60 years ago
WHAT WAS THE WORLD LIKE?
There were a few very significant events which recurred through the year: the Pope issued 3 fundamental encyclicals for the faithful through-out the year; USSR, US and UK continued with their arms race, testing both atmospheric and subterranean missiles through-out almost every month of 1957 – they also tested and trialled IBM’s (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles). The cold war intensified and the first unmanned space flights were conducted including with the Dog Laika, who of course, perished on Sputnik 2.
Talking of dogs the first trial of a mechanical heart was conducted on a dog. There was a significant stand-off for human rights and desegregation in Arkansas (Little Rock) which ironically is the home of the Clintons. Additionally, there was a lot of coups, but also two countries obtained independence from Great Britain – Malaya and Indonesia.
Buddy Holly and the crickets, Elvis Presley, Paul Anka, Jerry Lee Lewis all had hits. John Lennon (age 16) and Paul McCartney (age 15) meet for the first time at a Church gig. I Love Lucy had its last airing on TV and Samuel Beckett’s ‘The Endgame’ opened in London. Jack Kerrouac published his iconic ‘On the Road Again’, and Albert Camus is awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
There were some interesting first including the 1st commercial building heated by the sun came on line in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Civil Rights in both USA and Africa resulted in segregation of Universities in SA and 300 US troops being sent to Little Rock, Arkansas to protect the rights of 9 black students to be educated in a non-segregated school. Gibson produce their flying V guitar and Sir Edmond Hillary reaches the South Pole.
Politically you can see the genesis of some of the significant tensions in the Middle East being established or continued and giving rise to or preceding the tensions currently at play in the world.
SURVEY OF EVENTS
Feb 4 Georgia Senate unanimously approved bill barring blacks from playing baseball with whites.
Feb 7 Missouri fire at home for the elderly kills 72
Feb 28 Kirk Douglas and Ingrid Bergman win golden globe for The King And I
Mar 4 The S&P 500 Stock Market Index is first introduced
Mar 8 Israeli troops leave Egypt, Suez Canal is reopened for minor ships
Mar 13 Bloody battles after the anti-Battista demonstrations in Havana, Cuba
Mar 15 Great Britain becomes the third nation to explode nuclear bomb
Mar 22 Earthquake give San Francisco the shakes
Mar 25 European Economic Community (Common Market) setup
April 6 Aristotle Onassis buys Hellenic National Airlines and founds Olympia Airlines
Apr 10 USSR performs atmospheric nuclear test and Suez Canal reopens for all traffic
Apr 25 First experimental sodium nuclear reactor operated
May 2 Gangster Frank Costello escapes an assassination attempt
May 4 Anne Frank foundation is formed in Amsterdam
May 6 Pulitzer prize awarded to John F. Kennedy for Profiles in Courage
May 15 8,000 people listen to Billy Graham at Madison Square Garden
May 17: School desegregation law, Brown versus Board of Education
May 22 South Africa’s government approves race separation in universities
May 24 Heavy earthquake strikes Colombia
Jun 9 Anthony Eden resigns replaced by Harold MacMillan the following day.
Jun 27 Hurricane Audrey kills 526 in Louisiana and Texas, and British medical research council publishes report suggesting a direct link between smoking and lung cancer
Jul 7 Heavy storm ravages Belgian coast
Jul 8 Irish Premier Eamon de Valera arrests Sinn Fein leaders
Jul 9 Discovery of the element 102 (Nobelium) announced
Jul 12 US Surgeon General connects smoking with lung cancer
Jul 28 Heavy rain and a mudslide in Isahaya, western Kyushu, Japan, kills 992
Jul 29 International Atomic Energy Agency formed by the UN
Aug 8: USSR offers Syria economic/military aid
Aug 29 in Congress passes Civil Rights act of 1st:957
Aug 31 Federation of Malaya gains independence from Great Britain
Sept 1 Train crashes into ravine killing 175 and injuring 400
Sept 5 Jack Kerouac publishes ‘On The Road’
Sept 17 Thailand military coup under Marshal Sarit Thanarat
Sept 25 Great Britain performs 1st nuclear test at Maralinga Australia
Sept 26 Bernstein and Sondheim’s musical West Side Story premieres
Sept 29 300 die as express train hits stalled train in West Pakistan
Oct 2 new volcanic island appears off Fayal Island Azores, and The Bridge on the River Kwai is released in cinemas
Oct 4 USSR launches Sputnik 1, 1st artificial earth satellite
Oct 10 US Pres Eisenhower apologises to the Finance Minister of Ghana after he’s refused to service in a restaurant in Dover Delaware and fire at Windscale (UK) nuclear plant, world’s first major nuclear accident
Oct 12 First commercial flight between California and Antarctica
Oct 29 hand grenade explodes in Israeli Knesset (Parliament)
Nov 3 USSR launchers sputnik 2 with the dog Laika being at the first animal in orbit
Nov 4 2nd Soviet earth satellite launched
Nov 7 Cold war–The Gaither Report calls for more American missiles and fallout shelters
Nov 14 NY raid by police results in arrest of many high-level mafia figures
Nov 18 Tunisia refuses Russian weapons Nov 30 Attempt to assassinate Indonesian President Sukarno kills 8
Dec 4 2 commuter trains collided heavy fog killing 92 in St John’s England
Dec 5 New York City is the first US city to legislate against racial and religious discrimination in the housing market
Dec 6 US first attempt to launch Vanguard rocket blows up and Indonesia begins nationalising Dutch possessions
Dec 12 US announces the manufacture of Borazon which is harder than diamonds and a team of doctors at Ohio’s Cleveland clinic demonstration the viability of the first artificial heart when they used and artificial pump in a dog
Dec 18 World’s first nuclear power plant begins to generate electricity at the Shippingport atomic power station in Pennsylvania
Dec 20 Elvis Presley receives draft notice to join US Army for national service
Jan 1 BOAC Britannia flies London to New York in a record 7 hrs 57 mins and European economic community (common market) starts operation
Jan 3 The West Indies Federation is formed Jan 4 Sputnik 1 re-enters atmosphere and burns up
Jan 8 Cuban revolutionary forces capture Havana
Jan 13 9000 scientists from 43 nations call on the UN for nuclear tests ban
Jan 24 first man-made nuclear fusion achieved Jan 26 Japanese ferry capsizes off Southern Awaji island in Japan 67 perish
Jan 28 the Lego company patented the design of Lego bricks which are still compatible to this day
Jan 30 UK House of Lords passes bill allowing women to take seats in parliament
Jan 31 James Van Allen discovers the radiation belt
Feb 1 US satellite Explorer 1 is launched
Feb 2 Syria joins Egypt in the newly formed United Arab Republic.
Whilst we cannot look at the things that take place around the world and fit them into a box called 60 years ago today. However, it is useful to examine things to see what patterns might emerge. Certainly, the arms race was hotting up, several Governments were overthrown in coups and revolutions, but also several countries (Malaya and Indonesia) gained their independence from Britain. There was also the Asian Flu or Avian Flu pandemic which started in Feb 1957, in South-east Asia and spread world wide (https://www.britannica.com/event/Asian-flu-of-1957) The 1957 outbreak was caused by a virus known as influenza A subtype H2N2, or Asian flu virus.
You can do some more research yourself. Interesting to see the genesis of things from years gone by, including the previous USSR's involvement in Syria.