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75 Years


Historic moments from the 1950s


1950 - The Cold War

Joseph Stalin
When communist North Korea invaded South Korea, the Cold War escalated. Soon, both sides of the ideological divide were bombarding each other with propaganda. Radio Moscow began broadcasts to the US in the early 1950s.

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1951 - The birth of the hit parade

45 singles
In the early 50s radio stations started compiling charts of the bestselling singles to identify the hits. The era of the single had begun and pop music was born.

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1952 - Eva Peron dies

Eva Peron
Eva Peron - better known to the world as Evita - and wife of the Argentine president Juan Peron, died in 1952. A politician's wife, with no official role, she became one of the defining figures in Latin American politics.

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1953 - The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth
In 1953 the BBC launched a massive technical operation as they broadcast the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II live to Europe - before flying the footage across the Atlantic. The number of people who owned TV sets in Britain doubled.

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1954 - The McCarthy hearings are televised

Joe McCarthy
Senator Joseph McCarthy hounded people in the public eye with accusations of anti-American activities and spying. But after 188 hours of televised hearings Americans decided they didn't like him or his methods.

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1955 - Disneyland funded by a TV show

This was the year that a cinema legend moved into TV and real estate. Walt Disney opened his first theme park 'Disneyland' in California. To help pay for it, he did a deal with ABC to produce a weekly Mickey Mouse TV show.

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1956 - The Hungarian Uprising

Destroyed statue of Stalin
The Hungarian uprising against the Communist regime began with people demonstrating on the streets of Budapest in October 1956. For a few days that autumn the state radio station was free to broadcast anti-soviet ideas. That soon changed.

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1957 - Sputnik is launched into Space

Sputnik was the first satellite to be successfully launched into orbit around the Earth. It was a huge propaganda coup for the Soviet Union, but space enthusiasts around the world were simply excited it was up there at all.

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1958 - Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe
One of the most important novels in African literature was published in 1958 - Things Fall Apart by the Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe. A critique of colonialism, it was also one of the first works to give a voice to rural Africans.

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1959 - Regime in South Africa bans TV

A 1950s TV
The apartheid government in South Africa believed television could undermine its authority and decided to ban it in 1959. It didn't want the black population seeing things that might make them think life could be different.

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