Spirit of America Bookstore

U.S.  Timeline  –  1931  to  1950

Ancient Times - 3500 B.C.E to 1490

1491-1800    •    1801-1900    •    1901-1930    •    jump to 1951-1968

•   1969-2000    •    2001-2010    •    2011-2016    •    2017 to present

The Great Depression    •    World War Two    •    Post-War Boom Era

The  Great  Depression

  • 1929 Oct 24: Beginning of the stock market crash – referred to since as 'Black Thursday'.
  • 1929 Oct 28: Stock market crashes! #3 worst one-day Dow-Jones Industrial Average decline of 12.82%, closing at 260.64.
  • 1929 Oct 29: Stock market crashes! #4 worst one-day Dow-Jones Industrial Average decline of 11.73%, closing at 230.07; the infamous 'Black Tuesday' collapse of the New York stock market began America's 'Great Depression'.
  • 1929 Nov 6: Stock market crashes! #5 worst one-day Dow-Jones Industrial Average decline of 9.92%.

    see Spirit of America's 'Great Depression' [1929-39] Page
    for a detailed timeline and books & movies on the subject

  • 1931: Wall Drug Store was founded in Wall, South Dakota.
  • 1931 March 3: "The Star-Spangled Banner" officially became the U.S. national anthem.
  • 1931 March 18: Schick, Inc. put the first electric razor on the market.
  • 1931 March 19: Nevada legalized gambling.
  • 1931 April 7: Birthday of 'Pentagon Papers' whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1931 May 1: Dedication of the 102-story Empire State Building in New York City.
  • 1931 Oct 4: Debut of the "Dick Tracy" comic strip by Chester Gould [1900-85]; the strip ended publication in 1977.
  • 1931 Oct 5: The first nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean ended 41 hours 15 minutes after leaving Japan, as pilots Clyde Pangborn & Hugh Herndon, Jr. landed in East Wenatchee, Washington.
  • 1931 Oct 17: Mobster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion & sentenced to heavy fines and 11 years in prison. (Capone served 7½ years at federal prisons in Georgia and at Alcatraz & Terminal Island in California.)
  • 1931 Oct 24: Official dedication of the George Washington Bridge which connects Fort Lee, New Jersey with Manhattan Island; the bridge was opened to automobile traffic the next day.
  • 1931 Dec 10: Chicago social worker Jane Addams [1860-1935] was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize; she shared the award with American peace activist Nicholas Murray Butler [1862-1947], president of Columbia University in New York City.

  • 1932:
    • Fritos Corn Chips® put on the market, in San Antonio, Texas; company merged with H.W. Lay Company in 1961.
    • Skippy Peanut Butter introduced by Rosefield Packing Co. of Alamada, California, under license to Swift & Co.; re-introduced 1 February 1933, in both creamy & new chunk-style forms.
    • Mars Candy Co. introduced the 3 Musketeers® Bar, named for the three flavored sections (vanilla, chocolate & strawberry) inside.
    • James Herman Banning was the first Afro-American to fly coast-to-coast, accompanied by mechanic Thomas Allen. The flight encompassed 42 hours aloft, but took 21 days because they needed to raise money for gasoline at each stop.
    • Publication by Harper & Brothers of "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder [1867-1957], the first of nine books in the beloved "Little House on the Prairie" children's book series.
  • 1932 Jan 5: Construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California (opened in May 1937).
  • 1932 March 1: The 20-month-old son of aviator Charles Lindbergh & wife Anne was kidnapped from their home in Hopewell, New Jersey; after payment of a ransom, the child's body was found two months later.
  • 1932 March 4: Start of hearings by the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking and Currency on the causes of the stock market crash. Generally led by committee counsel Ferdinand Pecora [1882-1971], the hearings became known as the 'Pecora Commission'. The hearings were instrumental in passage of the Glass-Steagal Acts, the Securities Act of 1933, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; the commission ended hearings on 4 May 1934 and issued their final report.
    Hellhound of Wall Street book by Michael Perino  
    "The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of The Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance" [2010]
    by Michael Perino

    Penguin 8¼x5½ pb [9/2011] for $11.56
    Penguin Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [10/2010] for $12.99
  • 1932 March 7: Ford Motors workers hunger march from Detroit to Dearborn, Michigan; Dearborn police fired on them and over 60 protesters were wounded; four were killed (a fifth died of wounds some weeks later).
  • 1932 May 20-21: Aviator Amelia Earhart [1897-1937] made the first successful solo flight by a woman across the Atlantic Ocean, traveling nonstop from Newfoundland to Ireland.
  • 1932 June 2: Release of "What Price Hollywood?" directed by George Cukor; the film is considered a predecessor to the "A Star Is Born" movies of 1937 & 1954 & 1976.
  • 1932 June 6: The Senate approved and President Hoover signed into law a Revenue Act that included the first federal gasoline tax, which was one cent per gallon.
  • 1932 July 8: The Dow-Jones Industrial Average hit bottom at 41.22 points, a loss of 89.19 percent since September 1929.
  • 1932 July 12: Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa received a patent for a bread-slicing machine with multiple cutting bands.
  • 1932 July 18: The Unites States & Canada signed a treaty to develop the St. Laurence Seaway.
  • 1932 July 28: President Hoover ordered federal troops to forcibly disband the 'Bonus Army' of thousands of unemployed World War I veterans camped out on the Washington Mall to demand early payment of pension money that they were not scheduled to receive until 1945; Gen. Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry, assisted by six tanks. {Wikipedia}
  • 1932 July 30: Start of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1932 Aug 12: #7 worst one-day Dow-Jones Industrial Average decline of 8.40%
  • 1932 Aug 24: Aviator Amelia Earhart [1897-1937] began a 19-hour cross-country flight (from Los Angeles, California to Newark, New Jersey), making her the first woman to fly solo and non-stop from coast to coast.
  • 1932 Sept 17: Birthday of mystery author Robert B. Parker in Springfield, Massachusetts; he died in 2010.
  • 1932 Sept 23: Merger of the Arab kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • 1932 Oct 3: Iraq became independent of British administration.
  • 1932 Oct 13: President Herbert Hoover and Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC.
  • 1932 Nov 8: Democratic New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover for the office of U.S. President; the landslide victory was 472 electoral votes for Roosevelt vs. 59 for Hoover.
  • 1932 Nov 11: A larger marble superstructure was dedicated at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.
  • 1932 Dec 27: Opening of Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

  • 1933:
    • First national minimum wage established at 25 cents per hour; the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the law was unconstitutional {as written} on 27 May 1935; new minimum wage law enacted in 1938.
    • First version of the Philadelphia cheese steak – sliced, grilled beef & grilled onions piled on a roll – made by Harry & Pat Olivieri at their 'Pat's King of Steaks' hot dog stand near the Italian market in South Philadelphia; the options of Cheez Whiz, provolone, American cheese & pizza sauce were added later.
  • 1933 Jan 30: Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany.
  • 1933 Feb 6: 20th Amendment {'lame duck'} declared to be in effect, establishing details of Presidential succession.
  • 1933 Feb 15: Attempted assassination by an unemployed Italian bricklayer at a meeting with President-elect Roosevelt in Miami, Florida. Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was seriously wounded and may have been the target; four others were wounded, one woman died later of her wound. Cermak died three weeks later; the assassin was quickly executed at Raiford Prison on March 20.
  • 1933 Feb 17: Thomas J.C. Martin published the first issue of Newsweek Magazine (then-called 'News-Week').
  • 1933 March-April: President Roosevelt initiated a series of programs called 'The New Deal' to reform the financial system and to restore the American economy. Further laws passed in 1935-36 are referred to as 'The Second New Deal'.
    The New Deal book by Kathryn A. Flynn & Richard Polese  
    "The New Deal: A 75th Anniversary Celebration" [2008]
    by Kathryn A. Flynn, with Richard Polese

    Gibbs Smith, Publr 10x9 pb [5/2008] for $19.00
  • 1933 March 2: The motion picture "King Kong" had its world premiere in New York City, becoming the highest grossing film of 1933.
  • 1933 March 6: Nationwide bank holiday declared by President Roosevelt went into effect; Congress affirmed F.D.R.'s orders in the Emergency Banking Act passed on March 9; the holiday ended on March 13.
  • 1933 March 6: Mayor Cermak of Chicago died of ulcerative colitis while in the hospital for the bullet wound in the chest that he received during a meeting with F.D.R. in Miami, Florida.
  • 1933 March 13: End of the 'bank holiday' declared by President Roosevelt one week prior.
  • 1933 March 13: The first national radio "Fireside Chat" from President Roosevelt to the American people. (F.D.R. made thirty such broadcasts, the last in June 1944.)
  • 1933 March 31: President Roosevelt signed the bill authorizing the Civilian Conservation Corps; operations were gradually ended after Pearl Harbor.
  • 1933 April 5: President Roosevelt made 'hoarding' of gold illegal, effectively taking the U.S. off the gold standard.
  • 1933 April 13: Police raid in Joplin, Missouri from which outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and three others (D.W. Jones, brother Buck Barrow, his wife Blanche Barrow) escaped; two officers were killed and Clyde was wounded in the side.
  • 1933 May 27: In response to the economic crisis, Congress passed the First Glass-Steagall Act.
  • 1933 June 5: The United States officially went off the gold standard.
  • 1933 June 6: Opening of the first drive-in movie theater, in Camden, New Jersey; the movie shown was "Wives Beware" starring Adolphe Menjou.
  • 1933 June 16: Congress passed the Second Glass-Steagall Act, which founded the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and separated commercial (checking & savings & loans) banking from investment (speculative) banking.
  • 1933 July 6: American baseball's first All-Star Game was played at Comiskey Park in Chicago; the American League team beat the National League team 4 to 2.
  • 1933 July 12: Birthday of Donald E. Westlake in Brooklyn, New York; he is famous for writing comic crime novels, and died at age 75 while on vacation in Mexico in 2008.
  • 1933 July 20: Birthday of Cormac McCarthy in Providence, Rhode Island; he now lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • 1933 July 21: #10 worst one-day Dow-Jones Industrial Average decline of 7.84%
  • 1933 July 22: American aviator Wiley Post completed the first solo flight around the world in seven days and 18-3/4 hours.
  • 1933 Oct 17: Scientist Albert Einstein [1879-1955] arrived in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany.
  • 1933 Nov 16: The United States and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations.
  • 1933 Nov 26: A New York judge decided that the 1922 James Joyce book "Ulysses" was not obscene and could be published in the U.S.
  • 1933 Dec 5: 21st Amendment ratified by Utah, ending Prohibition.

