1950s - Sheet1 Flashcards Preview

American History > 1950s - Sheet1 > Flashcards

Flashcards in 1950s - Sheet1 Deck (139)
Loading flashcards...

Joseph McCarthy's speech to the Republican Women's Club

In this 1950 speech during the Second Red Scare, McCarthy accused the State Department of employing over 200 communists launching him into the public eye.


hydrogen bomb

President Truman demanded the construction of this bomb in 1950 after finding out the Soviets detonated an atomic bomb.


Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health

This L. Ron Hubbard book sets out self-improvement techniques he discovered, called dianetics. The canonical text of scientology.


United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce

AKA the Kefauver Committee, they investigated interstate mafia crime from 1950-51.


North and South Korea dividing parallel:

38th parallel North, when the North crossed this parallel in 1950 the Korean War began.


On the Road

This Jack Kerouac novel is the defining work of the Beat and Counterculture generations.


Jayuya Uprising

This was a violent pro-Puerto Rican independence uprising.


Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola

These two men attempted to assassinate President Truman over the issue of Puerto Rican independence.


Mattachine Society

Early a pro-gay communist organization, during the second Red Scare, this group dropped their communist affiliation and began to work to specifically advance the civil rights of gay people in the 1950s.


Paula Ackerman

The first female rabbi in the United States.


Office of Defense Mobilization

This independent agency was formed during the Korean War and was extremely influential.


22nd Amendment

This Amendment limited the president to two terms, passed in response to FDR's presidency.


Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

During the Second Red Scare, these two American citizens were given the death penalty for conspiracy to commit espionage insofar as passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. While Julius was likely guilty, his wife was almost certainly innocent.


The King and I

A 1950's Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about the relationship between a Thai king and a British schoolteacher.


All About Eve

This 1950 drama starring Bette Davis as an aging star in competition with an ambitious young fan swept at the Academy Awards.



The second computer in the United States, it was used by the census bureau and then by newscasters.


Battle of Inchon

MacArthur lead this amphibious battle of the Korean War in which Japanese forces were repelled. MacArthur followed this up, fatally, with a full-scale Korean invasion prompting military intervention from China.


The New York School

An informal group of New York City-based expressionists in the 1950's and 60's whose avant-garde style rose from the ashes of World War 2.



The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty; emerged as a response to the close relationship with these three countries after the Pacific War of World War 2.


Treaty of San Francisco

This 1951 treaty officially ended World War 2 between Japan and the allied nations, ended Japan's position as an imperial power and called for compensation for allies who suffered Japanese abuses of human rights.


An American in Paris

Technicolor 1951 Gershwin directed musical starring Gene Kelly was a critical smash.


Shopper's World

This 1951 Massachusetts shopping mall was one of the first in the United States.


Judy Garland

An American actress whose 1951 Palace Theater concerts, and her role in the film "The Wizard of Oz," were legendary.


I Love Lucy

This landmark 1950s TV show starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It was insanely popular and was one of the first shows to depict an interracial marriage.


Johnny Bright Incident

A violent 1951 assault against African-American footballer Johnny Bright by a white opponent.


The African Queen

A 1951 adventure film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.



This NBC show was the first morning show in American history and one of the longest running shows period.


Wernher von Braun

This man "The Father of Rocket Science" in 1952 published "Man Will Conquer Space Soon!" and then went on to aide NASA in space exploration.


Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer

This Supreme Court case, a direct rebuff to President Truman, found that "The President did not have the inherent authority to seize private property" after Truman tried to nationalize the U.S. steel industry.


1952 steel strike

The United Steelworkers of America striked against U.S. steel for higher wages. Truman tried to nationalize steel to resolve the conflict, but this decision was found to be unconstitutional by Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer.


Lever House

A seminal glass box skyscraper in Midtown that marked a transitional period for architecture.


Joseph O. Fletcher & William P. Benedict

U.S. lieutenant colonels who were the first to land their planes in the geographic North Pole.


