The first General Assembly of the United Nations convenes in London.
Government
Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) is elected president of North Viet Nam.
Government
The United Nations accepts an $8.5 million donation from John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) to purchases the site for the new UN headquarters in New York City.
War
Cold War: Churchill (1874-1965) delivers a speech in Fulton, Missouri, warning about Soviet expansion and coining the phrase the “Iron Curtain.” This marks the beginning of the “Cold War.”
War
The Army and Navy are permitted to manufacture atomic weapons.
War
Chinese Communists tell the U.S. to stop supplying arms to the Nationalist Chinese Party. The U.S. gives up trying to mediate the civil war in China.
Science
Carbon-12, and isotope is discovered.
Science
The Atomic Energy Commission is established.
Inventions
Printed circuits are developed.
Technology
Computer Technology: A computer begins working at the University of Pennsylvania, taking seconds to do calculations that normally take hours. It is named ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985) publishes "This Side of Innocence."
Arts and Letters
Architecture: The “ranch-type” home becomes popular; many find the low-slung, single story homes very appealing.
Ideas
Lemaitre (1894-1966) publishes "Hypothesis of the Primeval Atom."
Nixon, Pat
Tricia Nixon Cox (1946- ), daughter of Richard and Patricia Nixon, is born February 21.
Bush, Barbara
George Walker Bush (1946- ), son of George and Barbara Bush, is born July 6.
Discovery
Byrd (1888-1957) leads an expedition to the North Pole.
Daily Life
Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995) of the U.S.S.R. is considered the world’s finest chess player.
Daily Life
The government lifts most price and wage controls. U.S.
Daily Life
Disasters: An Army plane crashes into the Manhattan Company in New York City; 5 people are killed.
Sports
Women’s Firsts: Women in Sports: Edith Houghton becomes the first woman hired as a major-league baseball scout.
Popular Culture
Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) directs the film Notorious.
Popular Culture
Irving Berlin (1888-1989) writes the score for the Broadway musical, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Religion
Mother Frances X. Cabrini (1850-1917) is canonized; she is the first U.S. citizen to become a saint in the Catholic Church.
Religion
Women’s Firsts: Mother Maria Frances Cabrini (1850-1917) is canonized by Pope Pius XII. She is the first U.S. citizen (she was born in Italy) to become a saint.
Reform
Women''s Suffrage Movement: Women win the vote in Italy.
Reform
The strike by the United Mine Workers begins. President Truman seizes the mines after employers reject the government’s negotiated contract.
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1947
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Education: The Supreme Court upholds a state law permitting pupils attending parochial schools to ride on public school buses. This is the first of many cases on the separation of church and state in relation to schools.
Law
The Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is passed by Congress.
Government
McCarthy Era: Senator McCarthy (1908-1957) is assigned to the Government Operations Committee in Senate; Congressman Nixon is appointed to the House Un-American Activities Committee. Mr. Nixon is first lawyer on The Committee and is noteworthy for raising the level of "respectability" of the Committee's proceedings.
Government
McCarthy Era: Criticized for loose scrutiny of federal employees, President Truman (1884-1972) initiates a loyalty program for civil servants -- the Federal Loyalty Board Program.
Government
Congress approves economic and military assistance for Greece and Turkey.
Government
Congress enacts the Labor Management Relations Act (Taft-Hartley Labor Act) over President Truman’s veto. It limits the power of labor unions and puts restrictions on strikes, closed shop, and political activities.
Government
President Truman (1884-1972) states the principle of Soviet Containment (Truman Doctrine).
Government
Britain nationalizes coalmines, cable and radio communications, and the electrical supply industry.
Government
The Secretary of State proposes the European Recovery Program (The Marshall Plan) to give economic aid to certain war-torn European nations.
War
World War II: U.S. ratifies peace treaties with Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Rumania.
War
The National Security Act unifies all branches of the armed services into a new Department of Defense.
Science
Willard Frank Libby (1908-1980) develops radio-carbon dating (carbon-14) and uses this method to determine the age of several ancient artifacts.
Medicine
Heparin is synthesized.
Medicine
Bovet discovers synthetic drugs that produce a non-poisonous, curare-like effect.
Technology
Edwin Land (1906-1991) introduces the Polaroid camera for instant photographs.
Technology
Howard Aiken (1900-1973) produces an improved electromechanical calculator, the Mark II.