  • 1934 January: Debut of Sunday comic strips "Flash Gordon", "Jungle Jim", and "Secret Agent X-9", all drawn by Alex Raymond [1909-56].
  • 1934 March 24: President Roosevelt signed a bill granting future independence to the Philippines.
  • 1934 April 12: Charles Scribner's Sons published "Tender Is The Night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, after serialization in Scribner's Magazine.
  • 1934 April 18: Opening of the first laundromat (called a 'washateria') in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • 1934 May 4: End of hearings by the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking and Currency on the causes of the stock market crash, and publcation of the 'Pecora Commission' final report.
    Pecora Report 1934 book by U.S. Senate  
    "The Pecora Report: The Report On The Practices of Stock Exchanges From The 'Pecora Commission'" [1934]
    by U.S. Senate Committee on Banking and Currency

    CreateSpace / Aquitaine Media 10x7 pb [9/2009] for $25.95
  • 1934 June 6: Founding of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • 1934 June 15: President Roosevelt signed an act making the National Guard part of the U.S. Army in the event of war or national emergency.
  • 1934 June 18: Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act, promoted as a 'New Deal' for Native Americans.
  • 1934 June 19: The Federal Communications Commission was created, replacing the Federal Radio Commission.
  • 1934 July 22: Federal agents shot & killed bank robber John Dillinger outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.
  • 1934 Aug 11: The first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay (taking over operation of a former military prison).
  • 1934 Aug 13: Debut of the "Li'l Abner" satirical comic strip by Al Capp [1909-79]; the strip ended in 1977.
  • 1934 Aug 19: A plebiscite in Germany approved handing all executive power to Adolph Hitler by 90 percent.
  • 1934 Sept 19: Police arrested German-born handyman Richard Bruno Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of the 20-month-old son of Charles & Anne Lindbergh.
  • 1934 Sept 29: Birthday of mystery author Stuart M. Kaminsky in Chicago, Illinois; he died in 2009.
  • 1934 Oct 8: Richard Bruno Hauptmann was indicted for the Lindbergh baby kidnapping & murder.
  • 1934 Oct 22: Federal agents shot to death 30-year-old bank robber Charles 'Pretty Boy' Floyd at a farm near East Liverpool, Ohio.

  • 1935: Nabisco launched Ritz Crackers in the U.S.
  • 1935: Kodachrome™ color 35mm film put on the market (production ended June 2009).
  • 1935: Not very popular Monopoly™ Game was sold to Parker Brothers, who quickly made it a huge success.
  • 1935 Jan 2: Handyman Richard Bruno Hauptmann went on trial in Flemington, New Jersey on charges of kidnapping and murdering the Lindbergh baby. (Hauptmann was convicted, and then executed in April 1936.)
  • 1935 Jan 8: Birthday of rock'n'roll legend Elvis Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi; he died at age 42 at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee in 1977.
  • 1935 Jan 11: Aviator Amelia Earhart [1897-1937] began an 18-hour flight from Honolulu, Hawai'i to Oakland, California that made her the first woman pilot to solo across the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1935 Jan 16: The F.B.I. killed fugitive gangster Fred Barker and his mother Kate 'Ma' Barker in a shootout east of Ocala, Florida.
  • 1935 Jan 24: The first canned beer, Krueger's Cream Ale, went on sale in Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1935 Jan 30: Birthday of poet Richard Brautigan in Tacoma, Washington; he died in 1984.
  • 1935 April 8: President Roosevelt signed the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act, which funded such 'New Deal' programs as the Works Progress Administration to manage hiring the unemployed to construct and repair local public buildings, roads & other infrastructure, and to operate large arts, drama, media & literacy projects.
    American-Made / Legacy of the W.P.A.  
    "American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of The W.P.A. - When F.D.R. Put The Nation To Work" [2008]
    by Nick Taylor

    Bantam 9¾x6 hardcover [2/2008] for $17.92
    Random House official booksite

  • 1935 April 14: The Black Sunday duststorm turned a sunny afternoon into total darkness, immortalized in the song "The Great Dust Storm" by Woody Guthrie.
    long-lost House of Earth novel by Woody Guthrie  "House of Earth: A Novel" [2013] by Woody Guthrie
    Edited & Introduced by Douglas Brinkley & Johnny Depp

    Completed in 1947 and never published (possibly due to sexual content). First work from Depp's publishing imprint Infinitum Nihil; compared to John Steinbeck and D.H. Lawrence and described as a prose poem that elicits the reality of life during the 1930s Dust Bowl ecological disaster. A share-cropper and his wife struggle against the elements and the owners, hoping to someday realize their dream of building an adobe 'house of earth'.
    Kindle Edition from HarperCollins [2/2013] for $12.74
    Harper 9¼x6½ hardcover [2/2013] for $15.04

  • 1935 June 10: Founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio by Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith & William Griffith 'Bill' Wilson.
  • 1935 July 5: The National Labor Relations Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt.
  • 1935 July 16: Oklahoma City installed the first parking meters.
  • 1935 Aug 14: The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt.
  • 1935 Aug 15: American humorist Will Rogers [1879-1935] and aviator Wiley Post died when their airplane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska Territory.
  • 1935 Sept 2: The category 5 Labor Day Hurricane swept across the Florida Keys; more than 400 people died.
  • 1935 Sept 8: U.S. Senator Huey P. Long was shot at the Louisiana State Capitol by Dr. Carl Weiss and died two days later; Weiss was shot to death at the scene by Long's bodyguards.
  • 1935 Sept 15: The Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of their citizenship.
  • 1935 Sept 17: Birthday of author Ken Kesey in La Junta, Colorado; he died in Pleasant Hill, Oregon in 2001.
  • 1935 Sept 30: Boulder Dam on the Colorado River was dedicated by President Roosevelt.
    Boulder Dam novel by Zane Grey  
    "Boulder Dam" [1963 novel] by Zane Grey [1872-1939]
    Novel based on the real-life labor strife during the building of the hydroelectric dam across Black Canyon on the Colorado River.
    Harper mass pb [12/90] out of print/used
    Story House hardcover [1963] out of print/used
    Colossus Hoover Dam book by Michael Hiltzik  "Colossus: Hoover Dam and The Making of The American Century"
    [2010 novel] by Michael Hiltzik

    Kindle Edition from Free Press [6/2010] for $13.99
    Free Press 8½x5½ pb [5/2011] for $16.24
    Free Press 9½x6½ deckle-edge hardcover [6/2010] for $18.17
  • 1935 Nov 9: John L. Lewis & others formed the Committee for Industrial Organization, later renamed Congress of Industrial Organizations.
  • 1935 Nov 14: President Roosevelt proclaimed the Philippine Islands a free commonwealth; Manuel L. Quezon became its first president.
  • 1935 Dec 1: Birthday of comedian Woody Allen in Brooklyn, New York.
  • 1935 Dec 19: First public demonstration of F.M. radio, by American inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong.

  • 1936: General Mills Foods introduced the Betty Crocker® line of baking mixes.
  • 1936 Jan 20: King George V of U.K. died after a 25-year reign, succeeded by his son Edward VIII, who abdicated before year-end and became the Duke of Windsor.
  • 1936 Jan 29: First members named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in Coopers-town, New York: Ty Cobb [1886-1961], Walter Johnson [1887-1946], Christy Mathewson [1880-1925], Babe Ruth [1895-1948], and Honus Wagner [1874-1955].
  • 1936 Feb: The Secretary of the Treasury and the Comptroller of the Currency were removed from the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve, so that the federal government actually has no vote on any matter.
  • 1936 Feb: Publication of the revolutionary "The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money" by British economist John Maynard Keynes [1883-1946].
  • 1936 March 1: Official end of construction of Boulder Dam on the Colorado River.
  • 1936 March 11: Birthday of New Mexico author Nasario Garcia.
  • 1936 April 3: Handyman Richard Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, New Jersey for kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old son of Charles & Anne Lindbergh.
  • 1936 June 3: Birthday of author Larry McMurtry [1936] in Archer City, Texas.
  • 1936 June 30: Publication by Macmillan of the Civil War novel "Gone With The Wind" by author Margaret Mitchell [1900-49].
  • 1936 June 24: Birthday of filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr.
  • 1936 July 17: Beginning of the Spanish Civil War as right-wing army generals launched a coup attempt against the Second Spanish Republic.
  • 1936 Sept 11: President Roosevelt pressed a key in Washington, DC that started the operation of the first hydroelectric generator at Boulder Dam in Nevada.
  • 1936 Oct 26: Generators at the Boulder Dam Powerplant began transmission of electricity to Los Angeles, California.
  • 1936 Oct 28: President Roosevelt rededicated the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary.
  • 1936 Nov 3: Incumbent President Roosevelt beat Kansas Republican Alf Landon in a second landslide victory; the electoral votes were 523 to 8.
  • 1936 Nov 12: The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in California was officially opened by President Roosevelt pressing a telegraph key that changed the traffic lights to green.
  • 1936 Nov 23: Launch of LIFE Magazine by Henry R. Luce.
  • 1936 Dec: Completion of the U.S. Bullion Depository vault facility at Fort Knox, Kentucky; the United States government's gold reserves were gradually shipped to the site by July 1937.
  • 1936 Dec 5: Birthday of mystery author James Lee Burke in Houston, Texas; he lives in Montana & Louisiana.
  • 1936 Dec 11: Formal abdication of King Edward VIII of U.K. who became the Duke of Windsor; he was succeeded by his younger brother George VI.

