Jan. 17 - The Brinks robbery in Boston occurs when eleven masked bandits steal $2.8 million from an armored car
outside their express office.
June 25 - The Korean War begins its three year conflict when troops of North Korea, backed with Soviet weaponry,
invade S. Korea. This act leads to U.S. involvement when 2 days later, the U.S. Air Force and Navy were ordered by
President Truman to the peninsula. On June 30, ground forces and air strikes are approved against N. Korea.
1950 - National Security Council Memo 68 (NSC-68)
June 27 – 35 military advisors are sent to S. Vietnam to give military & economic aid to the anti-Communist gov’t.
Nov. 26 - United Nations forces retreat south toward the 38th parallel when Chinese Communist forces open a
counteroffensive in the Korean War. This action halted any thought of a quick resolution to the conflict.
Dec. 8 - shipments to Communist China are banned by the United States.
1950 - For the first time since the 1920 census, the census indicated a pop. in the U.S. over 100 million people. The
15% increase since the last census showed a count of 106,021,537.
1950 - Senator Joseph McCarthy gains power, and McCarthyism (1950-1954) begins
1950 - McCarran Internal Security Act
Feb. 28 – Senate investigation report on organized crime issued, stating that gambling take was in excess of $20
billion per year.
March 29 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were found guilty of conspiracy of wartime espionage and sentenced to death.
They were executed June 19, 1953. Morton Sobell was also convicted of the crime & sentenced to 30 years in prison.
September 1 - The United States, Australia, and New Zealand sign a mutual security pact, the ANZUS Treaty.
September 4, 1951 - The inauguration of trans-continental television occurs.
1951 - first color TV transmissions
1951 - 1st credit card (Diners) introduced
1951 - 22nd Amendment
1951 - Mutual Security Act
1951 – Gen. Douglas MacArthur fired by Truman for comments about using nuclear weapons on China
April 8 – Pres. Truman authorizes the seizure of United States steel mills in order to avert a strike, but his action is
ruled illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 2.
Nov. 1, 1952 - At Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, the first hydrogen bomb, named Mike, is exploded. On Jan. 7,
President Harry S. Truman had announced the development of the H-Bomb.
Nov. – Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a newcomer to politics, but popular due to his role in winning World War II as
European commander, gains an easy victory over Democratic challenger Adlai E. Stevenson. The Electoral College
vote was 442 to 89.
1952 - First sex change operation (George Jorgenson)
African-American activist Malcolm X joins the "Nation of Islam", becoming the head of the New York City mosque
73% of world cars are produced in the USA
1952 - Immigration and Nationality Act (McCarran-Walter Act)
April 25 - The description of a double helix DNA molecule is published by British physicist Francis Crick and
American scientist James D. Watson. They, along with New Zealand born scientist Maurice Wilkins were awarded
the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery in 1962.
July 27 - Fighting ceased in the Korean War. North Korea, South Korea, the United States, and the Republic of China
sign an armistice agreement. Korea is permanently partitioned across the DMV 38th parallel
Aug. 19 - The United States CIA assists in the overthrow of the government in Iran. The Shah Mohammad Reza
Pahlavi with U.S. support is placed on the throne.
Oct. 30 - The Cold War continues in earnest when President Dwight D. Eisenhower approves a top secret document
stating that the U.S. nuclear arsenal must be expanded to combat the communist threat around the world.
Dec. 30 - The first color televisions go on sale.
1953 - Hugh Hefner starts the magazine "Playboy"
1953 - The first sperm-bank child is born
1953 – Ike’s domestic policy = “Dynamic Conservatism” takes effect
1953 – Dulles initiated new foreign policy = “Massive Retaliation” (“brinkmanship”)
1953 - Indian Reservation Termination Act passed
1953 - Rosenbergs executed
1953 – Stalin dies
1953 – Department of Health, Education and Welfare created
1953 – Earl Warren appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Feb. 23 - Jonas Salk develops polio vaccine; the first large scale vaccination of children against polio begins in
April 22 - Joseph McCarthy begins televised Senate hearings into alleged Communist influence in the United States
Army. Later this year, on December 2, the U.S. Congress votes to condemn Senator McCarthy for his conduct during
the Army investigation hearings.
May 17, 1954 – Brown v. Board of Education = Racial segregation in public schools is declared unconstitutional by the
United States Supreme. The ruling of the court stated that racial segregation violated the 14th Amendment's clause
that guaranteed equal protection. The Monroe School in Topeka, Kansas had segregated Linda Brown in its classes.
