Interesting Facts About the 1950s You Wouldn't Have Heard Before

Interesting Facts About the 1950s
The decade of the 1950s was a period when the world witnessed numerous significant events, most of which changed the outlook of the people thenceforth. This period was the so-called 'Golden Age' of America and a decade that completely changed the equations of world politics.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
The 1950s or simply, the Fifties, was a decade that bore a deep-rooted impact not only on America, but on the entire world. People who lived through the decade, have multitude of memories, good and bad. Those who were born afterwards, heard a lot of stories about "the era".All in all, the decade was an eventful one. A lot of new ventures began, giving way to a lot of new ideas and inventions.
People were enjoying their family lives to the fullest and the economy was booming. Marilyn Monroe was rocking and Elvis Presley was making the audiences roll. But, at the same time, it was also a decade when a number conflicts, internal and external, cropped up which were to have long-lasting effects on the future.
Important Inventions
The 1950s was a period when a plethora of new innovations and inventions were made in different fields. Most of the inventions proved to be so valuable, even for the public, that till today they are being used in numerous households.
Credit Card
card
Invention: Credit Card
Year: 1950
Inventor: Frank X. McNamara
Power Steering
Invention: Power Steering
Year: 1951
Inventor: Francis W. Davis
Hydrogen Bomb
Invention: Hydrogen Bomb
Year: 1952
Inventor: Edward Teller
Transistor Radio
radio
Invention: Transistor Radio
Year: 1953
Inventor: Texas Instruments
FORTRAN
Invention: FORTRAN
Year: 1954
Inventor: John W. Backus
TV Remote
remote
Invention: TV Remote
Year: 1955
Inventor: Eugene Polley
Pacemaker
Invention: Pacemaker
Year: 1956
Inventor: Wilson Greatbatch
Black Box
Invention: Black Box
Year: 1957
Inventor: David Warren
Laser
laser light
Invention: Laser
Year: 1958
Inventor: Gordon Gould
Barbie Doll
doll
Invention: Barbie Doll
Year: 1959
Inventor: Ruth Handler
Some More Interesting Facts
Science and Technology
America's First Hydrogen Bomb Test
The United States successfully carried out its first ever hydrogen bomb explosion test. Code named Ivy Mike, this test was conducted on November 1, 1952 on the coral island of Enewetak in the Pacific Ocean.
Invention of Polio Vaccine
The polio vaccine was invented and first tested in 1952. Subsequently, it was launched in 1955 and over seven million American students were injected with the same. The world has been using it since then.
CERN Established World's Largest Laboratory
In the year 1954, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) was established in the northwestern suburbs of Geneva. It was aimed at being the world's largest laboratory of particle physics.
Soviet Union's first Artificial Satellite
satellite
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first ever artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik 1. This was an important advancement because valuable information about the ionosphere could be gained through radio signals generated by the satellite.
NASA was Established
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established and became operational in 1958. Since then, most of the space explorations conducted by the United States have been led by this organization.
Popular Culture
Formation of Beatniks
The decade also saw the rise of cultures such as Beatniks, wherein a group of teenagers rebelled against social norms. The Beatniks are considered to be the predecessors of the Hippie culture
Famous Hollywood Movies were released
Hollywood movies such as Ben-Hur and Sunset Boulevard were released. Also, the 'thriller' genre grabbed many eyeballs, with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock making their mark with movies such as Rear Window and North by Northwest.
Cindrella and Alice in Wonderland were a Major Hit
cartoon
Animated Cindrella
Walt Disney's Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland were released in 1950 and 1951 respectively, and were smashing hits.
Elvis Presley rocked the era with his style
Amongst the various genres of music, bebop and variations of jazz became hugely popular in the 1950s. The teen icon was Elvis Presley, known for his classic rock 'n' roll style.
Pop Art Movement started
This movement emerged in the mid 1950s. Artists took inspiration from television, advertising, movies, etc. and created art works that became very popular.
