Timeline: 1962

Jan 1  Western Samoa becomes independent from New Zealand.

Jab 3  Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.

Jan 12  Indonesia's Army confirms that it has begun operations in Dutch New Guinea (West Irian).

Jan 18  The US tries to help the Saigon regime by spraying foliage with pesticide to reveal the whereabouts of Vietcong guerrillas.

Jan 20  In Malaya it is announced that men with four wives will receive no tax relief.

Jan 23  The British spy Kim Philby defects to the Soviet Union.

Feb 7  Employing the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, President Kennedy bans trade with Cuba except for food and medicines.

Feb 10  In Berlin, former U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers is exchanged for the Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel.

Feb 20  Lt. Colonel John Glenn becomes the first US citizen to orbit the earth. 

Mar 1  The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Deputy Defense Sec. Roswell Gilpatric have approved a plan to "lure or provoke Castro, or an uncontrollable subordinate, into an overt hostile reaction against the US."

Mar 2  In Burma General Ne Win ends democracy with a military coup. He announces the pursuit of the "Burmese way to socialism" and the creation of a military Revolutionary Council to be based on Buddhism.

Mar 10  The New York Times reports that Japan is sending skilled men and investment funds to most of the nations of Asia.

March 15  In a session of the United Nations Security Council the Soviet Union's representative asserts that the United States "is openly preparing within its own armed forces units of mercenaries to engage in a new intervention against Cuba."

Mar 17  The Soviet Union asks the United States to remove its military personnel from South Vietnam.

Mar 18  After seven and a half years of war, negotiations have produced a declared armistice in Algeria – the Évian Accords. Algerians are  permitted to continue freely circulating between their country and France for work. Europeans in Algeria remain French citizens, with guaranteed freedom of religion and property rights, but thousands are bitter toward de Gaulle and begin leaving Algeria for France.

Mar 22  FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, talks with President Kennedy about telephone calls between the President and Judith Exner, calls Exner had made to Kennedy from the home of mobster Sam Giancana. Kennedy ends phone conversations with Exner.

Mar 23  President Kennedy expands the ban against all imports from Cuba to include all goods made from or containing Cuban materials even if made in other countries.

Mar 25  Republican political strategists launch a campaign to label Democratic Party liberals in Congress as advocates of international surrender.

Apr 15  The Kennedy administration is afraid that opposition to Indonesia's demands concerning Dutch New Guinea might push Indonesia toward Communism. It urges the Dutch to negotiate a transfer of power in New Guinea to Indonesia.

Apr 16  Walter Cronkite succeeds Douglas Edwards at "The CBS Evening News."

Apr 16  Senator Barry Goldwater accuses the Kennedy Administration of attempting to "socialize the business of this country."

Apr 30  In the United States, Under Secretary of State George W. Ball predicts that the war against the Communists in South Vietnam will be  a "long, slow, arduous" struggle of a type that is not "congenial to the American temperament." Ball is older than Kennedy and his "whiz kids" and is not awed by them. And he has had a closer association with the French and understands their struggle in Vietnam better.

May 2  The Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS) continues its opposition to Algerian independence by a terrorist bomb attack in Algeria, which kills 110 and injures 147.

May 14  In Yugoslavia, President Tito's old comrade in arms and would be successor, Milovan Djilas,  in recent years a dissident but still describing himself as a Communist, has his prison term extended for having sneaked his book Conversations with Stalin to a publisher.   

May 23  In France, the founder of the OAS, a former general, Raoul Salan, is sentenced to life imprisonment.

May 24  In Lima, Peru, an unpopular ruling in a soccer match leads to a riot and panic that leaves 300 dead and over 500 injured.

May 30  Premier Cyrille Adoula of the Congo and President Moise Tshombe of Katanga Province announced an agreement on integrating the Katanga gendarmerie into the Congolese Army under the auspices of the United Nations.

May 31 The Israelis hang Adolf Eichmann.

Jun 1  Lee Harvey Oswald, his Russian wife and daughter, leave the Soviet Union for the United States.

Jun 25  The US Supreme Court decides a landmark case, Engel v. Vitale. Religious activity for children (including prayer) in public schools is judged to be in violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Some devout Christians begin a campaign of threats, hate and harrassment against the families that intitiated the lawsuit.

Jun 30  The last of the French Foreign Legion leaves Algeria.

Jul 1   Rwanda and Burundi gain independence from Belgium.

Jul 1  In Algeria 99 percent vote in favor of independence. 

