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1955

Jan 7  Marian Anderson sings at the  Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the first black to do so.

Jan 22  The US announces its plan to develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles armed with nuclear weapons.

Jan 25  Scientists at Columbia University develop an atomic clock accurate to within one second in 300 years.

Jan 28  Congress authorizes President Eisenhower to use force to protect Taiwan from China.

Feb 8  In the Soviet Union, Premier Malenkov is still associated with Beria. He is forced to resign and is replaced by Marshal Bulganin, the former defense minister. Malenkov remains in the politburo, now called the presidium. 

Feb 8  The last Vietminh troops are scheduled to leave South Vietnam, in accordance with the Geneva Accords of 1954. They are leaving areas they have controlled for the last eight years.

Feb 12  President Eisenhower sends the first US military advisors to South Vietnam, to train an army under Ngo Dinh Diem.

Feb 13  Israelis discover more Dead Sea scroll fragments.

Feb 25  An Israeli cyclist is ambushed by "Arab infiltrators."

Feb 28  An Israeli army unit is attacked and pursues the attackers into Egypt-controlled Gaza.

Feb 1-28  Sometime during this month or the following month, a few sailors create a disturbance at a small Polynesian nightclub in Honolulu. The bouncer throws the leader out and the others follow. The bouncer is a full Polynesian and former Marine whom I knew since 1951. On the sidewalk outside the club the sailors hurl insults at Hawaii, not yet a state and not deserving to be a state according to the sailors. With my friend and me on the sidewalk are a couple of local Asian males. The leader asks me (a white guy) what I am doing among them, a common racial attitude for 1955 – the point of this entry. The leader attacks my friend violently. Within one minute the sailors are fleeing down the street racism on the run. (I met a lot of great individual US sailors aboard ships, and every Marine I knew had the greatest respect for US Navy Corpsmen (medical guys serving with the Marines).

Mar 1  The Israeli retaliation in Gaza is reported as having killed 37 Egyptians and wounded 29 others.  Palestinians stone the United Nations Gaza office.

Mar 3  Egypt warns Israel that it will meet force with force. In the UN, Israel complains of "continuous violations" by Egypt.

Mar 4  The UN Security Council urges Egypt and Israel to desist from violence and provocations. 

Mar 15  Secretary of State Dulles indicates that Israel's invasion of the Gaza strip would delay new United States guarantees of Israel's integrity.

Mar 25  The Israeli Army reports that in an Israeli village, ten miles from the Egyptian/Gaza armistice line, armed Egyptians threw bombs at wedding revelers, killing a young woman and wounding eighteen others.

Apr 6  Winston Churchill, 80, steps down and Anthony Eden becomes Britain's Prime Minister.

Apr 12  The Salk Polio vaccine is declared safe and effective, and vaccine shots for polio begin to be given to children.

Apr 18  In Hungary the Communist premier Imre Nagy, an former Stalinist executioner, has been advocating a "new course" and is ousted from power by comrades who dislike his moderation.

Apr 18  Albert Einstein dies, at the age of seventy-six, in Princeton, New Jersey.

Apr 18-24 The Bandung Conference takes place in Indonesia. It promotes neutralism, hostility toward colonialism and imperialism. It is attended by representatives from 29 African and Asian nations. Nasser of Egypt, Tito of Yugoslavia, Nehru of India and Chou Enlai of China are among those attending. 

May 5  West Germany becomes the Federal Republic of Germany, a sovereign state.

May 9  West Germany joins NATO.

May 14  In Warsaw, the "Warsaw Pact" is formed, a response to what is claimed to be a threat from NATO and the re-militarization of Germany. Member states are the Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania. 

May 15  In Vienna, the Soviet Union and other major victors of World War II sign the Austrian State Treaty. Austria becomes sovereign and democratic and is to be unaligned. 

May 20  In accord with Juan Perón's attitude toward the Catholic Church, Argentina's parliament accepts the separation of church and state.

May 31  The US Supreme Court orders that states must end racial segregation "with all deliberate speed."

Jun 1-30  Universal studios is filming "The Conqueror" in Snow Canyon State Park in Utah, an area unknowlingly contaminated by the testing of eleven nuclear bombs in nearby Yucca Flats, Nevada in 1953. Of the 220 persons working on the film on location, 46 will be have died from cancer and 91 others will have contracted cancer by the 1980s. "Experts" calculate that only 30 persons should have gotten cancer from a group that size. Among the 46 who will die by the early 80s: the stars, John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Agnes Moorehead, and the director, Dick Powell. 

