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The 1950s Portal

Top, L-R: U.S. Marines engaged in street fighting during the Korean War, circa late September 1950; The first polio vaccine is developed by Jonas Salk.
Centre, L-R: US tests its first thermonuclear bomb with code name Ivy Mike in 1952. A 1954 thermonuclear test, code named Castle Romeo, is shown here; In 1959, Fidel Castro overthrows Fulgencio Batista in the Cuban Revolution, resulting in the creation of the first communist government in the Western hemisphere; Elvis Presley becomes the leading figure of rock and roll in the mid-1950s.
Bottom, L-R: Smoke rises from oil tanks on Port Said following the invasion of Egypt as part of the Suez Crisis in late 1956; French paratroopers march in Algiers in the beginning of the Algerian War, 1957; The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth, in October 1957.

The 1950s (pronounced nineteen-fifties; commonly abbreviated as the "Fifties" or the " '50s") (among other variants) was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1950, and ended on December 31, 1959.

Throughout the decade, the world continued its recovery from World War II, aided by the post-World War II economic expansion. The period also saw great population growth with increased birth rates and the emergence of the baby boomer generation. Despite this recovery, the Cold War developed from its modest beginnings in the late 1940s to a heated competition between the Soviet Union and the United States by the early 1960s. The ideological clash between communism and capitalism dominated the decade, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, with conflicts including the Korean War in the early 1950s, the Cuban Revolution, the beginning of the Vietnam War in French Indochina, and the beginning of the Space Race with the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957. Along with increased testing of nuclear weapons (such as RDS-37 and Upshot–Knothole), the tense geopolitical situation created a politically conservative climate. In the United States, a wave of anti-communist sentiment known as the Second Red Scare resulted in Congressional hearings by both houses in Congress. The beginning of decolonization in Africa and Asia also took place in this decade and accelerated in the following decade. (Full article...)

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Clockwise from top:
* A column of the U.S. 1st Marine Division's infantry and armor moves through Chinese lines during their breakout from the Chosin Reservoir* UN landing at Incheon harbor, starting point of the Battle of Incheon* Korean refugees in front of a U.S. M46 Patton tank* U.S. Marines, led by First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez, landing at Incheon* F-86 Sabre fighter aircraft

The Korean War (see § Names) was a war between North Korea and South Korea from 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953. It began as an attempt by North Korean supreme leader Kim Il-sung to unify Korea under his communist regime through military force. Two powers entered the war, with the United States under President Truman fighting alongside the South and the newly established People's Republic of China fighting alongside the North.

In 1910, Japan annexed Korea, where it ruled for 35 years until its surrender at the end of World War II on 15 August 1945. The United States and the Soviet Union divided Korea along the 38th parallel into two zones of occupation. The Soviets administered the northern zone and the Americans administered the southern zone. In 1948, as a result of Cold War tensions, the occupation zones became two sovereign states. A capitalist state, the First Republic of Korea, was established in the south under the authoritarian leadership of Syngman Rhee, and a socialist state, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established in the north under the totalitarian leadership of Kim Il-sung. Both governments of the two new Korean states claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all of Korea, and neither accepted the border as permanent. (Full article...)
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Did you know...

  • ... that Green Bay Packers president Russ Bogda advocated for a public referendum in the 1950s to finance the construction of Lambeau Field?
  • ... that fossils of the extinct plant Concavistylon were first collected in the 1950s, but the genus was not formally described until 2018?
  • ... that after the closure of Tranvía Villasegura, Tenerife's first tram system, in the 1950s, one of the trams was reused as a bar?
  • ... that the Polish publishing house WSiP had a monopoly on textbook publishing from the 1950s to 1989?
  • ... that Baya Jurquet organized demonstrations by female prisoners in France in the 1950s?
  • ... that in the 1950s, Slovene transgender lawyer and writer Ljuba Prenner used the introduction: "I am Dr. Ljuba Prenner, neither man nor woman"?

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Monroe in November 1953

Marilyn Monroe (/ˈmærəlɪn mʌnˈr/; born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 4, 1962) was an American actress, model and singer. Famous for playing comedic "blonde bombshell" characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and early 1960s and was emblematic of the era's sexual revolution. She was a top-billed actress for only a decade, but her films grossed $200 million (equivalent to $2 billion in 2020) by the time of her death in 1962. Long after her death, she continues to be a major icon of pop culture. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Monroe sixth on its list of the greatest female screen legends from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Monroe spent most of her childhood in foster homes and an orphanage; she married at age 16. She was working in a factory during World War II when she met a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit and began a successful pin-up modeling career, which led to short-lived film contracts with 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures. After a series of minor film roles, she signed a new contract with Fox in late 1950. Over the next two years, she became a popular actress with roles in several comedies, including As Young as You Feel and Monkey Business, and in the dramas Clash by Night and Don't Bother to Knock. She faced a scandal when it was revealed that she had posed for nude photos before she became a star, but the story did not damage her career and instead resulted in increased interest in her films. (Full article...)

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