Home Decades 1950s 1950

1950

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 of United Nations in row over China.

12 – Death penalty is reintroduced in USSR.

18 – Seven people die in Australia in a cyclone stretching from Queensland to Sydney.

19 – Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung recognises the North Vietnamese regime of Ho Chi Minh.

21 – British author George Orwell (born Eric Blair in 1903) dies.

21 – The Israeli Knesset passes a resolution making Jerusalem the capital city of the new state of Israel.

21 – Alger Hiss found guilty of two counts of perjury for having initially denied giving State Department papers to Communists in 1938.

21 – US scientists at Berkeley announce the discovery of Berkelium, the 93rd element.

24 – American Joey Maxim knocks out Britain’s Freddie Mills for the world light-heavyweight boxing title.

26 – India is proclaimed a republic. Rajendra Prasad is sworn in as the first president.

27 – Eight nations sign the NATO defence plan in Washington, USA.

29 – 1,500 are reported dead in three earthquakes in Iran.

29 – Birth of South African motor racing champion Jody Scheckter.

29 – Racial policy causes riots in Johannesburg, South Africa.

31 – President Truman instructs US scientists to make H-bomb. Many take this as a sign that the US is losing the arms race.

31 – Soviet leader Stalin recognises Ho Chi Minh‘s regime in North Vietnam. France protests.

FEBRUARY

01 – The USSR calls for Japanese Emperor Hirohito to be tried as a war criminal.

03 – Top nuclear scientist Dr Klaus Fuchs is charged with giving Russian agents secret information about building atomic bombs. If convicted, he faces up to 14 years in prison.

04 – The 4th Empire Games begin, in Auckland (New Zealand), with 12 nations taking part.

04 – The final death toll from the HMS Truculent disaster last month is 64.

07 – Vietnam effectively becomes two separate nations when Britain and the US recognise Emperor Bao Dai as its ruler, only a week after Russia and her allies officially endorsed the rival regime under Ho Chi Minh.

08 – The French National Assembly approves a bill to legalise strikes and reintroduce collective bargaining.

08 – Petrol rationing ends in Australia.

09 – A court martial finds the commander of the HMS Truculent guilty of hazarding the ship and sentences him to a severe reprimand.

09 – Senator Joseph McCarthy shot to national prominence in the US for the first time today when he launched a crusade against alleged Communist infiltration of Federal Government. “I have here in my hand a list of 205 members of the Communist Party still working and shaping the policy of the State Department,” he told a meeting of the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club. McCarthy offered no proof and refused to reveal any of the names on the list.

10 – American swimmer Mark Spitz born in Modesto, California.

10 – In London, Dr Klaus Fuchs claims he quit as a Soviet agent a year ago. The former scientist at the Harwell weapons research centre in Berkshire is convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

11 – New York Academy of Science announces there is no cure for baldness.

12 – Physicist Albert Einstein warns the world that nuclear war could end in mutual destruction.

12 – The Empire Games end in Auckland (NZ) with Australia topping the medal table with 34 wins. Britain comes second with 19 wins, and New Zealand third.

13 – A record 1,866 candidates are set to stand in the upcoming British general election.

14 – USSR and China sign 30-year pact in Moscow.

14 – Three townships around Johannesburg, South Africa, are the scene of racial violence between blacks and police.

17 – British businessman Edgar Sanders and American Robert Vogeler go on trial in Budapest for spying.

18 – Actress Cybill Shepherd is born in Tennessee.

20 – USA severs relations with Bulgaria.

21 – Sanders and Vogeler are jailed for 13 years in Budapest.

22 – British actress Julie Walters (Educating Rita) is born.

23 – Election returns are televised in Britain for the first time.

23 – Labour wins the British general election with a majority of only five seats.

24 – Eugene Karp (US naval attaché in Rumania and a friend of Robert Vogeler) is murdered on the Orient Express in Austria.

26 – Scottish comedian Sir Harry Lauder dies (b. 1884). Lauder was the most famous Scotsman of his age, being paid £2,500 a week at his peak.

28 – Attlee forms new Labour government in Britain.

28 – The French Assembly pass a bill curbing the sale of Coca-Cola.

MARCH

01 – Chiang Kai-shek becomes president in Formosa.

02 – American vocalist Karen Carpenter is born.

02 – Lou Reed is born.

03 – The US House of Representatives votes to admit Alaska as the 49th American state.

03 – Saar autonomy guaranteed by France.

08 – British car manufacturer Rover produces the first gas-turbine car.

08 – The USSR claim to possess the atomic bomb.

08 – The RAF retires the last Lancaster bomber.

12 – 80 people die when a charter Tudor V aircraft crashes near Cardiff, Wales. The aircraft is carrying rugby fans home from the Wales v Ireland international. The death toll is higher than any previous civil aircraft disaster in the world. A report in November blames overloading of the aircraft.