  • 1937:
    • Kraft™ introduced its Macaroni & Cheese Dinner product.
    • Margaret Rudkin began baking preservative-free bread because her son was allergic to artificial ingredients in commercial breads; began selling Pepperidge Farm™ bread to local grocers in Fairfield, Connecticut.
    • Grover C. Thomsen & R.H. Roark invented Sun Tang Red Cream Soda™ soft drink in Waco, Texas; the brand was renamed Big Red™ in 1959.
  • 1937 Jan 1: A party guest at the Hormel Mansion in Minnesota won $100 for a new name for the planned luncheon meat product originally called Hormel Spiced Ham; Hormel Spam® was introduced later that year.
  • 1937 Jan 6: Formation of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, to enlist U.S. citizens to fight in the Spanish Civil War.
  • 1937 Feb 11: United Auto Workers of Flint, Michigan won their 6-week sit-down strike when General Motors agreed to recognize the union.
  • 1937 March: Release of Detective Comics issue #1; company is now D.C. Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros.
  • 1937 March 17: Aviator Amelia Earhart [1897-1937]'s first attempt at a flight around the world (westward from Oakland, California); the flight ended with a crash landing in Hawai'i.
  • 1937 April 20: Release of the film "A Star Is Born" directed by William Wellman, which was remade in 1954 & 1976.
  • 1937 April 26: German and Italian warplanes assaulted the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War; official sources say that 1,654 civiians were killed during the three-hour bombing.
  • 1937 April 27: First Social Security checks were distributed in the U.S.
  • 1937 May 3: Britain's abdicated King Edward VIII, now Duke of Windsor, married divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson in a private ceremony in Monts, France.
  • 1937 May 6: Crash in Lakehurst, New Jersey of the hydrogen-filled German dirigible airship Hindenburg; one ground crewman died, 35 of 97 on board died.
  • 1937 May 27: San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was opened to the public (pedestrians only).
  • 1937 May 28: Golden Gate Bridge opened to vehicular traffic, via remote by President Roosevelt in Washington, DC.
    Golden Gate, America's Greatest Bridge book by Kevin Starr  
    "Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge" [2010]
    by Kevin Starr {California's State Librarian Emeritus}

    Bloomsbury Press 7¾x5 hardcover [7/2010] for $15.52
  • 1937 May 30: Police fired on steelworkers demonstrating near the Republic Steel plant in South Chicago, Illinois; ten people were killed, hundreds crippled; known as the Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre.
  • 1937 June 1: Aviator Amelia Earhart [1897-1937]'s second attempt at a flight around the world (eastward) began from Miami, Florida.
  • 1937 June 14: The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which placed a tax on the sale of medical cannabis; it was signed into law on August 2.
  • 1937 July 2: Aviator Amelia Earhart [1897-1937]'s Lockheed Electra aircraft lost radio contact and disappeared in the South Pacific Ocean; her navigator Fred Noonan was also aboard.
  • 1937 July 13: Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-based doughnut recipe from a French chef from New Orleans, rented a building in Old Salem, North Carolina and began selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts to grocery stores.
  • 1937 July 18: Birthday of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in Louisville, Kentucky; he died in Woody Creek, Colorado in 2005.
  • 1937 July 24: The state of Alabama dropped charges against four of the nine young Afro-American men who were accused of raping two white women in the 'Scottsboro Case'.
  • 1937 Aug 16th: Founding of the American Federation of Radio Artists, which in 1952 added Television to become A.F.T.R.A., which merged again in March 2012 to form SAG-AFTRA, based in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1937 Sept 21: Publication in England of "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien [1892–1973].
  • 1937 Oct 11: Birthday of mystery author Margaret Coel in Denver,Colorado; she lives in Boulder, Colorado.
  • 1937 Oct 30: Birthday of author Rudolfo Anaya in Pastura, New Mexico.
  • 1937 Dec 13: The Chinese city of Nanking/Nanjing fell to Japanese forces, followed by slaughter of prisoners, soldiers, foreigners, and citizens; China holds that 300,000 people died in the 'Rape of Nanking', while Japan says that the number was much smaller.
  • 1937 Dec 21: Release of the first Technicolor™ animated feature film, Walt Disney's "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs".
  • 1937 Dec 22: The center tube of the Lincoln Tunnel was opened to the public, allowing automobile traffic underneath the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey. (The north tube opened in 1945 and the south tube in 1957.).

  • 1938:
    • Buick automobiles included the first turn signals.
    • Founding of the Topps Chewing Gum Company in Brooklyn, New York (later makers of Bazooka bubble gum and inventors of the baseball card in 1952).
    • Ruth Wakefield [1903-77] invented the chocolate chip cookie at her Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts; she later made a deal with Nestlé to publish her recipe on their packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  • 1938 Jan 3: Founding of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis campaign to fight polio; the name was officially changed to March of Dimes in 1979.
  • 1938 June: Superman debuted in Action Comics issue #1; company is now D.C. Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros.
  • 1938 June 23: The U.S. Civil Aeronautics Authority was established.
  • 1938 June 24: Birthday of mystery author Lawrence Block in Buffalo, New York.
  • 1938 June 25: National minimum wage established at 25 cents per hour, as part of the Fair Labor Practices Act.
  • 1938 Aug 18: President Roosevelt and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King dedicated the Thousand Islands Bridge connecting the two countries.
  • 1938 Sept 21: The Great Hurricane of 1938 first touched land around New Jersey-New York City-Long Island and moved north to Maine and Quebec; hardest hit was Rhode Island: parts of Providence were under 13 feet of water; an estimated 682 lives were lost and 57,000 homes destroyed, with a total of $306 million in damages ($4.7 billion in 2018 money).
  • 1938 Sept 29: British, German, French & Italian diplomats concluded the Munich Agreement aimed at appeasing Adolph Hitler by allowing Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.
  • 1938 Oct 10: Nazi Germany completed its annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.
  • 1938 Oct 29: Birthday of animator Ralph Bakshi in Haifa, Palestine (now Israel); he is now retired in New Mexico.
  • 1938 Oct 30: Orson Welles's notorious "War of The Worlds" radio hoax, aired over the C.B.S. Network.
  • 1938 Nov 9: Nazi Party goons looted & burned Jewish synagogues, stores, and houses in Germany and Austria in a pogrom that later became known as 'Kristallnacht' (for all the broken glass).
  • 1938 Nov 16: Birthday of political philosopher Robert Nozick in Brooklyn, New York; he died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2002.

World  War  Two

War Film Festival - World War II Movies
at Magic Lantern Video & Book Store

  • 1939:
    • Nestlé put Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (i.e. chocolate chips) on the market.
    • Herman W. Lay founded H.W. Lay Corp. in Atlanta, Georgia as a distributor of potato chips; changed product name to Lay's Potato Chips in 1944.
    • First publication of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" by Robert L.May; department store Montgomery Ward gave away 2.5 million free copies of the 32-page booklet in the first year.
  • 1939 April 1: Gen. Francisco Franco went on radio to declare victory in the Spanish Civil War; his government was recognized same day by the United States.
  • 1939 April 7: Birthday of movie director Francis Ford Coppola in Detroit, Michigan; he is most-famous for the 'The Godfather Saga' [1972, 1974, 1990] and for "Apocalypse Now" [1979]
  • 1939 April 14: Publication of John Steinbeck's classic novel "The Grapes of Wrath", which won the Pulitzer Prize for The Novel and was made into the Oscar-winning John Ford movie "The Grapes of Wrath" [1940].
  • 1939 May: Crimefighter Batman debuted in Detective Comics issue #27; company is now D.C. Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros.
  • 1939 May 22: The foreign ministers of Germany & Italy signed a 'Pact of Steel' committing the two countries to a military alliance.
  • 1939 June 12: Dedication of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
  • 1939 June 28: Pan American Airways began regular transatlantic air service with a flight from New York City to Marseilles, France.
  • 1939 July 4: Baseball great Lou 'Iron Horse' Gehrig, seriously ill from A.L.S., delivered his famous farewell at New York's Yankee Stadium.
  • 1939 Sept 1: World War II began as Nazi Germany invaded Poland.
  • 1939 Sept 3: Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand declared war on Nazi Germany.
  • 1939 Sept 5: President Roosevelt proclaimed U.S. neutrality in the war in Europe.
  • 1939 Sept 6: The Union of South Africa declared war on Nazi Germany.
  • 1939 Sept 10: Canada declared war on Nazi Germany.
  • 1939 Sept 27: Warsaw, Poland surrendered to combined forces of Nazi Germany and Russia after weeks of resistence.
  • 1939 Oct: Launch of Marvel Comics issue #1 by Timely Publications; the company is now Marvel Entertainment LLC, a division of The Walt Disney Company.
  • 1939 Oct 6: As Polish resistence crumbled, Adolph Hitler delivered a speech to the Reichstag blaming the Poles for the Nazi-Soviet invasion of their country.
  • 1939 Oct 24: Nylon stockings for women went on public sale for the first time (in Wilmington, Delaware).
  • 1939 Oct 25: Broadway opening of the stageplay "The Time of Your Life" by William Saroyan [1908-81], which ran for 185 performances thru April 1940.
  • 1939 Nov: Completion of the prototype Atanasoff-Berry electronic digital computer at Iowa State College, the first digital computer in history.
  • 1939 Nov 15: President Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC (which was completed and dedicated on 13 April 1943).
  • 1939 Nov 16: After serving 7½ years for income tax evasion at federal prisons in Georgia and at Alcatraz & Terminal Island in California, mobster Al Capone was released on parole.
  • 1939 Dec 2: Opening of New York City Municipal Airport, later renamed LaGuardia Airport.

