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1948

Jan 1  Britain nationalizes its railways. Palestinian militants attack and surround the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem. And Jews carry out a series of raids as reprisals for the massacre of forty-one Jews in Haifa.

Jan 2  Jews call upon the United Nations to restore order in Palestine.

Jan 4  Burma gains independence from Britain.

Jan 5  In Britain, the BBC begins its Television Newsreel.

Jan 10  In Cairo, Egypt, police search fifty houses and hotels for Jews suspected of subversive activities. Among those arrested, young girls who had been raising funds for the Zionist cause.

Jan 12  General MacArthur is reported to favor an early withdrawal of all outside military troops from Korea.

Jan 17  The Netherlands has not accepted Indonesia's claim of independence. The Netherlands still wants to hang on to its East Indies colony. But it agrees to a truce with the Indonesian republicans.

Jan 18  The United Nations Commission on Korea remains hopeful that the Soviet Government will allow it to oversee free elections in both the Soviet and US zones in Korea.

Jan 30  Mahatma Gandhi has been supporting peace between Hindus and Muslims. On his way to a prayer meeting he is shot dead by a Hindu who sees him as weakening India.

Feb 1  The Soviet Union begins to jam Voice of America broadcasts.

Feb 4  Ceylon, to be named Sri Lanka, acquires independence and is to be a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Feb 6  The Russian newspaper Trud claims that the United States is planning war.

Feb 8  North Korea announces the creation and activation of its own army.

Feb 8  In Czechoslovakia the Communist party intends to speed up socialism. In cooperation with the General Confederation of Labor and left-wing Social Democrats they are preparing measures to nationalize apartment houses, office buildings and department stores.

Feb 13  Czechoslovakia's parliament passes a resolution demanding a report from the Minister of the Interior – a Communist – on the misuse of the police for political purposes.

Feb 15  The second most powerful Communist in Czechoslovakia, Antonio Zapotocky, declares in a speech: "Away with parliament if it will not fulfill the program of the General Confederation of Labor."

Feb 18  The Czechoslovak Communist Party announces that certain measures will be taken to safeguard the republic. It summons members and sympathizers to be ready for action.

Feb 19  Czechoslovakia's Communist labor leadership is putting through resolutions demanding that the Government nationalize every industry in the foreign and wholesale trades with more than fifty employees.

Feb 20  In Czechoslovakia, the ruling coalition breaks apart. Non-Communist ministers resign, hoping to force an early election.

Feb 25  Czechoslovakia's Interior Minister (the state's top cop and a communist) puts his police around all government buildings. 

Feb 25  Czechoslovakia's communist prime minister, Klement Gottwald, orders "action committees" to take authority in Prague and throughout the country. The liberal Eduard Benes remains as president, but powerless. He does not want a civil war.

Mar 6  In the Philippines, Luis Turak and other alleged leaders of the Hukbalahap rebellion are declared outlaws. Men hired by landlords and military and police have retaliated indiscriminately against peasants – mostly tenant farmers. Those fighting "subversion" have burned villages, killed and created more sympathy for the Hukbalahap rebellion, which claims to be fighting for land reform and against feudal conditions.

Mar 10  Jan Masaryk, Czechoslovakia's liberal nationalist leader and foreign minister, is found dead, dressed in his pajamas, in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window.

Mar 17  President Truman speaks to a joint session of Congress, blames the Soviet Union for the Communist take over in Czechoslovakia and calls on Congress to pass the Marshall Plan and to enact a universal military training and a Selective Service bill.

Apr 3  Republicans in Congress have been opposing the Marshall Plan, complaining about throwing billions of dollars into "a bottomless pit of wasteful altruism."  But the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia has turned them around, and they help approve the $5.3 billion for the plan. 

Apr 7  The United Nations establishes the World Health Organization.

Apr 8  President Truman orders the withdrawal of US troops in Korea – to be completed in 1949.

Apr 9  A member of the US State Department, Joseph Jacobs, complains of the Soviet Union's opposition to elections for the whole of Korea.

Apr 9  The Irgun and Stern Gang have been attacking at the town of Dier Yassin in an effort to break through Arab forces and reach Jerusalem, where the food shortage in the Jewish quarter is dire. An Arab account is to tell of 250 villagers, – old men, women and children being massacred. A Jewish account, by Menachem Begin, head of the Irgun from 1944 to 1948, is to tell of civilians failing to heed warnings by loudspeakers that heavy bombardment is about to begin.

