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Understanding our world and that of our enemies

Alaska Becomes 49th State

Alaska Becomes 49th State

In January 1959, President Eisenhower signed a special proclamation admitting the territory of Alaska into the Union as the 49th and largest state. Although indigenous peoples inhabited the region for centuries, Europeans first discovered Alaska in 1741. Russian...

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Fidel Castro’s Forces Triumphant

Fidel Castro’s Forces Triumphant

Fidel and Raul Castro formed an underground movement in the early 1950s to overthrow the brutal and corrupt regime of the dictator Fulgencio Batista, under whose rule Cuba had become a haven for organized crime. After an unsuccessful rising against Batista in 1953 the...

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Pope John XXIII Crowned

Pope John XXIII Crowned

Pope John XXIII  was head of the Catholic Church from October 1958 until his death in 1963. Born in 1881 as  Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, he was one of thirteen children in a family of sharecroppers who lived in a village...

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Kingston Trio – Tom Dooley 

Kingston Trio – Tom Dooley 

The Kingston Trio, an American folk and pop group from San Fancisco helped launch the folk music revival of the late 1950s. The original lineup of Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds rose to international popularity fueled by an...

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Boris Pasternak Forced to Decline Nobel Prize

Boris Pasternak Forced to Decline Nobel Prize

Growing up in Moscow, the son of an artist and concert pianist, Boris Pasternak anandoned a career as a composer to study philosophy in Germany. On returning to Moscow, he became an author and was awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize for literature. His novel Doctor Zhivago...

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Pope Pius XII Dies

Pope Pius XII Dies

Pope Pius XII (born in 1876 as Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli) died on October 9, 1958 after a long, tumultuous, and controversial pontificate (1939–58). During his reign, Pius XII faced the ravages of World War II, the abuses of...

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Little Rock Voters Close Public Schools 

Little Rock Voters Close Public Schools 

In September 1958, Gov. Orval Faubus closed all Little Rock, Arkansas public high schools for one year rather than allow integration to continue, leaving 3,665 black and white students without access to public education. Source: Library of Congress.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Stabbed

Martin Luther King Jr. Stabbed

https://youtu.be/bhm5tE5e4FY In September 1958  Martin Luther King Jr. was autographing copies of his memoir Stride Toward Freedom (about the Montgomery bus strike) in a Harlem department store when a 42-year-old African American woman plunged a seven-inch penknife...

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Independence Day

Independence Day

https://youtu.be/XRLRKNXVuTY Independence Day (Fourth of July) is a federal holiday commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, which was ratified by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Congress declared that the thirteen American...

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Second Taiwan Strait Crisis

Second Taiwan Strait Crisis

https://youtu.be/lS2DPx-4sbI 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis, was a conflict between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC). The PRC shelled the islands of Kinmen(Quemoy) and the Matsu Islands along the east coast...

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USS Nautilus Submarine Travels Beneath North Pole

USS Nautilus Submarine Travels Beneath North Pole

https://youtu.be/vjK126hN4qc USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine and the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole in August 1958. The nuclear submarine...

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Loving v. Virginia Landmark Court Case

Loving v. Virginia Landmark Court Case

Loving v. Virginia was a 1958 Supreme Court case that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage in the United States. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and Black woman whose marriage was...

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US Marines Sent To Lebanon

US Marines Sent To Lebanon

https://youtu.be/0qFbBgDFzBM In July 1958 President Eisenhower ordered 5,000 US Marines to Lebanon, at the request of that country’s president, to face a perceived threat by Muslim rebels and help end a short-lived civil war. Eisenhower justified his decision to send...

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Cuban Rebels Capture US Sailors & Marines

Cuban Rebels Capture US Sailors & Marines

In June 1958, Cuban rebel forces captured 29 Sailors and Marines as they returned to Guantamano from leave in Cuba. The hostages were detained in the hills for 22 days, then released . Source: Naval Technology

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Execution of Hungarian Communist Leader 

Execution of Hungarian Communist Leader 

Imre Nagy served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People's Republic from 1953 to 1955. In 1956 Nagy. a committed communist, became leader of the Hungarian Revolution against the Soviet-backed government....

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Nuclear Waste in Marshall Islands

Nuclear Waste in Marshall Islands

The Runit Dome (aka Cactus Dome) is a 377 foot X 18 inch dome of radioactive debris, entombed in concrete, that stems from nuclear tests conducted in the Enewetak Atoll of the Marshall Islands by the United States between 1946...

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De Gaulle Returns to Power

De Gaulle Returns to Power

In May 1958  during the turmoil of the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962) Charles de Gaulle returned to power after a twelve-year absence. De Gaulle's newly formed cabinet was approved by the National Assembly by 329 votes against 224,...

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Fidel Castro Behind Rebel Lines in Cuba

Fidel Castro Behind Rebel Lines in Cuba

Believing support for the revolution was waning, Cuba's president Fulgencio Batista called for a major military offensive against Fidel Castro's rebels in the Sierra Maestra mountains in the summer of 1958. But the rebels turned back the offensive, forcing the army to...

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U.S. plan to explore space near the moon

U.S. plan to explore space near the moon

https://youtu.be/38pfWCaSZ9Y During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union began to build powerful new rockets—which they would eventually use to send humans into space and, ultimately, to the moon. In 1958 NASA launched Project Mercury with three...

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The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai

https://youtu.be/RlC7XBayj0s At the 30th Academy Awards in 1958, The Bridge on the River Kwai won seven awards, including best picture of 1957. Its director, David Lean, and star Alec Guinness also received Oscars.  The Bridge on the River Kwai was based on...

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Elvis Joins the US Army

Elvis Joins the US Army

Elvis Aron Presley entered the United States Army at Memphis, Tennessee in March 1958. During his active military career Presley served as a member of two different armor battalions. At the 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 37th Armor in Fort Hood, Texas he completed basic...

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Venezuelan Protesters Attack Nixon Cavalcade

Venezuelan Protesters Attack Nixon Cavalcade

In April-May1958, on a goodwill trip to Latin America, Vice President Richard Nixon engaged in angry debates with student groups in Peru and Uruguay. Then, in Caracas, Venezuela, a large crowd pelted his car, smashing the windows. Nixon escaped from the crowd and...

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