Technology
Personal Computers: Three scientists at Bell Telephone Laboratories, William Shockley (1910-1989), Walter Brattain (1902-1987), and John Bardeen (1908-1991) demonstrate their new invention of the point-contact transistor amplifier. The name transistor is short for "transfer resistance.”
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The principal approach to production (a theatricalized realism compounded of acting, which emphasized intense psychological truth, and of visual elements, which eliminated nonessentials but retained realistic outlines) is popularized. The method is made most renown by Elia Kazan (1909-2003) and Jo Mielziner (1901-1976) in the 1947 production of "Streetcar Named Desire" and the 1949 production of "Death of a Salesman."
Arts and Letters
Drama: Arthur Miller (1915-2005) publishes "All My Sons."
Arts and Letters
Drama: Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) publishes the Pulitzer Prize winning work, "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Arts and Letters
Literature: James Michener (1907-1997) publishes "Tales of the South Pacific," the basis for the Broadway show "South Pacific."
Johnson, Lady Bird
Luci Baines Johnson Turpin (1947- ), daughter of Lyndon and Claudia Johnson, is born July 2.
Carter, Rosalynn
John William “Jack” Carter (1947- ), son of James “Jimmy” and Rosalynn Carter, is born July 3.
Daily Life
Congressional proceedings are televised for the first time.
Daily Life
The wartime draft ends.
Daily Life
Transportation: The first supersonic jet flight takes place.
Daily Life
Fashion: With wartime shortages over, Christian Dior introduces "The New Look" in women's fashions, featuring calf-lenth full skirts and large hats.
Sports
Black Athletes: Baseball: Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first black baseball player in the major leagues, makes his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and scores the game-winning run.
Sports
John Cobb (1899-1952) establishes a world ground speed record of 394.196 mph.
Popular Culture
Reports of “flying saucers” receive widespread publicity.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: In the Fay v. New York case, the U.S. Supreme Court says women are equally qualified with men to serve on juries but are granted an exemption and may serve or not as women choose.
1948
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Education: The Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools violates the Constitution.
Politics
McCarthy Era: 1948 -- HUAC gets Whitaker Chambers to implicate Alger Hiss as a spy. Nixon destroys Hiss's reputation in the press, reveals "Pumpkin Papers" in conference.
Politics
Democratic President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) is re-elected as President of the U.S. and Alben W. Barkley (1877-1956) is elected as the nation's 35th Vice President.
Politics
Southern Democrats bolt the Democratic Party in opposition to the civil rights platform.
Politics
Communists take control of the government in Czechoslovakia.
Government
President Harry Truman (1884-1972) signs the Marshall Plan, a major policy and financial commitment to aid in the recovery of Europe after World War II.
Government
The U.S. recognizes the new state of Israel.
Government
Burma (now called Myanmar) and Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka) gain their independence from Great Britain.
War
Cold War: Communist Party leaders in the U.S. are indicted and charged with instigating the overthrow of the U.S. government.
Science
Lovell determines that meteors are natural phenomenon of the solar system.
Science
Oak Ridge National Laboratory begins to develop peaceful uses for atomic energy.
Medicine
The U.S. Public Health Service devises a simple test for diabetes mellitus.
Medicine
Yale University scientists develop a nylon respirator to replace the iron lung.
Medicine
The World Health Organization (WHO) is organized. They first meet in Geneva, Switzerland.
Education
Public Education: The Educational Testing Service is formed, merging the College Entrance Examination Board, the Cooperative Test Service, the Graduate Records Office, the National Committee on Teachers Examinations and others, with huge grants from the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations. These testing services continued the work of eugenicists like Carl Brigham (originator of the SAT) who did research "proving" that immigrants were feeble-minded.
Arts and Letters
Literature: William Faulkner (1897-1962) publishes "Intruder in the Dust."
Nixon, Pat
Julie Nixon Eisenhower (1948 - ), daughter of Richard and Patricia Nixon, is born July 5.
Daily Life
Women''s Firsts: The first female Army officer is sworn in.
Daily Life
Crayola: To help art teachers learn about the many ways to use the growing number of Crayola products, a teacher workshop program begins to offer in-school training across the country. It continues today.
Sports
Women in Sports: Black Athletes: The first woman to win an olympic gold medal is Alice Coachman (1923-…), who wins in the high jump.
Sports
Women in Sports: The Roller Derby is broadcast live on television from New York City with women skaters.
Sports
Baseball: Stan Musial (1920-) of the St. Louis Cardinals wins the Most Valuable Player Award for the third time.