    All-American Ads of the 40s book edited by Jim Heimann  
    "All-American Ads {of the) 40s" [2002] Edited by Jim Heimann
    Taschen 11x8¾ pb [3/2002] for $29.59
    Reminisce Through The Decades, The 1940s DVD set from Reminisce Magazine  "Reminisce Through The Decades - The 1940s" [Reiman Publns Aug 2007]
    Disk 1 is a one-hour documentary film, directed by Bill Clark; disk 2 is a
    slide show of 1200 still photographs; disk 3 is three hours of interviews

    Memory Lane Company color DVD set [8/2007] 3 disks for $15.93
    official site
    The 40s, The Story of a Decade book from The New Yorker Magazine  "The 40s: The Story of A Decade" [2014]
    from The New Yorker Magazine, Introduction by David Remnick

    contributors include: W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, John Cheever, David Denby, Janet Flanner,
    John Hersey, Langston Hughes, Shirley Jackson, Jill Lepore, A.J. Liebling, William Maxwell,
    Carson McCullers, Louis Menand, Joseph Mitchell, Vladimir Nabokov, Ogden Nash, John O’Hara,
    George Orwell, George Packer, V.S. Pritchett, Lillian Ross, Zadie Smith, Stephen Spender,
    Lionel Trilling, Rebecca West, E.B. White, Williams Carlos Williams, and Edmund Wilson

    Kindle Edition from Random House [5/2014] for $11.99
    Random House 9½x6½ hardcover [5/2014] for $20.25

  • 1940: First Dairy Queen® soft ice cream stand opened.
  • 1940: Publication of the novel "Lassie Come Home" by English-American author Eric Knight [1897-1943], which began the Lassie the Dog franchise in movies and on television.
  • 1940 Feb 12: Debut of weekly radio program "The Adventures of Superman", starring Bud Collyer.
  • 1940 March: The first of Alan Turing's secret electromechanical 'bombe' machines for decoding Enigma was installed at Bletchley Park in England.
  • 1940 March 1: Publication of "Native Son" by Richard Wright.
  • 1940 March 4: Kings Canyon National Park in California was established.
  • 1940 April 23: About 200 people died in the Rhythm Night Club fire in Natchez, Mississippi.
  • 1940 May 10: Winston Churchill became Britain's Prime Minister (until July 1945).
  • 1940 June 10: Italy declared war on France and Britain; Canada declared war on Italy.
  • 1940 June 14: German troops entered Paris, France.
  • 1940 June 14: The Nazis opened the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland.
  • 1940 July 1: Publication by John C. Winston Company of Philadelphia, PA of the classic novel "Lassie Come Home" by English-American author Eric Knight [1897-1943], which begat the long-running Lassie the Dog movie & television franchise.
  • 1940 July 10: Beginning of the Battle of Britain, as German Luftwaffe aircraft attacked southern England.
  • 1940 Aug 21: Exiled Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky [1879-1940] was assassinated by a Russian agent at his home in the Coyoacán borough of Mexico City.
  • 1940 Sept 7: Nazi Germany began its initial blitzkrieg ('lightning war') air attacks on London, England; the 'blitz' lasted for eight months.
  • 1940 Sept 14: Congress passed the Selective Service Act, establishing the first peacetime military draft in U.S. history; signed into law by President Roosevelt next day.
  • 1940 Sept 15: Date in the Battle of Britain when 'the tide turned', as Britain's Royal Air Force inflicted heavy losses on Germany's Luftwaffe attackers.
  • 1940 Oct 1: Opening of the first section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, running 160 miles from Pittsburgh to Carlisle.
  • 1940 Oct 24: The 40-hour work week took effect, under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
  • 1940 Oct 28: Italy invaded Greece.
  • 1940 Oct 29: The United States began its first peacetime draft for military service.
  • 1940 Nov 7: The new Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State, known to flex during windstorms, collapsed into Puget Sound; the only fatality was a dog.
  • 1940 Nov 14: German planes destroyed most of the English town of Coventry, West Midlands.
  • 1940 Dec 29: Nazi Germany dropped incendiary bombs on London, England, setting off what became known as 'The Second Great Fire of London'.
  • 1940 Dec 30: California's first freeway opened, the Arroyo Seco Parkway between Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena.

  • 1941: General Mills introduced 'Cheerioats' as the first ready-to-eat oat cereal; changed name to Cheerios in 1945 for legal reasons.
  • 1941 Jan 6: President Roosevelt's State of The Union Address outlined 'The Four Freedoms': freedom of speech and expression; freedom of every person to worship [a deity] in his own way [or not]; freedom from want; and freedom from fear.
  • 1941 Feb 4: Founding of the United Service Organizations aka 'The U.S.O.'.
  • 1941 March: Launch of Captain America in Captain America Comics issue #1; company is now part of Marvel Entertainment LLC, a division of The Walt Disney Company.
  • 1941 March 22: The Grand Coulee hydroelectric dam on the Columbia River in central Washington State officially began operation; with a third power station completed in 1974, it is the largest electric power-producing facility in the United States.
  • 1941 May 1: Premiere of Orson Welles's masterpiece "Citizen Kane" at the R.K.O. Palace Theatre in New York City.
  • 1941 May 6: Joseph Stalin assumed the postion of premier (Chairman of The Council of People's Commissars) of the Soviet Union, replacing V.M. Molotov.
  • 1941 May 24: The German battleship Bismarck sank the British battlecruiser HMS Hood in the North Atlantic; 1,415 Royal Navy sailors were lost.
  • 1941 May 24: Birthday of musician Bob Dylan {nee Robert Zimmerman} in Duluth, Minnesota.
  • 1941 May 27: With war tension growing around the world, President Roosevelt proclaimed an "unlimited national emergency".
  • 1941 July 7: Delivery to U.S. Army of Willys MA 4x4 vehicle, later named the Jeep.
  • 1941 July 25: President Roosevelt froze Japanese assets in the U.S. in retaliation for Japan's occupation of southern Indochina.
  • 1941 Aug 14: U.S. President Roosevelt & British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued the Atlantic Charter.
  • 1941 Aug 30: German forces approaching Leningrad, Russia cut off the remaining rail line to/from the city.
  • 1941 Sept 8: Beginning of the 900-day Seige of Leningrad in Russia by Nazi forces.
  • 1941 Sept 8: Birthday of independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Brooklyn, New York; he is running for President in 2015-2016.
  • 1941 Sept 11: Groundbreaking ceremony for the Pentagon building in Washington, DC.
  • 1941 Sept 27: Launch of the first 14 rapidly-built 'Liberty' U.S. military cargo ships.
  • 1941 Oct 21: Superheroine Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics issue #8, published by All-American Comics in New York City.
  • 1941 Oct 23: World premiere of Walt Disney's animated feature film "Dumbo" in New York City.
  • 1941 Oct 31: Despite the United States being officially neutral, the U.S. Navy destroyer Reuben James on convoy duty off Iceland was torpedoed by a German U-boat with a loss of 115 lives.
  • 1941 Nov 25: The United States delivered the Hull Note to Japanese diplomats; Prime Minister Tojo Hideki rejected U.S. demands because they were an overt ultimatum.
  • 1941 Nov 26: Japan's Emperor Hirohito gave approval to his military to proceed with plans to wage war against the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands.
  • 1941 Dec 1: Japan's Emperor Hirohito gave the final approval to attacking American, British, and Dutch territories by Japanese naval forces already enroute.
  • 1941 Dec 7: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawai'i, plus attacks in Hong Kong, Wake Island, Guam, the Philippine Islands, and Malaya.
  • 1941 Dec 8: U.S. Congress declared war on Japan.
  • 1941 Dec 11: Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, who responded in kind.
  • 1941 Dec 23: Embattled American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.
  • 1941 Dec 25: Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong.
  • 1941 Dec 26: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.

