1950s – Wikipedia

decade of the Gregorian calendar ( 1950–1959 )
“ ’50s ” redirects here. For decades comprising years 50–59 of other centuries, see List of decades
The 1950s ( marked nineteen-fifties ; normally abbreviated as the “ Fifties “ or the “ ’50s “ ) ( among other variants ) was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1950, and ended on December 31, 1959. Throughout the decade, the world continued its recovery from World War II, aided by the post-World War II economic expansion. The menstruation besides saw great population growth with increased parentage rates and the emergence of the baby baby boomer generation. Despite this convalescence, the Cold War developed from its humble beginnings in the deep 1940s to a heated contest between the Soviet Union and the United States by the early on 1960s. The ideological clash between communism and capitalism dominated the decade, specially in the Northern Hemisphere, with conflicts including the Korean War in the early on 1950s, the Cuban Revolution, the begin of the Vietnam War in French Indochina, and the begin of the Space Race with the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957. Along with increased test of nuclear weapons ( such as RDS-37 and Upshot–Knothole ), the tense geopolitical situation created a politically cautious climate. In the United States, a wave of anti-communist opinion known as the Second Red Scare resulted in congressional hearings by both houses in Congress. The begin of decolonization in Africa and Asia besides took place in this decade and accelerated in the follow ten.

Politics and wars [edit ]

Wars [edit ]

israeli troops preparing for combat in the Sinai peninsula during the Suez Crisis

Internal conflicts [edit ]

decolonization and independence [edit ]

outstanding political events [edit ]

asia [edit ]

Africa [edit ]

  • Africa experienced the beginning of large-scale top-down economic interventions in the 1950s that failed to cause improvement and led to charitable exhaustion by the West as the century went on. The widespread corruption was not dealt with and war, disease, and famine continued to be constant problems in the region.
  • Egyptian general Gamel Abdel Nasser overthrew the Egyptian monarchy, establishing himself as President of Egypt. Nasser became an influential leader in the Middle East in the 1950s, leading Arab states into war with Israel, becoming a major leader of the Non-Aligned Movement and promoting pan-Arab unification.
  • In 1957, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, after a series of negotiations with the then British empire, secured the independence of Ghana. Ghana was hitherto referred to as Gold Coast, a colony of the British Empire.

united states [edit ]

Europe [edit ]

  • With the help of the Marshall Plan, post-war reconstruction succeeded, with some countries (including West Germany) adopting free market capitalism while others adopted Keynesian-policy welfare states. Europe continued to be divided into Western and Soviet bloc countries. The geographical point of this division came to be called the Iron Curtain.
  • Because previous attempts for a unified state failed, Germany remained divided into two states: the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany in the west and the socialist German Democratic Republic in the east. The Federal Republic identified itself as the legal successor to the fascist dictatorship and was obliged in paying war reparations. The GDR, however, denounced the fascist past completely and did not recognize itself as responsible for paying reparations on behalf of the Nazi regime. The GDR’s more harsh attitude in suppressing anti-communist and Russophobic sentiment lingering in the post-Nazi society resulted in increased emigration to the west.
  • While the United States military maintained its bases in western Europe, the Soviet Union maintained its bases in the east. In 1953, Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, died. This led to the rise of Nikita Khrushchev, who denounced Stalin and pursued a more liberal domestic and foreign policy, stressing peaceful competition with the West rather than overt hostility. There were anti-Stalinist uprisings in East Germany and Poland in 1953 and Hungary in 1956.