12 – German author Heinrich Mann dies (born 27/03/1871).

18 – British athlete Roger Bannister runs the mile in a record four minutes 1.48 seconds.

19 – Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs (b. 01/09/1875) dies.

20 – Carl Palmer (ELP and Asia) is born

21 – A study shows that only 46% of all British households have a bathroom.

25 – In the UK, ‘Freebooter’ wins the Grand National.

26 – People’s Front Party led by Tito wins 93.2% of vote in Yugoslavia.

30 – French statesman Leon Blum (b. 09/04/1872) dies.

APRIL

01 – Italy takes over Somaliland trusteeship from Britain.

01 – The UN adopts a plan to divide Jerusalem.

03 – German composer Kurt Weill (b. 02/03/1900) dies.

04 – £80,000 worth of smuggled nylon stockings are seized at Liverpool docks in the UK.

04 – British government reveals plans for the UK’s sixth atomic centre at Aldermaston in Berkshire.

05 – Police clash with more than 3,000 Communist demonstrators in Paris.

05 – Agnetha Fältskog (ABBA) is born

08 – Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (b. 12/03/1890) dies.

08 – Pact of Minorities signed at Delhi by India and Pakistan.

11 – The USSR claims to have shot down a US bomber over Soviet-occupied Latvia.

12 – David Cassidy is born.

18 – In London, the Budget puts another 9d on petrol tax, taking the price of a gallon to around three shillings.

21 – The USSR refuses to apologise to the USA for shooting down an American plane.

23 – In China, Chiang orders the evacuation of the island of Hainan, the last Nationalist territory outside Formosa (Taiwan).

24 – King Abdullah of Jordan annexes Arab Palestine to create an expanded Kingdom of Jordan. Although widely expected, his move is greeted with fury by the other Arab states. Britain endorses the annexation.

25 – First fashion display by Christian Dior in London.

27 – Britain officially recognises the state of Israel.

27 – South Africa passes the Group Areas Act which formally segregates people by race.

27 – Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies introduces a bill to ban the Communist Party and seize its assets.

29 – Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 in the FA Cup Final at Wembley (England).

30 – Atomic Energy Commission in Britain confiscate 30,000 copies of Scientific American magazine reported to contain information on how to make an H-bomb.

30 – Five million Americans march in anti-Communist ‘Loyalty Day’ parades across the USA.

MAY

01 – A new Chinese law bans polygamy, infanticide and the marriage of children.

01 – The musical South Pacific wins the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for best original American play.

02 – Italian wartime army chief Rodolfo Graziani is jailed for collaboration with Germany.

03 – The new 36,800 ton HMS Ark Royal is launched in Birkenhead, England.

07 – 81 people die in a rail crash at Patna, India. Sabotage is suspected.

08 – French military intelligence says Ho Chi Minh has made a secret military pact with Mao Tse-Tung.

12 – Czechoslovakia renounces its 1947 cultural agreement with Britain.

13 – The first Formula 1 motor race is held at Silverstone race track in England.

13 – American singer/musician Stevie Wonder is born Steveland Morris.

18 – 12 NATO Foreign Ministers adopt a six-point plan to strengthen ties between their nations.

22 – Mao Tse-Tung offers Tibet autonomy if it joins China.

23 – The BBC agrees to televise 100 sporting events a year.

24 – British commander Field Marshall Lord Archibald Wavell dies (b. 05/05/1883).

25 – French troops are attacked by Viet Minh in Dong Khe, Vietnam.

26 – Petrol rationing ends in Great Britain after 10 years.

27 – ‘Galcador’ wins the Derby in England.

30 – Yugoslavia and Albania sever relations.

JUNE

01 – Petrol rationing ends in New Zealand.

03 – In Nepal, a French expedition reaches the top of Annapurna.

08 – BBC radio serial The Archers is first broadcast.

14 – In South Africa, Field Marshall Jan Smuts resigns as leader of the United Party due to ill health.

15 – West Germany admitted to Council of Europe.

16 – Butter rationing ends in Australia.

17 – The first kidney transplant takes place in the USA.

18 – Egypt signs a security pact with Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

20 – Singer Judy Garland, who has been suffering from deep depression, attempts suicide by cutting her throat with a piece of glass. Her family race to her aid and she is reported to be out of danger.

22 – Penal codes based on the USSR are introduced in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

25 – The Communist People’s Republic of North Korea invades the Republic of South Korea at dawn, starting the Korean War.

26 – US President Truman dispatches US troops to support South Korea.

27 – The United Nations (UN) Security Council votes to support the US action against North Korea.

28 – In Formosa, the Nationalists stop air and naval attacks on mainland China, as requested by the US.