Jul 17  The last atomic bomb is tested above ground in Nevada.

Jul 21  President Moise Tshombe of Katanga denounces UN Secretary General U Thant describing him and his government as "a bunch of clowns."

Jul 31  Algeria becomes officially independent from France.

Aug 3  "Battle-hardened" Australian "jungle fighters" arrive in South Vietnam to teach anti-guerrilla tactics.

Aug 5  Actress Marilyn Monroe is found dead, apparently from an overdose of sleeping pills.

Aug 5  In South Africa, Nelson Mandela has been in hiding and politically active for seventeen months. He is found, arrested and charged with incitement to rebellion. 

Aug 6  Jamaica becomes independent of Britain.

Aug 15  Indonesian and Dutch negotiators have agreed on Indonesia control over Dutch New Guinea beginning in May, 1963. The agreement stipulates that within six years the Papuans will be free to decide between Indonesian control and independence. Papuans were expecting the independence that the Dutch had promised them, and they are angry.

Aug 20  Pakistan has been asked by the United Nations to provide a military force to keep order in Dutch New Guinea.

Aug 22  Members of the OAS attempt to assassinate President de Gaulle – to be portrayed in the book and film Day of the Jackal.

Aug 24  From a speedboat, Cuban refugees fire weapons at a Havana hotel.

Aug 24  The Fourth Asian Games start in Jakarta. Despite rules of the Asian Games Federation, Indonesia's government has refused visas for the Israeli and Taiwanese delegations, the government succumbing to pressure from Arab countries and the People's Republic of China.

Aug 31  The islands of Trinidad and Tobago become independent of Britain and together form a republic. 

Sep 2  The Soviet Union believes that the US intends to attack Cuba. It agrees with Cuba to send arms to deter an attack. 

Sep 3  The Fourth Asian Games end with Indonesians booing India's athletes, its flag and national anthem.

Sep 16  Britain is planning independence for the remainder of its empire in Southeast Asia. It creates Malaysia by combining Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo.

Sep 19  Yemen's monarch, Imam Ahmad, dies at the age of 71.

Sep 21  Border fighting erupts again between China and India.

Sep 26  In the US Congress, anger rises against the Soviet Union's plans to build a fishing port in Cuba.

Sep 26  In Yemen, the 35-year-old heir of Imam Ahmad is assassinated in his palace by a military faction, which proclaims a "free republic."

Sep 27  Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring is published. In June excerpts were published in New Yorker magazine. She is a marine biologist, a scientist who cites evidence for her claims. A storm of protest and hyperbole rises from chemical companies, including Monsanto, and a few scientists friendly with the chemical industry. This gives her book more publicity. The environmentalist movement is stimulated.

Sep 28   The new regime in Yemen executes ten former government officials.

Sep 29  Egypt (the United Arab Republic) recognizes the Republic of Yemen.

Sep 30  Khrushchev invites Kennedy to visit the Soviet Union.

Oct 1  Escorted by Federal Marshals, James Meredith becomes the first black to register at the University of Mississippi.

Oct. 7  According to Egyptian radio, Yemeni troops and planes are fighting a "pitched battle" against Saudi Arabian forces on Yemen's northern frontier.

Oct 8  Algeria becomes a member of the United Nations. 

Oct 9  Uganda becomes independent of Britain and chooses to be a member of the Commonwealth.

Oct 10  The New York Times correspondent, David Halberstam, reports that In a Vietnamese village, Communist guerrillas have thrown a party for local people and served food, tea and weapons.

Oct 11  Pope John XXIII convenes the first ecumenical council in 92 years, called Vatican II.

Oct 14  The Soviet Union's long-range missiles are ineffective. There has been no missile-gap. Khrushchev has effective "medium range" missiles and has decided to put them in Cuba.  A U-2 flight over Cuba takes photos of Soviet nuclear weapons being installed.

Oct 16  President Kennedy is informed of the missiles in Cuba.

Oct 19  The Cuban Missile Crisis begins. Air Force chief of staff General Curtis LeMay argues that the blocking Cuba and political talks without accompanying military action will lead to war, that the Soviet Union will not move against West Berlin if we act in Cuba but will so move if we fail to act. He concludes, "I just don't see any other solution except direct military intervention right now."

Oct 22  Senate leaders have called for air strikes against Cuba. Kennedy has decided on an arms blockade. A broadcast from Moscow says that unusual activity in Washington indicates that the United States "once again [is] raising its armed fist over Cuba." Kennedy tells the public that "Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island." In the Soviet Union and Cuba there is objection to the missile sites being described as offensive.