Disasters [edit ]


Economics [edit ]

  • The United States was the most influential economic power in the world after World War II under the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

ostentation was tone down during the decade of the 1950s. The first few months had a deflationary hangover from the 1940s but the first full year ended with what looked like the beginnings of massive inflation with annual inflation rates ranging from 8 % to 9 % a year. By 1952 inflation subsided. 1954 and 1955 flirted with deflation again but the end of the decade had control inflation ranging from 1 % to 3.7 %. The average annual inflation for the entire decade was alone 2.04 %. [ 4 ]

Assassinations and attempts [edit ]

outstanding assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include :

  • 1950: Harry S. Truman assassination attempt – two Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to assassinate President Truman in Washington, DC, killing two Secret Service agents. The president was not hurt. One of the assassins was killed in the incident and the other was sentenced to death. President Truman converted his sentence to life imprisonment.
  • 1951: King Abdullah’s assassination – King Abdullah I of Jordan was murdered during the Friday prayers in Jerusalem. With his assassination the possibility of peace negotiations between Israel and Jordan came to an end until the normalization of Israeli-Jordanian relations in 1994.
  • 1955: The assassination of the President of Panama – the president of Panama José Antonio Remón Cantera was assassinated.
  • 1956: The assassination of the Nicaraguan president – Anastasio Somoza García, the dictatorial president of Nicaragua, was killed by an assassin. After his death the throne took hold of his son, Luis Somosa DeBeila.
  • 1959: The assassination of Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister – Sri Lankan Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike was assassinated by a robed Buddhist monk as part of the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict.

skill and technology [edit ]

engineering [edit ]

In 1957, the Soviet Union launches to quad Sputnik 1, the beginning artificial satellite The recently invented bipolar transistor, though initially quite faint, had clear likely and was quickly improved and developed at the begin of the 1950s by companies such as GE, RCA, and Philco. The foremost commercial transistor production started at the Western Electric plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in October, 1951 with the target contact germanium transistor. It was n’t until around 1954 that transistor products began to achieve substantial commercial success with small portable radios. A discovery in semiconductor engineering came with the invention of the MOSFET ( metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor ), besides known as the MOS transistor, by Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs, [ 5 ] in November 1959. [ 6 ] It revolutionized the electronics diligence, [ 7 ] and became the fundamental construction block of the Digital Revolution. [ 8 ] The MOSFET went on to become the most widely manufactured device in history. [ 9 ] [ 10 ] television, which foremost reached the marketplace in the 1940s, attained adulthood during the 1950s and by the goal of the decade, most american households owned a television put. A rush to produce larger screens than the bantam ones found on 1940s models occurred during 1950–52. In 1954, RCA presentation Bell Telephone Labs produced the first solar battery. In 1954, a yard of contact composition could be purchased for only 59 cents. Polypropylene was invented in 1954. In 1955, Jonas Salk invented a poliomyelitis vaccine which was given to more than seven million american students. In 1956, a solar power wrist watch was invented. A surprise came in 1957 : a 184-pound ( 83 kilogram ) satellite named Sputnik 1 was launched by the Soviets. The space race began 4 months later as the United States launched a smaller satellite .
Castle Bravo : A 15 megaton hydrogen bomb experiment conducted by the United States in 1954. Photographed 78 miles (125 kilometers) from the explosion epicenter.

science [edit ]

Francis Crick and James Watson discover the spiral structure of DNA

popular culture [edit ]

music [edit ]

