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AmericaHistory1950s

By Stanley Robertson,2014-06-03 03:47
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AmericaHistory1950s

1950s

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    "'50s" redirects here. For decades comprising years 5059 of other centuries, see List of decades.

    See also: United States in the 1950s

    Clockwise, from left: United Nations soldiers during the Korean War, which was the first UN authorized conflict; Two atomic explosions from the

    RDS-37 and Upshot-Knothole (Soviet and American, respectively) nuclear weapons, symbolizing the escalation of Cold War tensions between the two nations in the 1950s; Israeli troops prepare to fight the Egyptians during the Suez Crisis of 1956; A replica of Sputnik I, the world's first satellite, launched by the Soviet Union in 1957; Fidel Castro leads the Cuban Revolution in 1959; North Sea flood of 1953

    Millennium: 2nd millennium

    Centuries: 19th century 20th century 21st century

    Decades: 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s

    Years: 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959

    Categories: Births Deaths Architecture

    Establishments Disestablishments

    The 1950s or The Fifties was the decade that began on January 1, 1950 and ended on December 31, 1959. The decade was the sixth decade of the 20th century. By its end, the world had largely recovered from World War II and the Cold War developed from its modest beginning in the late 1940s to a hot competition between the United States and the Soviet Union by the beginning of the 1960s.

    Clashes between communism and capitalism dominated the decade, especially

    in the Northern Hemisphere. The conflicts included the Korean War in the

    beginnings of the decade and the beginning of the Space Race with the

    launch of Sputnik I. Along with increased testing of nuclear weapons (such as RDS-37 and Upshot-Knothole), this created a politically conservative climate. In the United States, the Red Scare (fear of communism) caused

    public Congressional hearings by both houses in Congress and

    anti-communism was the prevailing sentiment in the United States throughout the decade (this is what primarily led the country to intervene in the Korean War and later the Vietnam War). The beginning of

    decolonization in Africa and Asia occurred in this decade and accelerated in the following decade, the 1960s.

    Contents

     [hide]

    ; 1 Wars and conflicts

    o 1.1 Internal conflicts

    o 1.2 Decolonization and Independence

    o 1.3 Prominent political events

    ; 2 International issues

    o 2.1 Africa

    o 2.2 Americas

    o 2.3 Asia

    o 2.4 Europe

    ; 3 Disasters

    ; 4 Economics

    ; 5 Science and technology

    o 5.1 Technology

    o 5.2 Science

    ; 6 Popular culture

    o 6.1 Music

    o 6.2 Film

    o 6.3 Art movements

    o 6.4 Sports

    ; 6.4.1 Olympics

    ; 6.4.2 FIFA World Cups

    ; 7 People

    o 7.1 World leaders

    o 7.2 Entertainers

    o 7.3 Musicians

    o 7.4 Bands

    o 7.5 Sports figures ; 8 See also

    o 8.1 Timeline ; 9 References

    ; 10 Further reading

    o 10.1 United States ; 11 External links

    [edit] Wars and conflicts

Korean War

Israeli troops preparing for combat in the Sinai peninsula during the Suez

    Crisis.

    ; Cold War conflicts involving the influence of the rival superpowers

    of the Soviet Union and the United States:

    o Korean War (19501953) The war, which lasted from June

    25, 1950 until the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement on

    July 27, 1953, started as a civil war between North Korea and the

    Republic of Korea (South Korea). When it began, North and South

    Korea existed as provisional governments competing for control

    over the Korean peninsula, due to the division of Korea by outside

    powers. While originally a civil war, it quickly escalated into

    a war between the western powers under the United Nations Command

    led by the United States and its allies and the communist powers

    of the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. On September

    15, General Douglas MacArthur conducted Operation Chromite, an

    amphibious landing at the city of Inchon (Song Do port). The North

    Korean army collapsed, and within a few days, MacArthur's army

    retook Seoul (South Korea's capital). He then pushed north,

    capturing Pyongyang in October. Chinese intervention the following

    month drove UN forces south again. MacArthur then planned for a

    -scale invasion of China, but this was against the wishes of full

    President Truman and others who wanted a limited war. He was

    dismissed and replaced by General Matthew Ridgeway. The war then

    became a bloody stalemate for the next two and a half years while

    peace negotiations dragged on. The war left 33,742 American

    soldiers dead, 92,134 wounded, and 80,000 Missing in action (MIA)

    or Prisoner of war (POW). Estimates place Korean and Chinese

    casualties at 1,000,0001,400,000 dead or wounded, and 140,000

    MIA or POW.

    o The Vietnam War began in 1959. Diem instituted a policy of

    death penalty against any communist activity in 1956. The Vietcong

    began an assassination campaign in early 1957. An article by French

    Bernard Fall published in July 1958 concluded that a new scholar

    war had begun. The first official large unit military action was

    on September 26, 1959, when the Vietcong ambushed two ARVN [1]companies.

