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1953

Jan 10  "The Crucible," Arthur Miller's play about the "red scare," opens on Broadway. It draws from Ibsen's play "An Enemy of the People" and its subject is the Salem witch hunts. The FBI has a file on Miller that describes him as "under Communist Party discipline." 

Jan 12   Estonians establish a government in exile in Norway.

Jan 13  In the Communist Party newspaper, Pravda, prominent doctors are accused of having taken part in a conspiracy to poison Soviet leaders. The doctors are accused of being paid by US and British intelligence and of serving the interests of an international Jewish bourgeois-nationalist organization.

Jan 20  Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes President of the United States.

Jan 23  Israelis are alarmed by a series of border incidents and by Egypt's premier, Mohammed Naguib, saying he intends to "liberate Palestine."

Jan 26  Walter Ulbricht announces that agriculture in East Germany will be collectivized.

Feb 1  High tide and a severe windstorm create a North Sea tidal surge 3.6 meters high (11.8 feet). In Britain 307 are killed. The Dutch lose 1,835 people and an estimated 10,000 animals. There was no warning.

Feb 9  Most of the accused doctors in the Soviet Union are Jews. Stalin has turned against Jewish nationalism. Scores of Soviet Jews have been dismissed from their jobs. A bomb explodes at the Soviet mission in Israel.

Feb 11  The Soviet Union breaks diplomatic relations with Israel.

Mar 1  Amid mysterious departures from normal routine, Stalin suffers a stroke that paralyzes the right side of his body. According to the memoirs of Foreign Minister Molotov, to be published in 1993, the chief of the Soviet Union's police, Lavrenty Beria, bragged to him that he poisoned Stalin.

Mar 5  Stalin dies. It is the day that Jews were scheduled to be deported from Moscow, a move opposed by Beria.

Mar 6  Soviet radio interrupts broadcasting with the message that Stalin has died. People are stunned by the loss of a father figure. Malenkov succeeds Stalin as the Soviet Union's Premier and as First Secretary of its Communist Party. Malenkov appeals for "monolithic unity" and "vigilance."  Stalin's body lies in state in the Hall of Columns, a few streets from Red Square. It will be said that a crowd of mourners gets out of control and people are crushed to death. 

Mar 9  In Paris, flags have been flying at half-staff. In Italy, Communist workers take a 20-minute work stoppage to honor Stalin, and, in the streets of Rome, Communists and neo-Fascists fight.

Mar 11  In the United States, a B-47 bomber accidentally drops an atom bomb on Mars Bluff, South Carolina. The bomb was not prepared for detonation.

Mar 26  Mau Mau rebels have killed as many as 150 of their fellow Kikuyu Kenyans – to be known as the Lari Massare.

Mar 28  The Soviet government's Council of Ministers approves a resolution sent to them by Beria for a broad amnesty and release of about 1 million of the 2.1 million in Stalin's prisons.

Mar 31  Beria, still head of Soviet police, frees all of the doctors arrested in connection with the so-called doctor's plot and arrests officials involved in creating what he describes as having been a fabrication.

Mar 31  Gregori Malenkov has called for peaceful coexistence between the superpowers and for peace in Korea. Zhou Enlai joins him, proposing that the prisoner of war issue be turned over to a neutral state.

Apr 2   President Eisenhower says he takes Communist peace bids seriously.

Apr 12  Alexander Wiley, Republican of Wisconsin, and Hubert H. Humphrey, Democrat of Minnesota, members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warn against recent "peace gestures" by the Soviet Union.

Apr 13  The Netherlands Ministry of Traffic and Waterways announces that 330,000 out of an original 360,000 flooded acres are dry again. The Dutch are planning projects involving years of work to prevent another flood.

Apr 22  The Viet Minh and Laotian rebels (led by Prince Souphanouvong) have moved into Laos with a Viet Minh force from Vietnam. The French are striking against the rebels with bombing runs by aircraft but without success.

May 12  In the US Senate, Barry Goldwater makes his maiden speech. He dislikes price controls used by the Eisenhower administration, saying that price controls have always failed, that ancient, medieval and modern price-control systems create "scarcity instead of production and ill will instead of cooperation." A Republican colleague, Capehart of Indiana, argues that specific price controls can for a while be useful, and he cites the results of controls since 1950.

May 13-16  In Korea, the US Air Force destroys dams north of Pyongyang. Rice crops are washed away.

May 19-20  In Korea, B-29s attack a large supply complex at Unsan-dong.

May 21-22  B-29s score seven direct hits on the Kuwonga dam but fail to burst it because the North Koreans have lowered the water level by twelve feet.

