1950s

Decade of the Gregorian calendar (1950–1959) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Top, L-R: U.S. Marines engaged in street fighting during the Korean War, c. 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, which results in the creation of the first and only communist government in the Western hemisphere; Elvis Presley becomes the leading figure of the newly popular music genre of rock and roll in the mid-1950s.
Bottom, L-R: Smoke rises from oil tanks on Port Said following the invasion of Egypt by Israel, United Kingdom and France as part of the Suez Crisis in late 1956; The Hungarian Revolution of 1956; The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, in October 1957. This starts the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States.

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.