Apr 12  In Italy a one-hour work stoppage ordered by the Communist dominated General Confederation of Labor is considered only 30 percent successful.

Apr 17  In Europe, sixteen nations join in the Marshall Plan's economic cooperation organization. Not joining are Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Albania. Finland also does not join, to avoid antagonizing the Soviet Union.

Apr 20  Italian-Americans, including Frank Sinatra, have tried to help defeat communism in Italy by broadcasts selling the American way-of-life. Money from the United States has been given to the Christian Democratic Party's candidate, Alcide de Gasperi. Election results give a big win to the Christian Democrats. The Vatican is pleased by what it sees as a defeat for atheistic communism. In the United States those fearing communism are relieved. 

Apr 22  In Korea, Communists are leading a drive to force the U.N. Commission to abandon observation of the elections to be held in the US zone. Attacks are being made on elections officials. A report claims such attacks have caused twenty deaths since the closing of registration on April 8.

Apr 22  In a furious battle, the liberal Zionist militia, the Haganah, takes control of Haifa, Palestine's only deep-water port.

Apr 23  Germans and Japanese are banned from playing tennis at Wimbledon.

May 1  Kim Il-sung defies the United Nations, sealing his border with southern Korea and claims jurisdiction over all of Korea.

May 1  In the United States, in the May edition of the Communist monthly, Max Weiss writes that the Soviet Union has "the most advanced democracy the world has known."

May 2  A war is raging on the island of Cheju, 65 miles off the southern coast of Korea where, according to reports, bands of Communists are terrorizing the island's 276,000 inhabitants.

May 10  More than 85 per cent of  the voters in South Korea's 8,000,000 eligible voters cast a ballot in the United Nations-sponsored election.

May 14  A national council, "representing the Jewish people in Palestine and the Zionist movement" meets and states that "by virtue of a resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations," it establishes the state that is to be called Israel.

May 15  Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia go to war against the declared creation of Israel.  The 1,700 residents of Jewish Quarter in Jersualem is bombarded by artillery.

May 17 In Oregon, the first-ever radio debate between presidential candidates takes place, between Harold Stassen and John Dewey. Stassen is by reputation more liberal than Dewey, but he argues in favor of outlawing the US Communist Party. Dewey favors civil rights for everyone and argues against it, saying "you can't shoot an idea with a gun."

May 28  In Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter, the Arab Legion takes as prisoners all males between the ages of 16 and 50 –

Jun 7  President Eduard Benes of Czechoslovaka cites poor health and resigns. Klement Gottwald, the prime minister, is to replace him.

Jun 18  Malaya's Communists, who had been granted legal status for their fight against the Japanese, have decided on guerrilla warfare and a Communist revolution. Communist guerrillas have killed three rubber plantation workers, and Britain declares a state of emergency to deal with the insurgents.

Jun 18  In their sectors in Germany, the US, Britain and France cooperate in replacing occupation currency with the Deutsche Mark.

Jun 24  The Soviet Union is unhappy with the policies toward Germany by the US Britain and France. It cuts rail and road routes to the Western held sectors of Berlin deep inside the Soviet zone of occupation – East Germany. The Berlin Blockade begins.

Jun 25  The daily flights and transport of goods to West Berlin have started. The airlift is to last more than a year.

Jun 28  Stalin is trying to tighten his influence in East Europe by combating nationalistic independence among Communists. At a meeting of his  Cominform organization, held in Romania, the Yugoslavs are charged with nationalism and warned that their independent-mindedness has put Yugoslavia on a path back to bourgeois capitalism. The Yugoslav Communist Party is expelled from the organization.

Jul 5  Britain launches in National Health Service.

Jul 12  South Korea creates a constitution.

Jul 15  In Italy an attempt to assassinate Palmiro Togliatti, general secretary of Italy's Communist Party, incites strikes across the country.

Jul 20  President Truman begins military conscription.

Jul 20  The US federal government indicts each of the twelve members of the governing board of the Communist Party USA, charging them with advocating "destruction of the government of the United States by force and violence."

Jul 29  From London, the BBC televises the summer Olympic Games.

Jul 31  Yugoslavia has ended its support of the Greek rebels.

Aug 15 The Republic of Korea (South Korea) declares its existence.