1952 Washington, D.C. UFO incident

During the 50s UFO craze, this incident caused massive alarm and even lead to an order from Pres. Truman to shoot down the objects.


John Cage

Post World War 2 avant-garde leader, a pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments.



John Cage was the first to perform this piece in 1952, an avant-garde movement watershed, it was four minutes and thirty-three seconds of the composer playing nothing so the audience could listen to the world around them.


Checkers speech

A 1952 speech by Republican vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon, in which he responded to controversy over him using donor funds to reimburse himself for campaign costs. His appeal was an early example of a politician successfully using television to appeal directly to the electorate.


Operation Ivy

The 1952 first successful detonation of a hydrogen bomb.


United States presidential election, 1952

Foreign policy was the most important factor in this election, in which Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower defeated Democrat Adlai Stevenson in a landslide victory.


Christine Jorgensen

This transwoman was (falsely) reported in 1952 to be the first recipient of transsexual surgery ever by the New York Times. The ensuing popularity lead to her becoming a transgender rights advocate.


Robertson Panel

A CIA ordered scientific committee which met to discuss the increased number of UFO sightings from 1950-1952.


The Crucible

This Arthur Miller play was largely allegorical of the communist hunt going on during the Second Red Scare. The House Un-American Activities Committee didn't realize the irony, and subpoenaed him for questioning.


Flint-Worcester tornado outbreak sequence

These 1953 tornadoes killed more than 250 people and many blamed the government's nuclear testing for the disaster.


1953 Waco tornado outbreak

These tornadoes were among the deadliest in American history and lead to the creation of a National Weather Center.


Project MKUltra

A CIA operation experimenting in the biological conditioning of humans.


Sidney Gottlieb

This American chemist introduced LSD into Project MKUltra and was a leader in mind control studies.


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

a 1953 film starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, however, Monroe's pink dress and rendition of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" became iconic.


Short Creek raid

This anti-Mormon mass arrest occurred in 1953 and resulted in the arrests of hundreds of polygamists.


Operation Big Switch

The 1953 reparation of all remaining prisoners in the Korean War.


Kinsey Reports

Two books on human sexual behavior by Dr. Alfred Kinsey. Revealed revolutionary new ideas about homosexuality in the human male.


1953 Iranian coup d'état

During the Cold War, the CIA backed the successful overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in favor of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.


Earl Warren

Appointed U.S. Chief Justice by Eisenhower, he oversaw one of the most powerful supreme courts in American history, which oversaw a great extension of rights.



An American men's magazine created by Hugh Hefner in 1953. The first issue featured Marilyn Monroe.


Atoms for Peace

The title of a speech given by Eisenhower to the U.N., in which he called for the whole world to be armed with nuclear bombs.


Amami Islands

America captured these Japanese islands during World War 2 and returned them in 1953.


USS Nautilus

Mamie Eisenhower launched this submarine, the first ever to be powered by nuclear energy.



A Cold War tactic of gradually easing U.S.-Soviet tensions.



This disease was a pandemic from the 1900's decade to the 1950's until 1954 when a vaccination was ordered nationwide.


United States Capitol shooting incident

In 1954, Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire on members of the House of Representatives. Five were wounded, one seriously, but all survived.


Army-McCarthy hearings

These televised 1954 hearings involved the Army accusing McCarthy of blackmail and McCarthy accusing the Army of communism. The hearings lead to a decline in McCarthy's popularity.


Domino theory

Eisenhower began this 1950s-1980s Cold War theory that if one nation fell to communism surrounding nations would follow.


Brown v. Board of Education

The Warren Court found in 1954 that racial segregation was a violation of the equal protections clause, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson.


Joseph N. Welch

The head counsel for the U.S. Army during McCarthy's Communism infiltration investigations who lashed out at him yelling "Have you, at long last, no decency?"



This Cold War-era CIA operation lead to the ousting of Guatemalan president Jacobo Árbenz in favor of an anti-Communist army, but they caused a bloody thirty year Civil War.


