As a boomer, I have decided that I am going to post events that happened every year from 1946-1964, the years that have been coined the Baby Boomer Years. Each new post will take the next year up until the last year of the boomer years.
As it turns out, 1946 was an incredibly crucial year in which many events formed or helped create scenarios which have continued to be the backdrop of the world that we Boomers have lived in. As a few: the Cold War and the CIA came into existence; the first computer was completed; the Zionist were making forays into creating a Jewish state in Palestine; the Nuclear weapons race begins; the United Nations was created; Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam entered the world stage; many new governments were created and a very definite line was drawn between the Eastern and Western blocs; many colonies were demanding their freedom, some of which were granted in 1946. Television as a source of entertainment began; the issues of racism start to be acknowledged politically in the United States; the NFL is formed; the first commercially designed helicopter is introduced; the bikini bathing suit is introduced; the first Cannes Film Festival is held; Nehru forms a government in India; George Orwell publishes “Animal Farm”; Dr. Spock publishes his book on rearing babies, the bible used to bring all us boomers up.
President Harry Truman was President of the United States. Within the country, much upheaval and change was being felt. According to Wikipedia:
The end of World War II was followed by an uneasy transition from war to a peacetime economy. The costs of the war effort were enormous, and Truman was intent on decreasing government expenditures on the military as quickly as possible. Demobilizing the military and reducing the size of the various services was a cost-saving priority. The effect of demobilization on the economy was unknown, but fears existed that the nation would slide back into a depression. A great deal of work had to be done to plan how best to transition to peacetime production of goods while avoiding mass unemployment for returning veterans. There was no consensus among government officials as to what economic course the postwar U.S. should steer. In addition, Roosevelt had not paid attention to Congress in his final years, and Truman faced a body where a combination of Republicans and conservative southern Democrats formed a powerful voting bloc.
The president was faced with the reawakening of labor-management conflicts that had lain dormant during the war years, severe shortages in housing and consumer products, and widespread dissatisfaction with inflation, which at one point hit 6% in a single month. Added to this polarized environment was a wave of destabilizing strikes in major industries, and Truman’s response to them was generally seen as ineffective. A rapid increase in costs was fueled by the release of price controls on most items, and labor sought wage increases. A serious steel strike in January 1946 involving 800,000 workers—the largest in the nation’s history—was followed by a coal strike in April and a rail strike in May. The public was angry, with a majority in polls favoring a ban on strikes by public service workers and a year’s moratorium on labor actions. Truman proposed legislation to draft striking workers into the Armed Forces, and in a dramatic personal appearance before Congress, was able to announce settlement of the rail strike. His proposal passed the House of Representatives, but failed in the Senate.For commodities where price controls remained, producers were often unwilling to sell at artificially low prices: Farmers refused to sell grain for months in 1945 and 1946 until payments were significantly increased, even though grain was desperately needed, not only for domestic use, but to stave off starvation in Europe.
Although labor strife was muted after the settlement of the railway strike, it continued through Truman’s presidency. The President’s approval rating dropped from 82% in the polls in January 1946 to 52% by June. This dissatisfaction with the Truman administration’s policies led to large Democratic losses in the 1946 midterm elections, when Republicans took control of Congress for the first time since 1930. The 80th Congress included Republican freshmen who would become prominent in the years to come, including Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy and California Congressman Richard Nixon. When Truman dropped to 32% in the polls, Democratic Arkansas Senator William Fulbright suggested that Truman resign; the President in response indicated that he did not care what Senator “Halfbright” said.
When I was looking at what was happening in 1946, I was a little surprised at how familiar many of the entries sounded to our world today. I did leave out a lot of references to sport events, Broadway events, and music premiers, since, although influences, I was wanting to focus more on events that caused major changes in our outlook as a society and influenced our perception of the world around us, clearly to this day.
Anyway, have a look below.
On the very first day of 1946, January 1, the first computer was completed by Mauchley/Eckert. How about that!
January 10: we make first radar contact with the moon and the U.N. General Assembly meets for the first time in London, England.
January 17: United Nations Security Council holds its 1st meeting
January 22: US president sets up the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). How about that! And Rear Admiral Sidney W Souers, USNR, becomes 1st Director of CIA.
February 16: 1st commercially designed helicopter tested, Bridgeport Ct
In between January and February of 1946, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania form their dictatorships with Communism as their mantel. Salazar in Portugal forms his dictatorship independently of the communist mantel. And Franco continues his dictatorship of Spain.
