Political Events of the 1950s

The decade from 1950 to 1959 was probably one of the most politically challenged phases in modern history. The whole world reacted to the onslaught of the Cold War and the need for socio-economical balance after the Second World War.

The political events of the 1950s were either in response to the post World War II economic upheaval the world over, the exodus of refugees or the implications of the Cold War.

Some of the political events of the 1950s were as follows:

  • President Truman advised the Atomic Energy Commission to go ahead with the development of the hydrogen bomb.
  • Physicist Klaus Fuchs, a communist, was declared privy to the atomic bomb design and construction. He was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment.
  • Analyst of the U.S. Department of Justice – Judith Coplon and Valentin A. Gubitchev, a United Nations staff employee were declared guilty of spying for Russia. They were arrested and tried for espionage.
  • Marshal Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov declared Russian possession of an atomic bomb, amidst the freshly ignited Cold War.
  • President Truman was tipped off that the Kremlin was fast becoming militant and desired world domination. This triggered a U.S. military buildup.
  • King of the Belgians, Leopold III, announced his 19 year old son Baudouin successor. Baudouin took over and remained in power until his father’s death in 1993.
  • Sweden’s monarchy shifted from Gustav V to his 66-year-old son, until 1973.
  • Britain, France, and the United States declared a tripartite for immediate action if Israel’s frontiers were violated. In counter-support, five Arab League Nations signed a security pact, denying the use of the Suez Canal by Israel.
  • Iraq’s Nuri as-Said annulled the nation’s alliance with Britain, within the Baghdad Pact.
  • The 395-article Indian Constitution took effect, outlining the structure and powers of the central and state governments.
  • A Sino-Soviet treaty pledged joint action against the US and Japan.
  • With the communist army of North Korea entering South Korea, the 3 year Korean War commenced. While Josef Stalin ensured that the United States did not aid Chiang Kai-Shek, Dean Acheson the U.S. Secretary of State declared that the United States would not support South Korea.
  • UN forces took over Seoul, but were unable to trap the North Korean army. Mao Zedong submitted to Moscow politics and sent Chinese forces across the Yalu. 300,000 Chinese and North Korean forces counter attacked UN lines at the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, inflicting heavy losses. With the retreat of the US troops, the army abandoned, with more than 90,000 civilians from North Korea fleeing the Chinese invasion.
  • The United States Government backed the Bao Dai Government of Vietnam during the Vietnam War and supplied arms within a military mission to ensure that the Vietnamese signed a pact of military assistance with France, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • Manchurian emperor Kang Te was released from prison and educated politically.
  • Tibet was invaded by Chinese Red Army forces, when the Beijing offer to assure regional autonomy in Tibet was rejected. The Chinese army forged forward through Ladakh, Shanghai and Szechuan. Tibetan monasteries were destroyed and brought on protests from across the globe. Beijing or Peking proclaimed Tibet to be part of China and fanned the cinders of disharmony, domestic and global.
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy declared a ‘witch-hunt’ for communists and fueled political upheaval by referring to the Democrats as ‘party to treason’. Sen. McCarthy went on to make baseless and reckless charges against communists who were supposed to be taking over the State Department.
  • U.S. Naval Intelligence officer Vincent W. Hartnett and FBI agents Theodore Kirkpatrick and Kenneth Bierly named Red Channels (communists) amidst producers, directors, actors, playwrights, musicians, choreographers and screenwriters, who were barred on suspicion of using the media for communist propaganda.
  • In Colombia, right-wing leader Laureano Eleuterio Gómez was elected President after his return from exile in Spain.

The Puerto Rican Commonwealth Bill declared provisions for an autonomous, self-government. It maintained US economic ties. However, Puerto Rican nationalists demanded independence and President Truman escaped a politically-associated assa


World events such as these shaped the world we live in today. Much of the political implications during the Cold War, between capitalism and communism, were sparked by these political involvements. The 1950s’ fueled the ’cause and effect’ association between a number of social, cultural and political developments after the Second World War.


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