Popular Culture
The first motion-picture newsreel in color is taken in Pasadena, California at the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl.
Popular Culture
Miles Davis (1926-1991) leads a nine piece combo that pioneers “cool” jazz.
Social Issues
Native Americans: Native Americans win the right to vote in state elections.
Social Issues
Immigration: The Supreme Court rules that California’s Alien Land Laws prohibiting the ownership of agricultural property violates the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
Social Issues
Immigration: The United States admits persons fleeing persecution in their native lands; allowing 205,000 refugees to enter within two years.
Reform
Women''s Suffrage Movement: Women win the vote in Belgium.
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1949
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
President Truman (1884-1972) outlines his “Point Four” proposal for U.S. technical aid to underdevelopedcountries.
Government
President Truman (1884-1972) proposes a program of domestic litigation called the “Fair Deal.”
Government
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreement is signed.
Government
The country of Siam changes its name to Thailand.
Government
The German Federal Republic is established.
Government
Democratic President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) is inaugurated as President of the U.S. and Alben W. Barkley (1877-1956) is inaugurated as the nation's 35th Vice President.
War
Cold War: Soviets explode Hydrogen Bomb. Mainland China becomes Communist.
Medicine
First implant of intraocular lens used by Sir Harold Ridley (1906- 2001).
Medicine
The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute warn that cigarette smoking may cause cancer.
Medicine
Commercial production of ACTH begins. It is used to treat arthritis, rheumatic fever, and gout.
Medicine
Waksman (1888-1973) prepares neomycin, an antibiotic.
Medicine
Epidemic: 2,720 deaths occur from polio, and 42,173 cases are reported.
Inventions
The Atomic Energy Commission designs a breeder reactor that produces power by nuclear fusion, creating more fuel than it uses.
Technology
Computer Technology: Eckert (1919-1995) and Mauchly (1907-1980) build BINAC (Binary Automatic Computer), the first computer with self-checking devices.
Technology
The National Bureau of Standards builds an atomic clock that is accurate to within 1 second over the course of 3 million years.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: There are only 150 legitimate professional theatres serving the entire U.S.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: 70 TV stations are serving 2 million receivers in urban areas; this is same number as those attending the remaining theatres.
Ideas
Orwell (1903-1950) foresees a grim future in his satirical masterpiece "1984," a novel that introduces the “Big Brother” concept of totalitarian government.
Ideas
Maria Geoppert-Mayer (1906-1972) develops a nuclear shell theory.
Bush, Barbara
Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush (1949-1953), daughter of George and Barbara Bush, is born December 20.
Daily Life
Transportation: The first non-stop around the world flight (23,452 miles) is completed by Captain James Gallagher in 94 hours, 1 minute.
Daily Life
Fashion: Bathing suits called “bikinis” are introduced to the American fashion scene.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Ole Christiansen, a Danish toy maker, begins to manufacture toy blocks with a new twist. Christiansen creates a plastic brick that can be locked together in different configurations. The Lego, which comes from the Danish leg godt, meaning "play well," was born. The continuing popularity of the Lego brick probably stems from its ability to stimulate a child''s imagination-just six bricks fit together in 102,981,500 different ways.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Eleanor Abbott designs Candy Land while recovering from polio in San Diego, California.
Sports
U.S. wins unofficial championship of the 14th Olympic games in London with a team score of 547 points.
Popular Culture
The first Emmy Awards are presented for excellence in television.
Popular Culture
The movie "Hamlet," starring Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), becomes the first British film to win an Oscar.
1950
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Three years after gaining its independence from Great Britain, India formally becomes a republic.
Government
Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) claims he has evidence that there are card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the State Department.
War
Cold War: The Soviet Union announces its possession of the atomic bomb.
War
Korean War: President Truman (1884-1972) authorizes the use of U.S. forces in Korea, following the invasion of South Korea by North Korean troops. A naval blockade of Korea is ordered.
Science
President Truman (1884-1972) authorizes the Atomic Energy Commission to produce the hydrogen bomb (H-bomb).
Science
Congress establishes the National Science Foundation.
Medicine
Although Americans spend more than $100 million annually on antihistamines, research shows that the drugs neither prevent nor cure the common cold, but merely relieve some symptoms.
Medicine
Nobel Prize for the Physiology of Medicine goes to Phillip Hench (1896-1965) (American), Edward Kendall (1886-1972) (American), and T. Reichstein (1897-1996) (Swiss) for the discovery of cortisone and its medical uses.
