1945 (The People's Chronology)
World War II ends in Europe May 8 and in the Pacific August 14, but only after major new military and naval activity and after the deaths of three of the world's five leading heads of state.
Massive operations in both theaters mark the closing months of the war. Adolf Hitler permits his forces in Belgium to fall back January 8, but only on condition that they continue fighting all the way. Red Army forces strike across the Vistula January 12 with warplanes, multiple-rocket launchers, other artillery, and thousands of tanks and soldiers. By the time they outrun their supply lines they are on the River Oder within 50 miles of Berlin, but fortified pockets of German troops remain around Königsberg, Breslau, Danzig, Budapest, and elsewhere.
U.S. northern and southern forces meet January 16 at Houffalize, north of Bastogne, to consolidate a single line and force the Germans back into Germany. Texas-born Lieut. Audie Murphy, 20, single-handedly holds off a German force of six tanks and 250 men January 26, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery (wounded three times, the baby-faced lieutenant has won 23 previous medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross and the Croix de Guerre with palm, and is the most highly decorated war hero). By the end of January U.S. losses in the Battle of the Bulge have totaled more than 76,000, including 16,000 dead, and the Germans have lost perhaps twice that many, weakening the Wehrmacht to the point that it has little heart to continue. Not until 1947 or 1948 will all the bodies be discovered.
Nearly 1,000 U.S. B-17s raid Berlin February 3, abandoning the policy of attacking only military targets: they drop tons of explosives that kill an estimated 25,000 civilians, but Adolf Hitler remains safe in the two-story underground bunker that Albert Speer has built for him beneath the garden of the Reich Chancellory. Admiral Sir Bertram H. Ramsay, Royal Navy, has been killed in a plane crash outside Paris January 2 at age 61.
The Yalta Conference begins February 4 and ends February 11 with Prime Minister Churchill, President Roosevelt, and Premier Stalin pledging "unity of purpose and of action." Critics will charge for more than 60 years that FDR and Churchill caved in to Stalin's demands at the Crimean Black Sea resort and gave him a free hand to take over eastern Europe, but Red Army boots are on the ground in Poland, eastern Germany, the Baltic nations, Czechoslovakia, and the Balkans, giving the western Allies no choice. Deathly ill with congestive heart failure, Roosevelt has been accompanied to Yalta by aides who include his friend Admiral William D. Leahy, now 69, who in December 1941 was named to the newly-created position of presidential chief of staff.
Greek communists agree under British pressure in February to disband their guerrilla forces (see civil war, 1944; but see also 1946).
A fleet of 796 four-engine RAF Lancaster bombers designed by Roy Dobson, 54, raid Dresden the night of February 13 in "Operation Thunderclap" with phosphorus and high explosive bombs, creating a firestorm that roasts civilians, suffocates them, or buries them alive; 311 U.S. B-17s stoke the Dresden fires next day, more than 650,000 firebombs have been dropped by the time the third aerial assault ends, more than 1,600 acres have been destroyed along with cultural treasures that include the Frauenkirche, the Semper Opera, and the Zwinger Museum; the death toll is at least 39,773 and may exceed 100,000.
The RAF bombs the town of Pforzheim the night of February 23, killing nearly one fourth of its 80,000 inhabitants.
The Lüftwaffe sends the world's first operational jet bomber into action, but the Arado Ar 234 has little effect.
The retreating Wehrmacht destroys bridges across the Rhine but leaves the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen; the U.S. 9th Armored Division seizes the bridge, and the 1st Armored Division crosses it to occupy Cologne; by March 10 the Allies control the west bank of the Rhine from Nijmegen in the Netherlands to Koblenz. The 9th Armored Division reaches the Rhine opposite Düsseldorf by March 16 and joins with the 1st Armored Division to take more than 325,000 German prisoners in the Battle of the Ruhr.
U.S. forces invade Luzon in force January 9, landing on the shore of Lingayen Gulf under the command of Gen. MacArthur and taking the Japanese by surprise. A second U.S. corps lands at Subic Bay at the northern end of the Bataan Peninsula January 29; some 511 tattered survivors of the 1942 Bataan "death march"any of them crippled and gruesomely emaciatedre liberated January 30. A force of 400 U.S. Army Rangers and Filipino guerrillas, led by Lieut. Col. Henry A. Mucci, now 33, has penetrated 30 miles behind Japanese lines north of Manila to reach the Cabanatuan prison camp that once held 10,000 men (see 1942). Gen. MacArthur fears that U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war are about to be slaughtered and races toward Manila without leaving its Japanese defenders a way out. Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita fails to force the commander of his naval defense force there to evacuate the city, the U.S. 6th Army launches an attack on Manila February 3 under the command of Gen. Walter Krueger, and Gen. MacArthur enters the city February 4; Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi makes a last-ditch defense despite the wishes of Gen. Yamashita and winds up losing 16,665 of his 17,000-man force. U.S. casualties are 1,000 killed, 5,500 wounded. Most of the once beautiful city has been destroyed by the time it falls to the Americans March 4 and an estimated 100,000 of its people have been killed in a single month, a death toll exceeded only by those at Berlin and Stalingrad.
Japanese forces invade Indochina and arrest the French governor general Jean Decoux March 9 (see 1940).
More than 300 U.S. B-29 Superfortress bombers arrive over Tokyo just after midnight March 10, drop nearly 500,000 napalm incendiary cylinders, and start fires that destroy 16 square miles of buildings. The cylinders release 100-foot streams of fire when they detonate, flames spread rapidly throughout densely packed wooden dwellings, the 1,800° F. heat makes asphalt boil, and the superheated air creates a wind that sucks victims into the flames. Precision bombing of Japanese military targets has proved ineffective so Gen. Curtis Le May has ordered the raid on Tokyo with the clear intent of breaking the enemy's will to fight; Carl Spaatz, Army Air Corps, has previously directed the strategic bombing of Germany and has coordinated the raid, the vast majority of the estimated 100,000 dead are civilians, and in the next few months the Air Corps will firebomb more than 60 smaller Japanese cities.
U.S. troops invade Mindinao in the Philippines beginning March 10.
U.S. forces take Iwo Jima March 16 after 35 days of heavy fighting that has cost nearly 6,000 U.S. and 19,000 Japanese lives on the eight-square-mile volcanic island 650 miles from the Japanese mainland. Six Marines have raised the U.S. flag in February atop Mount Suribachi (the U.S. Pacific high command has received the news in Navajo codei>dibeh [sheep], no-dah-ih [Ute], gah [rabbit], tkin [ice] shush [bear], wol-la-chee [ant], moasi [cat], lin [horse], yeh-hes [itch], or Suribachi; [see Guadalcanal, 1942; Saipan, 1944]; the number of Navajo code talkers has risen to 400). Alabama-born Gen. Holland M. (McTyeire) "Howlin' Mad" Smith, 63, has led the Marine Corps attack and announces March 28 that the island is secure, the Navajo are credited with having saved thousands of U.S. lives (the code talkers will not be permitted to discuss their work until 1969), but the battle has left 25,000 Marines dead or wounded and most of the 22,000-man Japanese garrison annihilated.
The League of Arab States organized March 22 unites Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen with headquarters at Cairo to coordinate efforts toward achieving complete independence and mutual cooperation and prevent the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. By 1974 the League will include 20 Arab states, including Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Somalia, Sudan, and Mauritania.
Jewish terrorists in Palestine dynamite railroads and scuttle British police launches used to apprehend illegal immigrants. Polish-born militant Menachem (Wolfovitch) Begin, 32, arrived 3 years ago after serving time in a Soviet labor camp and leads the Irgun Zvai Leumi that spearheads opposition to British control (see 1941). Zionist leader and Hadassah founding president Henrietta Szold dies at Jerusalem February 13 at age 84 (see 1946).
President Roosevelt meets with Saudi Arabia's king Abdul-aziz February 15 on board the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Quincy in the Suez Canal, they find themselves in agreement on most issues, the king laments the plight of Europe's Jews but says the solution to their problem cannot be achieved at the expense of Palestine's Arab inhabitants, FDR promises that no decisions will be made on the matter without consulting Arab nations.
Former British prime minister David Lloyd George dies at Ty-newydd near Llanystumdwy, Caernarvonshire, Wales March 26 at age 82, having been elevated to the peerage January 1 as 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor; former British colonial administrator F. D. Lugard, Baron Lugard of Abinger, dies at Abinger, Surrey, April 11 at age 87.
Lady Astor retires from Parliament under pressure from her domineering husband; now 65, she has been repeatedly returned since her first election in 1919 and has consistently opposed Winston Churchill.
Field Marshal Walter Model dies at Dusseldorf April 2 at age 54. The SS executes former German military intelligence (Abwehr) chief Admiral Wilhelm Canaris April 9 at the Flossenbürg concentration camp in Bavaria. Dead at age 58, Canaris was a leader among anti-Hitler conspirators in last year's failed assassination attempt.
Machine-gun crossfire on an Italian hillside April 7 halts the Japanese-American 442nd Reginald Combat Team on the road leading north to Bologna, but Hawaiian-born Sgt. Yukio Okutsu, 23, crawls to within 30 yards of the German emplacement and hurls two grenades, killing the three gunners. He dashes to a second position, throws another grenade, wounds two Germans, captures two others, and although stunned by a rifle bullet that glances off his helmet charges a third position and captures its four-man crew, enabling his platoon to proceed with its assault.
President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Ga., April 12 at age 63 just after posing in his cottage for a portrait by painter Elizabeth Shumatoff. Eleanor Roosevelt is recalled from a meeting of the Thrift Club at Philadelphia; told at Washington of her husband's death, she flies to Warm Springs and accompanies his body on the train back to Washington. Roosevelt's death comes 2 months after the Yalta Conference; he is succeeded by his vice president Harry S. Truman, whose onetime political mentor Thomas J. "Boss" Pendergast has died at Kansas City January 26 at age 72.
A San Francisco meeting to discuss the formation of an international body to be called the United Nations has a U.S. delegation led by Chicago-born Secretary of State Edward R. (Reilly) Stettinius Jr., 44, who headed United States Steel before the war, administered the Lend-Lease program, and advised President Roosevelt at Yalta (see 1943; 1946; commerce [Bretton Woods], 1944). Other delegates include Australian feminist Lady Jessie Mary Grey Street, 56. President Roosevelt had been preparing for the conference at San Francisco, where the charter of a United Nations organization is to be drafted.