  • 1942:
    • America's first parking meter ordinance passed in Santa Ana, California.
    • Production of Hershey's Kisses candies suspended (until 1949) as tin foil was needed for the war effort.
    • The corn dog was invented by Carl & Neil Fletcher for sale as 'Corny Dogs' at the State Fair of Texas.
  • 1942 Jan 2: Japanese forces captured the Philippine capital of Manila.
  • 1942 Jan 7: Japanese forces began a seige against American & Filipino defenses at Bataan.
  • 1942 Jan 16: Actress Carole Lombard, 33-year-old wife of Clark Gable, and others died in a plane crash near Las Vegas, Nevada while returning home from a war bond promotion tour.
  • 1942 Feb 19: President Roosevelt signed Executive Order #9066 giving the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals living in the U.S.; German-Americans and German nationals were rounded up and relocated from the East Coast, as well as over 10,000 Italian-Americans and Italian nationals.
  • 1942 March 8: Official beginning of construction of the 1,390-mile-long Alaska-Canada [AlCan] Highway.
  • 1942 March 18: President Roosevelt signed Executive Order #9102 authorizing the War Relocation Authority.
  • 1942 March 23: Federal troops began evacuating over 100,000 Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to internment centers farther inland, including Manzanar in the California desert, Granada in Colorado, Heart Mountain in Wyoming, Topaz Center at Delta in Utah, and the Gila River Reservation in Arizona.
    Spirit of America Bookstore's World War II Internment Camps Page

  • 1942 April 9: American & Filipino defense forces at Bataan surrendered to the Japanese.
  • 1942 June 7: American forces won the 70-hour Battle of Midway, a decisive victory over the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • 1942 June 10: German forces destroyed the town of Lidice, Czechoslovakia in retaliation for the killing of Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich; based on incorrect intelligence information, the German army massacred 173 male residents and sent the women and children to die in concentration camps.
  • 1942 June 12: Four German soldiers landed by U-boat on Long Island, New York as part of Operation Pastorius to commit sabotage in the U.S.
  • 1942 June 16: Four more German soldiers landed by U-boat at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida as part of Operation Pastorius to commit sabotage in the U.S.
  • 1942 June 21: A Japanese submarine fired upon Fort Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon; the only facility damaged was the baseball field.
  • 1942 July 6: The Frank family of four entered a 'secret annex' in an Amsterdam building, and were later joined by four others hiding from the Nazis; they were betrayed two years later and sent to death camps. Their ordeal was immortalized by publication of Anne Frank's diary in 1952.
  • 1942 July 8: After one of the spies of Operation Pastorius turned himself in, FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover rounded the others up and claimed all credit; all eight were tried at a military tribunal and sentenced to death on August 1st; F.D.R. commuted the sentences of two who co-operated (they were later deported).
  • 1942 July 20: The first detachment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps - laters known as WACs - began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
  • 1942 July 20: Congress established the U.S. Legion of Merit, which is awarded to U.S. military personnel or to military and civilian personnel of foreign governments.
  • 1942 July 22: The German Army began transporting Jews from the Warsaw {Poland} Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp.
  • 1942 Aug 7: American & allied forces landed at Guadalcanal, the largest island in the Solomons of the Southwest Pacific; after bitter fighting, the island was declared secure by weary but triumphant Allied Forces on 9 February 1943.
  • 1942 Aug 8: Six members of the failed Nazi Abwehr Operation Pastorius sabotage mission were electro-cuted on 8 August 1942 and buried in a potter's field in Blue Plains, near Anacostia, Washington.
    recent article on discovery & removal of a headstone/memorial placed in Blue Plains by American Nazis, circa 1970
  • 1942 Aug 8: World premiere of Walt Disney's animated feature "Bambi" in London, England.
  • 1942 Aug 13: U.S. premiere of Walt Disney's animated feature "Bambi" at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.
  • 1942 Sept 15: The aircraft carrier USS Wasp was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine; the badly-damaged ship was sunk by the U.S. Navy.
  • 1942 Oct 3: President Roosevelt established the Office of Economic Stabilization.
  • 1942 Oct 23: The British Army under Lt. Gen Bernard Montgomery launched a major offensive against Axis forces at El Alamein in Egypt.
  • 1942 Oct 26: Japanese warplanes badly damaged the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands; the ship sank early the next morning.
  • 1942 Nov: Coffee rationing began in America, limiting individuals to one pound of coffee every five weeks.
  • 1942 Nov 4: Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in Egypt to Tunisia, the first major European Theatre victory for the Allies in World War II.
  • 1942 Nov 8: The Allies began Operation Torch, successfully landing U.S. and British forces in French North Africa (Algeria and Morocco).
  • 1942 Nov 11: Germany completed its occupation of France.
  • 1942 Nov 12: The Battle of Guadalcanal began between the U.S. Navy and the Japanese; most of the American ships were sunk, but the Japanese retreated.
  • 1942 Nov 13: President Roosevelt signed a law lowering the draft age from 21 to 18 years of age.
  • 1942 Nov 17: Birthday of movie director Martin Scorsese in Queens, New York.
  • 1942 Nov 19: Russian forces launched a winter offensive along the Don River front against the German Army.
  • 1942 Nov 20: The 1,390-mile-long Alaska-Canada [AlCan] Highway was officially dedicated after only eight months of construction; the highway opened to traffic the next day.
  • 1942 Nov 26: President Roosevelt ordered nationwide gas rationing, effective December 1st.
  • 1942 Nov 28: A fire destroyed the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston; 492 people died, with hundreds more injured.
  • 1942 Dec 2: First demonstration of an artificially-created and self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago.  click here for photograph (in a new window)
  • 1942 Dec 4: President Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration jobs program.

  • 1943: John Tyson purchased his first chicken farm, located in Springdale, Arkansas; incorporated Tyson Feed & Hatchery in 1947.
  • 1943: The Slinky toy was accidentally invented by Richard James.
  • 1943 Jan 14: Casablanca conference meeting of President Roosevelt, Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and France's Gen. Charles de Gaulle.
  • 1943 Jan 15: Completion of construction of the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, headquarters of the U.S. Department of War.
  • 1943 Jan 18: The Soviet Union broke thru the long Nazi seige of Leningrad by opening a narrow land corridor; it took another year to fully repulse the German Army.
  • 1943 Jan 18: U.S. wartime ban issued on pre-sliced bread (aimed at reducing bakeries' demand for metal replacement parts).
  • 1943 Feb 7: The United States began rationing of shoes, limited to three pairs per person for the rest of the year.
  • 1943 Feb 13: Founding of the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserver.
  • 1943 March 29: The United States began rationing of meat & fats & cheese.
  • 1943 April 13: President Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
  • 1943 May 29: The cover of the Saturday Evening Post displayed illustrator Norman Rockwell's portrait of Rosie The Riveter.
  • 1943 June: The Zoot Suit Riots took place over many days in various parts of Los Angeles and Southern California, with mobs of white American civilians and servicemen on leave attacking Hispanics and others wearing 'zoot suits'; at least 150 people were injured, and as many as 500 Latinos were arrested on various charges. { June 2017 article in Yes! Magazine by Angela Fichter }
  • 1943 June 1: The Germans shot down a civilian flight from Portugal to England, killing all 17 on board, including actor Leslie Howard.
  • 1943 June 9: President Roosevelt signed the Current Tax Payment Act of 1943 which authorized deducting/withholding from paychecks for the income tax.
  • 1943 June 16: Comedian Charlie Chaplin (age 54) married his fourth wife Oona O'Neill (age 18), daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill in Carpenteria, California.
  • 1943 June 20-22: Three days of race-related rioting erupted in Detroit, Michigan; 34 people were killed, 433 injured (possibly triggered by the Zoot Suit Riots in California).
  • 1943 July 1: Federal 'pay as you go' income tax withholding began.
  • 1943 July 28: President Roosevelt announced the end of coffee rationing in America.
  • 1943 Aug 2: The U.S. Navy patrol boat PT-109 was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri off the Solomon Islands; two crewmwn died, the boat's commander LtJG. John F. Kennedy and ten other survivors swam several miles to a nearby island.
  • 1943 Aug 17: Allied conquest of Sicily completed as U.S. and British forces took Messina.
  • 1943 Aug 25: U.S. forces liberated New Georgia island (in the Solomon Islands) from the Japanese.
  • 1943 Oct 10: Gen. Chiang Kai-shek took the oath of office as president of China.
  • 1943 Oct 14: Radio Corporation of America completed sale for $8 million to businessman Edward J. Noble of its N.B.C. Blue Network, soon renamed the American Broadcasting Company.
  • 1943 Oct 16: Chicago Mayor Kelly officially opened the new State Street Subway, the city's first.
  • 1943 Nov 22: President Roosevelt, Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek met in Cairo, Egypt to discuss plans for the defeat of Japan.
  • 1943 Nov 23: U.S. forces captured Tarawa and Makin atolls in the Gilbert Islands of the South Pacific from the Japanese.
    1943 Dec: First demonstration of the British Colossus computer.
  • 1943 Dec 24: President Roosevelt appointed Gen. Eisenhower as supreme commander of the Allied forces.

