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macrohistory & world timeline

Timeline: 1963

Jan 11  In his inaugural speech as governor of Alabama, George Wallace proclaims "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever."

Feb 8  Iraq's ruler, General Kassem, is overthrown in a coup led by members of his military and the Ba'ath party. After a quick trial he is shot. Kassem had suppressed the Communist Party in Iraq, and now the killing of Communists, other leftist intellectuals and trade unionists begins. Saddam Hussein, a junior member and former hit man for the Ba'ath Party, returns to Iraq. 

Feb 8  President Kennedy makes travel to Cuba and financial and commercials transactions with Cuba illegal for US citizens.

Feb 27  The leftist former professor, Juan Bosch, takes office as President of the Dominican Republic.

Mar 22  In Britain a leading Conservative Party leader and Minister of War, John Profumo, denies to the House of Commons that back in 1961 he had been involved with Christine Keeler, who is known to have been involved with a Soviet attaché.

Mar 31  The last of the streetcars disappear in Los Angeles.

Apr 1  In Dallas, at his second job since returning from the Soviet Union,  Lee Harvey Oswald has been rude with his fellow workers and inefficient at his job – as a photoprint trainee. A supervisor finds him on his lunch break reading the Soviet Union's satirical magazine Krokodil – available in the United States as part of a cultural exchange agreement between the US and the Soviet union. Oswald is fired.

Apr 8  US advisors complain that Diem's forces in the Mekong Delta are hampering the war effort by their reluctance to take casualties.

Apr 10  In Dallas, Oswald fires his rifle into the home of the former general and outspoken anti-Communist, Edwin Walker, barely missing Walker. Oswald returns home with his rifle, undetected.

Apr 20  President Sukarno of Indonesia endorses Beijing's foreign policies in exchange for Beijing's support for Sukarno's opposition to the formation of the new state of Malaysia.

May 1  The UN hands control over what had been Dutch New Guinea to Indonesia.  

May 8  In Vietnam, Buddha's birthday is being celebrated. President Diem, a Roman Catholic, has a law against Buddhists displaying their flag. The Buddhists are aware of Papal flags having been flown, and they line streets defiantly flying their flag. Diem sends troops in armored vehicles against them. Nine Buddhists are killed.  Diem accuses the Buddhists of sympathizing with the Communists.

May 11  In a television interview, Fidel Castro, recently returned from red carpet treatment in the Soviet Union, says that the United States has "taken some steps in the way of peace" in its relations with Cuba and that these might be the basis of better relations.

May 22  In Greece, a popular member of parliament, Grigoris Lambrakis, is intentionally run down by a truck.  

May 27 Lambrakis dies. Unrest follows, with the government castigated as a moral accomplice in the death of Lambrakis.   

Jun 5  John Profumo confesses that he misled the House of Commons back in March. He resigns. 

Jun 10  In a speech at American University in West Virginia, President Kennedy says, "Some say that it is useless to speak of peace or world law or world disarmament – and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it ... I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concepts of universal peace and goodwill of which some fantasies and fanatics dream ... No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue ... Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war."

Jun 12  The Field Director of the NAACP in Mississippi, Medgar Evers, is shot and killed in front of his home.

Jun 11   At a busy intersection in Saigon, a Buddhist Monk sets himself on fire – a scene televised across the world.  President Diem's sister in law, Madam Nhu, acting first lady of Diem's regime, says she would "clap hands at seeing another monk barbecue show."

Jun 11  In Alabama, federal troops force Governor George Wallace to allow black students to enter the University of Alabama.

Jun 16  The Soviet Union sends the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, into space.

Jun 17 The US Supreme Court rules 8-1 to strike down rules requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools.

Jun 20 The United States and Soviet Union agree to a communications hot line between the two powers and sign a treaty limiting nuclear testing.

Jun 21 In California, the Board of Regents who govern the state's university system abolishes the speaker ban by a vote of 15 to 2 with one abstention. One of those opposed, Regent Jerd F. Sullivan Jr, expresses his opposition: " ... to allow an agent of the Communist Party to peddle his wares to students of an impressionable age is just as wrong, in my estimation as it would be to allow Satan himself to use the pulpit of one of our best cathedrals for the purpose of trying to proselyte new members... Communism ... is a foreign ideology; a subversive conspiracy dedicated to the overthrow of our form of government, by force if necessary. Their sales ability has been well demonstrated by the strides they have made in many parts of the world. Therefore, if we as a country feel that our ideology is superior, why leave our youth open to the narcotic influence of that salesmanship."

