West Germany joins North Atlantic Treaty Organization
August 26, 2021
https://youtu.be/0rICHFt7Gg4 In 1949, the Americans, British, and French combined their zones of occupation in West Germany to establish the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany). The Soviets responded by forming the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic) in East Germany.  Encyclopedia Britannica In May 1955, ten years after the defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII, West Germany joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a move to counter potential Soviet expansion in western Europe. With entrance into NATO, the Federal Republic of Germany became integral to the defense of Western Europe.
Egypt & Britain Suez Canal Pact
August 19, 2021
https://youtu.be/GprO6J_pVJA The 1954 Anglo–Egyptian Treaty terminated the presence of British armed forces along the Suez Canal. Pinterest Although Britain relinquished its military presence in other parts of Egypt after WWII, it continued to keep its forces in a number of camps, airfields and other military installations along the Suez Canal. After the Egyptian monarchy was abolished in 1953, the Arab Republic of Egypt, demanding total British withdrawal from the country, resorted to guerrilla warfare against British troops in the Canal Zone. In 1954, with a need to curtail its financial burdens, and under some pressure from the U.S. administration, Great Britain decided to quit the Suez Canal. The treaty allowed however, access to British civilian contractors in order to maintain peacetime installations and the return of British forces to a Canal base in the event of war. 
Hurricane Hazel Kills 348 in US & Canada
August 16, 2021
https://youtu.be/T6AJ0d_jTiM In October 1954 Hurricane Hazel  killed at least 469 people in Haiti before striking the United States near the border between North and South Carolina as a Category 4 hurricane where it caused 95 deaths. Hazel then struck Canada as an extratropical storm with a death toll of 81 people, mostly in Toronto. As a result of its high death toll and extensive damage, the name Hazel was retired from use for North Atlantic hurricanes. Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale CategorySustained WindsTypes of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds174-95 mph64-82 kt119-153 km/hVery dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.296-110 mph83-95 kt154-177 km/hExtremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.3(major)111-129 mph96-112 kt178-208 km/hDevastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.4(major)130-156 mph113-136 kt209-251 km/hCatastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.5(major)157 mph or higher137 kt or higher252 km/h or higherCatastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Southeast Asia Treaty Organization – SEATO
August 12, 2021
https://youtu.be/6_Hb8IDU4Tk Wikipedia In September 1954 the United States, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan formed the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).     Although most of the SEATO member states were countries located elsewhere than Southeast Asia. they all had interests related to their geographic position, status as former colonial powers or concern about communist expansion in the region.  SEATO was dissolved on 30 June 1977 after multiple members lost interest and withdrew.  Main Source: Office of the U.S. State Department Historian
Popular Movies
August 9, 2021
Americans watched some good foreign and domestic movies in 1954. https://youtu.be/I7BwIPCX6ZQ https://youtu.be/boekTHsOIY8 https://youtu.be/77YpsPwlEFQ https://youtu.be/TK9qs5pOI4c https://youtu.be/GF5U83UIX1o https://youtu.be/m01YktiEZCw https://youtu.be/FNl1pv6Sm44 https://youtu.be/L4LZQXIjKrA https://youtu.be/CaWOi5lfwyI https://youtu.be/7S-IidmcSN8
“Under God” phrase added to the Pledge of Allegiance
August 5, 2021
https://youtu.be/Xi8MXIq_0t0 In June 1954, In response to the perceived communist threat during the Cold War, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," to the pledge of allegiance. Today the Pledge reads: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Coup D’état in Guatemala
August 2, 2021
https://youtu.be/uVkthJcKQxg In June 1954, Operation PBSuccess (a covert operation directed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) orchestrated the invasion of Guatemala from Honduras by a force of Guatemalan mercenaries. The successful coup d'état deposed the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz and installed a military dictatorship under Carlos Castillo Armas, the first in a series of U.S.-backed authoritarian rulers in the country. Important factors influencing the U.S. decision to intervene included: U.S. Cold War attitude regarding the spread of communism in Latin AmericaPresident Árbenz's legalization of the communist Guatemalan Party of LabourInfluential lobbying by the United Fruit Company that profited from exploitative labor practices in Guatemala
Popular TV Programs
July 29, 2021