Jun 9  Secretary of State Dulles, at Iowa State College, says "neutrality has increasingly become an obsolete and, except under very exceptional circumstances, it is an immoral and shortsighted conception."

Jun 16  The Perón regime has legalized divorce, prostitution and accorded full civil rights to those born out of wedlock. Police have suppressed anti-government religious processions. The government has deported two high-ranking bishops. The Vatican retaliates against the latter by excommunicating Perón, and, on this day, members of the navy and airforce revolt against the Perón regime, but the coup fails.

Jun 27  Automobile seat belt legislation is enacted in Illinois.

Jun 30   A United Nations report describes the United States as facing increased competition in Latin American markets from the Soviet Union and nations of the Soviet bloc.

Jul 17  Disneyland opens in what was recently a small town and an old German settlement, Anaheim, California.

Jul 18  At Geneva Switzerland, a "summit" meeting between the leaders of the Soviet Union, Britain, France and the United States begins – the first such meeting since Potsdam. Prime Minister Eden of Britain had a lot to do with creating the meeting.

Jul 23  The summit meeting has been carefully planned and staged, with leaders flanked by their advisors, reading prepared statements – not the kind of spontaneous personal exchanges favored by Winston Churchill. The summit has produced little more than propaganda opportunities for both sides and ends without accomplishment.

Aug 8  Fidel Castro, after serving two years in prison, has received amnesty from Batista. Castro is in Mexico and there with other Cuban exiles he forms his "July 26th Movement."

Aug 31  Algerian revolutionaries (the FLN) have moved from attacking government and military targets to attacking civilians – 123 including old women and children. France's governor in Algeria, Jacques Soustelle, a reformer, is shocked and supports sterner measures against the rebels. The government claims it has killed 1,273 guerrillas in retaliation. According to the FLN, French forces, police and colonist (colon) gangs have killed 12,000 Muslims.

Aug 25  In accordance with its international commitments, the last of Soviet forces leaves Austria.

Aug 28  Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago visiting in Mississippi, is lynched.

Sep 6-7  Greeks riot in Istanbul. Retaliation includes attacks upon Greek churches, shops, cemeteries and some killing. The Greek community in Istanbul is destroyed.

Sep 7  Peru gives its women the right to vote.

Sept 19  Argentina's military leaders are unhappy about Perón's sixteen year-old live-in companion and unhappy about Perón creating a workers' militia. They want no competing military force. They overthrow Perón and confiscate the body of Eva Perón to prevent it from being used to rally the masses. Perón flees to the Embassy of Paraguay and then into exile and eventually to Spain.

Sep 20  Rocky Marciano knocks out Archie Moore in the 9th round in New York City.

Sep 27  Egypt buys arms from Czechoslovakia, agreeing to receive financing from the Soviet Union for building the Aswan dam across the Nile.

Oct 15  China's Communist Party decides to speed moving from private ownership of farmlands to "agricultural producers' cooperatives."

Oct 17  The Vatican commends the Archbishop of New Orleans for his measures against racial discrimination practiced by some Roman Catholics in Louisiana.

Oct 19  Mao Zedong is reported to have said that he would be willing to visit the United States but that he does not expect to be invited.

Oct 26  Ignoring the Geneva agreement of 1954, Ngo Dinh Diem proclaims Vietnam a republic with himself as president.

Oct 29  The Fifth international Conference on Planned Parenthood has been meeting in Tokyo. The Communist government in China has send a representative. The conference asks the United Nations to address the problems of overpopulation.

Nov 7  Racial segregation in public parks, playgrounds and golf courses is outlawed by the US Supreme Court.

Nov 19  William F. Buckley Jr. publishes his first issue of the National Review, a conservative political journal. Buckley is unhappy with middle-of-the road Republicanism, represented by the Eisenhower administration. Buckley's first issue proclaims the "middle-of-the-road politically, intellectually, and morally repugnant."

Nov 25  The United States Interstate Commerce Commission decrees that racial segregation on trains and buses that cross state lines will end by Jan. 10. This includes public waiting rooms in railway and bus terminals.

Dec 1  In Montgomery, Alabama, a tired seamstress, Rosa Parks, refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man. She is arrested by police.

Dec 5  Black ministers in Montgomery form the Montgomery Improvement Association. They choose as their leading spokesperson the young Martin Luther King Jr., and they start a boycott of Montgomery buses.

Dec 31 Communist (Hukbalahap) guerrillas north of Manila have been diminishing through the year. They now number around 1,000. The government's success against the Communists is attributed to its moderation and reforms in the area where the guerillas have operated, rather than to bloody repression.

to 1954 | to 1956

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