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1949

Jan 1  Japan is still under Allied (SCAP) military occupation. Japan's stock market prices have doubled in one year, and Japan's food situation has improved, but not enough for the US to discontinue food aid. It is costly being both humanitarian and a conqueror. Aid to Japan is costing the United States more than $1 million per day. The US wants Japan to develop foreign trade so that it can buy its own food. Many Japanese, meanwhile, are again visiting their Shinto shrines.

Jan 10  In China, morale is low among Chiang Kai-shek's troops. 300,000 of them surrender to the Communist army.

Jan 10  In the US, music on seven-inch vinyl disks hits the market. The disk plays at 45 rpm and replaces breakable 78 rpm records that had been around since 1910.

Jan 21  George C. Marshall retires. Dean Acheson replaces him as secretary of state.

Jan 22  In China, the advancing Communist army is replacing Chiang Kai-shek's authority in Beijing.

Jan 24  MacArthur does not fear a Communist takeover in Japan. Japanese Communists have been allowed to run in the nation's general election. The Democratic Liberal Party candidates (conservatives) win a majority of the votes. The Communists increase their seats from 4 to 35, out of 466 seats in Japan's lower legislative house.

Feb 8  In Hungary, Cardinal Mindszenty is sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. He has "confessed" his guilt. More people are convinced of the evil nature of "Communist" regimes.

Feb 12  The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Banna, now back in Cairo, is shot and left to bleed to death on the floor of a hospital. His killer is unknown but many suspect an Egyptian government agent.

Feb 24  Israel signs an armistice with Egypt, seen by the Egyptians as merely ending military hostilities. The Israelis, on the other hand, want it to represent a permanent settlement. Egypt keeps control over the Gaza Strip and is not to allow Arabs there Egyptian citizenship or to migrate to Egypt. 

Mar 1  In an interview in Tokyo, General MacArthur speaks of the Pacific Ocean as having become an Anglo-Saxon lake. He describes a line of defense for the US running from the Philippines, north through Okinawa and other Ryukyo islands, through Japan and the Aleutian Islands to Alaska. Dean Acheson is to agree with this assessment without thought of abandoning South Korea. 

Mar 1  Nine months since his second and last fight with Jersey Joe Walcot, Joe Louis announces his retirement from boxing.

Mar 7  In Moscow, while talking to Stalin, North Korea's Kim Il Sung says he believes "the situation" makes it necessary and possible to liberate South Korea. Stalin disagrees and cites the USSR-USA agreement on the 38th parallel as dividing Korea and the possibility of an American intervention against a move by Kim's forces into the south.

Mar 23  Israel signs an armistice with Lebanon.

Mar 24  The academy award for best picture in 1948 goes to "Treasure of Sierra Madre."

Mar 25  The Soviet Union is conducting a program of deportations, said to number 92,000 people,  from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to remote areas of the Soviet Union.

Mar 28  United States Secretary of Defense James Forrestal is mentally ill and resigns.

Apr 3  Israel signs an armistice with Syria and with Transjordan.

Apr 4  The North Atlantic Treaty is signed by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States. It is the first peacetime military alliance for the United States.

Apr 11  The defeat of Arab forces by Israelis has shaken confidence in Syria's parliamentary democracy. A Syrian general, Husni al-Zaim, seizes power in a bloodless coup and temporarily imprisons Syria's president, Shukri al-Kuwatli. The coup has been carried out, it would be said, with discrete backing from the US embassy in Damascus, which did not plan the coup, or pay for it, but al-Zaim, it would be said, has promised the Americans to sign a peace treaty with Israel.

Apr 22  William F. Knowland, Republican from California, is concerned about the advancing Communist army in China, and in a speech in the Senate he accuses Secretary of State Dean Acheson of having "pulled the rug out from under" Chiang Kai-shek's government, and he demands an investigation. Events in China, meanwhile, are being driven by the hearts and minds of the Chinese, and there is widespread dislike for Chiang kai-shek's regime, and China's Communist forces are benefiting from it. 

Apr 24  Communist troops have crossed that Yangtze River and take over what had been Chiang's capital city: Nanking. The Communists begin pushing toward Shanghai.

