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  • 1940S

    Harry Truman is inaugurated as U.S. president after being elected in 1948 to his own term; previously he was sworn in following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He authorized the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during World War II,
  • 1950S

    Joe McCarthy, the US Senator, gains national attention and begins his anti-communist crusade with his Lincoln Day speech.
    Richard Nixon is first elected to the United States Senate.
    Studebaker, a popular car company, begins its financial downfall.
  • 1950S

    The Rosenbergs, Ethel and Julius, were convicted on March 29 for espionage.
    H-Bomb is in the middle of its development as a nuclear weapon, announced in early 1950 and first tested in late 1952.
    Sugar Ray Robinson, a champion welterweight boxer.
  • 1950S

    Dwight D. Eisenhower is first elected as U.S. president, winning by a landslide margin of 442 to 89 electoral votes.
    The vaccine for polio is privately tested by Jonas Salk.
    England's got a new queen: Queen Elizabeth II succeeds to the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms upon the death of her father, George VI, and is crowned the next year.
  • 1950S

    Joseph Stalin dies on March 5, yielding his position as leader of the Soviet Union.
    Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov succeeds Stalin for six months following his death. Malenkov had presided over Stalin's purges of party "enemies", but would be spared a similar fate by Nikita Khrushchev mentioned later in verse.
  • 1950S

    Roy Cohn resigns as Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel and enters private practice with the fall of McCarthy. He also worked to prosecute the Rosenbergs, mentioned earlier.
    Juan Perón spends his last full year as President of Argentina before a September 1955 coup.
  • 1950S

    Albert Einstein dies on April 18 at the age of 76.
    James Dean achieves success with East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause, gets nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and dies in a car accident on September 30 at the age of 24.
  • 1950S

    Brigitte Bardot appears in her first mainstream film And God Created Woman and establishes an international reputation as a French "sex kitten".
    Budapest is the site of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
    Alabama is the site of the Montgomery Bus Boycott which ultimately led to the removal of the last race laws in the USA. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr figure prominently.
  • 1950S

    Little Rock, Arkansas is the site of an anti-integration standoff, as Governor Orval Faubus stops the Little Rock Nine from attending Little Rock Central High School and President Dwight D. Eisenhower deploys the 101st Airborne Division to counteract him.
    Boris Pasternak, the Russian author, publishes his famous novel Doctor Zhivago.
  • 1950S

    Lebanon is engulfed in a political and religious crisis that eventually involves U.S. intervention.
    Charles de Gaulle is elected first president of the French Fifth Republic following the Algerian Crisis.
    California baseball begins as the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants move to California and become the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. They are the first major league teams west of Kansas City.