popular music in the early 1950s was basically a continuance of the crooner sound of the previous ten, with less emphasis on the jazz-influenced big set style and more stress on a button-down, operatic, symphonic style of music. Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Patti Page, Judy Garland, Johnnie Ray, Kay Starr, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin, Georgia Gibbs, Eddie Fisher, Teresa Brewer, Dinah Shore, Kitty Kallen, Joni James, Peggy Lee, Julie London, Toni Arden, June Valli, Doris Day, Arthur Godfrey, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Guy Mitchell, Nat King Cole, and vocal groups like the Mills Brothers, The Ink Spots, The Four Lads, The Four Aces, The Chordettes, The Fontane Sisters, The Hilltoppers and the Ames Brothers. Jo Stafford ‘s “ You Belong To Me ” was the # 1 song of 1952 on the Billboard Top 100 chart. The center of the decade saw a change in the democratic music landscape as classic pop music was swept off the charts by rock ‘n’ roll. Crooners such as Eddie Fisher, Perry Como, and Patti Page, who had dominated the first one-half of the decade, found their access to the pop charts significantly curtailed by the ten ‘s conclusion. [ 11 ] doo-wop entered the pop charts in the 1950s. Its popularity soon spawns the spoof “ Who Put the Bomp “. Rock-n-roll emerged in the mid-1950s with Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson, Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard, James Brown, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Bobby Darin, Ritchie Valens, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran, Brenda Lee, Bobby Vee, Connie Francis, Johnny Mathis, Neil Sedaka, Pat Boone and Ricky Nelson being celebrated exponents. In the mid-1950s, Elvis Presley became the precede number of the newly popular sound of rock and roll with a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. Chuck Berry, with “ Maybellene “ ( 1955 ), “ Roll Over Beethoven “ ( 1956 ), “ Rock and Roll Music “ ( 1957 ) and “ Johnny B. Goode “ ( 1958 ), refined and developed the major elements that made rock and roll classifiable, focusing on adolescent life and introducing guitar solo and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock ‘n’ roll music. [ 12 ] Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Everly Brothers, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Johnny Horton, and Marty Robbins were rockabilly musicians. Doo-wop was another popular music genre at the time. popular Doo Wop and Rock-n-Roll bands of the mid to late 1950s include The Platters, The Flamingos, The Dells, The Silhouettes, Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Danny & the Juniors, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Del-Vikings and Dion and the Belmonts. The new music differed from previous styles in that it was chiefly targeted at the adolescent market, which became a clear-cut entity for the first time in the 1950s as growing prosperity meant that new people did not have to grow up as quickly or be expected to support a family. Rock-and-roll proved to be a unmanageable phenomenon for older Americans to accept and there were far-flung accusations of it being a communist-orchestrated dodge to corrupt the young, although rock and wheel was extremely market based and capitalistic .
In the mid-1950s, Elvis Presley became the head figure of rockabilly and rock north ‘ roll of the era. Jazz stars in the 1950s who came into prominence in their genres called bop, hard sock, cool jazz and the blues, at this time included Lester Young, Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson, Gil Evans, Jerry Mulligan, Cannonball Adderley, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, Art Blakey, Max Roach, the Miles Davis Quintet, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone, and Billie Holiday. The american family music revival became a phenomenon in the United States in the 1950s to mid-1960s with the initial achiever of The Weavers who popularized the genre. Their sound, and their across-the-board repertoire of traditional folk fabric and topical songs inspired other groups such as the Kingston Trio, the Chad Mitchell Trio, The New Christy Minstrels, and the “ collegiate tribe ” groups such as The Brothers Four, The Four Freshmen, The Four Preps, and The Highwaymen. All featured fast vocal music harmonies and a repertoire at least initially rooted in family music and topical songs. On 3 February 1959, a rent plane transporting the three American rock ‘n’ roll and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. “ The Big Bopper ” Richardson goes down in brumous conditions near authorize Lake, Iowa, killing all four occupants on board, including pilot Roger Peterson. The calamity is late termed “ The Day the Music Died “, popularized in Don McLean ‘s 1972 song “ American Pie “. This event, combined with the conscription of Elvis Presley into the US Army, is frequently taken to mark the point where the era of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll ended .

television [edit ]

An american family watching television receiver together, 1958 The 1950s are known as The Golden Age of Television by some people. Sales of television receiver sets rose enormously in the 1950s and by 1950 4.4 million families in America had a television fixed. Americans devoted most of their free time to watching television broadcasts. People spent therefore much time watching television receiver, that movie attendance dropped and so did the total of radio listeners. [ 13 ] Television revolutionized the way Americans see themselves and the world around them. television receiver affects all aspects of american culture. “ Television affects what we wear, the music we listen to, what we eat, and the news we receive. ” [ 14 ]

film [edit ]