Reports that German troops in and around the French coastal town of Royan are protecting the port of Bordeaux prompt the Allied command to order an aerial attack. B-24s based in England drop 2,000-pound bombs on the area April 14 and follow up the next day with incendiaries and napalm, the first use of napalm in the European theater of war. Some 1,200 bombers take part in the action, which kills French civilians as well as German soldiers. French soldiers move in 1 hour after the bombing ends.
The Battle of Vienna in April results in heavy damage to much of the city; Saint Stephen's Cathedral (the Stephanskirche) is burned out along with many other structures and will not be reconstructed until 1952.
Nuremberg falls to the U.S. 7th Army April 21 as Russian forces under the command of Marshal Zhukov and Marshal Konev reach the suburbs of Berlin. Members of the Wehrmacht surrender to the Western Allies at the rate of 30,000 per day, and some 1.5 million are put to work building camps to house the prisoners of war.
The Gestapo takes Albrecht Haushofer out of his cell at Berlin's Moabit Prison April 23 and shoots him in the head. Dead at age 42, he was active in the German underground before his arrest late last year.
German test pilot Hanna Reitsch, 33, flies high-ranking officers into Berlin in April, eluding Allied forces that surround the city. Her exploits have won her the Iron Cross, but although Adolf Hitler approved her proposal to train women suicide pilots of rockets aimed at British targets, the plan was abandoned last year after D-Day. Her plan to organize a squadron of women fliers to fight on the same terms as the men of the Lüftwaffe was rejected out of hand.
Russian and U.S. patrols meet April 25 on the Elbe just south of Berlin and celebrate far into the night with whiskey, vodka, and accordion music. The forces of Marshal Konev and Gen. Mark Clark link up at Torgau, Adolf Hitler's hope of a collapse in the alliance between capitalists and communists is shattered, and Heinrich Himmler begins surrender negotiations.
Partisan machine guns kill Benito Mussolini and 12 of his former cabinet officers April 28 at Lake Como. On the run since his rescue from prison in September 1943, Il Duce has emerged from beneath a pile of coats and begged for mercy, but his 61-year-old body is hung upside down in Milan's Piazza Loretto along with that of his mistress Clara Petacci. German armies in Italy surrender unconditionally April 29.
Adolf Hitler eats a vegetarian lunch and then shoots himself April 30 at age 56 in his bunker at Berlin, having married his mistress Eva Braun, 33, the night before as Soviet troops converged on the city (she chews a cyanide pill). Joseph Goebbels, now 47, also commits suicide after killing his wife and six children in the Berlin bunker.
Hitler aide Martin Bormann, 45, is seen May 2 in a tank crossing Berlin's Weidenammer Bridge. Bormann will not be positively identified hereafter, but rumors will persist that he is alive and living in Argentina or Chile (his skeleton will be positively identified in 1998 and his ashes dropped into the sea a year later).
Germany surrenders unconditionally May 7 (Admiral Doenitz has become head of state upon the death of Hitler and takes responsibility for the surrender). President Truman proclaims May 8 (Victory in Europe) Day, and Adolf Hitler's "Thousand-Year Reich" ends after a mere 12 years.
Czechslovakia's president Eduard Benes returns to Prague May 18 after 7 years in exile and sets about trying to restore the nation's liberal, democratic regime (see 1938). He has appointed government officials in April and they are approved by the Provisional National Assembly that he nominates in the fall (see 1946).
U.S. authorities remove Hungary's 944-year-old Crown of St. Stephen to keep it out of Russian hands and store it in Fort Knox, where it will remain until early 1978 before being returned.
German troops evacuate Norway, whose Haakon VII returns to Oslo June 7 after a self-imposed exile of 5 years and 22 months in England.
Allied forces in Burma link up the Lido Road with the Burma Road in January. Newark, N.J.-born Col. Robert F. Seedlock, 33, U.S. Corps of Engineers, has shaved 200 miles off the supply line by finding part of the route taken by Marco Polo in the 13th century, and he has directed the work of 1,000 engineers and 20,000 Chinese laborers since last year, rebuilding more than 600 miles of roads and bridges on the eastern half of the Himalayas to permit transport of men and equipment to China. Chinese forces drive down the Burma Road as Gen. Stillwell regains the offensive, and the Japanese are defeated, but 7,000 Allied troops have been hospitalized with malaria or other tropical diseases, and 3,800 are listed as dead, wounded, or missing in action. British forces mount an offensive beginning January 14 under the command of Field Marshal William J. Slim; they establish bridgeheads across the Irrawaddy River on both sides of Mandalay, capture the enemy's communications center at Meiktila, trap the Japanese 15th Army (four divisions plus reinforcements and one tank regiment), retake Mandalay March 21, and retake Rangoon May 2 in the last of a series of amphibious landings. Burmese nationalist Bogyoke Aung San, now 30, was an anti-British student revolutionary before the war, the Japanese reached him in China 5 years ago and persuaded him to let them help him raise a "Burma Independence Army." They trained a group of 30 Burmese on an island off the Chinese coast, but while serving as minister of defense in a puppet government he became skeptical of their promises and as a major general he has brought the Independence Army over to the Allied cause in March. Aung San's trusted fellow officer Col. U Ne Win (originally Shu Maung), 33, has commanded Burmese forces in the delta region and delivers a radio address, saying "The Burmese Army is not only the hope of the country but its very life and soul"; there is widespread belief that the British will quickly grant the country independence (see 1947). Japan has lost about 45,000 men in the final Burma campaign; most of the 35,000 British casualties are wounded, not killed.
U.S. troops land on Okinawa in the Ryukyus April 1 under the command of Kentucky-born Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., 58, who is killed in action June 18. The landing is far larger than last year's D-Day landing in Europe, and although there is no initial resistance the Battle of Okinawa will be far more costly in terms of human life. Some 143 Japanese high-school girls and their 15 teachers have organized a nursing corps to treat wounded soldiers but are pushed back to the village of Miwa at the southern end of the island, where they accept death from fire and lack of oxygen in a cave rather than surrender. U.S. forces triumph June 22 after 82 days of savage fighting, but it has taken half a million Americans to subdue 110,000 Japanese; the U.S. death toll is about 12,000 (total U.S. casualties are 49,151), the Japanese lose 100,000, and thousands of them surrender at the end, the first such surrenders since the war began.
Washington announces reconquest of the Philippines July 5.
Australia's prime minister John Curtin dies at Canberra July 5 at age 60, having established welfare-state economic policies in his 4-year term. He is succeeded by fellow Labor Party leader Francis M. (Michael) Forde, 54, and beginning July 12 by Labor Party leader Joseph Benedict "Ben" Chifley, 59, who will remain in office until 1949, expanding the nation's social services, reforming its banking system, and opening it up to more immigration (if only to whites). The nation's small population has hindered Australia's development but will more than double in the next half century, becoming more polyglot and more vibrant as eastern Europeans pour in along with Asians who will be barred entry until 1966.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom established by President Truman July 6 under Executive Order 9586 is an award for meritorious service on behalf of the United States. It will continue into the 21st century as the nation's highest civilian decoration (see 1963).
Full air war against Japan's home islands of Honshu and Kyushu begins July 10 from bases in the Marianas and Okinawa. Columbus, Ohio-born Army Air Force Gen. Curtis (Emerson) LeMay, 38, heads the U.S. 21st bomber command in the Marianas and orders his B-29s stripped of guns and ammunition to make room for six-ton loads of incendiaries that are dropped at night from altitudes of 5,000 to 7,000 feet instead of the 25,000 to 30,000 used for daytime bombing.
Carrier-based air attacks on Tokyo begin July 17 after U.S. planes have dropped leaflets threatening Japan with aerial destruction unless she surrenders unconditionally. Former prime minister Keisuke Okada and others press for an end to the war, supporting moves to overthrow the Tojo government and make peace overtures, but Hideki Tojo and other militarists remain adamant against surrender.
An atomic bomb ("the Gadget") is tested successfully at 5:29 in the morning of July 18 atop a tower near Alamogordo, N. M., 120 miles south of Albuquerque while President Truman is en route by warship to Europe for a conference with other world leaders at Potsdam. Admiral William D. Leahy, has told President Truman, "The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives," but he is proved wrong. The horrific losses sustained in the recent conquest of Okinawa have made it likely that an invasion of Japan's home islands could cost as many as 1 million U.S. lives.
The crushing defeat of Britain's Conservative government in the general elections stuns Prime Minister Churchill and all the world. Churchill has been unwilling to dissolve Parliament before the end of the Pacific war, Labour Party leader Clement R. (Richard) Attlee, 62, has campaigned on promises of a welfare state, announcement of the balloting results is delayed for 3 weeks until July 26 to allow for returns from British forces overseas, and it is then learned that Labour has won 48 percent of the vote, Conservatives 39.3 percent, Liberals 9, others 3.4. Labour gains a Parliamentary majority of 146 seats, and Attlee's government will rule until 1951.
The 10,000-ton Portland-class heavy cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis leaves California's Mare Island Navy Yard on a secret cargo mission, delivers essential components of the atomic bomb to Tinian Island in the Marianas July 27, and is torpedoed in the Pacific Ocean just after midnight July 30 while en route from Guam to the Philippines; she has been sailing in a straight line without any escort, the torpedoes fired by Lieut. Comdr. Mochitsura Hashimoto from the submarine I-58 kill 400 of the cruiser's 1,196 officers and crew outright and destroy her main communications center, no S.O.S. is received, the ship rolls over and sinks 12 minutes later, and no survivors are spotted until August 2, when a Navy pilot on a routine mission spots some wreckage and drops a life raft along with whatever supplies he has aboard. By that time all but 320 of the 800 men who managed to scramble into the sea have drowned, been killed by sharks, died from burns, injuries, dehydration, or in some cases been murdered by crazed brothers in arms during their 100 hours in the water. Navy Lieut. (Robert) Adrian Marks, 28, is summoned from the island Pelelieu and pilots the PBY5A Catalina rescue plane that lands in 12-foot swells and picks up 56 men. Unable to take off, Marks waits until the destroyer Cecil J. Doyle arrives, followed by six other rescue ships. Only 317 survive, and the ship's commander, Capt. Charles B. (Butler) McVay 3rd, 47, is court-martialled in December, the first officer in U.S. Navy history to face a court-martial for losing his ship to enemy action in time of war. Convicted on charges of having failed to run a zigzag course in a war zone, he is sentenced to lose 100 numbers in his temporary grade of captain and in his permanent grade of commander as well, but the sentence will be remitted in February of next year in light of his illustrious record; although the captain will be promoted to rear admiral after he retires next year, his career has been ruined and he will be driven by hate mail to commit suicide in 1968.