29 – Stalin turns down a request from the US to use Soviet influence to halt the North Korean invasion.

30 – Theology departments in Hungarian universities are closed by the government.

JULY

01 – US ground troops land in Korea.

01 – Ford launches its Zephyr and Consul ranges in Britain.

05 – US troops fight their first major engagement in Korea when 40 Communist tanks overrun their forward positions south of Suwon.

07 – Bobby Locke wins his second British Open Golf Championship in a row with a record aggregate of 279.

08 – General Douglas Macarthur is appointed Commander of UN forces in Korea.

10 – Soap rationing ends in Britain.

10 – Frank Sinatra makes his London debut to an ovation at the London Palladium.

11 – UK children’s television programme Andy Pandy first transmitted by BBC.

15 – Winston Churchill warns of a third World War.

16 – Uruguay beats Brazil in Rio to win the World Cup.

18 – Britain bans the sale of oil to China.

22 – After six years in exile, King Leopold III returns to throne in Belgium.

22 – Death of ex-Canadian PM William Mackenzie King.

23 – Riots against King Leopold in streets of Brussels.

26 – Britain decides to send troops to Korea. Australian and New Zealand ground troops will also be sent.

29 – In Auckland (NZ) the All Blacks defeat the British Lions to take the series 3-0 with one test drawn.

31 – MacArthur arrives in Formosa for talks with Chiang Kai-shek on his possible role in the Korean conflict.

31 – J Sainsbury’s first self-service store opens in Croydon, London.

AUGUST

01 – King Leopold III of Belgium abdicates in favour of son Baudouin.

01 – Australian Prime Minister Menzies commits 3,000 Aussie troops to fight in Korea.

05 – American swimmer Florence Chadwick swims across the English Channel in 13 hours and 23 minutes, breaking the woman’s record.

07 – The US launches its biggest attack on the North Koreans so far, at Chinju.

08 – American Florence Chadwick swims the English Channel in a record 13 hours and 20 minutes.

12 – A division of North Korean troops crosses the Naktong River in a fresh assault on Taegu.

15 – Princess Elizabeth gives birth to her second child, a daughter – Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise.

15 – An earthquake in Assam, India, causes flooding that leaves 5 million homeless.

16 – Birth of Australian cricketer Jeff Thompson.

17 – Konrad Adenauer calls for the establishment of a West German Army.

21 – Althea Gibson becomes the first Negro tennis player accepted for the US titles.

25 – Mao Tse-Tung asks the UN to order the US Navy to quit the waters around Formosa.

26 – Sedgman, McGregor and Bromwich win back the Davis Cup for Australia, defeating the US 4-1.

27 – Britain wins eight gold medals in the European Games.

27 – The BBC transmit TV pictures live across the Channel from France. The two-hour program is hosted by Richard Dimbleby and Alan Adair.

29 – British troops arrive in Korea to assist United Nations.

31 – Truman says the US Navy will leave Formosan waters when the Korean War is settled.

SEPTEMBER

01 – The North Koreans launch an offensive on UN troops along a 50-mile front and advance across the Naktong River.

03 – A typhoon sweeps Hokkaido (Japan) leaving 250 reported dead and 300,00 injured.

04 – The US says it downed a Soviet bomber “threatening” US ships off Korea.

06 – The USSR vetoes a UN Security Council motion condemning North Korea.

07 – All religious orders are dissolved in Hungary.

08 – 268 foreign Communists are deported from France.

08 – In Melbourne, Australia, radio announcer John Bryan Kerr is found guilty of the murder of 20-year-old Beth Williams at his third trial and sentenced to death.

11 – South African commander, statesman and philosopher Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts (b. 24/05/1870) dies.

11 – 115 trapped miners are saved from a pit at Knockshinnoch in Ayrshire. 13 are still missing.

11 – Birth of Barry Sheene, motorcycling champion.

15 – UN forces gain the upper hand in Korea with an amphibious assault at Inchon, on the west coast. The landings -codenamed “Operation Chromite” – take the North Koreans completely by surprise.

18 – The Viet Minh occupy Dong Khe in Vietnam.

21 – Chinese forces occupy Tibet.

22 – The Allies capture Suwon, south of Seoul.

23 – US Congress passes the McCarran Internal Security Act, which enables the Subversive Activities Control Board to register members of groups that the Attorney General has determined to be fronts for Communism. The Act also includes a provision for establishing “emergency” concentration camps for Communists.

25 – UN forces recapture Seoul.

26 – NATO adopts the idea of an integrated European defence force, including West Germany.

26 – A blue moon is visible from South East England.

28 – South Korean President Syngman Rhee returns to Seoul.

28 – A huge underground fire kills 80 miners at Cresswell Colliery in Derbyshire (England).