    ; ArabIsraeli conflict (Early 20th century-present)

    o Suez Crisis (1956) The Suez Crisis was a war fought on

    Egyptian territory in 1956. Following the nationalisation of the

    Suez Canal in 1956 by Gamal Abdel Nasser, the United Kingdom, France

    and Israel subsequently invaded. The operation was a military

    success, but after the United States and Soviet Union united in

    opposition to the invasion, the invaders were forced to withdraw.

    This was seen as a major humiliation, especially for the two Western

    European countries, and symbolizes the beginning of the end of

    colonialism and the weakening of European global importance,

    specifically the collapse of the British Empire.

    ; Algerian War (19541962) An important decolonization war, it

    was a complex conflict characterized by guerrilla warfare, maquis

    fighting, terrorism against civilians, use of torture on both sides and counter-terrorism operations by the French Army. The war

    eventually led to the independence of Algeria from France.

    [edit] Internal conflicts

Fidel Castro becomes the leader of Cuba as a result of the Cuban Revolution

    ; Cuban Revolution (19531959) The 1959 overthrow of Fulgencio

    Batista by Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and other forces resulted in the

    creation of the first communist government in the western hemisphere. ; The Mau Mau began retaliating against the British in Kenya. This

    led to concentration camps in Kenya, the retreat of the British, and

    the election of Jomo Kenyatta as leader of Kenya.

    ; The wind of destruction began in Rwanda in 1959, following the

    beating up of Hutu politician Dominique Mbonyumutwa by Tutsi forces.

    This was the beginning of decades of ethnic violence in the country,

    which culminated in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

    [edit] Decolonization and Independence

    ; Decolonization of former European Colonial empires. The French

    Fourth Republic in particular faced conflict on two fronts within the

    French Union, the Algerian War and the First Indo-China War. The

    Federation of Malaya peacefully gained independence from the United

    Kingdom in 1957. French rule ended in Algeria in 1958, Vietnam left

    French Indo-china in 1954. The rival states of North Vietnam and South

    Vietnam were formed. Cambodia and the Kingdom of Laos also gained

    independence, effectively ending French presence in Southeast Asia.

    Elsewhere the Belgian Congo and other African nations gained their

    independence from France, Belgium and the United Kingdom. ; Large-scale decolonization in Africa first began in the 1950s. In

    1951, Libya became the first African country to gain independence in

    the decade, and in 1954 the Algerian War began. 1956 saw Sudan, Morocco,

    and Tunisia become independent, and the next year Ghana became the

    first sub-saharan African nation to gain independence.

    [edit] Prominent political events

    This section requires expansion.

    ; European Common Market The European Communities (or Common

    Markets), the precursor of the European Union, was established with

    the Treaty of Rome in 1957.

    ; On November 1, 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalists staged an

    attempted assassination on U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The leader

    of the team Griselio Torresola had fire arm experience and Oscar

    Collazo was his accomplice. They made their assault at the Blair House

    where President Truman and his family were staying. Torresola mortally

    wounded a White House policeman, Leslie Coffelt, who shot Torresola

    dead before expiring himself. Collazo, as a co-conspirator in a felony

    that turned into a homicide, was found guilty of murder and was

    sentenced to death in 1952 but then his sentence was later commuted

    to life in prison..

    [edit] International issues

    ; Establishment of the Non-aligned Movement, consisting of nations

    not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. [edit] Africa

    ; Africa experienced the beginning of large-scale top-down economic

    interventions in the 1950s that failed to cause improvement and led

    to charitable exhaustion by the West as the century went on. The

    widespread corruption was not dealt with and war, disease, and famine

    continued to be constant problems in the region.

    ; Egyptian general Gamel Abdel Nasser overthrew the Egyptian monarchy,

    establishing himself as President of Egypt. Nasser became an

    influential leader in the Middle East in the 1950s, leading Arab states

    into war with Israel, becoming a major leader of the Non-Aligned

    Movement and promoting pan-Arab unification.

    [edit] Americas

    ; In the 1950s Latin America was the center of covert and overt

    conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. Their varying

    collusion with national, populist, and elitist interests destabilized

    the region. The United States CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the

    Guatemalan government in 1954. In 1958 the military dictatorship of

    Venezuela was overthrown. This continued a pattern of regional

    revolution and warfare making extensive use of ground forces.