A group of 836 U.S. Boeing B-29 Superfortresses launched against 10 key targets in Japan and two in Korea August 1 is the largest single-day B-29 operation; 784 of the planes reach their destinations, dropping incendiaries, high explosives, and mines.
The Potsdam Conference ends August 2 after 16 days of deliberations by President Truman, Generalissimo Stalin, and Prime Minister Churchill (who has been replaced as PM July 28 by Clement Attlee). The world leaders demand an unconditional surrender by Japan and establish the Oder-Neisse line as the border of eastern Germany and Poland, divide Germany into four occupational zones (British, French, Soviet, and U.S.), and agree that Germany is to be disarmed and demilitarized, her National Socialist institutions dissolved, her leaders tried as war criminals, and democratic ideals encouraged with restoration of local self-government and freedom of speech, press, and religion subject to military security requirements. Manufacture of war matériel is to be prohibited and strict controls placed on production of metals, chemicals, and machinery essential to war. The accords are designed to be temporary but some provisions will remain in place for 45 years.
Japanese air ace Saburo Sakai downs a U.S. B-29 over Japan in early August to end a career in which he has blasted 64 Allied aircraft out of the skies from the cockpit of his Zero fighter (Mitsubishi has produced nearly 10,430 of the planes since 1940) (see Sakai, 1941). Sakai lost one eye in combat, has flown half-blind, and has only recently accepted a commission as commander after years of refusal.
Tokyo rejects the Potsdam Declaration that has called upon Japan to surrender and accept an occupation with the objective of establishing "a peacefully inclined and responsible government" based on "the freely expressed will of the Japanese people." It has also called for trials and purges of those who "deceived and misled" the Japanese people into war. U.S. planes drop leaflets over Hiroshima August 4 warning, "Your city will be obliterated unless your Government surrenders."
The atomic bomb (code name: "Little Boy") that America dropped on Hiroshima August 6 is a 10-foot long, 9,000 pound device with the explosive power of 20,000 tons of TNT. The U.S. Army Air Force Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay piloted by Quincy, Ill.-born Capt. Paul Tibbets Jr., 30, has flown from the Pacific atoll of Tinian, bombardier Major Thomas Ferebee, 26, looks through the eyepiece of his Norden bombsight, and he drops "Little Boy" from an altitude of 31,000 feet. The bomb explodes 1,890 feet above its target (the Aloi Bridge), flattening four square miles of Hiroshima and killing as many as 75,000 Japanese outright; temperatures at ground zero exceed 6,000° C., birds in flight burst into flame, and the heat incinerates or vaporizes nine out of 10 people within half a mile. Another 50,000 will die within months from burns and radiation sickness, hundreds will be disfigured, and the ultimate death toll from the bomb will be 150,000 out of a population of 300,000.
Isolationist Sen. Hiram W. Johnson dies at Bethesda, Md., August 6 at age 78.
Manhattan Project physicist Ted Hall hands over about 300 documents related to the atomic research at Los Alamos, N.M., to New York KGB agent Lona Cohen, who has gone to New Mexico on instructions from her Soviet controllers (see Hall, 1944). She escapes detection by hiding the materials in a Kleenex box, and delivers them to the Russians. Physicist Igor Vasilevich Kurchatov, 42, achieves the first Soviet atomic chain reaction (see 1949).
Soviet Russia violates her 1941 non-aggression treaty with Japan August 8 and declares war, sending troops into Manchuria, where Japanese troops are commanded by Gen. Otozo Yamada, now 63. Marshal Aleksandr Vasilevsky has 5,500 tanks, 28,000 artillery pieces, and 4,370 aircraft to Yamada's 1,155 tanks, 5,360 artillery pieces, and 1,800 aircraft. The Japanese are untrained in mechanized warfare, and in 8 days of hostilities they lose an estimated 84,000 killed and 594,000 captured (Soviet casualties come to 8,219 killed, 22,264 wounded). The Russians incarcerate Manchuria's emperor Kang Te (Kang Teh, the former Chinese emperor Pu Yi); now 39, he will remain a prisoner until 1950.
The atomic bomb (code name: "Fat Man") that America dropped on Nagasaki in Kyushu August 9 by the B-29 bomber Bockscar is a plutonium-core bomb with the same explosive power as "Little Boy." It kills 70,000 to 80,000 Japanese outright, and many of the 75,000 survivors will die from burns and radiation sickness. Leaflets dropped earlier had threatened "a rain of ruin the like of which has never been seen on earth."
Japan sues for peace August 10. Admiral Soemu Toyoda, Gen. Korechika Anami, and some others have harbored hopes that newly developed jet aircraft and biological weapons might still bring victory; former foreign minister Shigenori Togo and only two other members favored surrender at an August 9 council meeting, but Emperor Hirohito has given orders at 2 o'clock in the morning of August 10 that the terms of the Potsdam agreement are to be accepted. Naruhiko Higashikuni, now 57, is appointed head of the government, former prime minister Fumimaro Konoye serves as vice president, and Privy Council president Kantaro Suzuki, now 77, announces acceptance of the Allied surrender terms August 14 (he soon thereafter escapes an assassination attempt by nationalists and is forced into hiding). President Truman proclaims V-J (Victory over Japan) Day August 14, the Japanese hear a recorded message from the emperor that does not mention defeat or surrender (few have ever heard his voice), his minister of war Gen. Anami commits ritual suicide August 15 at age 58 to thwart a coup by officers intent on continuing hostilities, other military and naval higher ups follow suit, but fighting in Manchuria continues until August 17. Retreating Japanese forces destroy their 9-year-old Unit 731 biological-weapons facility, where thousands of civilians and U.S. POWs have been subjected to tests that included dissection while they were still alive. The release of plague-infected animals from Unit 731 and other such facilities cause outbreaks that will kill at least 30,000 in the Harbin area by 1948. The Allies give Shiro Ishii and his colleagues immunity from war-crimes prosecution in return for access to results of his field tests.
World War II ends after nearly 6 traumatic years in which an estimated 54.8 million have died, most of them civilians. Many millions more are left crippled, blind, mutilated, homeless, orphaned, and impoverished. Europe has 10 million displaced persons. The war has directly involved 57 nations, but the Soviet Union, Germany, China, and Japan have borne the lion's share of casualties. Counting only military personnel, the USSR has lost 7.5 million; Germany nearly 2.9 million; China 2.2; Japan 1.5; Britain nearly 398,000; Italy 300,000; the United States more than 290,000. More than 8.2 million men and women have been in the U.S. Army at war's end, up from fewer than 200,000 in 1939, and another 3.8 million have been in the navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
France has lost nearly 211,000 men, including colonial troops (but not including 36,877 prisoners of war who died in captivity); Canada has lost 39,139; Australia 29,395; New Zealand 12,262; South Africa 8,681; India 36,092; the rest of the British Empire 30,776.
Indonesians proclaim independence from the Netherlands August 17, and Allied (mostly British Indian) troops resist nationalist forces until Dutch reinforcements arrive (see 1922). Achmad Sukarno, 44, helped found the Indonesian Nationalist Party in 1928, was exiled in 1933, returned to the Japanese-controlled islands in 1942, and leads the struggle against Dutch rule; his rival Sutan Sjahrir, 36, gains support from more militant nationalists with his pamphlet "Our Struggle" ("Perdjuangan Kita") and serves as prime minister of the nascent republican government (see 1946).
Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose dies August 18 at age 48 in the fiery crash at Taipei of a Japanese bomber that was to have taken him to the Soviet Union.
U.S. forces land in Japan August 28. Gen. MacArthur is named supreme commander of Allied occupation forces.
Formal Japanese surrender terms signed September 2 aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay provide for Soviet control of Outer Mongolia, Chinese sovereignty over Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Taiwan, and Hainan, with joint U.S. and Soviet occupation of Korea until an independent government can be established there after 35 years as a Japanese colony (see 1948). Military planners at Potsdam have divided Korea arbitrarily in July, with the Soviet Union to accept the surrender of Japanese forces north of the 38th parallel, U.S. authorities to accept the surrender south of that line (see 1948). Gen. MacArthur, Royal Navy Pacific Fleet commander in chief Admiral Bruce A. Fraser, and other Allied dignitaries sign the papers: Japan cedes the Kuril Islands and southern part of Sakhalin to the USSR. Emperor Hirohito is to remain Japanese head of state, but the Japanese high command and military establishment is to be disbanded, and a U.S. army of occupation is to rule Japan.
Vietnamese communists headed by Ho Chi Minh proclaim the Democratic Republic of Vietnam September 2 (see 1931; Viet Minh, 1941). The Japanese have declared Vietnam an independent nation in March, with the French puppet emperor Bao Dai (Nguyen Vinh Thuy), now 31, as its ruler in preference to the nationalist prince Cuong De, now 65, who remains in Japan, but Bao Dai agrees to abdicate in return for being named "supreme adviser" to Ho; when France tries to reassert her colonial claims to northern and central Vietnam, Bao Dai goes into exile in Hong Kong and China after 19 years on the throne, ending the Nguyen dynasty that has reigned since 1802 (see 1946). The country is temporarily divided at the latitude of 16° North, leaving various parts of central Vietnam under the control of different occupation forces. Ho Chi Minh's forces capture former interior minister Ngo Dinh Diem, 44, at Hue, and Ho invites Diem to join his new, independent government in hopes of obtaining Roman Catholic support, but Diem rejects the offer and will live abroad for the next decade (see 1954). Former Vietnamese puppet emperor Duy Tan dies in a plane crash December 26 at age 46 and is buried in French Equatorial Africa, having served with the Free French under the name Major Vinh San.
The Japanese garrison on Wake Island surrenders September 4 (see 1941).
Gen. MacArthur makes his way by automobile to the U.S. Embassy in the heart of war-torn Tokyo September 8 and orders the American flag unfurled "as a symbol of hope for the oppressed and as a harbinger of victory for the right." He sets up headquarters in the Dai Ichi Insurance Building, which has escaped the bombing and whose higher floors command a view of the Imperial Palace.
Japanese forces in China capitulate formally September 9 at Nanjing. They are estimated to number 1 million, their leaders sign surrender papers with representatives of Chiang Kai-shek, Japan signs a treaty with China that formally returns Taiwan to Chinese sovereignty, and Japanese forces evacuate Taiwan after 50 years of occupation; Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese Nationalists arrive on the island, impose martial law, and seize foodstuffs that are then sold on the Shanghai market for money to support Chiang's forces against Mao Zedong's (Mao Tse-tung's) army (see human rights, 1947).