Apr 28  Speaking to the American Newspaper Publishers Association, former President Herbert Hoover calls for expelling Communist countries from the United Nations. His speech is greeted with "thunderous, almost impassioned ovation."

Apr 29  In the United States, George F. Kennan is concerned about public opinion. A critic of Soviet policies and an architect of the US policy of "containing" the Soviet Union, he draws from his experience as a diplomat in the Soviet Union and states publicly that the Russians are not an enemy of the American people, that they still believe in "decency, honesty, kindliness, and loyalty in the relations between individuals." 

May 11  Israel becomes the 59th member state in the United Nations.

May 11  The Kingdom of Siam becomes the Kingdom of Thailand.

May 12  The Soviet Union responds to futility and lifts its blockade of Berlin.

May 22  James Forrestal, Secretary of Defense to March 28, is found dead on a third-floor roof below the 16th-floor kitchen across the hall from his room.

May 23  In West Germany, military occupation by the US, Britain and France ends. The  Federal Republic of Germany is established. Austria remains under Allied occupation.

May 23  The first computer that has a stored program within it – with lists of instructions and memory – begins operation at Cambridge University in Britain. The computer can both calculate and control the sequence of calculations at electronic speed. It's a glorified calculator.

Jun 2  In what will now be called Jordan, King Abdullah has dropped the name Transjordan.

Jun 3  Israel is reported to be bargaining with Egypt regarding acquisition of the Gaza Strip and its absorption of Arabs there.

Jun 5  The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, has finished talks with the ruler of Syria, General Zaim. The Mufti's Palestinian regiment is to be attached to the Syrian Army.

Jun 5  The General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party, Matyas Rokosi, has denounced "chauvinism" and "cosmopolitanism" among Hungarian Communists and has begun a purge of people within the Party.

Jun 8  George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is published. It's about Britain becoming super-Stalinist. It's about a political party driven by its desire for power. It allows only its own interpretations of history. Thought Crimes, Big Brother, Double Think, News-Speak and Room 101 are phrases from the book that will be popularized.

Jun 15  In Hungary, it is officially declared that the high ranking Communists, Laszlo Rajk and Tibor Szonyi, have been expelled from the Party because they are "spies and Trotskyist agents of foreign and imperialist powers." Rokosi has seen Rajk as a rival and as insufficiently Stalinist. 

Jun 29  The last US troops withdraw from South Korea.

Jul 4  In the US the Department of Classroom Teachers, representing 350,000  teachers, unanimously opposes loyalty oaths.

Jul 15  President Truman establishes a national housing policy, providing federal aid to slum clearance programs and low-cost housing projects.

Jul 20  Iraq has withdrawn its troops from Palestine and leaves Jordan in possession of much on the west bank of the Jordan River – the West Bank. Israel controls western Jerusalem and Jordan controls the rest of Jerusalem. 

Jul 27  The first production passenger jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, makes its maiden flight. The plane is British.

Jul 29  Under economic and diplomatic pressure from the United States, the Netherlands government agrees with Indonesian leaders to a cease fire.

Aug 5  In Ecuador an earthquake of only 6.75 on the Richter scale destroys 50 towns and kills about 6,000 people.

Aug 5  In the United States, Secretary of State Dean Acheson proclaims that the failures of the Chinese National Government "...do not stem from any inadequacy of American aid. Our military observers on the spot have reported that the Nationalist armies did not lose a single battle during the crucial year of 1948 through lack of arms or ammunition."

Aug 6  In Damascus, Syria, a synagogue is bombed and six or seven persons killed and twenty-seven injured. The bombing is believed to be a demonstration against peace negotiations with Israel conducted by the United Nations.

Aug 8  For the last two years India has been handling Bhutan's foreign affairs, a task it was given by the British. Today, Bhutan becomes completely independent.

Aug 14  Syria's new ruler, Husni al-Zaim, has made enemies by proposing to give women the vote and allowing them freedom from wearing the veil, by raising taxes, signing a cease-fire with Israel and by associating with US oil companies in the building of a Trans-Arabian pipeline. He is overthrown by his military colleagues, and he and his prime minister, Muhsen al-Barazi, are shot dead.