Inventions
The History of Toys: Silly putty is invented.
Technology
The longest vehicular tunnel, the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel in New York City, opens to traffic.
Education
Libraries: First drive-through windows are established for book returns at Cincinnati's Public Library.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: Children’s Theatres, College and University Theatres, Community Theatres, and Off-Broadway theatres experience some growth.
Truman, Bess
Assassination: Two Puerto Rican nationalists make unsuccessful attempts to kill President Truman (1884-1972).
Ford, Betty
Michael Gerald Ford (1950- ), son of Gerald and Betty Ford, is born March 14.
Carter, Rosalynn
James Earl “Chip” Carter III (1950-), son of James “Jimmy” and Rosalynn Carter, is born April 12.
Economics
U.S. bars trade shipments to Communist China.
Economics
The Ford Thunderbird is introduced.
Discovery
Archaeological discoveries in La Jolla, California, indicate that North America has been inhabited for at least 40,000 years.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: The FBI releases its “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list for the first time.
Sports
Richard Button (1929-), age 19, world figure skating champion is selected as top U.S. amateur athlete.
Sports
Women in Sports: Black Athletes: Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American— male or female—to play in a major United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) event.
Popular Culture
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) writes the holiday song “Sleigh Ride.”
Popular Culture
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) writes the score to "Peter Pan," which stars Mary Martin (1913-1990) in the title role.
Religion
The National Council of the Churches of Christ is formed; it unites 25 Protestant and 4 Eastern Orthodox groups. Membership is 32 million.
Religion
Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) proclaims the first Roman Catholic dogma since 1870-that the Virgin Mary, after her death, was assumed into Heaven physically and spiritually.
Social Issues
Immigration: Bureau of Indian Affairs terminates federal services for Native Americans in lieu of state supervision.
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1951
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting presidents to two terms, is ratified by two-thirds of the states and added to the Constitution.
Law
The Supreme Court upholds the Smith Act, under which eleven Communists in the U.S. are convicted.
Politics
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) again becomes the British Prime Minister.
Government
The United Nations headquarters opens in New York City.
Government
The Mutual Security Agency is set up to offer U.S. economic, military, and technical aid to other countries.
Government
A Selective Service Bill lowers draft age to 18.5 and lengthens military service to two years.
War
Korean War: During the Korean War, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces captured the city of Seoul.
War
Korean War: President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) fires General Douglas McArthur.
War
World War II: President Truman (1884-1972) declares that state of war with Germany is officially ended; the U.S.-Japanese treaty allows the U.S. to maintain military bases in Japan.
War
Korean War: North Korean and Communist Chinese forces captured the city of Seoul.
Science
The National Geographic Society estimates that there are 300 million stars in the Milky Way.
Medicine
Woodard synthesizes two steroids: cortisone and cholesterol.
Medicine
Fluoridated water is shown to reduce tooth decay by 2/3.
Medicine
Reuben L. Kahn (1887-1874) develops a “universal reaction” blood test for the early detection of several diseases.
Medicine
Antabuse, a drug that prevents alcoholics from drinking, is introduced.
Inventions
A video camera is developed that records both pictures and sound on magnetic tape.
Technology
The United States Air Force starts atomic testing in the Nevada desert.
Technology
Computer Technology: UNIVAC I is the first mass-produced computer.
Technology
An additional 70 broadcast frequencies are made available for TV in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) range.
Arts and Letters
Literature: J.D. Salinger (1919- ) publishes "The Catcher in the Rye."
Ideas
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) publishes "The Sea Around Us," which in effect launches the ecological movement.
Economics
The employment of women reaches the highest point-even more than during WWII.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Julius (1918-1951) and Ethel (1915-1951) Rosenberg are found guilty of passing atomic secrets to the Russians and are sentenced to death as spies.
Sports
Horse Racing: The first horse to win $1 million dollars is “Citation.” Winning total $1,085,760.
Sports
Boxing: The world heavyweight championship is won by Jersey Joe Walcott when he knocks out Ezzard Charles. At 37, Walcott is the oldest man to win the title.
Popular Culture
The first commercial color telecast is presented by the Columbia Broadcasting Company (CBS) in New York City.
Popular Culture
Rodgers (1902-1979) and Hammerstein II (1895-1960) write the score for the King and I.