Gen. MacArthur orders the arrest of 39 Japanese political leaders September 11. Gen. Hideki Tojo sees U.S. military police outside his Tokyo house and shoots himself in the chest, but U.S. physicians abort his suicide attempt and nurse him back to health. Naruhiko Higashikuni resigns a week later in protest, having served as head of state for only 50 days before Gen. MacArthur announced his intentions to introduce his own political reforms. Former prime minister Fumimaro Konoye is indicted for war crimes but commits suicide at Tokyo in December at 54 (see war crimes trials, 1946).
The British at Singapore accept formal surrender of Japanese forces in Southeast Asia (estimated to number 585,000) September 12 (see 1942; 1946). The British reoccupy Hong Kong, which they lost to the Japanese in December 1941 and will rule until 1997.
The French convict former Indochinese governor general Jean Decoux of having collaborated with the Vichy government and abetting the Japanese war effort, even though he transferred his loyalties to Gen. de Gaulle's Free French more than a year ago and has tried to undermine Japanese occupation forces. Decoux will be imprisoned for 2 years.
Marshal Pétain is sentenced to death August 15 for treason, but his sentence is commuted to life imprisonment (now 89, he will live to July 1951). Former French premier Pierre Laval is executed October 15 at age 62 for having collaborated with the enemy. French communists and socialists who have led the Résistance prevail in elections for the constituent assembly October 21. Gen. de Gaulle outmaneuvers them, is elected by the assembly as president of the provisional government November 16, forms a cabinet November 21, but will resign early next year in the face of continuing Leftist opposition (see 1958).
President Truman dissolves the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) September 20. Major Gen. William J. Donovan has resigned as OSS chief August 25 and continues from his New York law office to urge creation of a permanent U.S. intelligence agency (see CIA, 1947).
Italy emerges from decades of Fascist dictatorship; Tyrolean-born politician Alcide De Gasperi, 64, served 16 months in prison for anti-Fascist activities before the war, has organized a center-right Christian Democratic Party, heads a coalition government that takes office December 10, and will head eight successive coalition governments until 1953, working to shape the shattered nation's moral and material recovery (see 1946).
Former Nazi leaders go on trial at Nuremberg in November on charges of conspiring to wage aggressive war and committing crimes against humanity. Josef Stalin has pressed for the immediate execution of Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, Alfred Jodl, Wilhelm Keitl, Franz von Papen, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Julius Streicher, and others; Winston Churchill has raised no objection, but Schenectady, N.Y.-born Col. Telford Taylor, 36, U.S. Army, has urged an international trial. Robert Ley has hanged himself in his prison cell October 25 at age 55 after writing a statement denouncing anti-Semitism. President Truman has persuaded Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson to be chief U.S. prosecutor in May, and Col. Taylor is appointed assistant prosecutor. The four-man panel of judges (one each from Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States) is shown horrific film footage taken by liberators of the German concentration camps, survivors give personal testimony, and the prosecutors read sickening eye-witness accounts (see 1946).
Former German field marshal August von Mackenson dies at Celle, Germany, November 8 at age 95.
Gen. Patton is killed in an automobile accident in Germany December 21 at age 60. He has been removed from command of the 3rd Army in October and transferred to the 15th Army; Admiral Roger J. B. Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes (of Zeebrugge and of Dover), Royal Navy (ret.), dies at Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, December 26 at age 73.
A revolutionary junta overthrows the 4-year-old military government of Venezuela's Gen. Isais Medina Angarita and sets up Rómulo Betancourt, 37, as provisional president. Although he joined the Communist Party briefly while in Costa Rica in the 1930s and still has left-wing leanings, Betancourt is an anticommunist who helped found the liberal Acción Democrática Party 4 years ago. He will serve until 1948 and, again, from 1959 to 1964, encouraging agrarian reform, industrial development, and a more democratic participation in government (see 1947).
Former Mexican president Plutarco Elías Calles dies at Mexico City October 19 at age 68, having lived in exile in California from the mid-1930s until 1941.
Brazil's president Getulio Vargas resigns October 25 after nearly 15 years of dictatorship as pressures mount for a more liberal government. Chief Justice José Linhares becomes president pro tem; voters elect Gen. Enrico Dutra president December 2 (see 1950).
Human Rights, Social Justice
Soviet troops liberate Auschwitz January 27 but find fewer than 3,000 prisoners at the Polish death camp where more than 2 million have died in SS gas chambers (the camp's commandant Rudolph Hoess will boast that the total was 2,345,000). The SS has evacuated the rest of Auschwitz's inmates to camps inside Germany, forcing most of them to walk in their pajamas on death marches that took weeks, during which time many died.
SS guards at Königsberg round up about 7,000 concentration-camp inmates, mostly young women, and march them 25 miles in 2 days to a vacant lock factory at Palmnicken (later the Russian town of Yantarny). Wearing only thin rags emblazoned with six-pointed yellow stars, with cups and tin-can bowls strung from telephone wire around their waists, and wooden-soled shoes on their feet, perhaps 4,000 are left by the time they arrive January 31, whereupon they are herded to an abandoned amber mine on the shore of the Baltic, split into groups of 50, forced onto the beach and the ice, mowed down by machine-gun fire, or taken to the mine and shot at point-blank range.
Soviet occupation forces in Hungary arrest Raoul Wallenberg (see 1944). It will later be reported that he was seen at Moscow's Ljubyanka Prison, but no definitive account of him will hereafter be found.
U.S. private Eddie D. Slovik dies before a firing squad outside the village of Ste-Marie aux Mines January 31, the first American to be executed for desertion since the Civil War. A Hamtramck-born Detroit plumber before the war, Slovik was drafted last year at age 24, having been rejected earlier; his commanding officer in basic training recognized his "total inability" and tried to obtain his discharge or at least a transfer to a noncombat unit, it took Slovik 6 weeks to locate his unit after being shipped overseas, he claimed to have deserted and said he would desert again, he signed a "confession" calculated to keep him out of combat, was court-martialed and found guilty of desertion, and Gen. Eisenhower approved his execution.
The first black U.S. Army infantry platoon (Fifth Platoon, K Company, 394th Regiment, 99th Infantry Division) reaches the front at Remagen on the Rhine March 12 with orders to join K Company, whose men took the bridge at Remagen March 8 but are pinned down by enemy fire and badly in need of reinforcements. The 50 black rookies battle their way uphill to their white comrades, firing more rounds and taking more prisoners than any other platoon, and they receive a warm welcome, but when they return home at war's end they face the same discrimination they experienced before they were drafted (see 1948).
Russian Orthodox nun Maria Skobtsova, 53, goes to the gas chamber at the Ravensbrück concentration camp on the eve of Easter. Having fled the excesses of Bolshevism in her homeland, she became a nun in 1932 despite twice having been married and divorced, worked to house and feed French derelicts, gave succor to Jews in wartime Paris, and was arrested in 1943 and sent to Ravensbrück. It will be said that she went to her death voluntarily "in order to help her companions die."
Gen. Patton and Corps Commander Walton H. (Harris) Walker, 45, liberate Buchenwald April 1 after 56,459 have died there of starvation, disease, or from the deliberate sadism of guards; British troops liberate Bergen-Belsen April 15 as U.S. troops liberate Nordhausen. U.S. troops enter Dachau April 2, but they are able to rescue only 500,000, many of whom will die of the effects of hunger and disease. Soviet troops liberate the Ravensbruck concentration camp April 29. The Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria is liberated May 6. Soviet troops liberate about 700 inmates of the Theresienstadt (Terezin) concentration camp May 8; an estimated 130,000 people were killed at the facility (140,000 Jews were sent there, fewer than 9,000 survived), and Rabbi Leo Baeck, now 72, is among those scheduled for execution May 9, but he restrains the other inmates from killing the camp's guards. The Nazi genocide has exterminated an estimated 14 million "racial inferiors" including Poles, Slavs, gypsies (Roma), and close to 6 million Jews. One third of the world's Jews have died in Nazi death camps in the last 6 years, including those killed with cyanide gas at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in southern Poland. Bulgaria has protected her Jews and that country actually has more Jews at the end of the war than the 50,000 or so she had in 1940.
SS leader Heinrich Himmler conspires with a Swedish diplomat to have 15,000 concentration camp inmates released (most are Scandinavians) as he tries to negotiate a separate peace with Britain and the United States, Hitler hears of his treachery and dismisses him, he shaves off his moustache and flees Berlin in disguise, wearing an old Army uniform and an eyepatch, but a British detachment captures him near Bremen, he reveals his identify, swallows a cyanide vial rather than face trial, and dies May 23 at age 44. Demagogue Julius Streicher disguises himself as a painter but U.S. troops capture him near Waldring, Bavaria, May 23. U.S. authorities seize Lyons Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie but will recruit him for counterintelligence work (see 1942; 1951). Birkenau extermination camp physician Josef Mengele goes underground and will work as a stablehand on a farm near Rosenheim, Bavaria, for 4 years before escaping to South America via Genoa in 1949. Using forged papers and funds supplied by an elaborate network of former Nazis, hundreds if not thousands of other war criminals will escape the country, hiding in barns, Catholic monasteries, and homes of sympathizers.
Industrialist Oskar Schindler pretends until May to produce parts for German V2 bombs but has actually manufactured nothing since July of last year, letting men in his factory turn out counterfeit rubber stamps, military travel documents, and official papers needed to protect the delivery of food bought on the black market (see 1943). Now 37, Schindler has exhausted his personal resources to save 801 men and 297 women from the Holocaust; he will depend on food and cigarettes from the Joint Distribution Committee as he and his wife, Emilie, try to survive at Regensburg and then at Munich, but they will soon emigrate to Argentina, where he will remain until 1958 (see 1974).
The World Zionist Congress demands admission of 1 million Jews to Palestine in a statement issued August 13.
French women vote for the first time October 25 under terms of a new enfranchisement bill (see 1944).
Italian, Greek, Hungarian, Yugoslavian, Irish, Guatemalan, and Senegalese women gain the right to vote on the same basis as men.
Japanese feminist Iusae Ichikawa, now 52, organizes the Confederation of New Japanese Women with objectives that include clean elections and political education for women (see 1919). Japanese women gain voting rights December 15 under terms of a new Election Law passed by the Diet under pressure from Allied occupation authorities (see 1946).