european film experienced a renaissance in the 1950s following the deprivations of World War II. italian director Federico Fellini won the first extraneous linguistic process film Academy Award with La Strada and garnered another Academy Award with Nights of Cabiria. In 1955, Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman earned a Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival with Smiles of a Summer Night and followed the film with masterpieces The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries. Jean Cocteau ‘s Orphée, a film central to his Orphic Trilogy, starred Jean Marais and was released in 1950. french film director Claude Chabrol ‘s Le Beau Serge is now widely considered the first gear film of the french New Wave. celebrated european film stars of the time period include Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Max von Sydow, and Jean-Paul Belmondo. japanese cinema reached its zenith with films from film director Akira Kurosawa including Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and The Hidden Fortress. other spot japanese directors of the period were Yasujirō Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi. russian fantasy director Aleksandr Ptushko ‘s fabulous epics Sadko, Ilya Muromets, and Sampo were internationally acclaimed as was Ballad of a Soldier, a 1959 soviet film directed by Grigory Chukhray. In Hollywood, the epic poem Ben-Hur grabbed a phonograph record 11 Academy Awards in 1959 and its success gave a new rent of life sentence to motion video studio MGM. Beginning in 1953, with Shane and The Robe, widescreen motion pictures became the norm. The “ Golden era ” of three-d filming transpired during the 1950s .

artwork movements [edit ]

In the early 1950s Abstract expressionism and artists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning were enormously influential. however, by the deep 1950s Color Field painting and Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko ‘s paintings became more in concenter to the next generation. Pop art used the iconography of television, photography, comics, film and ad. With its roots in dada, it started to take form towards the end of the 1950s when some european artists started to make the symbols and products of the world of advertise and propaganda the main subjugate of their aesthetic knead. This return of figurative art, in resistance to the abstract expressionism that dominated the aesthetic view since the end of World War II was dominated by Great Britain until the early 1960s when Andy Warhol, the most know artist of this movement began to show Pop Art in galleries in the United States .

fashion [edit ]

american fashions, 1953 Short hair was very democratic for young women in the 1950s as can be seen in this photograph taken in 1958 The 1950s saw the parentage of the adolescent and with it rock n roll and youth manner dominating the fashion industry. In the UK the Teddy male child became both manner icons and anti-authoritarian figures. While in America Greasers had a similar social placement. Previously teenagers dressed similarly to their parents but now a rebellious and unlike youth expressive style was being developed. This was particularly detectable in the overtly sexual nature of their dress. man wore mean trousers, leather jackets and vehemence was on plastered, greasy hair. New ideas meant new designers who had a concept of what was fashion. fashion started gaining a voice and stylus when Christian Dior created “ The New Look ” collection. The 1950s was not only about spend on deluxe brands but besides the estimate of being comfortable was created. It was a time where resources were available and it was a new type of fashion. Designers were creating collections with different materials such as : taffeta, nylon, rayon, wool and leather that allowed unlike colors and patterns. People started wearing artificial fibers because it was easier to take care of and it was price effective. [ 15 ] It was a time where shopping was contribution of a life style. different designers emerged or made a comeback on the 1950s because as mention before it was a time for fashion and ideas. The most important designers from the fourth dimension were : Christian Dior: everything started in 1947 after World War II was over. christian Dior found that there were a draw of resources in the market. He created the celebrated and inspirational collection named “ The New Look. ” This consisted on the idea of creating voluminous dresses that would not only represent wealth but besides show office on women. This solicitation was the first solicitation to use 80 yards of fabric. [ 15 ] He introduced the idea of the hourglass shape for women ; wide shoulders, mean waist and then copious full skirts. Dior was a revolutionary and he was the major charm for the next collections. He is known for constantly developing newfangled ideas and designs, which led to a rapid expansion and becoming global known. [ 16 ] He had pressure to create innovative designs for each solicitation and Dior did manage to provide that to the consumers. He not only made the hourglass shape very celebrated but he besides developed the H-line a well as the A and Y-Lines. Dior was a identical crucial designer, he changed the way fashion was looked on the worldly concern but most importantly he reestablished Paris as a fashion capital. [ 16 ] Cristobal Balenciaga: Cristobal Balenciaga a spanish couturier who opened his first couture house in 1915. In 1936, he went to Paris in club to avoid the spanish Civil War, there he had inspiration for his manner collections. His designs were an inspiration for emerging designers of the time. His bequest is a important as the one from Dior, revolutionaries. [ 16 ] He was known for creating sack dresses, heavy volumes and balloon skirts. [ 17 ] For him everything started when he worked for Marquesa de Casa Torre who became his patron and main source of inspiration. Marquesa de Casa Torre helped Balenciaga enter the world of couture. [ 16 ] His first suit was very dramatic. The become consisted on cutout and cut-ins the shank over a reduce surround, something not seen earlier. [ 16 ] Balenciaga was a revolutionary designer who was not afraid to cut and let loosen because he had everything under control. In the 1950s and 1960s his designs were well known for attention to color and texture. He was creating different silhouettes for women, in 1955 he created the tunic, 1957 the pouch dress and 1958 the Empire styles. [ 18 ] He was known for moving from tailored designs to shapeless allowing him to show parcel and balance on the bodies. [ 16 ] Showing that his designs evolved with time and maintained his ideologies. Coco Chanel: Her style was well known over the world and her estimate of having functional epicurean clothing influenced other designers from the era. Chanel believed that deluxe should come from being comfortable that is why her designers were thus unique and different from the time period, she besides achieved her looks by adding accessories such as pearl necklaces. [ 19 ] Chanel believed that tied though Dior designs were revolutionist for the time menstruation they did not managed to represent the women of the meter. She believed women had to wear something to represent their survival to another war and their active roles in club. [ 20 ] Coming back from a closed house of fashion was not easily for Chanel and competing against younger designers. [ 20 ] The Chanel suit was known as a condition symbol for affluent and potent women. [ 20 ] Chanel influenced over the years and her brand is still one of the most influential brands for fashion .