February 14-15: Bank of England is nationalized
February 21: Anti-British demonstrations by Egyptians
February 24: Juan Peron elected president of Argentina
February 26: 2 killed & 10 wounded in race riot in Columbia Tenn
Mar 1st - Panama accepts its new Constitution
Mar 2nd - Ho Chi Minh elected president of North Vietnam; Kingman Douglass, becomes deputy director of CIA
Mar 5th - Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech (Fulton Missouri)
Mar 9th - Ted Williams is offered $500,000 to play in Mexican Baseball League. He refuses
Mar 12th - Part of Petsamo province ceded by Soviet Union to Finland
Mar 14th - Belgian creates several governments over the course of the year, beginning with Spaak. Until then, Belgian was ruled by a monarchy.
Mar 15th - British premier Attlee agrees with India’s right to independence
Mar 22nd - Britain signs treaty granting independence to Jordan
Mar 28th - Cold War: The United States State Department releases the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, outlining a plan for the international control of nuclear power.
Mar 31st - The first election is held in Greece after World War II.
Apr 1st - 400,000 US mine workers strike
Apr 1st - Tsunamis generated by a quake in Aleutian Trench strike Hilo Hawaii; Weight Watchers forms; Formation of the Malayan Union.
Apr 3rd - Netherland-German postal relations resume
Apr 7th - Part of East Prussia incorporated into Russian SFSR; Syria’s independence from France is officially recognised.
Apr 8th - League of Nations assembles for last time
Apr 13th - Eddie Klepp, a white pitcher signed by defending Negro League champ Cleveland Buckeyes, is barred from field in Birmingham Alabama
Apr 18th - Jackie Robinson debuts as 2nd baseman for the Montreal Royals; US recognizes Tito’s Yugoslavia government
Apr 20th - 1st baseball broadcast in Chicago, Cards vs Cubs
Apr 21st - SED, Socialistic Einheitspartei Germany forms in East Germany (another dictatorship forms under the mantel of Communism)
Apr 27th - 1st radar installation aboard a commercial ship.
Apr 29th - 28 former Japanese leaders indicted in Tokyo as war criminals
May 1st - Start of 3 year Pilbara strike of Indigenous Australians; The Paris Peace Conference concludes that the islands of the Dodecanese should be returned to Greece by Italy; Fieldmarshal Montgomery appointed British supreme commander
May 2nd - Prisoners revolt at Alcatraz. The revolt lasts two days. Two guards and three inmates are killed.
May 7th - William H Hastie inaugurated as 1st black governor of Virgin Islands; Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering (later renamed Sony) is founded with around 20 employees.
May 8th: The Estonian school girls Aili Jõgi and Ageeda Paavel blow up the Soviet memorial that preceded the Bronze Soldier in Tallinn. Aili was 14 years old at the time and very active in the resistance movement. She was finally caught and found guilty as an under-aged terrorist and sent to a Gulag labor camp, west of the Ural mountains. She was exiled from the Estonian SSR for eight years.
May 9th - 1st hour long entertainment TV show, “NBC’s Hour Glass” premieres
May 10th - Umberto II succeeds Victor Emmanuel III as king of Italy; Red Sox win 15th straight beat Yanks 5-4, DiMaggio hits Grand Slam
May 11: The United Malays National Organisation, (UMNO) founded and is presently Malaysia’s largest political part and a founding member of the National Front coalition
May 13th - US convicts 58 camp guard of Mauthausen concentration camp to death
May 25th - Abdullah ibn Hussein becomes king of Jordan
May 26th - Klement Gottwald becomes premier of Czechoslovakia. He was a founding father of the Communist party in Czechoslovakia; Patent filed in US for H-Bomb.
