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1954CE

<< 1953 CE | 1951-1960 CE | 1955 CE >>

§World Events

  • The foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union met at the Berlin Conference on January 25th.
  • On February 18th, the first Church of Scientology was established in Los Angeles, California.
  • The first mass vaccination of children against polio began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • On March 25th RCA manufactured the first color TV set (12" screen; price: $1,000).
  • On April 4th legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini experienced a lapse of memory during a concert. At the concert's end, his retirement was announced, and Toscanini never conducted in public again.
  • October 18 - Texas Instruments announced the first transistor radio.
  • The first organ transplant surgeries were performed in Boston and Paris.
  • The Unification Church was founded.

§Africa

§Algeria

The Algerian National Liberation Front began a revolt against French rule on October 31st. On November 1st, the FLN was formed as a socialist political party in Algeria, a merger of other smaller groups, to obtain independence for Algeria from France.

The Algerian War of Independence effectively started on November 1, 1954 during the Toussaint Rouge, a conflict which shook the French Fourth Republic's (1945-58) foundations. Under orders from Guy Mollet's (SFIO) government, the French Army initiated a campaign of "pacification" of what was still considered at the time as fully part of France. This "public order operation" quickly turned itself into a full war, most Algerians, whom at first were mostly in favor of peace and tranquility, turned themselves increasingly towards the goal of independence, while French divided themselves on the issues of "French Algeria" (l'Algérie Française), of the conservation of the status-quo, the acceptance of negotiations and of an intermediate status between independence and complete integration in the French Republic, and independence.

Both sides targeted civilians and otherwise used brutal tactics in what was largely a guerrilla war.

§Kenya

Mau Mau leader Waruhiu Itote was captured in Kenya on January 15th.

§Egypt

On February 25th, Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser was made premier of Egypt. On October 26th a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdul Munim Abdul Rauf, tried to kill Nasser. But by November 14th the Egyptian President Mohammed Naguib had been deposed and Nasser replaced him.

§Asia

§South Korea

Sun Myung Moon founded the Unification Church.

§Central America

§Guatamala

On June 17th, a CIA-sponsored military coup, codenamed Operation PBSUCCESS, took place. Ten days later, President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán stepped down. This triggered a bloody civil war that continued for more than 35 years.

§Europe

§France

June 18 - Pierre Mendès-France becomes prime minister of France

§Germany

January 25 – The foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union meet at the Berlin Conference.

Finland and Germany officially end the state of war. On October 23rd, West Germany joined NATO.

§United Kingdom

It's believed by some that Stonehenge was reconstructed. (see sources for YouTube link). Due to the erosion on the stone, it's likely that Stonehenge stones are more than a million years old. It's believed by some that the reconstruction of Stonehenge was a disinformation ploy to make people believe that human history is much shorter than people now believe.

On April 14th, Aneurin Bevan resigned from the UK Labour shadow cabinet.

In July all food rationing ended.

§Netherlands

May 29 - The group known as the Bilderberg Group met at the Bilderberg Hotel in the Netherlands, where it held its first official (and highly secretive) meeting.

§Yugoslavia

Milovan Djilas, Tito's second-in-command, was relieved of his duties on January 17th.

§North America

§United States

January 14 – Marilyn Monroe marries baseball player Joe DiMaggio.

January 21 – The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), is launched in Groton, Connecticut, by First Lady of the United States Mamie Eisenhower.

February 10 – After authorizing $385 million over the $400 million already budgeted for military aid to Vietnam, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower warns against United States intervention in Vietnam.

February 23 – The first mass vaccination of children against polio begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.

March 1 - U.S. Capitol shooting incident: Four Puerto Rican nationalists open fire in the United States House of Representatives chamber and wound five; they are apprehended by security guards.

March 9 – American journalists Edward Murrow and Fred W. Friendly produce a 30-minute See It Now documentary, entitled A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy.