Aug 15  In the United States, CBS-TV begins a 15-minute nightly newscast.

Aug 19 In Berlin, Soviet troops fire upon Germans demonstrating against the blockade.

Sep 8  North Korea has countered developments in South Korea with single slate elections, their own constitution and, on this day, the constitution is validated and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea officially proclaimed.

Sep 17  In downtown Jerusalem, members of the Stern Gang assassinate Count Foke Bernadotte, a Swedish UN mediator in Palestine, in retaliation for Bernadotte having proposed an Arab administration for Jerusalem. The assassination outrages Ben-Gurion and most other Israelis.

Sep 21  Making speeches from the back of his train, President Truman, in Ogden Utah, says, "It was due to the plans and policies of the Democratic administrations to develop the western resources for the benefit of the western people themselves, not for the benefit of the few bloodsuckers who have offices in Wall Street."

Sep 24  Bulgaria has complained about United States opposition to Bulgaria becoming a member state of the United Nations. The United States, in turn, condemns those in power in Bulgaria for having obliterated Bulgarian democracy.

Nov 1  In China, a Communist army captures the main city in Manchuria, Mukden. They are capturing vast quantities of arms and ammunition and using weaponry given to Chiang Kai-shek by the United States.

Nov 2  President Truman defeats Thomas Dewey and wins re-election, without much ado between the two about the Cold War. The Progressive Party candidate, Henry Wallace, who campaigned against hostility toward the Soviet Union, wins only 2.4 percent of the vote. The Dixiecrat candidate, Governor J. Strom Thurmond, wins slightly more votes than Wallace while carrying four states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and his home state, South Carolina. Most people have merely read about the campaigns in the newspapers. Television was is still uncommon.

Nov 3  In the US, polling organizations are embarrassed and apologetic about their methods. They predicted that Dewey would win.

Nov 12  The war crimes tribunal in Tokyo sentences seven Japanese to death, including Hideki Tojo. 

Nov 17  The UN General assembly passes a resolution condemning the practice by the Communist side in Greece's civil war. The Communists have been removing children from their parents and sending them to neighboring Communist countries. The resolution demands return of the children.

Nov 23  A land reform bill has angered Venezuela's landowners, and advocacy of a reduced military budget has upset military officers. A military coup ousts President Romulo Betancourt. Betancourt's democratic government is replaced by a three-man junta, one of whom is Perez Jimenez, who had been unhappy with his rank of major. They describe their coup as "a democratic necessity in the face of Communist influence." Betancourt's political party is declared illegal.  The new regime puts 4,000 opponents in prison, disbands congress and begins censoring newspapers.

Nov 29  The cool-headed English diplomat Harold Nicolson writes in his dairy about Russia preparing for a "final battle for world mastery and that once she has enough bombs she will destroy Western Europe, occupy Asia, and have a final death struggle with America." He writes there is a chance that the danger will pass and that peace will be maintained and adds: "I admit that it is a frail chance – not one in ninety."

Dec 10  The United Nations General Assembly adopts a Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Dec 10  Alarmed by the success of the Communists in China, Britain begins consulting quietly with various governments in southeast Asia concerning a program of protection from the spread of Communism.

Dec 11  After six months of stalemate in talks between the Dutch and Indonesians, the Dutch have broken off negotiations and announced their intention of setting up a government in the East Indies.

Dec 19  Talks have broken down and the Dutch have started its second military offensive in Indonesia, including bombing the capital of the Indonesian republic, Jakarta, and taking Sukarno and other leading Indonesians prisoner. In the United Nations is outrage, and various Asian countries begin a boycott against the Dutch.

Dec 22  The United States demands that the Netherlands stop its "police action" in Indonesia and release the Indonesian leaders it has taken prisoner.

Dec 26  Expecting trouble, Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary has written a note claiming that he has not been involved in any conspiracy and that any confession he might make will be the result of duress. On this day, Mindszenty is arrested and accused of treason, conspiracy and offenses against current laws.

Dec 26  The last Soviet troops leave North Korea. 

Dec 28  A member of the Muslim Brotherhood assassinates Egypt's Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi.

Dec 31  Egypt bans the Muslim Brotherhood, but many are already out of Egypt, in Transjordan, where they are engaged in hostilities against Israel.

to 1947 | to 1949

Copyright © 2006-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.