1952
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) is elected the 34th President of the U.S. and Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) is elected the 36th Vice President on the Republican ticket. Eisenhower is the first Republican President since Hoover’s election in 1928. Republicans gain control of Congress.
Government
England’s Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
Government
Immigration: Congress passes the McCarran-Walter Act (Immigration and Nationality Act) over President Truman’s (1884-1972) veto. It abolishes race as a barrier to immigration but retains the national origins quota system.
Government
Immigration: The Immigration and Nationality Act allows individuals of all races to be eligible for naturalization. The act also reaffirms national origins quota system, limits immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere while leaving the Western Hemisphere unrestricted, establishes preferences for skilled workers and relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens; and tightens security and screening standards and procedures.
Government
Native Americans: The Bureau of Indian Affairs begins selling 1.6 million acres of Native American land to developers.
Government
Puerto Rico's constitution is proclaimed, establishing a commonwealth with autonomy in internal affairs.
War
Prime Minister Churchill (1874-1965) announces that Great Britain has made an atomic bomb.
Science
Edward Teller (1908-2003) successfully tests a hydrogen bomb, the world’s finest nuclear weapon.
Medicine
Research shows that the genetic material of viruses is DNA.
Medicine
Floyd Lewis uses hypothermia (lowing a patients body temperature) in open heart surgery.
Medicine
Vaccines: Jonas Salk (1914- 1995) develops the first polio vaccine.
Medicine
Epidemic: In the worst polio epidemic since 1916, polio takes 3,300 lives out of 57,628 cases reported.
Inventions
The History of Toys: Jack Odell invents the original Matchbox car when he makes a small brass model of a Road Roller and puts it into a matchbox so that his daughter could bring it to school. Today, 100 million Matchbox cars are sold each year.
Technology
More than 2000 new television broadcasting stations open; about 65 million people watch the presidential nomination conventions.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) writes "Wise Blood," a novel about a religious fanatic.
Arts and Letters
Hemingway (1899-1961) publishes "The Old Man and the Sea."
Ford, Betty
John “Jack” Gardner Ford (1952- ), son of Gerald and Betty Ford, is born March 16.
Carter, Rosalynn
Donnell Jeffrey “Jeff” Carter (1952- ), son of James “Jimmy” and Rosalynn Carter, is born August 18.
Reagan, Nancy
Patricia “Patti Davis” Ann Reagan (1952- ), daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, is born October 22.
Economics
A complaint is filed against IBM, alleging monopolistic practices in its computer business, in violation of the Sherman Act.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Banking on the idea that children like to play with their food, Hasbro introduces Mr. Potato Head.
Sports
Racecar driver John Cobb is killed while attempting to set the water speed-record in Scotland.
Sports
The NFL buys the New York Yankees.
Popular Culture
Panty raids take place on college campuses throughout the country.
Popular Culture
Hollywood develops three-dimensional movies. Natural Vision (3-D) films must be viewed through special glasses; after brief success, the novelty wears off.
Religion
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible for Protestants is publishes; it is edited by 32 scholars who have been at work since 1937.
Reform
Peace Corps: Since the end of the Second World War, various members of the United States Congress have proposed bills to establish volunteer organizations in the Third World. In 1952 Senator Brien McMahon (1903-1952) (Dem. Connecticut) proposed an "army" of young Americans to act as "missionaries of democracy". Privately funded non-religious organizations have been sending volunteers overseas since the 1950s.
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1953
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Chief Justices: President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominates Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the Senate confirms his nomination in 1954 and he serves for fifteen years until his retirement in 1969.
Politics
President Eisenhower (1890-1969) gets increasing pressure to take on McCarthy (1908-1957) from friends and advisors. Business leaders recognize that McCarthy is a danger to the party.
Government
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) is inaugurated as the 34th President of the U.S. and Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) is inaugurated as the 36th Vice President.
Government
Immigration: Congress amends the 1948 refugee policy to allow for the admission of 200,000 more refugees.
Government
A new Cabinet-level Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is created.
Government
Native Americans: Congress proposes giving individual Indians the same civil status as U.S. citizens, thus ending all limitations on Indian tribes.
Government
Tito (1892-1980) is elected the first president of the Republic of Yugoslavia.
Government
Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961) of Sweden becomes the Secretary General of the United Nations.
War
U.S blockade of Formosa is lifted, permitting attacks by Nationalists on China’s mainland.
War
Cold War: President Eisenhower (1890-1969) announces that the U.S. will not physically interfere in the affairs of countries behind the Iron Curtain.
