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BOOMERNET Chronicle: 1949

1949

Atom Bomb The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb, ending America's monopoly on weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, however, they agree to reopen rail and highway access to Berlin, easing tensions there. In mainland China the civil war ends with Mao Tse-Tung declaring a Communist victory. Chiang Kia-shek and his nationalist troops retreat to Taiwan. In the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli war (also known as the Israeli War of Independence) ends with an expanded state of Israel. Egypt occupies the Gaza strip and Transjorden occupies the West Bank.

New concerns arise in America, also, as the first national cancer conference discusses smoking as a possible cause of cancer. The discussions in a smoke-filled room are inconclusive, though, so smoking habits are not effected. More then 50% of men smoke regularly, along with about 33% of women.

Americans respond to such ominous news, both foreign and domestic, by sitting in front of their new televisions. After a slow start, sales increase to 100,000 sets per week. In fact, the number of U.S. homes with TV's will jump from 1% in 1948 to 50% in 1953, just 5 years later.


U.S. Facts

  • President: Harry S Truman (D)
  • Population: 149,188,000
  • Life Expectancy: 68.0 years
  • Unemployment: 5.9%
  • Average Annual Salary: $3,600
  • Minimum Wage: $0.40 per hour
  • Inflation Rate: -1.2%

What Things Cost

  • Automobile: $1,650
  • Gasoline: $0.26 per gallon
  • House: $14,500
  • Bread: $0.14 per loaf
  • Milk: $0.84 per gallon
  • Postage Stamp: $0.03

Major U.S. Events

  • Truman advocates his Fair Deal program
  • Cost of living actually decreases, due to business recession

Major World Events

  • 12 nations sign North Atlantic Treaty establishing NATO
  • Communist People's Republic of China formally proclaimed
  • South Africa institutionalizes apartheid
  • Britain recognizes independent Republic of Ireland; Northern Ireland stays in UK

January

  • First TV Emmy Awards are presented
  • President's salary increases to $100,000

February

  • With drop in cost of living, GM workers' pay drops along with auto prices

March

  • Joe Louis retires after 11 years as heavyweight boxing champ
  • Former British colony of Newfoundland and Labrador becomes 10th province of Canada

April

  • Republic of Ireland proclaimed; leaves British Commonwealth

May

  • Israel admitted to U.N. as 59th member

July

  • Berlin airlift ends after Soviets reopen city to west

August

  • FCC bans giveaway prize shows on radio
  • Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb

September

  • Iva Toguri D'Aquino found guilty of treason for "Tokyo Rose" shows in WWII

October

  • Cornerstone laid in New York for U.N. HQ
  • People's Republic of China proclaimed by Mao Tse-Tung
  • 11 "top U.S. Communists" sent to prison

November

  • 500,000 steel workers strike; get pension

Top Songs

  • Riders In The Sky by Vaughn Monroe
  • That Lucky Old Sun by Frankie Laine
  • You're Breaking My Heart by Vic Damone
  • Some Enchanted Evening by Perry Como
  • Slippin' Around by Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely

Other New Songs

  • I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Les Brown
  • A Little Bird Told Me by Evelyn Knight
  • Someday by Vaughn Monroe
  • I Can Dream, Can't I? by the Andrews Sisters
  • Mule Train by Frankie Laine

Top Movies

  • All The King's Men
  • The Heiress
  • Twelve O'Clock High
  • A Letter to Three Wives
  • White Heat

Top Books

  • The Dream Merchants by Harold Robbins
  • The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  • Beneath The Sky by Alferd Q. Jarrette
  • A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
  • A Rage To Live By by John O'Hara

Top Radio Shows (1948-49)

  • Lux Radio Theater
  • Fibber McGee & Molly
  • The Jack Benny Show
  • Kaiser-Frazer News w/Walter Winchell
  • The Bob Hope Show

Top TV Shows (1948-49)

  • The Toast Of The Town
  • Texaco Star Theater
  • Kukla, Fran and Ollie
  • CBS TV News w/Douglas Edwards

Major League Baseball: World Series

  • New York Yankees d. Brooklyn Dodgers

Pro Football: Championships

  • NFL: Philadelphia Eagles d. Los Angeles Rams
  • AAFC: Cleveland Browns d. San Francisco 49ers

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup

  • Toronto Maple Leafs d. Detroit Red Wings

Pro Basketball: Championship

  • Minneapolis Lakers d. Washington Capitols

NCAA Champions

  • Football: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • Basketball: Kentucky Wildcats

Other Champions

  • Boxing: Ezzard Charles wins heavyweight title; defends twice
  • Golf: Sam Snead PGA player of year
  • Tennis: Pancho Gonzales and Margaret Osborne duPont win U.S. Open
  • Horse Racing: Ponder wins Kentucky Derby
  • Auto Racing: Bill Holland wins Indianapolis 500

Note: You may click on the images above to visit Amazon.com for souvenirs of the era


Inventions, Fads, & Fashion
  • Sales of television sets increase to 100,000 per week
  • Cable television begins in rural areas, where normal signal is weak
  • First 2 Volkswagen Beetles are sold in America, although dealer interest is nonexistent
  • Silly Putty becomes top-selling novelty item, as children find millions of uses for it
  • Prepared cake mixes are marketed to busy homemakers
  • 45 RPM records begin to replace the standard 78 RPM singles
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