January 01 - Radio Beijing announces that Tibet will shortly be "liberated". 03 - Wafd Party wins Egyptian elections. 04 - Britain asks the US for a stockpile of atomic bombs. 05 - President Truman rules out military aid to the Nationalist Chinese. 06 - Britain formally recognises Maoist China. 10 - Russia walks out(...)


January 01 - Chinese and North Korean forces advance across the 38th Parallel and through UN lines. 01 - Bill Byford (Saxon) born. 04 - Seoul is captured by Communist troops. 09 - The UN retreat in Korea continues as Wonju falls to the Chinese and North Koreans. 09 - The United Nations new headquarters(...)


January 05 - Winston Churchill arrives in Washington for talks with Truman. 07 - General Dwight D Eisenhower says he will run for US President. 12 - The prototype Vickers Valiant, Britain's only long-range jet for carrying the atomic bomb, crashes. 13 - The Iranian government orders British Consulates to close. 16 - The Australian government agrees to allow the Anglo-Iranian Oil(...)


January 01 - The Maldive Islands become a republic. 01 - Arthur 'Bomber' Harris is knighted in the New Year Honours list. 01 - Hank Williams dies 02 - The RAFs first supersonic fighters, 400 US-designed Sabres, arrive at RAF Abingdon. 03 - Winston Churchill visits President Eisenhower. 10 - Pat Benatar born 14 -(...)


January 01 - Flashing indicator lights become legal on motor vehicles in Britain. 11 - A BOAC Comet jet airliner falls into the Mediterranean with the loss of 35 lives. 14 - Marilyn Monroe marries ex-baseballer Joe DiMaggio. 21 - First US nuclear submarine - USS Nautilus - is launched. 24 - New coalition in(...)


January 01 - The US gives $216 million in aid to South Vietnam. 02 - President Jose Remon is assassinated in Panama. 06 - Comic actor (Blackadder and Mr Bean) Rowan Atkinson is born. 12 - US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles outlines the government's new "massive retaliation" nuclear policy, which calls for "a great(...)


January 01 - Sudan becomes an independent Republic. 03 - USSR gives technical aid to China. 03 - Movie star Mel Gibson is born in New York. 05 - Prince Rainier III of Monaco announces his engagement to actress Grace Kelly. 12 - More British troops arrive in Cyprus. 13 - Anti-US rioters burn down(...)


January 01 - Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler) born. 04 - A London man upset with the shape of his nose is jailed for ten years for threatening a plastic surgeon with a gun. 07 - Chinese Premier Chou En-lai visits the USSR. 09 - Sir Anthony Eden resigns as British Prime Minister on grounds of(...)


January 01 - Albanian fighters shoot down a British freight plane that allegedly strayed into Albanian airspace. 01 - The European Economic Community (the "common market") comes into being. The UK is not included. 01 - West German forces join NATO. 01 - A BOAC Britannia sets a world record airline flight of 7 hours(...)


January 01 - The dictator of Cuba, Fulgencio Batista, is overthrown by Fidel Castro's guerrillas and flees to the Dominican Republic. 02 - Fidel Castro proclaims a new government in Cuba. 02 - The USSR launches lunar rocket Luna 1 in an attempt to reach the Moon. The projectile misses and goes into orbit around(...)

The 1950s

The Second World War was over. In Britain, the National Health Service was newly created (1948) and the coal industry and the railways were nationalised. Advances in medicine, extensive immunisation programmes and improvements in housing and hygiene put a spring in everyone's step, and by 1957, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan could truthfully say "most(...)