Hurricane Hazel

This Category 4 hurricane reached into Toronto, causing unprecedented damage.


McCarthy censure

In 1954 the Senate voted to condemn McCarthy for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute."


Richard J. Daley

Democratic Mayor of Chicago, major Irish-Catholic supporter who may have had a hand in Kennedy winning Illinois.


Claudette Colvin

This African-American girl in 1955 refused to give up her seat to a white man. The NAACP declined to use her to represent the movement due to the fact that she became pregnant while unmarried.


Charlie Parker

A highly influential jazz soloist who was an icon for the hipster and beat subcultures of the 1950s.


Blackboard Jungle

This social commentary film about teachers in the inner-city had the opposite effect it was intended to have, causing riots and many teenagers to repeat the "inner city" behavior.


Rock Around the Clock

This rock and roll song by Bill Haley & The Comets became an anthem for rebellious Fifties youth.


Jonas Salk

Discovered the first polio vaccine.


Ray Kroc

This man created McDonald's in 1955 and then built it into the most successful and important restaurant chain in history.



Walt Disney oversaw construction of this 1955 Anaheim theme park.


Hurricane Diane

This 1955 hurricane caused billions in damage in the Northeast.


Emmett Till

In 1955, this 14 year old black boy was murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman. The world was horrified by the brutality of the killing and it was a pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement.


James Dean

This 50's actor was symbolic of teenage disillusionment.



A televised Western drama which premiered in 1955.


Elvis Presley

A 20th century cultural icon, he starred in numerous films and had many hit songs.


United Airlines Flight 629

A plane which was blown up in 1955 by a man who wished to collect a life insurance policy on his mother.


Bo Diddley

An African-American R&B artist who played a key role in the transition from the blues to rock.


Fred Phelps

Founded the Westboro Baptist Church in 1955. The Supreme Court upheld his church's right to picket funerals.


Rosa Parks

A black woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus in 1955 sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycotts and the Civil Rights Movement.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

This Civil Rights Leader got his start leading the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. He was also unfairly persecuted by J. Edgar Hoover.


Joe Hin Tjio

A cytogeneticist, the first to discover the correct number of chromosomes in 1955.


Operation Auca

Five Christian missionaries in 1955 attempted to bring Jesus to a violent, isolated tribe in Ecuador. They were obviously killed, but it lead to an outpouring of support for evangelical efforts.


Heartbreak Hotel

Elvis Presley's chart topping, rock & roll shaping single.


Southern Manifesto

An article signed by a bunch of Southern congressman in protest of Brown v. The Board of Education and desegregation in general.


My Fair Lady

This Broadway musical about a Cockney flower girl who is trained by a speaking expert became the most successful Broadway Play ever at the time.


Quadruplex videotape

The first practical videotape ever invented, came about in 1956.


Federal Aid Highway Act

AKA the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, signed by Eisenhower, it authorized an interstate highway system.


1956 Grand Canyon mid-air collision

Two planes collided, killing all passengers, lead to sweeping regulations of cross-country flying and air traffic control.


In God We Trust

Phrasing about God in the anthem and in the state motto became very popular during Eisenhower's presidency as the nation was eager to distance itself from the atheistic Soviet Union.


The Ed Sullivan Show

This variety show became most famous for it's 1956 airing of a controversial hip-thrusting Elvis Presley performance.


Jackson Pollock

An American abstract painter who was a pioneer in the drip style of painting.


Bobby Fischer

An American chess prodigy who won his first victory when he was 13.


United States presidential election, 1956

Incumbent Republican Eisenhower once again soundly defeated Democrat Adlai Stevenson, since the nation was prosperous and Eisenhower ended the Korean War.


Browder v. Gayle

A 1956 Supreme Court decision which ended the Montgomery Bus Boycotts by forcing them to desegregate.


George Metesky

The Mad Bomber, he terrorized New York City with pipe bombs for years.


Willie Edwards

A black truck driver drowned in 1957 by the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.



A historic landmark which served as the home of Elvis Presley.