July 19  Since May, Lee Harvey Oswald has been working at the Reilly Coffee Company. He is fired from this third job since having returned from the Soviet Union.

Aug 3  Madam Nhu accuses Buddhist leaders of treason, murder and describes them as "so-called holy men who use Communist tactics."

Aug 4  In Vietnam another Buddhist priest burns himself to death.

Aug 9  Buddhist leaders, fearing more suicide demonstrations, prohibit suicide by fire.

Aug 11  US intelligence becomes aware of "deep and smoldering" resentment against Diem in his army.

Aug 12  President Betancourt of Venezuela wants the former dictator Perez Jiminez back in Venezuela to face charges of embezzling 13 million dollars. After careful legal study the Kennedy administration extradites him.  

Aug 12  In Vietnam an 18-year-old Buddhist girl maims herself in protest against Diem's religious policies.

Aug 13  A 17-year-old Buddhist student priest burns himself to death.

Aug 15  A Buddhist nun, in her twenties, burns herself to death.

Aug 16  A 71-year-old Buddhist monk burns himself to death in the city of Hue.

Aug. 17  Forty-seven faculty members at the University of Hue resign to protest the Government's discharge of the Roman Catholic rector of the university and what they call government "indifference" toward settling a 14-week-old religious crisis.

Aug 18  At the Xa Loi pagoda in Saigon, about 15,000 Buddhists, most of them young people, sit-in and commit to a hunger strike.

Aug 21  Hundreds of heavily armed policemen and soldiers, firing pistols and using tear-gas bombs and hand grenades, swarm into the Xa Loi pagoda.

Aug 22 The US State Department criticizes Diem's government for violating its assurances that a reconciliation with Buddhists was being sought.

Aug 23  In Vietnam, David Halberstam of the New York Times reports growing anti-American feeling and student unrest.

Aug 25  In response to student unrest, Diem's regime announces the closure of all public and private secondary schools and Saigon's university.

Aug 28  At the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King makes his "I have a dream" speech.

Sep 6  Senator Barry Goldwater urges postponing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Sep 16  Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo are united into the Federation of Malaysia.

Sep 21  The government of Indonesia announces the takeover of all British Companies.

Sep 23  During an interview by Walter Cronkite, President Kennedy says that South Vietnam's Government cannot win its war against the Communists unless it recovers popular support. He also expresses a domino theory: that "if we withdrew from Vietnam, the Communists would control Vietnam. Pretty soon, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaya, would go..."

Sep 25  The US Senate, by a vote of 80 to 19, ratifies the treaty outlawing nuclear tests – in the atmosphere, in space and in the waters of the earth.  President Kennedy sets out on an eleven-state tour to plead for support for his domestic program.

Sep 26  President Sukarno says that the new federation of Malaysia was created "to corner Indonesia" and that Indonesia will need to "fight and destroy" it.

Sep 26  In the Dominican Republic, some are opposed to the reforms of Juan Bosch. In a pre-dawn military coup, the government of Juan Bosch is overthrown. Coup leaders describe Bosch's government as having been "corrupt and pro Communist."

Sep 27 The United States halts all economic aid to the Dominican Republic and suspends diplomatic relations.

Sep 27  Lee Harvey Oswald has taken a bus to Mexico City where he visits the Cuban consulate, hoping to move to Cuba, which he believes has a socialism superior to that of the Soviet Union.

Sep 27  Madam Nhu announces that a number of Junior officers are plotting against her brother-in-law's government.

Oct 2  President Kennedy sends a message to Ambassador Lodge in Vietnam, declaring that "no initiative should now be taken to give any encouragement to a coup" against Diem but that Lodge should "identify and build contacts with possible leadership as and when it appears."

Oct 5  The rebel generals, led by Duong Van "Big" Minh, have asked for assurance that US aid to South Vietnam will continue after Diem's removal from office and assurance that the US will not interfere with their coup. President Kennedy gives his approval and the CIA passes it on to the rebel generals. 

Oct 7  President Kennedy ratifies a limited nuclear test ban treaty with Britain and the Soviet Union. Nuclear testing is outlawed in the atmosphere, underwater and in outer space.