April 1 – The U.S. Congress and President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorize the founding of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado

§U.S. Industry

March 25 - RCA manufactures the first color TV set (12-inch screen; price: $1,000)

§U.S. Health

Sugar Research Foundation president, Henry Haas, gave a speech highlighting the potential of reducing American fat intake and recapturing those calories as carbohydrates that would increase the per capita consumption of sugar more than a third.

§U.S. Law

May 17 - U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Brown vs. Board of Education), the Warren Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for integration and was a major victory of the civil rights movement.

§U.S. Politics

Politically, the issue that plagued the Eisenhower Administration was farm parity. Despite serious drought, it was a bumper agricultural year. Secretary of Agriculture Benson was fighting the problem of crop surpluses. Benson proposed flexible government support between 70 and 90% of parity.

Even with this farm parity issue, the Eisenhower administration enjoyed good relations with Congress and managed substantial approval on tax relief, extension of social security and the budget. Yet, he failed to attain statehood for Hawaii and his atomic energy bill was fiercely attacked. This bill would have authorized private power plants within the TVA. Democrats and a few Republicans managed to defeat the bill in what was at the time the longest filibuster on record.

April 7 – Dwight D. Eisenhower gives his "domino theory" speech during a news conference.

Former California Governor, Earl Warren, was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court upon the death of Fred M. Vinson. The new court unanimously overruled lower court rulings on the banning of movies as a violation of the First Amendment. The other important decision was to reverse the long standing decision which had permitted segregation in "separated but equal" schools. In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas the Supreme Court ruled on the basis that the doctrine of "separate but equal" public education could never truly provide black Americans with facilities of the same standards available to white Americans.

This was the time of the true birth of nuclear power in the United States. The public received its first information about the country's H-bomb tests when on March 1st, officials announced that an American hydrogen bomb test had been conducted on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

The first "atomic-powered" submarine was launched and two atomic power plants were completed. On January 21st, the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched in Groton, Connecticut, by First Lady, Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Even with the completion of two power plants, it was the Russians that opened the first atomic power plant in June, near Moscow.

Boeing first tested jet transport in this year and Scandinavian Airlines opened up the first trans-polar air route. The United States considered themselves in a race with Great Britain to develop jets as a means of transportation, particularly for rapid troop deployment as a military advantage.

Militarily, the country was worried about the Soviet atomic threat and completed a radar network and developed anti-missile defense systems. The country, despite a low enlistment rate, was still in an arms buildup and factories poured out military supplies. This helped to support a healthy economy. The fight was now against communism. On April 7th Eisenhower gave his "domino theory" speech during a news conference. This was the theory that if one country became communist others would follow. This established the form of US government interventionist foreign policy into the 21st Century. Yet, in February, President Eisenhower warned against United States intervention in Vietnam.

Congress, against the advice of the Attorney General, voted to outlaw the Communist Party. Eisenhower reluctantly signed the bill into law. Attorney General Brownell had stated that the measure would hamstring existing methods of tracking down "Reds."

Edward Murrow and Fred W. Friendly produced a 30-minute See It Now special entitled "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy". On April 22nd McCarthy began hearings investigating the United States Army for being "soft" on Communism. On June 9th, Joseph Welch, special counsel for the United States Army, lashed out at McCarthy during hearings on whether Communism had infiltrated the Army. On December 2nd, the United States Senate voted 67 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute."

June 14 - On United States Flag Day, the words "under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance. On October 11th Hurricane Hazel crossed over Haiti, killing 1,000 people. Within four days it had made U.S. landfall becoming the only recorded Category 4 hurricane to strike as far north as North Carolina.

§U.S. Economy

The depression that had been feared and proposed by administration critics never happened. Unemployment was low and inflation was halted. On November 23rd the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.27 points, or 0.86%, closing at an all-time high of 382.74. More significantly, this was the first time the Dow has surpassed its 1929 peak level reached just before that year's crash.

The automobile industry had overproduced such that automobile manufacturing workers at Studebaker voted to take a pay cut.