Natural Disasters
On August 15, 1950, what has been recorded as the ninth largest earthquake of the 20th century, hit parts of Assam and Tibet. This earthquake, and the floods that followed, took about 1,526 lives and left some 5,000,000 people without shelter.
In 1954, Hurricane Hazel struck Haiti before hitting the United States and Canada. While it killed nearly 1,000 people in Haiti, 95 were killed in the U.S. and 85 in Canada.
In September 1959, Super Typhoon Vera hit the central part of Honshū, the largest island of the Japanese archipelago. It was regarded as the strongest typhoon ever to have hit Japan, which claimed more than 5,000 lives and left many others injured and homeless.
In September 1959, Super Typhoon Vera hit the central part of Honshū, the largest island of the Japanese archipelago. It was regarded as the strongest typhoon ever to have hit Japan, which claimed more than 5,000 lives and left many others injured and homeless.
Wars and Conflicts
The Korean War began in 1950 and continued till 1953. What had begun as a civil war between the two provisional governments of North and South Korea, gradually transformed into an international conflict between democratic and communist powers headed by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. respectively, making it one of the most brutal wars ever fought.
The famous Algerian war lasted from 1954 to 1962. This was a war fought by the Algerians to acquire independence from their French colonizers. After numerous violent attacks and counterattacks, Algeria finally gained independence in 1962.
The year 1956 witnessed the Suez crisis in Egypt. Following military intervention by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., the Suez canal was nationalized and the position of England and France as global powers was weakened to a great extent.
The so-called Rwandan Revolution/wind of destruction took root in 1959 in the form of ethnic violence between two rival groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis. It is believed that this Rwandan Revolution that continued violently for several years since then, was one of the important factors that triggered the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
The year 1959 also witnessed the beginning of the Vietnam War. It was fought with the U.S. intervention, basically to limit the spread of communism on Vietnamese soil. Prior to this, any anti-communist activity was regarded as a crime punishable by death, in Vietnam.
International Politics
In 1950, the U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, informed President Harry Truman that the communists and their supporters had penetrated the State Department in substantial numbers. This piece of information resulted in a witch-hunt wherein, a number of people were blacklisted on the suspicion of being communists.
Joseph Stalin's death in 1953 led to some major tensions in the Soviet Union. There was evidently no chosen successor and therefore, a form of collective leadership was decided upon. This, however, did not please the senior communist leaders and thus began the phase of bitter power struggles in the Soviet Union.
In 1954, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) planned, organized and coordinated the coup d'état of the Guatemalan communist regime. After this, a military regime was established in the region.
In the year 1957, European Economic Community (EEC) was established that aimed at integrating its founding members economically, mainly by setting up a common market. The six European countries, which were the founding members of this organization were France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
In 1959, Cuba witnessed a major political upheaval. A communist government was established in the country under the leadership of Fidel Castro, with the help of the Soviet Union.
Other Fascinating Facts
First to Reach Mt. Everest
Edmund Hillary, along with a Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, scaled Mount Everest and this duo was the first to reach its summit. This happened on May 29, 1953.
Helical Structure of DNA was Discovered
dna structure
Francis Crick and James D. Watson discovered the helical structure of DNA in 1953. This discovery was noted at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.
Sputnik 2 named " Laika" was Launced
n 1957, when the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 was launched into space, it carried a trained stray dog named Laika. It was the first animal ever to go to space and to die in the spacecraft.
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place in 1953. In order to celebrate the occasion, people were allowed to take four ounces of margarine and one extra pound of sugar.
Bikinis and Stilettos Gained Popularity
pointed shoes
New fashion trends developed in the 1950s. People preferred brighter clothes. Bikinis became popular. Pointed toes and stiletto heels reached new peaks of popularity. Givenchy showcased its first collection in Paris.
The decade of the 1950s was a significant period in global history. New inventions and innovations were being made in every possible field of human activity. 'Progress' was the keyword that was nurturing or worsening international relations. It indeed proved to be a decade that made significant impact on the world's future.