  • 1944: Piccadilly Cafeteria chain was founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • 1944 Jan 16: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in London, England.
  • 1944 Jan 18: Official end of the Nazi siege of Leningrad in the Soviet Union.
  • 1944 April 22: U.S. forces began invading Japanese-held New Guinea with amphibious landings at Hollandia and Aitape.
  • 1944 June 6: 'Operation Overlord', the WWII invasion of Normandy's beaches, began; the event is referred to as 'D-Day', and was the delivery of 160,000 troops across the English Channel using 5,000 boats with aircover and support by 13,000 aircraft.
  • 1944 June 15: American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan in the Marianas Islands, while U.S. B-29 Superfortress bombers carried out their first raids on Japan, from bases in China.
  • 1944 June 19: The two-day Battle of The Philippine Sea began, which was won by the Allies.
  • 1944 June 16: Execution by electric chair of George Stinney, Jr., a 14-year-old Afro-American; he was put on trial in South Carolina for the murder of two white preteen girls. The whole affair was a travesty: his appointed lawyer specialized in tax law, the trial lasted just two hours (only one person testified), there were no appeals, and the farcical execution (George stood 5'1" and weighed just over 90 pounds) took place a mere 85 days after the killings. (Stinney's conviction was vacated in December 2014 based on violations of the Sixth Amendment.)
  • 1944 June 22: President Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill of Rights, officially known as the Service-men's Readjustment Act of 1944.
  • 1944 June 27: American forces liberated the French seaport of Cherbourg.
  • 1944 July 1-July 22: Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire, attended by representatives of all 44 Allied nations, to set up regulation of the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II. Results include the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (I.B.R.D.), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (G.A.T.T.), and the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.).
  • 1944 July 17: Navy munitions explosion at Port Chicago, California killed 320 sailors, followed by 'mutiny' of 258 Afro-American sailors protesting unsafe working conditions.
  • 1944 July 21: American forces landed on Guam in the South Pacific.
  • 1944 Aug 1: Beginning of the Warsaw Uprising in Poland, a revolt against Nazi occupation that was crushed after two months.
  • 1944 Aug 4: After two years in hiding in Amsterdam, the Frank family and others were betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo and sent to death camps; 15-year-old diarist Anne Frank died a year later at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
  • 1944 Aug 7: Formal delivery from I.B.M. of the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator {renamed the Harvard Mark I computer}, the first large-scale fully-automatic digital computer - using vacuum-tube technology, it weighed 10,000 pounds.
  • 1944 Aug 9: Debut poster of the Smokey Bear 'Prevent forest fires' advertising campaign.
  • 1944 Aug 9: Mutiny by 258 Afro-American sailors at Port Chicago, California to protest unsafe working conditions after a munitions explosion killed 320 sailors; 50 mutineers were court-martialed, fined, and imprisoned.
  • 1944 Aug 12: U.S. Navy Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (older brother of future U.S. president John F. Kennedy) and his co-pilot were killed when their BQ-8 test plane exploded over England.
  • 1944 Aug 15: Allied forces landed in southern France in Operation Dragoon.
  • 1944 Aug 25: Allied forces liberated Paris, France after four years of occupation by Nazi Germany.
  • 1944 Aug 29: The citizens of Paris, France cheered 15,000 American troops marching down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
  • 1944 Sept 2: Navy bomber pilot Lt. George H.W. Bush was shot down by Japanese forces over the Bonin Islands; his two crew members died. He was rescued by the submarine USS Finback.
  • 1944 Oct 3: U.S. Army troops cracked the 'Siegfried Line' defenses north of Aachen, Germany (the Germans called it 'Westwall').
  • 1944 Oct 8: Debut of "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" on C.B.S. Radio.
  • 1944 Oct 2: German troops crushed the two-month-long Warsaw Uprising; the Nazis killed as many as 200,000 civilians in house-to-house atrocities.
  • 1944 Oct 20: Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2½ years after promising "I shall return".
  • 1944 Oct 21: U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen, near the border with Belgium & Holland.
  • 1944 Oct 27: Birthday of mystery author Judith Ann (J.A.) Jance in South Dakota; she lives in Washington State and in Arizona.
  • 1944 Oct 30: Premier performance of Martha Graham's ballet "Appalachian Spring" at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC; music was by Aaron Copeland.
  • 1944 Nov 7: President Roosevelt was elected to an uprecedented fourth term in office, defeating Republican New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey with 432 electoral votes to Dewey's 99.
  • 1944 Dec 13: A Japaneze kamikaze attack on the cruiser USS Nashville killed more than 130 American sailors; the ship was decommissioned in 1950 and sold to the Chilean Navy in 1951 and scrapped in 1985.
  • 1944 Dec 17: The U.S. Army announced that it was ending exclusion of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.
  • 1944 Dec 18: The U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings: the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans (and others) was declared constitutional, while detainment of undeniably-loyal Americans of foreign ancestry could not continue.
  • 1944 Dec 26: During the Battle of The Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium, the U.S. Army 4th Armored Division relieved embattled 101st Airborne Division troops.
  • 1944 Dec 27: Twenty-eight nations signed the agreement creating the World Bank.

  • 1945 Jan 9: American forces began landing at Lingayen Gulf in the Philipines.
  • 1945 Jan 20: Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as President for an unprecedented fourth term, with his third Vice President, the U.S. Senator from Missouri, Harry S. Truman.
  • 1945 Jan 27: The Russian Army liberated the concentration camp inmates at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.
    Auschwitz Report  
    "Auschwitz Report" [Italian 1946; English 2006]
    by Primo Levi & Leonardo de Benedetti; edited by Robert S. C. Gordon

    The newly-rediscovered early work by Holocaust survivor Levi and a fellow Auschwitz inmate, a doctor.
    Verso 7½x5½ hardcover [10/2006] for $10.77
    Survival In Auschwitz  "Survival In Auschwitz" [Italian 1947, English 1959]
    by Primo Levi

    Touchstone 8x5½ pb [9/95] for $11.20
    Scribner 8¼x5½ hardcover? [9/93] out of print/used
  • 1945 Jan 31: Pvt. Eddie Slovik, age 24, was executed by firing squad in France for desertion, the first U.S. soldier to receive such a sentence since the U.S. Civil War.
    BOOK: "The Execution of Private Slovik" by Wm. Bradford Huie
  • 1945 Feb 1: The north tube of the Lincoln Tunnel was opened to the public, allowing more automobile traffic underneath the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey. (The center tube opened in 1937 and the south tube in 1957.)
  • 1945 Feb 11: F.D.R & Churchill & Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement.
  • 1945 Feb 13: Allied bombers destroyed the German city of Dresden, killing 135,000 civilians.
    BOOK: "The Destruction of Dresden" by David Irving, American edition 1964 from H R & W
    NOVEL: "Slaughterhouse Five" [1969] by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. [1922-2007]
  • 1945 Feb 16: American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines.
  • 1945 Feb 19: The U.S. Marine Corps began landing 30,000 troops on the island of Iwo Jima, commencing a month-long battle to conquer Japanese forces.
  • 1945 early March: Teenage Jewish diarist Anne Frank died of typhus at the Nazi concentration camp in Bergen-Belsen, Germany.
  • 1945 March 22: The Arab League was formed with the adoption of a charter in Cairo, Egypt; there were six founding members, membership in 2015 is 22 countries.
  • 1945 April 1: U.S. forces launched the amphibious invasion of Okinawa, Japan.
  • 1945 April 11: U.S. armored troops liberated the Buchenwald Nazi slave labor camp near Weimar, Germany.
  • 1945 April 12: Franklin Delano Roosevelt died at Warm Springs, Georgia at age 63; Vice President Harry S. Truman became President.
  • 1945 April 15: British & Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen, Germany.
  • 1945 April 16: A Soviet submarine torpedoed and sank the freighter MV Goya in the Baltic Sea; an estimated 7,000 people died, consisting of Norwegian crew, civilian refugees, and wounded German soldiers.
  • 1945 April 16: U.S. troops reached Nuremberg, Germany.
  • 1945 April 16: New President Harry S. Truman gave his first speech to Congress, in which he pledged to carry out the war and peace policies of his late predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt.
  • 1945 April 20: Allied forces took control of the cities of Nuremberg and Stuttgart in Germany.
  • 1945 April 25: Delegates from 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.
  • 1945 April 28: Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was executed in a remote village by partisans.
  • 1945 April 29: American soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.
  • 1945 April 29: Adolph Hitler married Eva Braun and designated Admiral Karl Doenitz as successor President of Germany.
  • 1945 April 30: As Soviet tanks neared his bunker headquarters, Germany's Führer Adolph Hitler committed suicide by cyanide and pistol; his body and that of his bride Eva Braun were doused in gasoline and set afire.
  • 1945 May 7: Germany surrendered unconditionally.
  • 1945 May 8: "V-E Day" proclaimed for celebration of victory by Allies in Europe.
  • 1945 July 6: President Truman signed an executive order establishing the Medal of Freedom.
  • 1945 July 16: First atomic bomb test (code named 'Trinity') in the New Mexico desert.
  • 1945 July 26: British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill resigned when his Conservative Party was soundly defeated in local elections; succeeded by Clement Attlee of the Labour Party.
  • 1945 July 28: A U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashed into the Empire State Building in New York City; three crewman and eleven people in the building died. {Wikipedia}
  • 1945 July 28: The U.S. Senate ratified the United Nations Charter by a vote of 89-2.
  • 1945 July 30: The heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese sub-marine; only 316 men survived out of about 1,200.
  • 1945 Aug 6: Atomic bomb (rated at 20 kilotons) dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, killing an estimated 140,000 people.
  • 1945 Aug 8: President Truman signed the U.S. ratification of the United Nations charter.
  • 1945 Aug 9: Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, killing an estimated 74,000 people.