Oct 23  Khrushchev's quick response to the appeal by British philosopher Bertrand Russell is welcomed by the British government as a sign that the Soviet Union will back away from a showdown over Cuba.

Oct 24  Soviet ships on their way to Cuba receive radio orders to hold their position. Talking with his advisors, Kennedy says that if the US invades Cuba within the next ten days, some of the missiles in Cuba will likely be fired at US targets. He asks about evacuating people from cities a few days before the invasion. He is told that cities provide the best protection against radiation. Talking alone with his brother Robert, Kennedy entertains the idea that Khrushchev is trying to influence the Congressional Elections just a couple of weeks away. 

Oct 25  The US aircraft carrier Essex hails the Soviet tanker Bucharest. The tanker's hatches are too small to accommodate missiles and the ship claims that it is now carrying cargo quarantined by the US The Essex allows the Bucharest to proceed to Cuba, but it is shadowed by a US destroyer. 

Oct 26 Castro cables Khrushchev, urging a nuclear strike against the US in the event of an invasion of Cuba. Khrushchev sends a note to Kennedy offering to withdraw missiles from Cuba if the US closes its military bases in Turkey.

Oct 27  A SAM missile shoots down a U-2 aircraft over Cuba. The US pilot is killed. Kennedy decides against ordering an attack on the missile site but agrees to strike at all SAM missile sites if any more US airplanes are attacked. Discussing Khrushchev's proposal concerning Turkey, Kennedy complains that "last year we tried to get the missiles out of there because they were not militarily useful." General Taylor reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff want an air strike against Cuba no later than the morning of the 29th unless there is irrefutable evidence that the missiles are being dismantled.

Oct 28  Kennedy promises Khrushchev not to invade Cuba and Khrushchev agrees to the removal of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Oct 29  Many in the world are happy to be alive.

Oct 30  Khrushchev writes to Castro: "Had we, yielding to the sentiments prevailing among the people, allowed ourselves to be carried away by certain passionate sectors of the population and refused to come to a reasonable agreement with the US government, then a war could have broken out, in the course of which millions of people would have died and the survivors would have pinned the blame on the leaders for not having taken all the necessary measures to prevent that war of annihilation."

Nov 1  As promised, the Soviet Union begins dismantling their missiles in Cuba.

Nov 4  Halberstam reports that Communist guerrillas consider the mountainous territory north of Saigon as their own and that the Saigon regime's military officers tend to agree.

Nov 4  The kingdoms of Jordan and Saudi Arabia are supporting the royalist forces in Yemen. Egypt is assisting Yemen's republican forces.

Nov 5  Saudi Arabia breaks diplomatic relations with Egypt.

Nov 6  The U.N. General Assembly calls for member states to end military and economic ties with South Africa.

Nov 9  A fifth Saudi Arabian prince has joined his brothers in exile in Egypt. They have renounced their titles and have pledged to work for a "free Saudi Arabia."

Nov 11  Royalist forces in Yemen claim to have killed 250 Egyptian soldiers.

Nov 20  Fifty US helicopters carry Saigon troops on an operation against what has been regarded as a Communist sanctuary.

Nov 21  China agrees to a cease-fire on the India-China border. At the U.N. the Soviet Union agrees to withdraw bomber aircraft from Cuba. Kennedy ends the arms quarantine against Cuba.

Dec 2  On a trip to Vietnam at President Kennedy's request, Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana reports that US money poured into Vietnam in the last seven years has accomplished nothing. He blames the Diem regime for its failure to share power and win support from the South Vietnamese people. Mansfield's view surprises and irritates President Kennedy.

Dec 8  In Britain's colony Brunei an army backed by Indonesia rebels. The Sultan of Brunei escapes. The army seizes oil fields and takes European hostages. In the evening, British and Gurkha troops arrive from Singapore.

Dec 9  Tanganyika becomes independent of British rule and a republic within the Commonwealth.

Dec 16  In Brunei, the British claim to occupy all major rebel centers.

Dec 19  The United States recognizes the Republic of Yemen.

Dec 21  Juan Bosch, a 53-year-old novelist and political science professor, is elected president of the Dominican Republic by a vast margin.

Dec 24  Cuba exchanges 1,113 participants in the Bay of Pigs invasion for $53 million worth of food.

Dec 30  UN troops take over the last of the rebel positions in Katanga Province. Moise Tshombe, moves to South Rhodesia.

to 1961 | to 1963

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