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 - Marshal Tito is elected first President of the Yugoslav republic.
16 - Egypt dissolves all political parties.
20 - Dwight D Eisenhower is inaugurated as US President.
31 - A tidal surge floods large parts of the Netherlands, killing 2,000 people.
31 - Irish car ferry Princess Victoria sinks with the loss of 128 lives.


03 - Hurricanes and flooding bring disaster to Britain's East Coast with a death toll of nearly 300 people.
05 - Rationing of sweets ends in Britain.
05 - Walt Disney's animated film Peter Pan is released.
10 - General Neguib takes dictatorial powers in Egypt.
12 - Agreement on Sudan reached by Britain and Egypt.
12 - USSR breaks off relations with Israel.
23 - British WWII deserters are granted amnesty.
28 - Scientists Francis Crick and James Watson announce that they have discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.


01 - Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia sign a friendship treaty.
05 - Josef Stalin dies of a stroke at the age of 73.
05 - Death of Russian composer Prokofiev.
06 - Malenkov succeeds Stalin as Chairman of the Council of Ministers in the USSR.
19 - First coast-to-coast televised "Oscars" coverage in the US. The ceremony runs too long and is cut off by NBC before it has ended,
20 - Nikita Khrushchev becomes Secretary of the USSR Communist Party.
23 - Death of French artist Raoul Dufy.
23 - The low-cost disposable Bic ballpoint pen is launched in France. Developed by Baron Bich, the pen costs 50 centimes.
24 - In Britain, Queen Mary dies.
26 - Salk vaccine is successful in tests against Polio in the US.
28 - Death of US athlete Jim Thorpe.
31 - John Christie is arrested and charged for murdering his wife following one of London's biggest manhunts.


06 - German Chancellor Adenauer visits New York.
07 - Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden is elected Secretary General of the UN
08 - An underground train crashes in UK killing 8 people.
08 - In Kenya Jomo Kenyatta and five others are convicted of being involved with the terrorist organisation Mau Mau.
15 - John Christie is charged with the murder of three more women in London. Murders for which a man has already been hanged.
16 - The royal yacht Britannia is launched in Britain.
17 - Charlie Chaplin surrenders his re-entry permit to the US under threat of proceedings due to alleged Communist links. He refuses to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee and instead relocates to Switzerland.
20 - Allied and Communist sick and wounded POW's are swapped in Korea.


02 - Blackpool beats Bolton in the 'Stanley Matthews' Cup Final.
04 - Duke of Edinburgh receives his pilot's wings.
04 - Ernest Hemingway wins a Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea and Picnic.
12 - General Gruenther is made Supreme Commander in Europe.
18 - Jacqueline Cochrane becomes the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound while piloting a North American F-86 Sabre in the USA.
29 - Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Norkey Tenzing conquer Mount Everest.


01 - Gordon Richards is the first British jockey to be knighted.
02 - Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey.
04 - The largest atomic explosion yet is detonated in Nevada, USA.
06 - Gordon Richards wins the Derby after 28 attempts.
07 - Edmund Hillary and Colonel John Hunt are knighted.
07 - The Christian Democrats win a majority in the Italian general election.
17 - Riots take place in East Berlin against the Communist government. The Soviet Union send troops in to put down the uprising.
18 - 18-month-old King Faud is deposed and Egypt becomes a republic with General Neguib as president.
20 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in the USA for conspiring to pass atomic secrets to Russia in World War II.


04 - International Confederation of Free Trade Unions meets.
04 - There are riots in Poland as coal miners go on strike.
05 - Hungarian Ministry formed by new PM Imre Nagy.
12 - Martial law is lifted in East Berlin.
15 - British murderer John Christie is hanged.
15 - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe, premieres in New York.
20 - USSR and Israel restore diplomatic relations.
26 - Fidel Castro leads a failed attack on Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba.
27 - An armistice is signed at Panmunjom, ending the Korean War.


08 - The Soviet Union announces that it has developed a hydrogen bomb.
18 - The Kinsey Report is published in the US. It is the most extensive report on sexual habits ever written.
20 - In Morocco the Sultan is deposed by France.
20 - Iranian Prime Minister Dr Mussadiq is arrested.
21 - Lobotomy is banned in the USSR.
29 - The USSR explodes their first hydrogen bomb.
30 - Yugoslavia and Hungary resume relations.


06 - Christian Democrats win election in West Germany.
12 - Nikita Khrushchev becomes first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist party in the USSR.
12 - John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island.



09 - Welsh poet Dylan Thomas dies in a New York hotel, aged 39.
09 - Death of Saudi Arabian King Abd el-Aziz III Ibn Saud.
09 - Cambodia wins independence from France.
12 - 'Samaritans' helpline is founded by Reverend Chad Varah at St Stephen's church in Walbrook, UK.
21 - 'Piltdown Man' (discovered in 1912) is proved to have been a forgery by W. Le Gros Clark and others at the British Museum.
27 - Death of US playwright Eugene O'Neill.
30 - Iran restores diplomatic relations with Britain.


04 - A large oilfield is struck in Australia.
10 - Sir Winston Churchill wins the Nobel Prize for Literature.
23 - Lavrentiy Beria, former Soviet minister for internal affairs and head of Stalin's secret police, is executed for high treason along with six others.

 Also This Year . . .

  • L Ron Hubbard founds the Scientology movement in the USA.
  • Ian Fleming introduces James Bond in the book Casino Royale.
  • Christian Dior brings the bosom back into women's clothes with the 'sweater girl' bra.
  • Hugh Hefner launches Playboy.
  • To combat smog in the UK, 6½d mouth-masks can be bought from chemists.
  • The cost of a 3 bedroom semi-detached house in Britain is just over £2,000.00.
  • Over 100,000 Londoners are waiting to have telephones installed.
  • The Tuskgee Institute in Alabama announces that, for the second year in a row, there were no lynchings in the US.