Rocket engineer Wernher von Braun and Lieut. Gen. Walter R. Dornberger surrender to U.S. troops in May along with about 100 members of their buzz-bomb group. Dornberger is interned as a prisoner in England (he will emigrate to America in 1947 and work as an adviser on guided missiles to the U.S. Air Force and a consultant to Bell Aircraft); within a few months the other group members are at the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps test site at White Sands, N.M., where they are put to work testing, assembling, and supervising the launching of captured V-2 rockets for high-altitude research purposes (see politics, 1944; exploration, 1958).
Rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard dies at Baltimore August 10 at age 52. The Guggenheim Foundation will pay $1 million to the U.S. Government in 1960 for having infringed on many of Goddard's 200 patents, and the government's space research center at Greenbelt, Md., will be named the Goddard Space Flight Center in 1962.
German industrialist and Nazi supporter Albert Voegler commits suicide April 14 at age 68 following his arrest by U.S. troops (he has been responsible for war production in the Ruhr).
Congress acts June 12 to reduce gold reserve requirements for Federal Reserve banks from 40 percent on notes and 35 percent on deposits to 25 percent on both. It ends the Treasury Department's power to issue Federal Reserve Bank notes that have had no gold backing.
World copper reserves are estimated at 100 million tons. The world will use roughly that much copper in the next 30 years, but the reserve will then be 300 million tons as a result of new discoveries and demand will fall as substitutes are found for copper wires.
The top 8.5 percent of Americans hold 20.9 percent of U.S. personal wealth, down from 32.4 percent of personal wealth in 1929.
President Truman lifts the wartime wage freeze August 16 but says wages may be increased only if the increases do not force price increases. He orders full resumption of consumer-goods production August 18 with a return to free markets and collective bargaining between labor and management. Walter P. Reuther heads the United Automobile Workers (UAW) unit at General Motors and asks for a 30 percent wage boost, demanding that GM open its books so everyone can see whether the company can afford the increase without raising prices. He knows GM will not agree, and GM workers walk off the job November 21 (see 1946).
Family allowance checks go out in August to more than 3.5 million British families under welfare law enacted by Parliament at the initiative of MP James "Jim" Griffiths, 55, who has led coal miners in his native Wales. Families with more than one dependent child receive 25 pence per child each month (the law will later be repealed).
Membership in U.S. labor unions reaches its height: 35.5 percent of the work force is unionized, up from 11.6 percent in 1930, but the percentage will fall to 31.4 percent by 1950 and continue to drop, reaching 14.1 percent by 1997. Nearly half of all U.S. women have held jobs at some time during the war, working in offices, factories, shipyards, and shops. Some 250,000 women have worked in plants making electrical equipment, 100,000 on production lines producing ammunition, 300,000 in aircraft plants, 150,000 in shipyard jobs as riveters, welders, and crane operators. Washington has told women that victory could not be achieved without their entry into the workforce (1.47 million mothers of young children have held war jobs, despite the official government direction, "Now, as in peacetime, a mother's primary duty is to her home and children"). More than half of all female workers have for the first time in history been married women, and columnist Max Lerner has expressed fears that the war has created a "new Amazon" who will "outdrink, outswear, and outswagger the men."
U.S. women lose their jobs as men return from the war and reclaim positions they left when they joined the service, but the number of women in the workforce has climbed from 14 million to 19 million and will never again fall to 14 million (although most women workers are from families with below-average incomes).
A U.S. tariff act empowers the president to encourage reciprocal trade by reducing tariffs to 25 percent of original schedule rates (see 1934; GATT, 1947).
A revenue act passed by Congress November 8 provides for nearly $6 billion in tax reductions and eliminates the excess profits tax. The war has cost the United States about $321 billion (10 times as much as World War I), of which 41 percent was paid by taxes (as compared with 33 percent from 1917 to 1918) and the rest by borrowing. The U.S. National Debt has quintupled to $259 billion.
The U.S. Gross National Product (GNP) for the year is $211 billion, up from $90 billion in 1939 and double the booming 1929 figure, even though strikes have closed down Ford, General Motors, and other plants. Strikers shut down bituminous coal mines through much of the fall.
France nationalizes her four leading banks under a December 2 law that makes the Banque de France a state-owned institution.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) comes into being December 27 (see Bretton Woods, 1944); 21 countries have subscribed nearly $7.2 billion, nearly $3.2 billion of it from the United States. The bank's first loans will be made to France in May 1947 at interest rates of 3 and 3¼ percent.
Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average closes December 31 at 192.91, up from 152.32 at the end of 1944.
The atomic bomb raises the possibility of a new energy source (as well as of a nuclear holocaust that would end civilization). The nuclear devices have been developed in the Manhattan Project crash program, headed by Albany, N.Y.-born Gen. Leslie Groves, 48, with a scientific force headed by physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, now 41. A British atomic research group led by physicist Rudolf Peierls, now 38, joined the Manhattan Project in 1943. Chinese-born physicist Chien-shiung Wu, 33, at Columbia worked out a method last year for producing large quantities of fissionable uranium and perfected an improved Geiger counter. La Grange, Ill.-born physicist Leona Libby (née Marshall), 26, helped construct the first thermal column. She will design and build the first nuclear reactor and invent an advanced analytical machinehe rotating neutron spectrometer. Oregon-born physicist Raemer E. Schreiber, 35, has helped develop "Fat Man," the bomb America dropped on Nagasaki, and has been on the team sent to Tinian Island in the Pacific to assemble the nuclear weapons.
U.S. gasoline and fuel oil rationing ends August 19.
The former German KdF cruise line ship Wilhelm Gustloff leaves the Baltic port of Gotenhafen on the night of January 30 as Soviet forces converge on the area and Germans flee from what they fear will be a rampage of looting, murder, and rape. Named for a Nazi organizer in Switzerland who was assassinated by a Jewish refugee in 1936, the 7-year-old vessel was designed to carry a maximum of 1,865 passengers and crew but is overloaded with 10,582 peopleefugee women, children, and elderly plus 900 able-bodied men who are trying to keep order and scores of sick and wounded soldiers and sailors. Her captain fears Soviet submarines in deep water and chooses rather to risk minefields close to shore, but as the 25,484-ton vessel steams west three torpedoes from the submarine S-13 strike her, and she goes down in 50 minutes, killing 9,343 peoplehe worst maritime loss in history.
A U.S. ship loaded with aerial bombs explodes April 9 at Bari, Italy; at least 360 men are killed.
Submarine inventor Simon Lake dies at Bridgeport, Conn., June 23 at age 78.
The HRP-1 flown in March by Frank Piasecki is the first helicopter with tandem rotors (see 1943). Piasecki has persuaded U.S. Navy officials to fund development of the large machine. It can carry heavier loads than were ever before possible with rotating-wing aircraft. The Navy orders 20 of what soon will be called the "Flying Banana" (its ends bend up slightly to keep the rotors from interfering with each other), and it will prove useful not only for search-and-rescue work but also for mine sweeping and amphibious assault (see politics, 1947).
Bendix Aviation chief Vincent Bendix dies at New York March 27 at age 62.
Beech Aircraft introduces a two-engine private plane under the name Beechcraft Bonanza.
Flying Tiger Line has its beginnings in the National Skyways Freight Corp. founded by Fort Worth, Texas-born fighter pilot Robert W. (William) Prescott, 32, who flew with Gen. Claire Chennault's American Volunteer Group from late 1941 until July 1942, when the group was disbanded after many sorties against the Japanese. Starting with four planes and 16 employees, Prescott will rename his company in 1947 and make Flying Tiger Line the world's largest air cargo firm (see communications [Federal Express], 1972).
Northwest Airlines obtains an extension of its routes eastward from Minneapolis-St. Paul to New York City via Milwaukee and Detroit (see 1934). The company has been serving the government in some northern and Pacific theaters of war; it will begin service to the Far East in 1947 (see 1958).
A B-25 light bomber flies into New York's Empire State Building July 28, tearing a hole between the 78th and 79th floors, and killing all three men aboard plus 10 office workers and early Saturday morning pedestrians.
U.S. war plants produce 88,410 tanks (Germany 44,857), 299,293 aircraft (Japan 69,910), but automobile companies convert to passenger car production after the German surrender in May.
Henry Ford steps down from the presidency of Ford Motor Company in September at age 82 as production of civilian passenger cars resumes. He yields control of the shattered organization to his grandson Henry Ford II, 28, son of Edsel Ford's widow, Eleanor Clay Ford (she owns a 42 percent stake in the company; she and her mother-in-law, Clara, had threatened to sell their stock if the founder did not relinquish control). Young Henry immediately dismisses Harry Bennett, who has ruled the Ford empire through sycophants by fear and terror. He then raids other companies to create a new management team: Bendix Aviation president Ernest R. Breech, 48, will join Ford next year as executive vice president (see 1947; 1948).
Jaguar Cars Ltd. is established by a renaming of S.S. Cars Ltd., which produced the first Jaguar motorcar 9 years ago. The 13-year old British company has produced several makes but none with as much success as the Jaguar.
Gloucestershire-born biochemist Frederick Sanger, 27, at Cambridge pioneers the genetic sequencing of amino acids with his discovery that the compound dinitrophenol (DNP) will bond to one end of an amino acid, creating a bond even stronger than when two amino acids bond with each other (see Avery, 1944; Watson, Crick, 1953; insulin sequencing, 1955).
Britain's 283-year-old Royal Society decides to elect women fellows; crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale becomes the first (see 1929). A confirmed pacifist, she served a month in prison during the war for refusing to pay a fine imposed on women who did not register for civil defense or other national service in 1939.
Mineralogist and biogeochemist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky dies at Leningrad January 6 at age 81, having urged the Soviet government to develop an atomic energy industry; Nobel chemist Hans Fischer commits suicide at Munich March 31 at age 63 after a bomb destroys his laboratory; physicist Hans Geiger of Geiger counter fame dies at Potsdam September 24 at age 62; Nobel chemist-physicist Francis W. Aston at Cambridge, England, November 20 at age 68, having discovered many different isotopes with his mass spectograph; biologist Thomas Hunt Morgan dies at Pasadena, Calif., December 4 at age 79.
Penicillin is introduced on a commercial basis following work by a large Anglo-American research team (see 1944), but Alexander Fleming warns that misuse of the antibiotic could lead to the propagation of mutant forms of bacteria that can resist it. By next year, an estimated 14 percent of the staphylococcus strains isolated from patients in a London hospital will be resistant, some patients will be allergic to penicillin, and scientists will seek alternative antibiotics (see synthesis, 1946).