Jimmy Hoffa

A famous labor union leader who disappeared in the 70s, widely believed to have been murdered.


Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella

Their first musical made specifically for television, the 1957 spectacle starred Julie Andrews.



Allen Ginsberg's 1957 poem was a beatnik watershed seized for obscenity due to its allusions to homosexuality, these charges were eventually dismissed.


Frank Costello

Controlled a vast mafia underworld for most of his life.


Hurricane Audrey

This 1957 hurricane demolished the town of Cameron, Louisiana.


Loving You

This 1957 film was Presley's first film vehicle.


American Bandstand

Dick Clark hosted this show which began in 1957 featuring teenagers dancing to Top 40s hits.


Strom Thurmond

This Dixiecrat South Carolina Senator gave a 24 hour filibuster in 1957 against a Civil Rights Bill.


Little Rock Crisis

In 1957 during the Civil Rights Movement, Governor Orville Faubus of Arkansas calls out the US National Guard, to prevent African-American students from enrolling in Central High School in Little Rock.


Little Rock Nine

A group of African-American students who Eisenhower used federal troops to protect when they tried to enroll in a segregated school.



Ford lost millions on this failed automobile, which was less popular with the 1950s audience than predicted.


Komla Agbeli Gbedemah

This important Ghanan politician received an apology from Eisenhower after he was refused restaurant service.


Sputnik 1

The first artificial Earth satellite. It was launched by the Soviet Union and triggered the Space Race in 1957.


Albert Anastasia

One of the most ruthless and feared Cosa Nostra mob bosses in American history, he was assassinated in 1957.


Jailhouse Rock

This 1957 musical-drama film continued to build up Elvis Presley's popularity.


Apalachin Meeting

A historic summit of the American mafia in 1957. Hundreds attended, it confirmed the existence of the American mafia, although J. Edgar Hoover had been denying it.


Ed Gein

An American murderer and body snatcher who was the inspiration for the film Psycho.


Civil Rights Act of 1957

A voting rights bill which showed Congress's support for the Brown v. the Board of Education decision.


The Music Man

A popular Broadway musical of 1957.


Shippingport Atomic Power Station

The historic first full-scale atomic electric power plant, built during the nuclear friendly push of the 1950's.


Battle of Hayes Pond

An Indian tribe of Lumbee attacked Klansmen in 1958, ending all Klan activity in the area.


Recession of 1958

A sharp economic downturn during Eisenhower's presidency which lead to significant political gains for the Democrats.


Imre Nagy

A Hungarian politicians whose execution by the Soviets was described as "a shocking act of cruelty" by the US.


1958 Lebanon crisis

The Cold War played out in this political-religious ethnic conflict between America and the Soviet Union, in which America invaded Lebanon.


Federal Aviation Act of 1958

Eisenhower signed this in response to several mid-air flight collisions.


Have Gun - Will Travel

This American Western TV series was so popular it spurred a radio series.


Our Lady of the Angels School fire

This devastating 1958 fire at a Catholic school killed 95 and shocked the nation. Pope John XXIII sent his condolences and lead to major improvements in standards for school design and fire safety.


John Birch Society

A radical right wing political advocacy group began in 1958.


baby boomers

The baby boom which came about at the end of World War II during the 50s.


The Americans

A highly influential 1958 photography book by Robert Frank.


The Day the Music Died

The 1959 day in which rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson died in a plane crash.


A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 play about a black family in a Chicago suburb.


Mercury Seven

The seven white men initially selected for space travel by NASA in 1969.


Kitchen Debate

A series of impromptu exchanges in 1959 between then Vice President Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev captured on videotape.


The Twilight Zone

A landmark science-fiction television anthology created by Rod Serling in 1959.


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

A well known New York art museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959.



An epic 1959 historical drama starring Charleston Heston.


Antarctic Treaty

A groundbreaking treaty signed between the U.S. and the Soviets in 1959 declaring Antarctica as a scientific preserve.


Henney Kilowatt

An electric car introduced in 1959.