Oct 9  Madam Nhu's father, Tran Van Chuong, who recently resigned as South Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States, has joined those opposed to the Diem regime. He calls for a selective cut in American aid to his country.

Oct 11  The US has 16,300 members of the military in Vietnam, increased from 800 by President Kennedy. Kennedy issues an order for the withdrawal from Vietnam of 1,000 military personnel by the end of 1963. According to Kennedy's Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, to be stated in the early 21st century, Kennedy is considering pulling US troops out of Vietnam after the 1964 election.

Oct 14  Madam Nhu accuses Washington of going soft on Communism and of basing its policies toward Vietnam on domestic political concerns.

Oct 15  Oswald is back from Mexico after having been denied a visa by Cuba. He has acquired a job at the Texas School Book Depository at $1.25 per hour filling customer orders for books.

Oct 16  In South Korea the leader of the ruling junta, Major General Park Chung-hee, is elected President.

Oct 18  In Britain the government of Harold Macmillan has lost credibility because of the Profumo affair, and Macmillan is suffering ill-health. He resigns.

Oct 24  This is U.N. Day, and the U.N. Ambassador, Adlai Stevenson, is in Dallas Texas, where he is jeered, pushed, hit by a sign and spat upon. 

Oct 25  Ambassador Lodge reports a coup is "imminent."  The White House tells Lodge to postpone the coup. Lodge says that the coup can be stopped only by betraying the conspirators to Diem.

Nov 1  The Diem regime is overthrown. Diem and his younger brother, Madam Nhu's husband, are said to have committed suicide. In fact they were assassinated. People in Saigon bedeck army tanks with flowers and parade joyously through the streets.

Nov 2  Madam Nhu accuses the United States of having stabbed the Diem government in the back.

Nov 4  In elections in Greece, former Premier George Papandreou and his Center Union party win over former Premier Constantine Caramanlis and his rightist National Radical Union.

Nov 6 In Greece, King Paul gives Papandreou a mandate to form a new government.

Nov 12  The Kennedy administration has hopes for better relations with Cuba and is arranging a meeting with Castro's regime, a meeting Kennedy does not want leaked to the press.

Nov 14  In Greece hundreds of political prisoners are freed.

Nov 16  In the United States the touch-tone telephone is introduced.

Nov 20  In the United States a handbill is being prepared for distribution during President Kennedy's visit to Dallas. It blames Kennedy for betraying the Constitution, for " turning the sovereignty of the US over to the communist controlled United Nations," for endangering the security of the US with "deals" with the Soviet Union, for being "lax in enforcing Communist Registration laws", giving "support and encouragement to the Communist inspired racial riots, and having "consistently appointed Anti-Christians to Federal office."

Nov 22  In Dallas, President Kennedy rides in an open limousine on a route of public knowledge. It passes in front of the building where Oswald works. Oswald takes his rifle to work with him and shoots the President. Vice President Johnson becomes President.

Nov 24  Jack Ruby, owner of a girly bar and friend of Dallas policemen, kills Oswald.

Nov 24  After walking in the procession from the White House behind the Kennedy cortege, President Johnson meets with Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of Defense McNamara, CIA Director McCone and Ambassador Lodge. He expresses doubts that getting rid of Diem was the right course. He declares that he will not "lose Vietnam." He tells Lodge to tell Duong Van Minh and the other generals who made up the ruling Military Revolutionary Council that bickering among them must stop.

Nov 29  President Johnson appoints Chief Justice Earl Warren as head of a commission to investigate the Kennedy assassination.

Nov 30  In Cyprus, quarrels have erupted between Greeks and the Turkish minority. President Makarios hopes for better cooperation between the two communities and proposes thirteen amendments to the Constitution for consideration by leaders of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Dec 1  In the US, Malcolm X, a spokesperson for Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, describes the assassination of Kennedy as "the chickens coming home to roost."  This irritates Elijah Muhammad, who suspends Malcolm's right to speak for the movement for 90 days.

Dec 20  In a seventeen-day accord, East Germany allows West Berliners one-day to visit relatives in East Berlin.

Dec 21 In Cyprus, proposed constitutional amendments would eliminate most of the special rights of Turkish Cypriots in exchange for greater integration between the two communities, with some guarantees for Turkish rights. Among Turkish Cypriots, rioting erupts.

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