    Atomic U.S.A. Page at Spirit of America

  • 1945 Aug 14: President Truman announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, ending World War II.
  • 1945 Aug 15: "V-J Day" proclaimed for celebration of victory by Allies over Japan.
  • 1945 Aug 15: Emperor Hirohito announced in a radio address that Japan had accepted terms of surrender to end World War II.
  • 1945 Aug 17: Publication of George Orwell's classic tale "Animal Farm".
  • 1945 Aug 28: Birthday of filmmaker Robert Greenwald in New York City.
  • 1945 Aug 30: Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Tokyo to set up headquarters as Supreme Commander of The Allied Powers, to organize & implement the occupation of Japan.
  • 1945 Sept 2: Japan formally surrendered aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
  • 1945 Sept 2: Communist leader Ho Chi Minh declared VietNam an independent republic.
  • 1945 Oct 8: Raytheon Mfg. Co. filed for a patent on a microwave cooking process, accidentally discovered by employee Percy Spencer.
  • 1945 Oct 24: The United Nations officially came into existence.
  • 1945 Oct 25: Taiwan became independent of Japanese colonial rule.
  • 1945 Oct 30: The U.S. government announced the end of shoe rationing, effective at midnight.
  • 1945 Nov: First French publication of "The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince)" [1943] at Éditions Gallimard by
    author & aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry [1900-44]
  • 1945 Nov 1: Launch of Ebony Magazine, which was geared toward Afro-American readers.
  • 1945 Nov 12: Birthday of songwriter-musician Neil Young in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • 1945 Nov 16: Founding of U.N.E.S.C.O. (the United Nations Educational, Scientiic, and Cultural Organization) at the concklusion of a conference in London, U.K.
  • 1945 Nov 23: U.S. wartime rationing of most foods, including meat & butter, ended.
  • 1945 Dec 20: The U.S. Office of Price Administration announced the end of wartime rationing of vehicle tires, effective at the New Year.
  • 1945 Dec 27: Representatives of twenty-eight nations signed an agreement creating the World Bank.
  • 1945 Dec 28: The U.S. Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • 1946:
    • Minute Rice® went on the market.
    • Furr's Family Dining chain was founded in Hobbs, New Mexico.
    • The all-time high in movie ticket sales was four billion in pre-TV 1946.
  • 1946 Jan 10: First meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in London, England.
  • 1946 Jan 25: United Mine Workers rejoined the A.F.L.
  • 1946 Feb 14: The E.N.I.A.C. (short for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) was announced to the public at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; it was designed & built by John W. Mauchly [1907-80] and J. Presper Eckert, Jr. 1919-95]; this was the second general-purpose electronic computer and the first reprogrammable digital computer (in use until October 1955).
  • 1946 Feb 1: Norwegian Trygve Lie [1896-68] was chosen to be the first Secretary General of the United Nations.
  • 1946 Feb 18: California court case Mendez et al v. Westminster School District, in which a group of civic-minded parents of Orange County successfully sued to end segregation based on national origin (i.e. 'Mexican' kids) in their schools; precursor for Brown vs. Board of Education in May 1954.
  • 1946 March 5: Winston Churchill delivered his famous 'Iron Curtain' speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.
  • 1946 March 21: The recently-created United Nations Security Council set up temporary headquarters at Hunter College in The Bronx, New York.
  • 1946 March 30: The Soviet Union invaded Austria.
  • 1946 April 18: Last meeting of the League of Nations [1920-1946].
  • 1946 April 18: The International Court of Justice (judicial arm of the United Nations) held its first sitting at The Hague in Netherlands.
  • 1946 June 14: Birthday of idiot billionaire Donald John Trump in Queens, New York City.
  • 1946 June 24: Birthday of political economist Robert B. Reich in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
  • 1946 July: First official flight into space, when Werner von Braun's 'Operation Paperclip' team launched a V-2 rocket from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico; the on-board payload included corn seeds and live fruit flies.
  • 1946 July 1: Operation Crossroads Alpha test of an above-ground 20-kiloton atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific.
  • 1946 July 5: First public showing of the bikini bathing suit of designer Louis Reard, at an outdoor fashion show at the Monitor Pool in Paris, France.
  • 1946 July 22: Jewish extremists {the 'Irgun'} blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Palestine; 91 people were killed, mostly British bureaucrats & military, and 46 others were injured.
  • 1946 July 25: Operation Crossroads Baker test of an underwater atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific.
  • 1946 Aug 1: President Truman signed the Fulbright Program into law.
  • 1946 Aug 1: Founding of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
  • 1946 Aug 19: Birthday of Bill Clinton in Hope, Arkansas.
  • 1946 Sept 15: Birthday of movie producer-director Oliver Stone in New York City.
  • 1946 Sept 20: The first Cannes Film Festival in France opened and ran for 16 days.
  • 1946 Oct 15: Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering fatally poisoned himself just hours before he was to be executed.
  • 1946 Oct 23: The United Nations General Assembly convened for the first time in New York, at an auditorium in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City.
  • 1946 Oct 30: R.C.A. publicly demonstrated an all-electronic system of color TV, on a 15x20-inch screen.
  • 1946 Nov 16: Founding of U.N.E.S.C.O., the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at a conference in London, England.
  • 1946 Dec 7: Fire broke out at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia killing 119 people, including the hotel's founder W. Frank Winecoff.
  • 1946 Dec 11: Founding of U.N.I.C.E.F., the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund at a conference in London, England.
  • 1946 Dec 19: Troops led by Vo Nguyen Giap and loyal to Marxist revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh attacked the French in Hanoi, the official start of the First Indochina War.
  • 1946 Dec 31: President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

Post-War  Boom  Era

  • 1947:
    • Topps Chewing Gum Co. developed Bazooka bubble gum; Bazooka introduced baseball cards in 1951, and Bazooka Joe comics wrappers in 1953.
    • Luby's Cafeteria chain was founded in San Antonio, Texas.
    • Dr. Sidney Farber produced the first successful chemo-therapy results, with child-leukemia patients at Boston Children's Hospital.

    1947 Where Now Begins book by Elisabeth Åsbrink   "1947: Where Now Begins" [2017]
    by Elisabeth Åsbrink, Translated by Fiona Graham

    The year 1947 marks a turning point in the XXth Century, a year that defined the
    modern world; Swedish author interweaves historical events around the globe with
    key moments from her personal history, and that of others; won English PEN Award

    Kindle Edition from Other Press/Penguin Random House [1/2018] for $16.99
    Scribe Publns 8¼x5¾ pb [10/2017] import/used
    Other Press 8½x5¾ hardcover [1/2018] for $15.68

  • 1947 Jan 15: Discovery of the mutilated body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short in South Los Angeles, California; the still-unsolved homicide is known as the Black Dahlia Murder Case.
  • 1947 Jan 24: Birthday of popular theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku in San Jose, California; he is based at The City College of New York.
  • 1947 Feb 21: First public demonstration of Polaroid camera & film at Optical Society of America by Dr. Edwin Land.
  • 1947 Feb 24: Birthday of actor-director Edward James Olmos in East Los Angeles, California.
  • 1947 April 15: National League Baseball's first Afro-American player, Jackie Robinson, made his official debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in their opening day game against the Boston Braves.
  • 1947 April 16: The French ship SS Grandcamp blew up at the harbor in Texas City, Texas; the freighter High Flyer exploded the next day, demolishing the nearby SS Wilson B. Keene; a total of 581 people died from the explosions and subsequent fires.
  • 1947 April 16: Financier Bernard M. Baruch said in a speech at South Carolina's Capital Building "Let us not be deceived: We are today in the midst of a cold war."
  • 1947 April 30: President Truman signed Public Law 43, which officially restored the name Hoover Dam and erased Boulder Dam as the name for the hydroelectric project completed in 1936 on the Colorado River.
  • 1947 May 22: Congress passed the 'Truman Doctine' into law, providing military & economic aid to Greece & Turkey.
  • 1947 Jun 4: U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Taft-Hartley Act, revising labor law in favor of management.
  • 1947 Jun 5: U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave a speech at Harvard University in which he outlined an aid program for war-torn Europe that became known as The Marshall Plan.
  • 1947 June 20: Gangster Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel was shot dead thru the front window of the home of his girlfiend Virginia Hill in Beverly Hills, California.
  • 1947 June 23: Congress over-rode President Truman's veto of Taft-Hartley, making it law.
  • 1947 July 5: Baseball player Larry Doby debuted with the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first Afro-American team member in the American League.
  • 1947 July 8: U.S. Army Air Force officials announced that a 'flying disc' had crashed 130 miles from Roswell, New Mexico, but later the same day corrected the report by announcing that the object was a weather balloon.
  • 1947 July 26: President Truman signed the National Security Act, establishing the National Military Establishment (renamed Department of Defense in 1949), the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • 1947 Aug 7: Thor Heyerdahl's six-man expedition on the balsa-log raft Kon-Tiki crashed onto a reef in the South Pacific after traveling 4,300 miles from Peru; all aboard reached land safely.
  • 1947 Aug 14: Pakistan became an independent nation, after more than 200 years of rule by the British.
  • 1947 Aug 15: India became an independent nation, after more than 200 years of rule by the British.
  • 1947 Oct 5: President Truman delivered the first televised White House address, on the subject of the world food crisis.
  • 1947 Oct 14: Air Force test pilot Charles E. 'Chuck' Yeager broke the sound barrier over Edwards A.F.B. [Muroc Dry Lake] in California, flying the Bell XS-1 rocket plane to a speed of Mach 1.06.
  • 1947 Oct 20: House Unamerican Activities Committee [H.U.A.C.] chairman J. Parnell Thomas opened hearings into alleged influence & infiltration by Communist Party members within the motion picture industry. Early witnesses were friendly, and included philosopher Ayn Rand [1905-82]. This was the beginning of the 'Hollywood Blacklist'.
  • 1947 Oct 26: Birthday of Hillary Rodham Clinton in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1947 Oct 27: Debut of "You Bet Your Life" on A.B.C. Radio starring Groucho Marx, which later became an NBC-TV program.
  • 1947 Nov 2: Howard Hughes flew the HH-1 'Spruce Goose' flying boat in Long Beach Harbor.
  • 1947 Nov 20: Britain's Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in London, U.K.; she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.
  • 1947 Nov 24: H.U.A.C cited a group of writers, producers & directors – later known as the 'Hollywood Ten' – for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about alleged Communist influence in the motion picture industry.
  • 1947 Nov 29: The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181 calling for partitioning of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.
  • 1947 Dec 6: President Truman dedicated Everglades National Park in Florida.
  • 1947 Dec 23: Bell Labs of New Jersey publicly demonstrated the first semiconductor amplifier, a primitive transistor.