Sports [edit ]

  • Inaugural season of Formula One

Olympics [edit ]

FIFA World Cups [edit ]

The 1958 World Cup is noteworthy for marking the debut on the universe stage of a then largely unknown 17-year-old Pelé .

People [edit ]

Politics [edit ]

Actors / Entertainers [edit ]

Filmmakers [edit ]

Musicians [edit ]

Bands [edit ]

Sports figures [edit ]

See besides [edit ]

timeline [edit ]

The watch articles contain brief timelines which list the most big events of the ten : 1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959

Notes [edit ]

References [edit ]

farther read [edit ]

  • Bessel, Richard and Dirk Schumann, eds. Life after Death: Approaches to a Cultural and Social History of Europe During the 1940s and 1950s (2003), essays by scholars on recovery from the war
  • Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2005)
  • London Institute of World Affairs, The Year Book of World Affairs 1957 (London 1957), comprehensive reference book covering 1956 in diplomacy, international affairs and politics for major nations and regions

Great Britain [edit ]

  • Montgomery, John. The Fifties (1960), On Britain.
  • Sandbrook, Dominic. Never had it so good: a history of Britain from Suez to the Beatles Hachette UK, (2015).
    • Bering, Henrik. “Taking the great out of Britain.” Policy Review, no. 133, (2005), p. 88+. online review
  • Wybrow, Robert J. “Britain Speaks Out, 1937-87” (1989), Summaries of public opinion polls in Britain

United States [edit ]

  • Dunar, Andrew J. America in the fifties (2006)
  • Halberstam, David. The Fifties (1993) excerpt and text search
  • Levine, Alan J. The Myth of the 1950s (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Marling, Karal Ann. As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s (Harvard University Press, 1996) 328 pp.
  • Miller, Douglas T. and Marion Nowak. The fifties: the way we really were (1977)
  • Stoner, John C., and Alice L. George. Social History of the United States: The 1950s (2008)
  • Wills, Charles. America in the 1950s (Decades of American History) (2005)
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