Aug 28  The last significant area held by Greece's leftist guerrillas is taken by the government in Athens.

Aug 29  The Soviet Union tests an atomic bomb.

Sep 1  In the last twelve years in Britain the divorce rate has increased tenfold.

Sep 4  It's Labor Day. Near Peekskill, New York, a pro-union celebration and concert to benefit the Civil Rights Congress is taking place. Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger sing. The local American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Jewish and Catholic veterans' groups had urged people to demonstrate against the gathering, believing they were defending the American way. Robeson had said, "It's America. I have a right to sing. I'm going to sing." Instead of tolerating the freedom of their fellow citizens to assemble peaceably, the mob blocked the roadway. They shouted "nigger bastards" and "Jew bastards". Later they attacked concert-goers physically. When Pete Seeger and his family left at the end of the concert they passed through a hail of rocks and a chorus of "Go back to Russia! Kikes! Nigger-lovers!" (Seeger describes the event.) Soviet news sources used the event to publicize their view of life in the United States.

Sep 11  Stalin orders his embassy in North Korea to examine the military, political and international aspects of a possible invasion by North Korea into South Korea.

Sep 13  The Soviet Union vetoes United Nations membership for Ceylon, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Jordan and Portugal.

Sep 15  The Yugoslav government has denounced the coming trial of Laszlo Rack in Hungary as a hoax aimed against Yugoslavia, and it accuses the Soviet Union of spurring the trial.

Sep 16  The trial against Rajk and seven other defendants opens. Rajk names Cardinal Mindszenty, now in prison, as the leader of a Vatican scheme to help him take over the Hungarian Government by inciting anti-government riots to coincide with a coup. In the Soviet Union, The Soviet press describes Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia as on trial in Hungary as well as Laszlo Rajk.

Sep 17  In the treason trial in Hungary, Winston Churchill is named as one of the plotters, among Americans and the Yugoslavs in a scheme to seize power in the Balkans.

Sep 22  In court, all eight defendants in the Hungarian treason trial confess their guilt.

Sep 23  President Truman tells the people of the United States of the Soviet Union having tested an atom bomb. 

Sep 24  Laszlo Rajk and co-defendants are sentenced to death.

Sep 29  The Soviet Union announces that it has formally denounced its treaty of friendship, mutual assistance and post-war cooperation with Yugoslavia.

Sep 30  Hungary renounces its 1947 treaty of treaty of friendship and mutual assistance with Yugoslavia.

Oct 1  At Tiananmen Square, standing before 300,000 people, Mao Zedong, in a high-pitched voice, declares the founding of the People's Republic of China. In the United Nations, a representative of Chiang Kai-shek's "nationalist" Chinese complains that if the Communists in China win a "full victory," they will send men and arms and imperil a half-dozen neighboring states.

Oct 7  The Soviet Union's zone of occupation in East Germany is officially proclaimed as an independent state: Democratic Republic of Germany.

Oct 15  Laszlo Rajk is hanged.

Nov 2  The Netherlands officially recognizes the end of its colonialism in Indonesia. "Unconditionally and irrevocably" it recognizes Indonesia as a federation of autonomous states. The Dutch did not recognize, however, Indonesia's claim to the western half of New Guinea, known also as West Irian. 

Dec 8  From China, anti-Communist forces have finished their evacuation to Taiwan. Most Taiwanese consider themselves Taiwanese rather than Chinese and they resent the invasion, dictatorial impositions, bullying and thievery of the invading Chinese.

Dec 14  Stalin has been putting pressure on the Bulgarian Communist Party, and other East European Communist parties, to adhere to the Soviet way of looking at things. Traicho Kostov, who helped lead the Communist Party in Bulgaria in 1944, has not followed the Stalin line closely enough. He has been forced from power by Bulgarian Stalinists, and on this day he is shot. 

Dec 16  Sukarno is elected President of the Republic of Indonesia. 

Dec 17  Burma recognizes the People's Republic of China.

Dec 30  India recognizes the People's Republic of China. 

 

to 1948 | to 1950

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