1954 News and Interesting Tidbits Of History


Brown v. Board of Education
The United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing racial segregation in public schools.
This overturned The Supreme Court ruling from 1896 when the concept of "separate but equal" racial segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson was deemed lawful.
The case centered on Linda Brown an African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.
1 year later no laws had been passed as to how this was to be implemented
In 1955 the chief justice stated that before summer recess new laws would be passed on how and when to end segregation of white and Negro children in the public school system
What strikes me most is how when something is deemed important laws can be passed within weeks enforcing legislation but in this case 12 months later no actual law had been made.







Warning Of Spread Of Communism
The U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had stated a warning about communism around the world. He mentioned the possibility of it spreading to the Western Hemisphere, and in fact communism had at this time. One of the main focuses was the leftist government of Guatemala. This was one of the main areas where the communist has been known to already take root. Dwight D. Eisenhower was also convinced of the spread of communism in this area, and took the stand that it should be eliminated, and suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a "domino" effect in Southeast Asia. The so-called "domino theory" dominated U.S. thinking about Vietnam for the next decade.


Cold War Civil Defence Drill
As the continuing Cold War jitters hit America a large scale nationwide civil defense drill is held where the simulation of Over 12 million Americans die in a mock nuclear attack. The event stood as a stark reminder that the United States and the world was now living under a nuclear shadow. This in turn did help to get the leaders of the worlds 2 largest nuclear powers to work together to stop the spread of nuclear proliferation and eventually to agree to dismantle many nuclear weapons . At that time many believed that any nuclear war would end in both countries being destroyed with no winner only losers






Old Age Pensions History Around The World
I created this to give an idea of when some form of Social Security Pensions were put in place around the world.

It is difficult to find some dates re: if the pensions were means tested but this is the best I can come up with currently

Social Security Program 1881 Germany

Old Age Pension 1898 New Zealand

The Old Age Pensions Act 1908 United Kingdom.

Social Security Act of 1935 United States

The Old Age Security Act 1952 Canada

Social Services Act 1954 Australia







West Germany Wins 1954 World Cup
West Germany wins the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland defeating Hungary 3-2 in the final






France Surrenders North Vietnam in Indo-China War
The Indo-China war ends when France surrenders North Vietnam to the Communists, a peace accord signed in Geneva, Switzerland between communist North Vietnam Forces and France agrees Vietnam will be divided between north and south Vietnam along the 17th parallel.


In the 60's as North Vietnam begins it's attacks on South Vietnam The United States intervenes to defend the 17th Parallel resulting in the long and bloody Vietnam War which finally ended in 1975 with North Vietnam conquering the South .




Rationing Ends after 14 years in Great Britain
Rationing of meat and bacon through the use of ration books ends bringing to an end rationing in Great Britain which had been in place for 14 years since the beginning of World War II.


During the war all kinds of goods were rationed including:
All Meats
Butter
Sugar
Sweets and chocolate
Clothes
Canned and dried fruit
Chocolate biscuits
Jelly
Mincemeat.
Petrol
Plus for a long time fruit was unavailable due to problems in supply and took till the early 50's before fresh fruit was affordable and available.







Total Eclipse Of The Sun
The total eclipse of the sun is seen around the world in Europe, United States, and Asia including Pakistan and India. The longest duration of total eclipse was two minutes 35 seconds.
Solar eclipses are normally only seen by a small specific area of the world so this was unusual as it was seen from so many continents.








Movie "White Christmas"
The Movie White Christmas featuring the songs of Irving Berlin, including the Title Song White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, opens at Radio City Music Hall.

The original song "White Christmas" was originally heard for the first time in the 1942 film Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.








DNA Double Helix Discovered
American molecular biologists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick discover the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule that contains the human genes, in a Cambridge University laboratory. ( different dates are given for the publication between April 25, 1953 and February 28th 1954 )









Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley recorded a 10 minute demo at Sun Records Memphis Recording Service in Nashville. He had recorded an acetate recording of the same songs as a gift for his mother in 1953.
The Sun Records boss Sam Phillips arranged for Elvis Presley to an audition on June 26, 1954. In July Elvis records his first commercial recording Sun Records in Memphis, Tenn "That’s All Right (Mama)." and the rest as they say is history.