Popular TV shows 1954 https://youtu.be/NkQ58I53mjk https://youtu.be/ojkTUIelOWI https://youtu.be/VjA4-wSjPWg https://youtu.be/2ylvWg6AV7g Top-rated primetime television series of the 1954–55 season as measured by Nielsen Media Research.[1] RankProgramNetworkRating1I Love LucyCBS49.32The Jackie Gleason Show42.43DragnetNBC42.14You Bet Your Life41.05The Toast of the TownCBS39.66DisneylandABC39.17The Jack Benny ShowCBS38.38The George Gobel ShowNBC35.29Ford Theatre34.910December BrideCBS34.711The Buick-Berle ShowNBC34.612This Is Your Life34.513I've Got a SecretCBS34.014Two for the Money33.915Your Hit ParadeNBC33.616The MillionaireCBS33.017General Electric Theater32.618Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts32.519Private Secretary32.220Fireside TheatreNBC31.121The Life of Riley30.922Arthur Godfrey and His FriendsCBS29.823The Adventures of Rin Tin TinABC29.524TopperCBS29.425Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts29.126The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show29.027The Colgate Comedy HourNBC28.028The Loretta Young Show27.729My Little Margie27.130The Roy Rogers Show26.9
First Taiwan Strait Crisis
July 26, 2021
In August 1954 the Communist People's Republic of China attacked several islands located a few miles from mainland China in the Taiwan Strait that were held by the Nationalist Republic of China. Wikipedia In January 1955, the Formosa Resolution was approved by the U.S. Congress authorizing President Eisenhower to use U.S. forces to defend Nationalist China and its possessions in the Taiwan Strait against armed attack. The U.S. Navy then assisted the Nationalists in evacuating their forces from the Tachen Islands. https://youtu.be/1ZNoSgoL9nM In March 1955, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles stated that the U.S. was seriously considering a nuclear strike against Communist China. In response, the alliance of NATO foreign ministers warned against such action. In May 1955, Communist Chinese forces ceased shelling Kinmen and Matsu Islands, but the fundamental issues of conflict remained unresolved and both sides subsequently built up military forces on the Taiwan Strait leading to a new Taiwan Strait crisis three years later. Source: Wikipedia
“The World Series Catch” by Willie Mays
July 22, 2021
In the 8th inning of game 5 of the September 1954 World Series,  New York Giants center fielder Willie Mays made a remarkable over-the-shoulder running catch of a deep center field fly ball to record the out and throw back to the infield, preventing runners from advancing. The Giants won the game 5–2 in extra innings, and eventually the World Series.  Source: Wikipedia
Fall of French Indochina
July 19, 2021
https://youtu.be/ZMPNY9w8OmQ In May 1954 communist Viet Minh forces won a decisive victory over the French colonial army in the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ. The war ended shortly afterward with signing of the 1954 Geneva Accords in which France agreed to withdraw its forces from all of its colonies in French Indochina. The accord temporarily divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel, with control of the north given to the Viet Minh as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. The south became the State of Vietnam, nominally under Emperor Bảo Đại, thereby preventing the communists from gaining control of the entire country. Separate ceasefire accords were made with Cambodia and Laos at the conference. Although a general election was to be held by July 1956 to create a unified Vietnamese state, the subsequent refusal of the State of Vietnam to allow the elections ultimately led to the Vietnam War. Wikimedia
Music Soothes the Post-War Soul
July 15, 2021
Popular music often seemed soft and soothing in 1954, the year after the tragic Korean War. https://youtu.be/BTIERquza6Q https://youtu.be/nVGt-qNQ4Os
Eisenhower Describes Domino Theory
July 12, 2021
U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower described the domino theory during an April 1954, news conference, when referring to communism in Indochina. The geopolitical theory stated that if one country fell to a communist takeover, the surrounding countries would fall like a collapsing row of dominoes.  The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world. Source: Wikipedia
Brown v. Board of Education
July 8, 2021
In the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional.  The case became one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement, and helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all. Source: History.com
Edward R. Murrow vs. Joseph McCarthy
July 5, 2021
Edward Roscoe Murrow was an American broadcast journalist and war correspondent who first gained radio prominence with a series of live radio broadcasts from Europe during WWII. In the spring of 1954 the US Senate held a series of hearings to investigate conflicting accusations between the US Army and Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. TV coverage of the hearings contributed to McCarthy's decline in popularity and his eventual censure by the Senate the following December. Murrow's reports on his television program See It Now  helped lead to the censure of Senator McCarthy. Source: Wikipedia
Rock and Roll Music
July 1, 2021
Rock and roll music evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from gospel, blues, jazz, boogie woogie, rhythm and blues and country music. Many maintain that the first rock and roll single was Rocket 88, written by Ike Turner, sung by Jackie Brenston (saxophone player from Turner's band The Kings of Rhythm) and recorded by Sam Phillips, who later went on to found Sun records (and discover Elvis Presley). https://youtu.be/MWGPznPnxkE The instrumental in Ike Turner's Rocket 88 reminds me of my all time favorite True Fine Mama by Little Richard in 1957. https://youtu.be/IRV25fHD-b4 Early rock and roll typically featured the piano or saxophone as the lead instrument. Guitars became prominent in the mid 1950s with an accentuated backbeat often provided by a snare drum. Classic rock and roll usually features lead and rhythm electric guitars and a string bass. Source: Wikipedia Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock was the first rock and roll record heard by millions of people worldwide. https://youtu.be/xbYiGR0YAAk Shake, Rattle and Roll was a twelve bar blues-form rock and roll song, written in 1954 by Jesse Stone and originally recorded by Big Joe Turner; and later popularized by Bill Haley & His Comets. https://youtu.be/YhELpSeeipg