May 25  At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducts its first and only nuclear artillery test.

May 28- 29  B-29s returned to the Kuwonga Dam, scoring five direct hits with 2,000-pound bombs. The North Koreans have drained the dam of its water, exhausting the supply of water for irrigation.

May 28  In Korea, Communists forces launch raids against UN forces.

Jun 5  Greenland is no longer a colony. Denmark's new constitution declares that Greenland is an integral part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Jun 8  An agreement to the Korean War's POW problem is reached. Those prisoners who refuse to return to their Communist countries are allowed to live under a neutral supervising commission for three months. If they still refuse repatriation they will be released.

Jun 13  In Hungary, Prime Minister Matyas Rákosi, a hardline Stalinist, is replaced by Imre Nagy, a more liberal Communist.

June 13-18  B-29s and Marine F4U Corsair fighter-bombers strike irrigation dams at Toksan and Kusong in North Korea.

Jun 16  The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia renew diplomatic relations.

Jun 17  Beria's plans to liberalize East Germany backfire. In East Germany strikes and demonstrations erupt.

June 19  In the US Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed. They have been accused of conspiring to commit espionage and passing nuclear weapons secrets to Russian agents.

June 26  In the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev and other top ranking party members move against Beria's power. Khrushchev accuses Beria of being in the pay of British intelligence. Malenkov has little power and abandons Beria. The army asserts its authority over Beria's police and Beria is killed.

July 4  Strikes and riots erupt in coal mining regions in Poland.

July 10  In the speech by a Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Nikolay Shatalin, charges of sexual assault and deviance are made against the late Lavrenty Beria. Pravda announces that Beria has been deposed as a head of the Soviet police, the NKVD.

July 21  The Soviet Union and Israel resume normal diplomatic relations.

Jul 26  Fidel Castro, 26, and his brother, Raul, 22, with more than 100 others attack the second largest military garrison in Cuba. Sixty-one of the rebels die and the others are captured.

Jul 27  The United Nations, China and North Korea sign an armistice agreement. South Korea refuses to sign it. South Korea's President Syngman Rhee opposes a settlement that leaves Korea divided. North Korea and South Korea remain technically at war into the twenty-first century.

Aug 8  Premier Malenkov's announces that the Soviet Union has mastered production of a hydrogen bomb. The news is received in the United States and Britain with some skepticism.

Aug 12  The Soviet Union successfully tests a hydrogen bomb fusion device, using what is called the Sloika design, created largely by a patriotic nuclear scientist, Andrei Sakharov, who in decades to come is to be the Soviet Union's leading dissident.

Aug 19  A force that has the support of CIA and British intelligence operatives pushes through Teheran with tanks and soldiers, against newspapers aligned with the popular prime minister, Mossadegh, and other targets, including Mossadegh's residence. At a radio station, General Fazlollah Zahedi announces that he, with the blessing of Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, is prime minister and that his force controls the city. About 200 people are killed.

Aug 20  French government exiles the sultan of Morocco to Corsica.

Sep 2  A letter from Eisenhower promises aid to the government of Iran.

Sep 7  In the Soviet Union, a Communist Party Central Committee Plenum elects Nikita Khrushchev First Secretary.

Sep 9  Mossadegh is in prison charged with rebellion against the throne, a crime punishable by death. He begins a  hunger strike and demands the right to consult a lawyer on the preparation of his will.

Sept 19  Yours truly discovers that after days of complete quiet in a cabin in the woods away from the hum of the city, a remarkable calm enters the body that is not at all chemically, spiritually or philosophically induced.

Sep 22  In Iran, the newspaper Kayhan reports that 100 have been arrested on charges of being Communist Party members and partisans of Mossadegh.

Sep 25  The first German prisoners of war return from Soviet Union to West Germany.

Oct 22  France grants independence to Laos in all but foreign affairs, recognizing the rule of King Sisavang Vong, a lifelong supporter of French rule. The "Red Prince" Souphanouvong, in alliance with Vietnam's Communist government, rules in northern Laos.

Nov 9  With the French fighting in Vietnam, Cambodia is able to move from independence within the French Union, granted in 1949, to full independence.

Nov 11  In the US, scientists indentify and photograph the polio virus for the first time.

Nov 29  French paratroopers take Dien Bien Phu, a point in Vietnam that blocks a main invasion route to Laos.

Dec 23  The Soviet Union announces that Lavrenty Beria has been executed.

Dec 30  In the United States the first color television sets go on sale, for around $1,175.

to 1952 | to 1954

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