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BOOMERNET Chronicle: 1951

1951

Sen. Joseph McCarthy U.S.-led United Nations forces go on the offensive in Korea and drive Communist troops almost back to the 38th parallel. While President Truman follows a policy of limited war in Korea, General Douglas MacArthur continues to advocate bombing Chinese bases and to publicly disagree with Truman. After conferring with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Truman relieves MacArthur and replaces him with General Matthew Ridgway.

Anti-Communist activities continue on the home front, too, as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of selling atomic secrets to Russia and as Senator McCarthy continues to seek out Communists in government and elsewhere. Margaret Chase Smith, first woman elected to the Senate, opposes McCarthyism and states she does not wish to see her Republican party "ride to victory on the four horsemen of calumny -- fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear."

New eras begin in the entertainment industry in many different ways, including the first commercial color telecast and the first live coast-to-coast telecasts. In addition, Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed first uses the term "rock and roll," in an attempt to attract white listeners to the rhythm and blues music popular with Negro audiences.


U.S. Facts

  • President: Harry S Truman (D)
  • Population: 154,878,000
  • Life Expectancy: 68.4 years
  • Unemployment: 3.3%
  • Average Annual Salary: $4,200
  • Minimum Wage: $0.75 per hour
  • Inflation Rate: 7.9%

What Things Cost

  • Automobile: $1,800
  • Gasoline: $0.27 per gallon
  • House: $16,000
  • Bread: $0.16 per loaf
  • Milk: $0.92 per gallon
  • Postage Stamp: $0.03

Major U.S. Events

  • Truman relieves MacArthur to avoid World War III
  • 22nd Amendment to U.S. Constitution ratified, limiting Presidents to 2 terms

Major World Events

  • Chinese and North Korean forces pushed back toward 38th parallel
  • American casualties in Korea by year-end: 15,000 dead and 75,000 wounded

January

  • U.N. HQ opens in New York City

March

  • U.N. troops recapture S. Korean capitol Seoul for 2nd time

April

  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg sentenced to death for selling atomic secrets
  • Truman recalls MacArthur from Korea
  • In farewell speech, MacArthur says "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."

May

  • U.S. test first thermonuclear device, the hydrogen bomb
  • First live coast-to-coast TV broadcast

June

  • UNIVAC arrives, first computer for both numeric and alphabetic data
  • CBS does first commercial color telecast

July

  • Illinois National Guard ends race riot in Chicago suburb Cicero

September

  • U.S., Australia, and New Zealand sign ANZUS mutual defense pact
  • Peace treaty with Japan signed, in formal recognition of end of Pacific war

October

  • Transcontinental dial telephone service begins
  • Truman signs act ending war with Germany

November

  • Tentative truce agreed in Korea, with many terms still to be resolved

Top Songs

  • Too Young by Nat King Cole
  • Because of You by Tony Bennett
  • How High The Moon by Les Paul & Mary Ford
  • Come On-a My House by Rosemary Clooney
  • Be My Love by Mario Lanza

Other New Songs

  • Mockingbird Hill by Patti Page
  • Cold, Cold Heart by Tony Bennett
  • If by Perry Como
  • Jezebel by Frankie Laine
  • On Top Of Old Smokey by the Weavers

Top Movies

  • An American in Paris
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • A Place in the Sun
  • The African Queen
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still

Top Books

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
  • Spartacus by Howard Fast
  • From Here to Eternity by James Jones
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Top Radio Shows (1950-51)

  • Lux Radio Theater
  • The Jack Benny Show
  • The Amos 'n' Andy Show
  • Arthur Godfrey & His Talent Scouts
  • Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy

Top TV Shows (1950-51)

  • Texaco Star Theater (Milton Berle)
  • Fireside Theater
  • Philco TV Playhouse
  • Your Show of Shows
  • The Colgate Comedy Hour

Major League Baseball: World Series

  • New York Yankees d. New York Giants

Pro Football: Championship

  • Los Angeles Rams d. Cleveland Browns

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup

  • Toronto Maple Leafs d. Montreal Canadiens

Pro Basketball: Championship

  • Rochester Royals d. New York Knickerbockers

NCAA Champions

  • Football: Tennessee Volunteers
  • Basketball: Kentucky Wildcats

Other Champions

  • Boxing: Ezzard Charles defends heavyweight title 3 times, before finally losing it to Jersey Joe Walcott
  • Golf: Ben Hogan is PGA player of the year
  • Tennis: Frank Sedgman and Maureen Connolly win U.S. Open
  • Horse Racing: Count Turf wins Kentucky Derby
  • Auto Racing: Lee Wallard wins Indianapolis 500

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


Inventions, Fads, & Fashion
  • Color TV is introduced in America
  • The first oral contraceptive is developed
  • Atomic Energy Commission authorizes the first nuclear power plant
  • Topps markets its first two sets of baseball cards, with 52 cards each
  • Swanson introduces beef, turkey, and chicken pot pies
  • The first section of the New Jersey Turnpike opens
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