Streptomycin is introduced commercially (see 1944). It will be followed by erythromycin, tetracycline, amoxicillin, and more than 100 other antibiotics.
Washington State-born biochemist George (Herbert) Hitchings, 40, and his colleague Gertrude Elion pioneer a new biochemical approach to chemotherapy. Working at a Burroughs Wellcome laboratory in North Carolina, Hitchings theorizes that the growth of unwanted cells, including cancerous cells, can be stopped if compounds are introduced into the cells that differ slightly from those that occur naturally; they use a compound closely related to thymine, and this false building block initiates a revolution that will not only lead to new drugs for treating gout, leukemia, malaria, and disorders of the human immune system but will pave the way for organ transplants.
New Orleans surgeon Alton Ochsner, 49, observes "a distinct parallelism between the incidence of cancer of the lung and the sale of cigarettes" in an address at Duke University (which has been endowed with a fortune derived from tobacco sales; see education, 1924). "The increase is due to the increased incidence of smoking and. . . smoking is a factor because of the chronic irritation it produces" (see 1933). World War II has increased incidence of cigarette smoking in America, where it began to surge after World War I, and news of Ochsner's remarks is suppressed (newspaper and radio advertising contracts with tobacco companies contain clauses forbidding any negative reports about cigarette smoking 1952).
The American Cancer Society is created by a renaming of the American Society for the Control of Cancer founded in 1913.
Hospital deliveries account for 79 percent of U.S. births, up from 37 percent in 1935. Cesarean deliveries have increased significantly.
Sexually transmitted disease rates climb sharply throughout the world as do premarital pregnancies and illegitimate births.
Physiologist William Henry Howell dies of a coronary occlusion at his native Baltimore February 6 at age 84; physician Sara Josephine Baker at New York February 22 at age 71; physiologist Walter B. Cannon at Franklin, N.H., October 1 at age 73.
Breslau-born German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is hanged at Flossenbürg concentration camp April 9 at age 39 for allegedly having participated from his prison cell in last year's attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler.
Teacher in America by French-born Columbia University professor Jacques Barzun, 37, insists that colleges must discourage undergraduates from specializing too early and give them broad instruction in the humanities.
A Japanese machine-gun bullet kills U.S. war correspondent Ernest Taylor "Ernie" Pyle at age 44 April 18 on a tiny Pacific island near Iwo Jima. Pyle has shared the hardships of the common American foot soldier throughout the war, and his columns and books have brought home to civilians the reality of combat and the long hours in between engagements; radio pioneer Sir John Ambrose Fleming dies at Sidmouth, Devon, April 18 at age 95.
The Congressional Quarterly is founded at Washington, D.C., by Florida journalist Nelson Poynter, 41, and his wife, Henrietta (née Malkiel), 44.
Argentina's military regime charges the editors of six newspapers with conspiring to overthrow the government and arrests them briefly in the fall; among them is La Prensa editor Alberto Gainza Paz (see 1943; 1951).
The London Daily Express creates a worldwide sensation with a front-page story published September 5 under the headline "The Atomic Plague." Australian-born journalist Wilfred (Graham) Burchett, 35, has visitited Hiroshima in defiance of Gen. MacArthur's orders and is the first to report the horrifying effects of radiation and nuclear fallout, which are downplayed by New York Times science reporter William L. (Leonard) Laurence (who will win a Pulitzer prize for his 10 stories on the nuclear program but will turn out to have been paid by the War Department).
Radio: Meet the Press 10/5 on WOR-Mutual with American Mercury magazine publisher Lawrence E. Spivak, 44, moderating a "spontaneous, unrehearsed weekly news conference of the air" produced by onetime fiction writer Martha Rountree, 30. Journalists interview prominent news figures on the show (see television, 1947).
Some 5,000 U.S. homes have television setsulky receivers with tiny screens that pick up what little programming is available from the handful of stations in operation. But the world is on the edge of a communications revolution that will see television sets in nearly every home of every developed country (see 1939; 1948).
A telephone answering machine patented by U.S. inventor Edwin L. Peterson employs newly developed wire-recording technology (see 1940; Müller, 1935; Zimmermann, 1948).
Ballpoint pens go on sale October 29 at New York's Gimbel Bros. (see Biro, 1938). The Biro brothers emigrated to Argentina 2 years ago and received financial backing from British financier Henry Martin; he set up a factory in England with Frederick Miles to produce pens that would not leak at high altitudes, Lazlo Biro went to England last year, and he sold 30,000 pens to the Royal Air Force (plus thousands more to the U.S. Army Air Corps). Chicago promotor Milton Reynolds, 53, has seen the Ladislao Biro pen while visiting Buenos Aires on business in June, developed a pen with gravity flow instead of capillary attraction to make it different enough to get around Biro's patents, gone into production October 6, and is producing 70 pens per day. Gimbels quickly sells out at $12.50 each with the initial promise that the pens will write underwater, Reynolds increases production to 30,000 per day, but his pens sometimes leak and their ball points drop out. Some banks suggest that ballpoint pen signatures may not be legal, but the new pens will make it practical to handwrite multicopy business and government forms using carbon paper. The French company Bic will acquire Miles Aircraft and develop a cheaper throwaway pen (see 1950).
Ebony magazine begins publication in November; the black-oriented U.S. picture monthly sells out its initial press run of 25,000 copies. John H. Johnson of Johnson Publishing introduced Negro Digest in 1942 and will introduce Tan in 1950 and Jet in 1951 as he increases his holdings in Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Co.
The State Department takes over the Voice of America (VOA) from the Office of War Information December 31 (see 1943). Many VOA services have been reduced or eliminated, Congress has only reluctantly appropriated funds for continued operation, but a committee of private citizens appointed by the State Department and headed by Columbia University professor Arthur McMahon has cautioned that the government could not be "indifferent to the ways in which our society is portrayed to other countries" (see Smith-Mundt Act, 1948).
Nonfiction: "The Open Society and Its Enemies" (essay) by Vienna-born British philosopher Karl (Raimund) Popper, 43, who observes the philosophical linkages between fascism and communism; History Is on Our Side by Joseph Needham; The Yogi and the Commissar by Arthur Koestler; General Theory of Law and State by Hans Kelsen, now 64, who wrote the Austrian constitution that was adopted in 1920, served as a judge of Austria's Supreme Constitutional Court until 1930, emigrated to America in 1940, and has been teaching at Harvard; Italy and the Coming World by Luigi Sturzo, who will return from exile next year; The Age of Jackson by Ohio-born historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., 27, who has served with the OSS in Europe; Black Boy (autobiography) by Richard Wright, whose book will have sales of more than 500,000 copies within a year (but who will move to France because he cannot buy a house under his own name in Greenwich Village); The Air-Conditioned Nightmare by Henry Miller, who toured the United States from 1940 to 1941 and deplores the human cost of commercialization and mechanization; Men at Work by economist Stuart Chase; Agriculture in an Unstable Economy by South Dakota-born University of Chicago economist Theodore W. (William) Schultz, 43; The Egg and I by Boulder, Colo.-born, Seattle-raised writer Betty MacDonald, 37, has sales of 1 million copies its first year. The author quit her art studies at the University of Washington in 1927 to marry insurance salesman Robert E. Heskett, he bought a chicken ranch on the Olympic Peninsula for $450, she grew to hate everything about chickens except the eggs, and the couple split up in 1931; Home to India by Madras-born U.S. writer Santha Rama Rau, 22, whose mother, now 52, is a leader of India's women's movement; Mme. Pompadour (biography) by English writer Nancy (Freeman) Mitford, 40; The Turn of the Tide by H. M. Tomlinson.
Historian Johan Huizinga dies at De Steeg, Netherlands, February 1 at age 72; Carl L. Becker at Ithaca, N.Y., April 10 at age 71; author Albert Jay Nock at New Canaan, Conn., August 19 at age 74; man of letters Maurice Baring at Beauly, Inverness, Scotland December 14 at age 71.
Fiction: The Animal Farm: A Fairy Story by George Orwell; The Age of Reason (L'age de raison) and The Reprieve (Le Sursis) by Jean-Paul Sartre (first two novels in a trilogy); La Douleur by French novelist Marguerite Duras (Marguerite Donnadien), 31, who has worked for the Résistance during the war; Christ Stopped at Eboli (Christo si e fermato ad eboli) by Italian physician-novelist Carlo Levi, 43, whose documentary novel reveals the social and human problems of Lucania, where he was confined in the mid-1930s for anti-Fascist activities; The Serpent (Ormen) by Swedish novelist Stig Dagerman, 22; Krane's Café (Kranes Konditori) by Cora Sandel; Prater Violet by Christopher Isherwood; Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh; That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis; Loving by Henry Green; A Fearful Joy by Joyce Cary; Cannery Row by John Steinbeck; The Crack-Up by the late F. Scott Fitzgerald, who left it incomplete; The Egyptian (Sinuhe, egyptilänen) by Finnish novelist Mika (Toimi) Waltari, 40; The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford; The Ghostly Lover by Lexington, Ky.-born novelist Elizabeth (Bruce) Hardwick, 29; Memoirs of a Shy Pornograher by Kennetch Patchen; By the Waters of Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Canadian novelist Elizabeth Smart, 32, who has had four children by the English poet George Barker; The Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen; The Friendly Persuasion by Indiana-born novelist Jessamyn West, 43; The Tin Flute (Bonheur d'occasion) by Manitoba-born novelist Gabrielle Roy, 36, is about impoverished working-class urban dwellers; Before the Chaos (Avant le chaos) (stories) by poet Alain Grandbois; Forever Amber by Minnesota-born novelist Kathleen Winsor, 29.
Novelist Gilbert Patten ("Burt L. Standish") dies in poverty at Vista, Calif., January 16 at age 78; Franz Werfel of pneumonia at Beverly Hills, Calif., August 26 at age 54; Ellen Glasgow at her native Richmond, Va., November 21 at age 71; Theodore Dreiser at Hollywood, Calif., December 8 at age 74.
Poetry: Selected Poems by John Crowe Ransom; A Street in Bronzeville by Chicago poet Gwendolyn Brooks, 28; Tribute to the Angels by H. D. (Hilda Doolittle); The Black Seasons by Engish poet Henry Treece, 33, who has served as an intelligence officer in a bomber command and will turn to writing children's fiction; Rescue (Ocalenie) by Czeslaw Milosz.
Poet Paul Valéry dies at Paris July 20 at age 73 (he is given a state funeral).