    ; In 1957, Dr. François Duvalier came to power in an election in Haiti.

    He later declared himself president for life, and ruled until his death

    in 1971.

    ; In 1959 Fidel Castro overthrew the regime of Fulgencio Batista in

    Cuba, establishing a communist government in the country. Although

    Castro initially sought aid from the US, he was rebuffed and later

    turned to the Soviet Union.

    ; NORAD signed in 1959 by Canada and the United States creating a

    unified North American aerial defense system.

    ; Brasília was built in 41 months, from 1956, and on April 21, 1960,

    became the capital of Brazil

The maximum territorial extent of countries in the world under Soviet

    influence, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and before the official

    Sino-Soviet split of 1961

    [edit] Asia

    ; Reconstruction continued in Japan in the 1950s, funded by the United

    States, which ended its occupation of the country in 1951. Social

    changes took place, including democratic elections and universal

    suffrage.

    ; Within a year of its establishment, the People's Republic of China

    had invaded Tibet and intervened in the Korean War, causing years of

    hostility and estrangement from the United States. The Chinese allied

    with the Soviet Union, which then provided considerable technical and

    economic aid. Although relations between the two communist giants

    remained friendly throughout the 1950s, cracks were forming in their

    alliance by the end of the decade. The Great Leap Forward in 19581960

    was an attempt by Mao Zedong to rush the country's economic development

    with the creation of huge rural communes. It failed ignominiously, and

    combined with a series of natural disasters triggered an enormous

    famine in which several million people died.

    ; In 1953 the French colonial rulers of Indochina tried to contain

    a growing communist insurgency against their rule led by Ho Chi Minh.

    After their defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 they were forced to cede

    independence to the nations of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The Geneva

    Conference of 1954 separated French supporters and communist

    nationalists for the purposes of the ceasefire, and mandated

    nationwide elections by 1956; Ngo Dinh Diem established a government

    in the south and refused to hold elections. Conflict then resumed

    between the communist north and American-supported south . [edit] Europe

    With the help of the Marshall Plan, post-war reconstruction succeeded,

    with some countries (including West Germany) preferring free market capitalism while others preferred Keynesian-policy welfare states. Europe continued to be divided into Western and Soviet bloc countries.

    The geographical point of this division came to be called the Iron Curtain.

    It divided Germany into East and West Germany. In 1955 West Germany joined NATO.

    The Soviet Union continued its domination of eastern Europe. In 1953 Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, died. This led to the rise of Nikita Khrushchev, who denounced Stalin and pursued a more liberal domestic and foreign policy, stressing peaceful competition with the West rather than overt hostility. There were anti-Soviet uprisings in East Germany and Poland in 1953.

    [edit] Disasters

    This section requires expansion.

North Sea flood of 1953

; On 15 August 1950 an earthquake and floods in Assam, India killed

    574 and leave 5,000,000 homeless.

    ; Mount Lamington erupted in Papua New Guinea on 18 January 1951,

    killing 3,000 people.

    ; On 31 January 1953 the North Sea flood of 1953 killed 1,835 people

    in the southwestern Netherlands (especially Zeeland) and 307 in the [2]United Kingdom

    ; On 9 September 1954 an earthquake centered on the city of

    Orléansville, Algeria killed 1,500 and left thousands homeless.

    ; On 11 October 1954 Hurricane Hazel crossed over Haiti, killing

    1,000.

    ; On 19 August 1955 Hurricane Diane hit the northeastern United States,

    killing over 200 people, and causing over $1.0 billion in damage. ; On 27 June 1957 Hurricane Audrey demolished Cameron, Louisiana, US,

    killing 400 people.

    ; Typhoon Vera hit central Honshū on 26 September 1959, killing an

    estimated 5,098, injuring another 38,921, and leaving 1,533,000

    Nagoya area. homeless. Most of the damage was centered in the

    ; On 2 December 1959, Malpasset Dam in southern France collapsed and

    water flowed over the town of Frejus, killing 412.

    [edit] Economics

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    [edit] Science and technology

    [edit] Technology

    There were some new technologies in the fifties, including television. In 1950, Paper Mate made its first leak free ball point pen. The first copy machine was made in the same year. The Chevrolet Corvette becomes the first car to have an all-fiberglass body in 1953. In 1954 Bell Telephone labs produced the first solar battery. In 1954 you could get a yard of contact paper for only 59 cents. Polypropylene was invented in 1954. In 1955 Jonas Salk invented a polio vaccine which was given to more than seven million American students. In 1956 a solar powered wrist watch was invented. A surprise came in 1957; a 184-pound (83 kg) satellite was launched by the Soviets. They named it Sputnik 1. The space race begins

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