28 – China says they will intervene if North Korea is invaded.

29 – UN troops in Korea reach the 38th Parallel.

OCTOBER

01 – UN forces cross the 38th parallel into North Korea.

01 – Diners’ Club introduces the first credit card (in New York City). The card gives credit at 27 restaurants.

02 – Legal Aid becomes effective in Britain.

02 – Charles M Schultz’s comic strip Peanuts first appears in seven US newspapers.

06 – The world’s longest pipeline is completed in Lebanon, running 1,068 miles from US oil fields in the Gulf to Sidon.

07 – 30,000 Chinese troops enter Tibet with little opposition.

10 – French troops are overwhelmed by the Viet Minh at Kaobang, Vietnam.

16 – The French abandon 250 miles of the Chinese frontier zone to the Viet Minh.

17 – 28 people die when a BEA DC-3 Dakota crashes at Mill Hill, North London.

17 – The Chinese take Chamdo, opening the route to Central Tibet.

19 – UN forces capture the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

19 – Gaitskell becomes Chancellor of the Exchequer in Britain.

21 – Chinese forces occupy Tibet.

23 – US singer and actor Al Jolson (born Asa Yoelson on 28/05/1883) dies in San Francisco.

26 – The King opens the restored House of Commons, destroyed in an air raid in 1941.

27 – In Korea, Australian troops win the Battle of Broken Bridge.

29 – Swedish King Gustav V dies (b. 16/06/1858).

31 – 28 die when a BEA Viking crashes in fog at Heathrow Airport, London.

31 – Accused of “libidinous relations” with a 17-year-old girl, actor Errol Flynn is acquitted by a Monaco court.

NOVEMBER

01 – US President Truman survives an assassination attempt at Blair House in Washington DC by two Puerto Rican nationalists. White House Police officer Leslie Coffelt is killed in the fracas.

01 – Trygve Lie is elected to serve a second term as UN Secretary General.

02 – Irish author, playwright and politician George Bernard Shaw dies at his home in Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, aged 94. (b. 26/07/1856).

04 – In Washington, President Truman attends the funeral of Leslie Coffelt – the guard killed in the attempt on his life.

06 – MacArthur reports that Chinese forces have attacked UN forces near the Manchurian border.

07 – A US F86 shoots down a MIG 15 over Korea in the first ever combat between jet fighters.

09 – ICI announces it will build a new factory at Redcar in Yorkshire (England) to produce a new fabric called “terylene”.

14 – 58 die when a Canadian plane crashes in the French Alps.

14 – Jack Gardner beats Bruce Woodcock to become British and Empire heavyweight boxing champion.

16 – King Farouk of Egypt demands the “total and immediate” evacuation of British troops from the Suez Canal Zone.

17 – The United Nations grants independence to Libya.

20 – American troops reach the Chinese border.

21 – The Australian government announces the reintroduction of military conscription for all 18-year-olds.

22 – 75 die when two trains collide on Long Island, New York.

22 – Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian rebels meet for the first time in Indochina.

24 – UN forces launch an offensive in the Yalu valley provoking China to reinforce the North Koreans. Together they drive UN forces southwards.

29 – The Chinese throw 850,000 “volunteers” into the Korean conflict. General Douglas MacArthur describes it as “an entirely new war”.

DECEMBER

01 – The death penalty, abolished in 1941, is reintroduced in New Zealand for convictions of murder.

05 – UN troops withdraw from North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

09 – Rock musician Joan Armatrading is born.

10 – New Zealand military ‘Kayforce’ sails for service in Korea.

11 – 18 people are killed in riots in Singapore as Muslim protestors demonstrate against the British colonial government. The unrest lasts for two days.

12 – Paula Ackerman is the first woman to perform the duties of a Rabbi in the USA.

13 – Marshall Aid to Britain ceases.

16 – President Truman declares a national state of emergency as UN forces suffer further setbacks in Korea.

18 – In Melbourne (Australia), John Bryan Kerr’s death sentence is commuted to 20 years jail.

19 – Eisenhower is appointed head of NATO forces.

23 – Pope Pius XII announces St Peter’s tomb has been discovered under the Vatican.

25 – The Dalai Lama flees Tibet.

25 – The Coronation Stone (also called the ‘Stone of Destiny’ and ‘Stone of Scone’) is removed from beneath the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey by Scottish Nationalists.

27 – US and Spain resume diplomatic relations.

27 – Death of German painter Max Beckmann.

28 – 38th Parallel crossed by Chinese Army.

28 – The Peak District is designated as the first National Park in Britain.

QUOTE OF THE YEAR

“Well, I’m certainly not the son of Clement Attlee”.
War correspondent Randolph Churchill when asked in Korea if he was the son of Winston Churchill.

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