Juvenile: Stuart Little by E. B. White of the New Yorker magazine, whose protagonist is a mouse (illustrations by New York-born Garth [Montgomery] Williams, 33); The Famous Invasion of Sicily by the Bears (La Famosa Invasione degli Ursi in Sicilia) by Dino Buzzati; Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Langstrump) by Swedish author Anna Lindgren (née Ericsson), 37, whose free-spirited, freckle-faced, carrot-top heroine is the daughter of Pipilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint, wears oversized shoes and stockings that don't match, and will reappear in sequels that (like the original) will be translated into dozens of languages.
Author Felix Salten dies at Zürich October 8 at age 76.
Painting: If This Be Not I by Philip Guston; The Unattainable and The Diary of a Seducer by Arshile Gorky; The Charnel House by Pablo Picasso; Big Julie by Fernand Léger; Woman Grinding Coffee by Jean Dubuffet; The Temptation of St. Anthony by Max Ernst; Old Stone Bridge by Lyonel Feininger; For Internal Use Only by Stuart Davis; Star Performer by Walt Kuhn; Great Tenochtitlan and The Market in Tiangucio (murals) by Diego Rivera for Mexico City's Palacio Nacional; The Swimming Hole by Norman Rockwell (cover illustration, Saturday Evening Post, August 11). German graphic artist Käthe Kollwitz dies outside Dresden at Moritzburg Castle April 22 at age 77; illustrator and muralist N. C. Wyeth at Chadds Ford, Pa., October 19 at age 62 when his car stalls on the track and is struck by the milk train, killing his grandson along with himself.
Sculpture: Red Pyramid (mobile) by Alexander Calder; The Hotel Eden by Joseph Cornell; Kuros by Isamu Noguchi; Family Group by Henry Moore (who has gained fame for his sketches of London crowds during the blitz); Portrait by French sculptor Germaine Richier, 41, who has spent the war years at Zürich.
Photographs: Washington, D.C.-born Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, 33, takes a picture February 23 of six Marines hoisting an American flag atop Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima. Captured in 1/400th of a second, the image makes Rosenthal famous and inspires war-weary Americans to buy billions of dollars worth of war bonds (see sculpture, 1954); Naked City by Polish-born New York freelance photographer Weegee (Arthur H. Fellig), 46, includes the carefully staged 1943 pictures "The Critic" and "Opening Night at the Opera" (depicting Mrs. George Washington Kavanaugh and Lady Deisch with a ragged woman onlooker), which have been widely reprinted. Weegee adopted his nickname (derived phonetically from a Ouija board) about 5 years ago while working for the afternoon tabloid PM. His new book of pictures with text brings Weegee assignments from fashion magazines.
Theater: The Hasty Heart by Louisville, Ky.-born playwright John Patrick (originally J. P. Gogan), 39, 1/3 at New York's Hudson Theater, with John Lund, Richard Basehart, 207 perfs.; The House of Bernarda Alba (La casa de Bernarda Alba) by the late Federico García Lorca 3/6 at the Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires; The Glass Menagerie by Mississippi-born playwright Tennessee (Thomas Lanier) Williams, 34, 3/31 at New York's Plymouth Theater, with Laurette Taylor, Eddie Dowling, Julie Haydon, Anthony Ross (Rosenthal), 561 perfs. (Margo Jones, 31, has directed the play); Lady from Edinburgh by Glasgow-born playwright Aimée Stuart (née McHardy), 54, and Edinburgh-born playwright L. Arthur Rose, 57, 4/10 at London's Playhouse, with Dulcie Gray 30, 557 perfs.; Caligula by Albert Camus 9/26 at the Teatro Hébertot, Paris; Deep Are the Roots by Arnaud D'Usseau and James Gow 9/26 at New York's Fulton Theater, with Barbara Bel Geddes, Helen Martin, Charles Waldron, 477 perfs.; State of the Union by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse 11/14 at New York's Hudson Theater, with Myron McCormick, Ralph Bellamy, 765 perfs.; Dream Girl by Elmer Rice 12/14 at New York's Coronet Theater, with Wendell Corey, Betty Field (Mrs. Rice), 348 perfs.; The Madwoman of Chaillot (La Folle de Chaillot) by the late Jean Giraudoux 12/19 at Paris, with Edwige Feuillère, now 38, creating the title role; The Gardener of Toulouse (Der Gärtner von Toulouse) by the late Georg Kaiser 12/22 at Mannheim's Nationaltheater (see 1938); Home of the Brave by Brooklyn, N.Y.-born playwright Arthur Laurents, 27, 12/27 at New York's Belasco Theater, with Alan Baxter, Kendall Clark in a play about anti-Semitism in the U.S. Army, 69 perfs.
Onetime Broadway star Lucille La Verne dies at Los Angeles March 4 at age 72; playwright Georg Kaiser in exile at Ascona, Switzerland, June 4 at age 66; playwright Edward Knoblock at London July 19 at age 71; actor-playwright Frank Craven of a heart ailment at his Beverly Hills home September 1 at age 70.
Radio: Arthur Godfrey Time 4/30 on CBS with New York-born emcee Godfrey, 37, who attracts listeners with his insouciance but offends potential sponsors by not taking their commercials seriously (to 4/30/1972); The Theatre Guild on the Air 9/9 on ABC with plays adapted for radio (to 1954).
Films: René Clair's And Then There Were None with Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, Judith Anderson, British actress June Duprez, 27; Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer; Charles Crichton's Dead of Night with Mervyn Johns, Roland Culver, Michael Redgrave, Sally Ann Howes, Googie (originally Georgette) Withers, 28; Laurence Olivier's Henry V with Olivier; Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend with Ray Milland, Jane Wyman; Jean Renoir's The Southerner with Texas-born actor Zachary Scott, 31, Betty Field; John Ford's They Were Expendable with Robert Montgomery, Iowa-born actress Donna Reed (originally Mullinger), 23; Elia Kazan's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn with Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell; Anthony Asquith's The Way to the Stars with John Mills, Michael Redgrave, Trevor Howard, Felix Aylmer. Also: Henry King's A Bell for Adano with Gene Tierney, John Hodiak, William Bendix; David Lean's Blithe Spirit with Rex Harrison, Seattle-born actress Constance Cummings (originally Halverstadt), 34, Margaret Rutherford (née Taylor), 52; Robert Wise's The Body Snatchers with Henry Daniell, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi (about stealing cadavers for medical experiments); Vincente Minnelli's The Clock with Judy Garland, Utah-born actor Robert Walker, 27, in a story celebrating the quick courtships of wartime couples; Irving Rapper's The Corn Is Green with Bette Davis, Nigel Bruce, John Dall; Henry Hathaway's The House on 92nd Street with William Eythe, Lloyd Nolan, Swedish actress Signe Hasso (originally Larsson), 35, is about wartime espionage in New York; Akira Kurosawa's The Man Who Tread the Tiger's Tail; Michael Curtiz's Mildred Pierce with Joan Crawford, Canadian actor Jack Carson, 35, Zachary Scott, Ann Blyth; Lewis Seiler's Molly and Me with Gracie Fields, Monty Woolley; Raoul Walsh's Objective, Burma! with Errol Flynn; Roy Rowland's Our Vines Have Tender Grapes with Edward G. Robinson, Los Angeles-born actress Margaret (originally Angela Maxine) O'Brien, 8; Compton Bennett's The Seventh Veil with James Mason, 36, Ann Todd, 36; Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound with Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck; Lewis Milestone's A Walk in the Sun with Dana Andrews, Richard Conte.
Director Mark Sandrich dies of a heart attack at his Hollywood home March 4 at age 44; silent-film star Alla Nazimova of a heart ailment at Los Angeles July 13 at age 66; Robert Benchley of liver cirrhosis at New York November 21 at age 56.
Hollywood musicals: Walter Lang's State Fair with Barstow, Calif.-born actress Jeanne Crain, 19, Dana Andrews, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, songs that include "It Might as Well Be Spring," "It's a Grand Night for Singing."
Stage musicals: Up in Central Park 1/27 at New York's Century Theater, with music by Sigmund Romberg, book by Dorothy Fields and her brother Herbert, lyrics by Dorothy, choreography by New York-born dancer Helen Tamiris (née Becker), 39, 504 perfs.; Carousel 4/19 at New York's Majestic Theater, with John Raitt as Billy Bigelow (Liliom), Jan Clayton as Julie Jordan, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book based on the 1909 Ferenc Molnár play Liliom, songs that include "If I Loved You," "June Is Bustin' Out All Over," "Soliloquy," "You'll Never Walk Alone," 890 perfs.; Perchance to Dream 4/21 at the London Hippodrome, with Ivor Novello, Muriel Barron, Margaret Rutherford, book, music, and lyrics by Novello, 1,022 perfs.; Sigh No More (revue) 8/22 at London's Piccadilly Theatre, with Joyce Grenfell, Madge Elliott, Cyril Ritchard, music and lyrics by Noël Coward, 213 perfs.; Under the Counter 11/22 at London's Phoenix Theatre, with Cicely Courtneidge, songs by Manning Sherwin and Harold Purcell; Billion Dollar Baby 12/21 at New York's Alvin Theater, with Joan McCracken, Mitzi Green, Bill Tabbert, music by Morton Gould, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, 219 perfs.
Opera: Brooklyn-born tenor Richard Tucker (originally Reuben Ticker), 31, makes his Metropolitan Opera debut 1/25 as Enzo in the 1876 Ponchielli opera La Giocanda (he is a brother-in-law of Jan Peerce); Peter Grimes 6/7 at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, with English tenor Peter (Neville Luard) Pears, 34, singing the title role, Joan Cross, now 44, as Ellen Orford, Edith Coates as Auntie, music by Benjamin Britten, libretto from the 1810 poem "The Borough" by George Crabbe; New York-born soprano Maria Callas (originally Cecilia Sophia Anna Maria Kalogeropoulos), 21, makes her debut at the Athens Royal Opera singing the role of Martha in the 1903 d'Albert opera Tiefland; Montclair, N.J.-born soprano Dorothy Kirsten, 28, makes her Metropolitan Opera debut singing the role of Mimi in the 1896 Puccini opera La Bohème; Brooklyn, N.Y.-born baritone Robert Merrill, 28, makes his Metropolitan Opera debut 12/15 singing the role of Germont in the 1853 Verdi opera La Traviata.
Composer Pietro Mascagni dies at Rome August 2 at age 81.
Ballet: Undertow 4/10 at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, with Hugh Laing, Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso (Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad del Cobre Martinez Hoya), 23, music by New York-born composer William Schuman, 34, choreography by Antony Tudor.