Sept. 8 - In Bangkok, Thailand, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) is formed by the U.S., Great Britain,
Australia, New Zealand, France, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand, creating a mutual defense pact.
Dec. 1954: The US Senate denounces Joseph McCarthy's "witch hunt
1954 - Ray Kroc founds the idea for the McDonald's corporation, agreeing to franchise the idea of Dick and Mac
McDonald, who had started the first McDonald's restaurant in 1940 and had eight restaurants by 1954. Kroc would
incorporate the entity on March 2, 1955 and open his first franchise on April 15 in Des Plaines, Illinois. He would buy
out the McDonald's brothers in 1961.
1954: the USA threatens to use nuclear weapons to stop Soviet aggression in Europe = “brinkmanship”
1954: mutual defense treaty between the USA and Taiwan signed
1954: first transistor radio
1954 - The CIA organizes the overthrow of Guatemala's democratically elected president Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán after
he began accepting arms from the U.S.S.R. (Operation PBSUCCESS)
1954 - Saint Lawrence Seaway Act
1954 - Baghdad Pact
1954 - Fall of Dien Bien Phu; End of French rule in Indochina
1954 - Geneva Conference (1954) = 17th parallel temporarily divides Vietnam
1954 – Ike gives the “Domino Theory” speech referring to Indochina
1954 – Taxes lowered for corporations & individuals with high incomes
1954 – Operation Wetback
1954 – Republicans lose both houses of Congress
Feb. 12 - The United States government agrees to train South Vietnamese troops. (military advisors)
May 31 - The Supreme Court of the U.S. orders that all public schools be integrated with all "deliberate speed."
July 17 - The brainchild of Walt Disney, Disneyland, opens in Anaheim, California, with the backing of the new
television network, ABC.
Dec. 1 - Rosa Parks, an African American seamstress, refuses to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, prompting
the boycott and NAACP protection that would lead to the declaration that bus segregation laws were unconstitutional
by a federal court.
Dec. 5 - The two largest American labor unions, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial
Organizations, merge to form the AFL-CIO, boasting membership of fifteen million.
1955: Rock and roll records climb the charts
1955: "The $64,000 Question" airs for the first time
1955: Jack Gleason's sitcom "Honeymooners" airs on tv
1955 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes new leader of U.S.S.R. - “peaceful coexistence”
1955 - Warsaw Pact
1955 – U.S.S.R. agrees to leave Austria
1955 – Khrushchev “we will bury you” economically; Ike relaxes tensions with U.S.S.R.
1955 – Quemoy & Matsu controlled by Chiang-Kai-Shek shelled by Communist China; Ike sends 7th Fleet to aid the
islands; “brinkmanship” causes Communist China to back down!
March 12 - One hundred and one congressmen from Southern states call for “massive resistance” to the Supreme
Court ruling on desegregation.
June 29 - Interstate highway system begins with the signing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act.
Sept. 25 - The first transatlantic telephone cable began operation.
Oct. 8- Dan Larsen pitches the first no-hitter, a perfect game, in post-season baseball history when his New York
Yankees best the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 5th game of the 1956 World Series.
Nov. 6 - A repeat challenge in the presidential election between Eisenhower and Stevenson gains a similar outcome,
with easy victory for the incumbent president by a 457 to 73 margin in the Electoral College vote.
1956: the first Japanese car is sold in the USA
1956: Malcolm X becomes the spokesman of the "Nation of Islam"
1956: Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" heralds the "beat generation"
1956: the U.S. explodes the first hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll
1956 - US refuses to support the Hungarian Revolution/ Uprising
1956 – France, Britain & Israel attack Egypt after Nasser seized & nationalized the Suez Canal
1956 – Ike forced a cease-fire in Egypt
1956 – Montgomery Bus boycott ends in victory for desegregation of buses
Jan. 21 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated for his second term in office.
Mar. 13 - The FBI arrest labor leader Jimmy Hoffa under bribery charges; Teamsters later ejected from the AFL-CIO.
April 29 - U.S. Congress approves the first civil rights bill since reconstruction with additional protection of voting
rights (Civil Rights Act of 1957)
Sept. 4 – Ark. National Guard called to duty by Ark. Gov. Orval Faubus to bar 9 black students from attending
previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. He withdrew the troops on September 21 and the
students were allowed entrance to class two days later. A threat of violence caused President Eisenhower to dispatch
federal troops to Little Rock on September 24 to enforce the edict.