Jun 2nd - Italian plebiscite chooses republic over monarchy (National Day)
Jun 3rd - US Supreme court rules race separation on buses, unconstitutional; 1st bikini bathing suit displayed (Paris)
Jun 6th - The Basketball Association of America is formed in New York City
Jun 7th - US Supreme Court bans discrimination in interstate travel
Jun 8th - Sukarno calls for anti colonial defiance in Indonesia
Jun 9th - Bhumibol Adulyadej, becomes king of Thailand; Joe Louis KOs Billy Conn in 8 for heavyweight boxing title
Jun 10th - Italian Republic established; Rear Admiral Sidney W Souers, USNR, ends term as 1st director of CIA Lieutenant General Hoyt S Vandenberg, USA, becomes 2nd director of CIA
Jun 13th - 1st transcontinental round-trip flight in 1-day, California-Maryland; King Umberto II of Italy abdicates
Jun 29th - British mandatory government of Palestine arrests 100 leaders of Yishnuv
Jul 1st - Rajah cedes Sarawak to British crown; US drops atom bomb on Bikini atoll (4th atomic explosion)
Jul 3rd - 1st Dutch government of Beel forms
Jul 4th - Philippines gains independence from US
Jul 14th - Dr Ben Spock’s “Common Sense Book of Baby & Child Care” published; Mass murder of Jews in Kielce Poland
Jul 15th - British North Borneo Co transfers rights to British crown
Jul 16th - US court martials 46 SS to death (Battle of Bulge crimes) in Dachau
Jul 22nd - Menachen Begin’s opposition group surprise attack on King David hotel
Jul 23rd - Menachem Begins opposition group bombs King David Hotel
Jul 24th - US performs atmospheric nuclear Test at Bikini Island; US detonates underwater A-bomb at Bikini (5th atomic explosion)
Jul 25th - At Club 500 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis stage their first show as a comedy team.
Jul 26th - President Harry Truman orders desegregation of all US forces
Jul 26th - Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport
Aug 1st - Pres Harry Truman establishes Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
Aug 6th - US officially submits to jurisdiction of World Court
Aug 7th - 1st coin bearing portrait of Negro authorized
Aug 8th - India agrees to give Bhutan 32 sq miles
Aug 13th - Britain transfers illegal immigrants bound to Palestine, to Cyprus
Aug 16th - Great Calcutta blood bath – Moslem/Hindu riot (3-4,000 die)
Aug 17th - George Orwell publishes “Animal Farm” in the United Kingdom
Sep 1st - Greece votes for monarchy
Sep 2nd - Nehru forms government in India
Sep 8th - Bulgaria ends monarchy
Sep 20th - Churchill argues for a ‘United States of Europe’; The first Cannes Film Festival is held.
Sep 26th - 1st edition of Tintin (Kuifje), publishes until June 1993
Sep 28th - Greek king George II returns to Athens from exile
Sep 29th - Los Angeles (previously Cleveland) Rams play 1st NFL game in LA
Sep 29th - NPS, Nationale Party Suriname, forms
Sep 30th - 22 Nazi leaders found guilty of war crimes at Nuremberg; Von Ribbentrop & Hermann Goering sentenced to death by Nuremberg trial
Oct 1st - 12 war criminals sentenced to death in Nuremberg
Oct 8th - Kwo-less-shrew selects Gen Chiang Kai-shek as president of China
Oct 27th - Georgi Domitrovs National Front wins Bulgaria elections (78%)
Oct 28th - German rocket engineers begin work in USSR
Nov 1st - Charles S Johnson becomes 1st black president of Fisk University
Nov 3rd - Emperor Hirohito proclaims new Japanese constitution
Nov 4th - UN Educational, Scientific, & Cultural Organization formed
Nov 5th - John F Kennedy (D-Mass) elected to House of Representatives
Nov 9th - Pres Harry Truman ends wage/price freeze
Nov 12th - A branch of the Exchange National Bank in Chicago, Illinois opens the first ten drive-up teller windows.
Nov 15th - House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) interrogates astronomer Harlow Shapley
Nov 21st - Georgi Dimitrov, a communist, elected premier of Bulgaria
Nov 23rd - French Navy fire in Haiphong Vietnam, kills 6,000
Nov 23rd - The Workers Party of South Korea is founded.
Dec 3rd - US government asks UN to order dictator Franco out of Spain
Dec 5th - Pres Harry Truman creates Committee on Civil Rights by Exec Order #9808
Dec 11th - Spain suspended from UN; UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) established (Nobel 1965)
Dec 12th - Tide detergent introduced; UN accepts 6 Manhattan blocks as a gift from John D Rockefeller Jr
Dec 13th - Leon Blum elected French premier
Dec 14th - Togo made a trusteeship territory of UN; UN General Assembly votes to establish UN headquarters in NYC
Dec 19th - War breaks out in Indochina as Ho Chi Minh attacks French in Hanoi
Dec 23rd - U of Tenn refuses to play Duquesne U, because they may use a black player in their basketball game
Dec 24th - 4th French republic established
Dec 24th - US General MacNarney gives 800,000 “minor nazi’s” amnesty
Dec 25th - Constitution accepted in Taiwan
Dec 26th - Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas opens (start of an era)
Dec 31st - French troops leave Lebanon