§U.S. Religion

lobbying by the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus helped convince the U.S. Congress to add the phrase "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. President Dwight Eisenhower wrote to Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart thanking the Knights for their "part in the movement to have the words 'under God' added to our Pledge of Allegiance

§Central America

§Guatamala

A revolution overthrew the communists in Guatamala ousting Jacobo Arbenz.

§Russia

As of January 1st the Soviet Union no longer demanded war reparations from East Germany. Almost four months later, it recognized the sovereignty of East Germany but Soviet troops remained in the country.

On June 27, the world's first atomic power station opened at Obninsk, near Moscow. Later that year, the Soviet Union was ready with a nuclear weapon, testing it on September 14th.

§South America

§Brazil

On August 24th the President of Brazil, Getulio Vargas, committed suicide. He had been accused of conspiracy to murder an air force officer.

§South East Asia

§Laos

On December 24th Laos gained its independence.

§Vietnam

By 1954, despite official propaganda presenting the war as a "crusade against communism", the war in Indochina was still growing unpopular with the French public. The political stagnation of the Fourth Republic meant that France was unable to extract itself from the conflict. The United States initially sought to remain neutral, viewing the conflict as chiefly a decolonization war.

March 13 - The Battle of Dien Bien Phu began between Viet Minh forces under Vo Nguyen Giap supported by China and the Soviet Union and the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps supported by Indochinese allies. The battle was fought near the village of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam and became the last major battle between the French and the Vietnamese in the First Indochina War. The battle began when preemptive Việt Minh attack surprised the French with heavy artillery. Their supply lines interrupted, the French position became untenable, particularly when the advent of the monsoon season made dropping supplies and reinforcements by parachute difficult. With defeat imminent, the French sought to hold on till the opening of the Geneva peace meeting on April 26. The last French offensive took place on May 4, but it was ineffective. The Việt Minh then began to hammer the outpost with newly supplied Russian Katyusha rockets along with all the other inventions and implements now being turned against the French.

The final fall took two days, May 6 and 7th, during which the French fought on but were eventually overrun by a huge frontal assault. General Cogny based in Hanoi ordered General de Castries, who was commanding the outpost to cease fire at 5:30PM and to destroy all material (weapons, transmissions, etc.) to deny their use to the enemy. A formal order was given to not use the white flag so that it would not be considered to be a surrender but a ceasefire. Much of the fighting ended on May 7; however, a ceasefire was not respected on Isabelle, the isolated southern position, where the battle lasted until May 8 1:00AM.[29] At least 2,200 members of the 20,000-strong French forces died during the battle. Of the 100,000 or so Vietnamese thought to be involved, there were an estimated 8,000 killed and another 15,000 wounded.[citation needed] The prisoners taken at Dien Bien Phu were the greatest number the Việt Minh had ever captured: one-third of the total captured during the entire war. One month after Dien Bien Phu, the composite Groupe Mobile 100 (GM100) of the French Union forces evacuated the An Khe outpost and was ambushed by a larger Việt Minh force at the Battle of Mang Yang Pass from June 24 to July 17. On the same time, Giap launched some offensives against the delta but they all failed. The Việt Minh victory at Dien Bien Phu heavily influenced the outcome of the 1954 Geneva accords.

On July 21st, the Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

In August began Operation Passage to Freedom consisting of the evacuation of Catholic and loyalist Vietnamese civilians from communist North Vietnamese persecution.

By October the Viet Minh had taken control of North Vietnam.

§South Pacific

§Australia

February 3 – Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first reigning monarch to visit Australia.

Vladimir Petrov defected from the Soviet Union on April 3rd and asked for political asylum in Australia.

§Bikini Atol

March 1 - U.S. officials announce that a hydrogen bomb test has been conducted on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

§Philippines

September 6, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) treaty was signed in Manila. It was created to oppose further Communist gains in Southeast Asia. The organization's headquarters was located in Bangkok, Thailand.

§Births

  • June 19 - Ted Coombs, Futurist, American Artist and author

§Deaths

  • June 7 - Mathematician Alan Turing committed suicide.

§Sources

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