Oct. 4 – Soviets launch Sputnik; "space race" begins
Dec. 6 - The first attempt by the United States to launch a satellite into space fails when it explodes on the launch pad.
1957 - Gordon Gould, an American physicist, invented the laser. It would take him until 1977 to win a protracted legal
battle over patent rights, and he did not start receiving royalties on his work until 1988. Gould was elected to the
National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1991.
1957: the Soviet Union launches the Sputnik, the first artificial satellite
1957: 4.5 million babies are born in the USA (the "baby boomers")
1957 – SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) created by MLK
1957 - Eisenhower Doctrine = Ike’s foreign policy announced
1957 - First nuclear power plant goes into service
Jan. 31 - Explorer I, the first U.S. space satellite, is launched by the Army at Cape Canaveral. It would discover the
Van Allen radiation belt.
Dec. 10 - Jet airline passenger service inaugurated in the United States by National Airlines with a flight between New
York City and Miami, Florida.
1958 - National Defense Education Act (NDEA) passed
1958 - NASA formed
1958 – U.S. launches satellite Explorer I into orbit
1958 - Khrushchev issues ultimatum on Berlin
1958 – Ike uses Eisenhower Doctrine in invasion of Lebanon
1958 - VP Nixon forced to call off an 8 nation good-will tour of Latin America after hostile mobs in Venezuela & Peru
1958 - The integrated circuit created
1958: Frisbee is invented
1958: American civilian jet service begins with a Pan Am flight from New York to Paris
1958: Jim Backus (at IBM) invents the FORTRAN programming language, the first machine-independent language
1958: the Boeing 707
1958: the USA's gross national product is 50% of the world's national product
1958: RCA introduces the first stereo long-playing records
Jan. 1 - Cuban Revolution – Castro comes to power 1/1/1959
Jan. 3 - Alaska is admitted to the United States as the 49th state to be followed on August 21 by Hawaii.
Jan. – Southern states end “Massive Resistance”
Feb. 22 - The Daytona 500 stock car race is run for the first time with Lee Petty taking the first checkered flag.
April 9 - NASA selects the first 7 military pilots to become the Mercury Seven = 1st astronauts of the US. Mercury 7 =
John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepherd, and Deke Slayton.
April 25, 1959- The St. Lawrence Seaway is opened along the Canada and United States borders, allowing increased
ship traffic between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.
June 9 - The first U.S. Polaris nuclear missile-capable submarine enters into service.
Sept. 26 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower hosts Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev at his farm in Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania during the first visit of any Soviet Union leader to the United States.
Oct. 1959 – planning for Bay of Pigs Invasion began
Oct. 31 - The U.S. deploys the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Atlas D
1959 - The first commercial Xerox machine is released
1959 - Mattel introduces the doll "Barbie"
1959 – Castro meets with VP Nixon; Castro nationalizes American-owned property in Cuba
1959 – “Kitchen Debates” & Khrushchev extends Berlin ultimatum indefinitely
1959 - Landrum-Griffin Act
1959 – highest peacetime deficit in U.S. History
1959 - Annual family income in U.S. reaches $5000.
Feb. - Greensboro Sit-in
Feb.-June – Castro signs numerous pacts w/ U.S.S.R. to receive military economic aid
April - SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee created
May 1 – U2 spy plane shot down over U.S.S.R. while photographing ICBM sites; Paris Summit cancelled
May 6 – Civil Rights Act of 1960 passed
June - Eisenhower reduced Cuba's sugar import quota by 7,000,000 tons, and in response, Cuba nationalized some
$850 million worth of U.S. property and businesses.
June –CIA talks w/ mafia to order a “hit” on Castro
Congress gives $500 million in aid to Latin America (Latin American “Marshall Plan”)
June 1960 – The FDA approves “the Pill” (oral contraceptives were not available to married women in all states
until Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 and were not available to unmarried women in all states until Eisenstadt v.
Baird in 1972.)
1960 – SDS (Student Democratic Society) formed
1960 - Almost 60% of American families owned their own homes; by the end of the fifties most American households
owned their own car and washing machine.
1960 -Approximately 90% of Americans owned at least one television set.
Jan. 3 - President Dwight Eisenhower broke off ties with Cuba, saying that Fidel Castro had provoked him once too
1961 – U.S. broke off diplomatic relations w/ Cuba
1961- Eisenhower’s “Farewell Address”
April - U.S. government unsuccessfully attempted to depose Castro from power by supporting an armed force of
Cuban exiles to retake the island. This attempt is known as the Bay of Pigs invasion.