  • 1948:
    • Engineer Percy Spencer at Raytheon Corp. invented the commercial microwave oven.
    • Johnson & Johnson launched the first mass-marketed disposable diaper.
    • Trademark issued for Mountain Dew™ soft drink.
    1948 [What A Year It Was! book  by Beverly Cohn  
    "1948: What A Year It Was!" [1997]
    by Beverly Cohn

    M.M.S. Publng 11¼x9 hardcover [12/97] out of print/many used
  • 1948 Jan 30: Assassination in New Delhi of India's leader Mahatma Gandhi by a Hindu extremist.
  • 1948 Feb 16: First nightly television news broadcast, "The Camel Newsreel Theatre" on NBC-TV, showing Fox-MovieTone newsreels narrated by John Cameron Swayze (which lasted to Oct 1956).
  • 1948 March: Two con men in Aztec, New Mexico convinced a gullible newspaper reporter that a 100-foot-diameter metal disk had recently crash-landed outside town and that the U.S. government had hauled away the spacecraft and 16 alien bodies.
  • 1948 March 4: Birthday of 'demon dog' mystery author James Ellroy in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1948 April 3: Inaugural broadcast of the Louisiana Hayride radio program from station KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • 1948 April 3: President Truman signed into law the Marshall Plan for rebuilding war-torn Europe.
  • 1948 May 3: The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in U.S. vs. Paramount Pictures ordering America's motion picture studios to divest themselves of their ownership in movie theaters; this became known as the infamous 'consent decree'.
  • 1948 March 31: Birthday of politician & eco-activist Al Gore, Jr. in Washington, DC.
  • 1948 May 3: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that real estate covenants prohibiting sale to Afro-Americans or other racial groups were legally unenforceable.
  • 1948 May 3: Dedication of the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Mountain Observatory in Southern California.
  • 1948 May 14: The independent state of Israel declared its existence in Tel Aviv.
  • 1948 June 8: Debut of "Texaco Star Theater" on NBC-TV starring Milton Berle.
  • 1948 June 18: Columbia Records publicly unveiled its new long-playing ['LP'] record in New York City.
  • 1948 June 24: Communist forces cut off all land & water routes thru East Germany to Western-occupied sectors of the city of Berlin, prompting the Western allies to organize the massive Berlin Airlift.
  • 1948 July 10: Aaron 'Bunny' Lapin of St. Louis, Missouri put whipped cream in a spray can, marketed it as "Reddi Wip".
  • 1948 July 20: Grand opening of the the Chicago Railroad Fair, which ran during the Summers of 1948 and 1949. { RL's fansiteentry at Wikipedia }
  • 1948 Sept 9: Communist North Korea declared itself the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
  • 1948 Sept 13: Republican Margaret Chase Smith was elected to the U.S. Senate from Maine, becoming the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.
  • 1948 Sept 14: Groundbreaking ceremony for the United Nations headquarters building in New York City.
  • 1948 Sept 16: Demonstration of the modified E.N.I.A.C. as a reprogrammable digital computer, at the U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
  • 1948 Sept 20: Birthday of fantasy author George R.R. Martin in Bayonne, New Jersey; he is most famous for writing the "Song of Ice and Fire" novels which were adapted as the "Game of Thrones" TV series; he currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • 1948 Nov 12: Former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and other Japanese leaders were sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal.
  • 1948 Nov 12: Birthday of Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor) at Buckingham Palace, London, England; he is the longest-serving royal heir apparent in England's history.
  • 1948 Dec 10: The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • 1948 Dec 12: After several attempts at various locations, brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald re-opened the first McDonald's hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California with the central concepts in place: self-service at the counter; hamburgers and fries and shakes; and an assembly-line kitchen.
  • 1948 Dec 21: The nation of Eire (Ireland) declared itself a republic.

  • 1949: First Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest (as the "Grand National Recipe & Baking Contest") at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
  • 1949: Bill & Dorothy Harmsen founded Jolly Rancher Candy in Golden, Colorado (now owned by Hershey).
  • 1949 Jan 31: Debut of the first network daytime 'soap opera' television program "These Are My Children" from the N.B.C. afffiliate station in Chicago, which lasted only four weeks.
  • 1949 March 2: Completion of the first around-the-world non-stop flight; the secret propellor-engined U.S.A.F. B-50 bomber mission required four mid-air refueling events.
  • 1949 March 31: Newfoundland joined confederation with Canada as the tenth province.
  • 1949 April 4: Signing of the North Atlantic Treaty by 12 nations, including the United States, creating N.A.T.O.
  • 1949 May 11: The U.S.S.R. lifted the blockade of Berlin, Germany; the Berlin Airlift continued until September (to ensure sufficient supplies against another blockade).
  • 1949 June 8: Publication of George Orwell's classic novel "1984".
  • 1949 July 21: The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.
  • 1949 Aug: The E.D.V.A.C. computer was delivered to the U.S. Army.
  • 1949 Aug 3: The Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merged to form the National Basketball Association.
  • 1949 Aug 10: The U.S. military was renamed the Department of Defense.
  • 1949 Aug 27: A violent white mob prevented an outdoor concert by Afro-American singer Paul Robeson from taking place near Peekskill, New York; the concert was held eight days later.
  • 1949 Sept 23: Birthday of singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen in Long Branch, New Jersey.
  • 1949 Sept 30: The end of the Berlin Airlift in Germany.
  • 1949 Oct 1: Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China during a ceremony in Beijing.
  • 1949 Oct 7: Formation of the Republic of East Germany.
  • 1949 Oct 26: President Truman signed a law raising the U.S. minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents per hour.
  • 1949 Dec 27: Queen Juliana of Holland signed an act restoring Indonesia's sovereignty (after 350 years of Dutch rule).

    Spirit of America Bookstore's Fifties Culture Nostalgia Page

    All-American Ads of the 50s book edited by Jim Heimann  
    "All-American Ads {of the} 50s" [2002] Edited by Jim Heimann
    Taschen 10½x8 pb [3/2002] out of print/many used

  • 1950: Nash Rambler was the first automobile to offer seatbelts.
  • 1950s: The third era of the Ku Klux Klan began as a reaction to growing pressure for civil rights in the Southern United States. All groups were (and are) basically local, with no central organization; today, Klan groups are included on many 'subversive or terrorist organization' lists, and nationwide membership is estimated at 5,000.
  • 1950 Jan 31: President Truman announced that he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
  • 1950 April 24: Afro-American protestors staged a 'wade-in' at a whites-only beach in Biloxi, Mississippi and were attacked by a crowd of hostile whites, leading to a full-scale riot.
  • 1950 June 5: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Henderson v. United States case that racially-segregated railroad dining cars were illegal.
  • 1950 June 25: Korean War began as forces from communist North Korea invaded democratic South Korea.
  • 1950 June 26: President Truman authorized the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy to enter the Korean conflict.
  • 1950 June 28: North Korean military forces captured Seoul, the capitol of South Korea.
  • 1950 July 3: First carrier airstrikes against North Korean targets, from the USS Valley Forge and HMS Triumph.
  • 1950 July 8: President Truman named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea.
  • 1950 Sept 15: United Nations forces landed at Inchon in southern Korea and began their drive northward to Seoul.
  • 1950 Oct 2: The Peanuts® comic strip, created by Charles M. Schulz, was first published – in nine newspapers.
  • 1950 Nov 1: Two Puerto Rican separatists failed in their attempt to assassinate President Harry S. Truman at the Blair House hotel in Washington, DC; one assassin was killed, one White House police officer died.
  • 1950 Nov 26: China entered the Korean War, launching a counter-offensive against United Nations, American, and South Korean troops.
  • 1950 Dec 19: American Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was named commander of the military forces of N.A.T.O. (North American Treaty Organization).

Ancient Times - 3500 B.C.E to 1490

1491-1800    •    1801-1900    •    1901-1930    •    1931-1950 { top of this page }

•   next: 1951-1968    •    1969-2000    •    2001-2010    •    2011-2016    •    2017 to present

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