"Operation Wetback"
"Operation Wetback" is launched by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to remove four million illegal immigrants from the southwestern United States, with a focus on Mexican nationals. The operation began in California and Arizona sweeping northward through agricultural areas with a goal of 1,000 apprehensions a day.








Hurricane Hazel
Hurricane Hazel makes landfall at Haiti leaving three towns totally destroyed and more than 1,000 dead in it's wake. From there it moves on to make landfall in North Carolina on October 15 as a Category 4 hurricane ( 19 dead ) and then to Toronto, Ontario ( 81 dead ). It is considered one of the worst hurricanes of the 20Th century. This was the third hurricane to hit the United States in 1954 and by far the worst.










Pledge of Allegiance
President Eisenhower signed a bill to add the words "under God" to the US Pledge of Allegiance .









Polio Vaccines Started
The first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk to a group of children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania








Hydrogen Bomb Tested
US tests hydrogen bomb in the Pacific archipelago of Bikini, part of the Marshall Islands.








Mercedes 300SL Coupe
Mercedes introduced the 300SL coupe, the car is far advanced of anything else with its gull-wing doors a six-cylinder engine and a top speed of 155mph. Only 1,400 300SL coupes are ever produced but many consider it to be the most important sports car produced during the 50's.









American Motors Corporation ( AMC )Begins Selling the Nash Metropolitan
Nash and Hudson merge to form ( AMC ). They begin selling a small car capable of 40MPG the Nash Metropolitan which built by the Austin Motor Company in Birmingham, England (by then part of British Motor Corporation ) which goes on sale for $1,445 becoming one of the cheapest cars for sale at the time.








Shares Recover Back To Pre Wall Street Crash Prices
Wall Street Crash It started on October 24 "Black Thursday" and continued through October 29, 1929 "Black Tuesday", when share prices on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) collapsed. Shares fell over the 1930's by 75% and it was not until 1954 that shares rose back to the values of 1929 pre-crash.
What were the Causes : The causes were mostly from very high rising share prices which encouraged more people to invest, earlier in 1929 people were borrowing from banks hoping to be able to buy shares and resell at a large enough profit to pay back the loans and make a tidy profit.
Read more about it at Wall Street Crash








Nuclear Disarmament
As the continuing Cold War jitters hit America a large scale nationwide civil defense drill is held where the simulation of Over 12 million Americans die in a mock nuclear attack. The event stood as a stark reminder that the United States and the world was now living under a nuclear shadow. This in turn did help to get the leaders of the worlds 2 largest nuclear powers to work together to stop the spread of nuclear proliferation and eventually to agree to dismantle many nuclear weapons . At that time many believed that any nuclear war would end in both countries being destroyed with no winner only losers







Doctors Report Smoking Kills
Two doctors in 1954 report that the death rate in certain ages of men who smoke was higher than those who do not Tobacco manufacturers responded to the cigarette health hazard in different ways. For example, a new filter-tipped cigarette was introduced during 1962 - 1964, which is what most people smoke today.








Nautilus Launched
The US launched the world's first atomic submarine, Nautilus.








Automatic Road Tolls
The first automatic toll collection machine is used at the Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey's Garden State Parkway.








Veteran’s Day
11th November, 1954: This is the first time ever that the Veteran’s Day was declared a national celebration.








Ellis Island Closes
Ellis Island in New York closes after providing the gateway for 12 million immigrants from 1892 - 1924. From 1924 to 1954 it was mostly used as a detention and deportation center for illegal immigrants








Mau Mau Rebels Kenya
At least 35 so-called “anti-white Mau Mau rebels” had been killed by British security forces within 24 hours. About 25 of these rebels were shot down along the banks of the Tana River. The news reported this as one of the most successful attacks against anti-white Mau Mau for some time.

British Security forces round up more than 10,000 men suspected of being Mau Mau rebels who are part a guerrilla movement opposed to white settlers in the East African colony. The round up has come following a breakdown in law and order and a state of emergency which has been declared in Kenya.

This was one of the battle incidences that occurred during the time of the Mau Mau Uprising which took place between 1952 and 1954. Eventually, Kenya was turned into a democracy.










Pensioners Revolt
Thousands of Pensioners take part in a rally in London calling for an increase in their pensions of 17s 6d ( 87p )taking a single persons pension to £2 10s per week . In current US dollars $4.00 per week












1953 Previous Year ---- ( Current Year Is 1954 ) ---- Following Year 1955



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