Five Shot In U.S. Congress
June 28, 2021
In March 1954 four Puerto Rican nationalists wanting independence from US rule, shot 30 rounds from semi-automatic pistols from the balcony of the House of Representatives chamber in the United States Capitol.  The nationalists unfurled a Puerto Rican flag and began shooting as Representatives were debating an immigration bill. Five Representatives were wounded, one seriously, but all recovered. The assailants were arrested, tried and convicted in federal court, and sentenced effectively to life imprisonment. In 1978 and 1979, their sentences were commuted by President Jimmy Carter. All four returned to Puerto Rico. Source: Wikipedia
Godzilla, Them and the Creature from the Black Lagoon
June 24, 2021
1954 was a great year for classic monster movies. https://youtu.be/lM1o1xe5FGE https://youtu.be/CugQcmapiwc
Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine
June 21, 2021
The first effective polio vaccine was developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh. Shortly thereafter, a key laboratory technique that enabled mass production of the vaccine was invented by Leone N. Farrell and her team in Toronto. In February 1953 Pittsburg, Pennsylvania launched the first mass childhood Salk Vaccine inoculation program against polio. In February 1954, the vaccine was tested at Arsenal Elementary School and the Watson Home for Children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1955 the Salk vaccine was found to be 60–70% effective against PV1 (poliovirus type 1), >90% effective against PV2 and PV3 and 94% effective against the development of bulbar polio.  Soon many children's vaccination campaigns were launched and promoted by the March of Dimes, https://youtu.be/BXTRzM0rrYE The annual number of polio cases fell from 35,000 in 1953 to 5,600 by 1957. By 1961 only 161 cases were recorded in the US. Main Source: Wikipedia
Marilyn Monroe Marries Joe DiMaggio
June 17, 2021
In January 1954, Marilyn Monroe and and baseball star Joe DiMaggio were mobbed by reporters and fans when they married in San Francisco. On their honeymoon in Japan, Monroe was asked to perform for American soldiers stationed in Korea. She went, leaving her new husband in Japan. Back in the United States, tension continued to build, particularly around DiMaggio’s discomfort with Marilyn's sexy image. In September 1954, on the set of the Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch, her skirt blew up with air from a New York City subway grate as a crowd of onlookers and press gathered. The crowd cheered and DiMaggio, who was on set, became irate. Wikipedia DiMaggio and Monroe were divorced in October 1954, just 274 days after they were married. Source: History.com
USS Nautilus – First Nuclear-Powered Submarine 
June 14, 2021
Named after both Captain Nemo's fictional submarine in  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and the WWII submarine USS Nautilus (SS-168) ,the new nuclear-powered Nautilus was launched in 1954. Because the USS Nautilus nuclear propulsion allowed prolonged submersion far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation and traveled to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines (including beneath the North Pole). Source: Wikipedia
Vintage Commercials
June 10, 2021
With a shift in government spending at the end of the Korean War, the American GDP dropped by 2.2% and unemployment peaked at ~6%. Although the U.S. Federal Reserve tightened monetary policy to curb inflation, spiking interest rates decreased consumer demand. The Fed eased its policies in 1954, allowing the economy to rebound after a 10-month recession. Consumer spending increased. Source: CNBC Some familiar TV commercials from 1954. https://youtu.be/gQt6ym7maRY https://youtu.be/1SyVfcuU7sk?list=PLYHte5blsWCJdgPf8dvW4UZk552hhS73c https://youtu.be/lbd2M003zKU https://youtu.be/glxawiOXbEo https://youtu.be/G6MlXc-Bao4 https://youtu.be/XltnVl2xBVI
Nationwide Atom Bomb Drills
June 7, 2021
The development of the H-bomb committed the United States to an arms race with the Soviet Union. Despite the specter of nuclear holocaust, both the United States and the Soviet Union vied to build ever more powerful nuclear weapons. The Federal Civil Defense Administration was charged with creating shelter, evacuation, and training programs. In the early 1950s, schools across the United States trained students to dive under their desks and cover their heads. Although these drills were designed to simulate what action should be taken during an atomic attack, they also heightened anxiety over an escalating arms race. Wikipedia Nevertheless, duck and cover drills in use during the early 1950s, might have had some rationale. In the early ‘50s, Soviet atomic bombs were basically similar to bombs used in World War II—not the more advanced and large kind of atomic weapons they would later develop. Main Source: History.com