War
Cold War: The U.S. Communist Party is ordered to register with the Department of Justice as an organization controlled and directed by the U.S.S.R.
War
Cold War: A federal jury in New York City convicts 13 Communists of conspiring to teach about how to overthrow the U.S. government.
Science
Francis H. Crick (1916-2004) and James Dewey Watson (1928- ) discover the structure of a DNA molecule; they call it the double helix.
Inventions
Transistorized hearing aids are introduced.
Technology
Harry Truman (1884-1972) announces that the U.S. has developed the hydrogen bomb.
Technology
A way of transmitting color TV signals that can be received by both color and black and white set is introduced.
Arts and Letters
Drama: Arthur Miller (1915-1005) publishes "The Crucible."
Arts and Letters
Literature: Richard Wright (1908-1961) publishes "The Outsider."
Bush, Barbara
John Ellis “Jeb” Bush (1953- ), son of George and Barbara Bush, is born February 11.
Bush, Barbara
Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush (1949-1953), daughter of George and Barbara Bush, dies October 11 of leukemia.
Economics
Motor Company: Ford Motor Company celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Discovery
Women’s Firsts: Jerrie Cobb (1931- …) is the first woman in the U.S. to undergo astronaut testing. NASA, however, cancels the women''s program in 1963. It is not until 1983 that an American woman gets sent into space.
Daily Life
Fashion: Fashion designers become interested in men’s clothes. Bermuda shorts for the businessman are promoted and worn during the summer months.
Sports
Baseball: The New York Yankees defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 50th annual World Series. The Yankees are the first team to win 5 consecutive series titles.
Sports
Golf: Golfer Ben Hogan (1912-1997) wins the Masters Tournament and the U.S. and British Open championships.
Sports
Maureen Connolly (1934-1969), age 19, is the first woman to win a “grand slam” in tennis.
Sports
Black Athletes: Football: Willie Thrower (1930-2002) becomes NFL''s first African-American quarterback.
Popular Culture
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) (1911-1989) gives birth to baby Ricky on the TV show, "I Love Lucy." More people turned in to watch the show than did to see the inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969).
Popular Culture
The first three-D movie, "Bwana Devil," opens in New York.
Popular Culture
The Academy Awards are televised for the first time.
1954
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Education: The Supreme Court rules in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that “separate but equal” educational facilities are unconstitutional.
Government
The Senate censures Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) with a vote of 67-22, with 7 abstentions.
Government
U.S. signs pact with Nationalist China (now Taiwan).
Government
The Communist Control Act deprives U.S. Communists of rights enjoyed by other U.S. citizens.
War
America’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, is launched.
War
Senate approves U.S. South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty.
Medicine
The American Cancer Society reports higher death rates among cigarette smokers.
Inventions
Kurchatov (1903-1960) develops an icebreaker powered by nuclear energy.
Technology
U.S. and Canada announce the construction of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line of radar stations across northern North America.
Technology
Battery Technology: RCA develops a flashlight-sized atomic battery.
Technology
The U.S. authorizes construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway in cooperation with Canada.
Education
Public Education: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The Supreme Court unanimously agrees that segregated schools are "inherently unequal" and must be abolished. Almost 45 years later in 1998, schools, especially in the north, are as segregated as ever.
Arts and Letters
Literature: J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973) publishes the epic fantasy trilogy "Lord of the Rings."
Arts and Letters
Literature: William Golding (1911-1993) publishes "Lord of the Flies."
Arts and Letters
Literature: Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) publishes "Lucky Jim."
Economics
The Atomic Energy Act allows for the development of peaceful atomic energy project by private companies, which are also allowed to own nuclear materials.
Discovery
Plant fossils are discovered in the Great Lakes.
Discovery
Temple of Mithras (Roman god, 3rd century B.C) is discovered during rebuilding in London.
Daily Life
26 comic book publishers adopt a voluntary code to eliminate obscene, vulgar, and horror comics.
Daily Life
The average American’s favorite meal is a fruit cup, vegetable soup, steak and potatoes, peas, rolls and butter, and pie a la mode.
Sports
Baseball: Hank Aaron (1934- ) hits the first of his 755 home runs.
Sports
Horse Racing: Gordon Richards (1904-1986) is the first professional jockey to be knighted.
Sports
British runner Diane Leather (1933-) is the first woman to run the mile in under 5 minutes.
Popular Culture
The first Newport Jazz festival takes place.
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