First performances: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major by Sergei Prokofiev 1/13 at Moscow while an artillery salute outside the concert hall celebrates news of a great Soviet victory on the Vistula; Symphony No. 9 by Dmitri Shostakovich 11/3 at Leningrad; Prelude for Orchestra and Mixed Choir by Arnold Schoenberg 11/18 at Los Angeles; String Quartet No. 2 in C by Benjamin Britten 11/21 at London.
The Philharmonia Orchestra of London founded by EMI executive Walter Legge, 39, makes recordings for the company. An autodidact in music, Legge joined the staff of the Gramophone Co. (His Master's Voice) in 1927, 4 years later founded a subscription society, and has been music director of the Entertainments National Service Association.
Composer Anton von Webern dies at Mittersill, near Salzburg, September 15 at age 61 after being shot by a trigger-happy U.S. military policeman outside his son-in-law's villa; Béla Bartók dies at New York September 26 at age 64.
Popular songs: "La Mer" by singer-songwriter Charles Trenet, now 32, who wrote the song with Leo Chauliac in 20 minutes 3 years ago while on a train from Narbonne to Carcassonne in occupied France (Jack Lawrence translates the lyrics and the song becomes a hit as "Beyond the Sea"); "It's Been a Long, Long Time" by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn; "Till the End of Time" by Buddy Kay and Ted Mossman, who have adapted Chopin's Polonaise in A flat; "For Sentimental Reasons" by William Best, lyrics by Deke Watson; "I'm Beginning to See the Light" by Don George, Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington, and Harry James; "Laura" by David Raksin, lyrics by Johnny Mercer (title song for last year's film); "Dream (When You're Feeling Blue") by Johnny Mercer (for the film Her Highness and the Bellboy); Louisville-born jazz and blues singer Helen Humes, 32, records "Be-Ba-Ba-Le-Ba;" "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher; "Les Trois Cloches" ("While the Angelus Was Ringing") by French songwriter Jean Villard; "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn.
New Orleans-born gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, 31, records "Move on Up a Little Higher" and scores a huge success. Seven other hymns recorded by Jackson will have sales of more than a million copies each, including "I Believe," "I Can Put My Trust in Jesus," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."
North Carolina-born five-string banjo player Earl Scruggs, 21, joins Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys and makes his debut on Grand Ole Opry. Using a banjo made by the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Co., he has developed a three-finger form of string picking that older players will soon adopt in place of claw-hammer playing.
Steel bands playing calypso songs spring up on Trinidad and spread to other Caribbean islands. Colonial authorities have banned African drums for nearly half a century because their strong rhythms often led to riots. Steel-band performers use acoustical drums (called "pans") fashioned from 55-gallon oil drums abandoned by the thousands on beaches by naval vessels. The first pans are percussive instruments, but they will be refined to have as many as 32 melodic notes and used not just for calypso but also for everything from pop and classical to jazz and reggae.
Songwriter Al Dubin dies of a drug overdose at New York February 11 at age 54; tenor John McCormack of bronchial pneumonia at Glena, Booterstown, Ireland, September 16 at age 61; songwriter Gus Edwards of a heart attack after 8 years' illness at Los Angeles November 7 at age 64; Jerome Kern of a cerebral hemorrhage at New York November 11 at age 60.
British Olympic gold medalist runner Eric Liddell dies of a brain tumor at Weihsien, China, February 21 at age 43 while being held in a Japanese prison camp. He returned to his native China in 1925 to do missionary work with his father.
Golfer Byron Nelson wins his second PGA championship and sets records by winning 11 successive tour tournaments and 18 out of 30 tour tournaments. He is the top U.S. money winner for the second year in a row.
Frank Parker wins in men's singles at Forest Hills, Sarah Cooke in women's singles.
Davis Cup donor (and former governor general of the Philippines) Dwight F. Davis dies at Washington, D.C., November 28 at age 66.
Matador Carlos Arruza has his best season (see 1944). Fighting in 108 corridas, he kills 232 bulls and is awarded 219 ears, 74 tails, and 20 hooveswice as many as Manolete.
Pitcher Warren Spahn, now 24, returns from the European war to resume a career with the Boston Braves that was interrupted after four games in 1942.
The Detroit Tigers win the World Series, defeating the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 3 with help from Hank Greenberg, who returned to the Tiger lineup in midsummer at age 34 and hit a home run in his first game after serving as an Army Air Corps volunteer in the China-Burma-India Theater.
Army backs Felix "Doc" Blanchard ("Mr. Inside") and Glenn Davis ("Mr. Outside"), both 20, lead their team to victory; Blanchard wins the Heisman Trophy, Davis will win it next year.
Kentucky-born mystic Edgar Cayce dies at Virginia Beach, Va., January 3 at age 67, having given more than 14,000 "readings" while lying down in an altered state of consciousness.
Art nouveau glass designer René Lalique dies at Paris May 5 at age 85. His son Marc takes over the business started by Lalique in 1885.
French couturier Pierre (-Alexandre-Claudius) Balmain, 31, opens the House of Balmain with encouragement from emigrée writer Gertrude Stein. Having worked with Edward Molyneux, Lucien Lelong, and Christian Dior, he gains quick success with his elegant designs.
Teenaged U.S. girls in many cities flirt with soldiers at bus stations, engage in prostitution, and form gangs called "wolf packs" in the absence of fathers who are in military service and mothers who hold jobs.
Aerosol spray insecticides begin a revolution in packaging (see spray can, 1927). The commercial "bug bombs" employ a Freon-12 propellant gas and are based on a device developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers Lyle David Goodloe and W. N. Sullivan last year to protect troops from malaria-carrying mosquitoes; the new spray cans are heavy and costly to produce but will soon be replaced by lightweight tin and aluminum cans employing lower pressure propellants, leading to widespread use of aerosol spray products (see 1946; Freon-12 refrigerant gas, 1931; Abplanalp, 1953).
The Slinky introduced at a Philadelphia department store has been invented by local shipyard worker Richard James, 31, whose 27-year-old wife, Betty, gave the toy its name. James was developing springs to support sensitive equipment on ships when he created the toy in 1943; inspired by the sight of a torsion spring falling off a table, he devised a machine that could take 80 feet of steel wire and turn it into a Slinky in 10 seconds. His first 400 pieces (priced at $1 each) sell out in 90 minutes, and the couple's firm will prosper, but James himself will join a religious cult in the late 1950s and move to Bolivia in 1960, leaving Betty (who will take over the nearly bankrupt business) and six children, aged 2 to 18.
Architecture, Real Estate
The Dymaxion House designed by Buckminster Fuller in 1928 goes into production in the Beech aircraft factory at Wichita, Kansas, to meet pent-up demand for housing. Acclaimed as the house of the future, it has about 1,000 square feet of floor space, with a foyer, living-dining room, galley kitchen, bath, and two bedrooms inside a circular shell 36 feet in diameter that is composed of curved aluminum panels supported by stainless steel tubes and steel rings braced by cables. A rooftop ventilator-exhaust brings in fresh air, which can be heated in winter by a furnace, but Fuller believes his aerodynamic design will reduce heat loss. A wraparound strip of Plexiglas widens to give the living room a picture window, and sliding wall panels provide a cooling effect. The whole thing rests on a deck two feet above the ground and is hung from the central mast; it comes in 3,000 parts, and Fuller's plan is to ship the parts in a steel cylinder to any site, where 10 workmen can put the house together in 2 days with the help of a crane at a total cost of $6,500bout the price of a Cadillac. But while 37,000 people write to Fuller Houses Inc. to inquire about buying Dymaxions, the two prototype houses begin falling apart, most Americans want more conventional homes, Fuller will quit the project in the spring of next year rather than compromise the integrity of his design, and he will go on to design the geodesic dome that will be the basis of more than 300,000 shelters worldwide.
Conrad Hilton opens the Conrad Hilton Hotel at Chicago, buying control of (and renaming) the Stevens Hotel built in 1927 and occupied by the army during the war (see 1919). Hilton also takes over Chicago's 20-year-old Palmer House with backing from local building-supply magnate Henry Crown, 49 (see San Juan Hilton, 1947).
A January 12 earthquake at Mikawa, Japan, registers 7.1 on the Richter scale and leaves 1,900 dead; a quake in Iran November 27 registers 8.2 and kills 4,000.
Columbia River Packers Association executive Thomas E. Sandoz travels to Japan and contracts with Japanese fishermen to supply CRPA's Astoria albacore cannery with foreign tuna (see 1938; 1950).
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations establishes headquarters at Rome, with Scottish biologist John Boyd Orr, 65, as director. He issues gloomy prognostications on the world food situation.
U.S. Department of Agriculture agronomist Samuel C. Salmon, 60, discovers the semidwarf wheat variety Norin 10, whose two-foot stems respond quickly to water and fertilizer and do not fall over (lodge) from the weight of their grain heads. Salmon is a cereal improvement expert helping Japanese reconstruction as a member of Gen. MacArthur's occupation force. He finds Norin 10 on a visit to the Morioka experimental station in northern Honshu and returns home with some seeds that he grows in quarantine; Norin 10 proves to be extremely susceptible to leaf stripe and powdery mildew, but Salmon's colleague Orville Vogel crosses the Japanese wheat with resistant strains of U.S. wheat. Grains developed from Norin 10 will increase wheat harvests in India and Pakistan by more than 60 percent.
The U.S. soybean crop reaches 193 million bushels, up from 78 million in 1940.
The chemical 2, 4-D (2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) patented as a general weed killer by American Chemical Paint Co. was developed as a war weapon and patented by E. I. du Pont as a plant-growth regulator in 1943; the first selective plant killer, it will be found to destroy broad-leafed plants such as bull thistle, cocklebur, ragweed, and wild mustard while leaving food crops such as corn and wheat unharmed, thus increasing crop yields by destroying moisture- and nutrient-consuming weeds without laborious cultivation.
The chlorinated insecticides chlordane and methoxychlor are introduced to help farmers fight bugs that may be resistant to DDT (see 1943; 1948).
The University strawberry developed by the University of California agriculture station will make strawberries a long-season widely-grown commodity.
Japan mobilizes schoolchildren to gather more than a million metric tons of acorns for use in flour making to supplement scarce wheat and rice stocks.
Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) is founded as a private relief organization to help deal with the misery widespread on the Continent. CARE ships ready-assembled U.S. food packages of good quality to the European families and friends of people in America for $10 each, including transportation, with delivery guaranteed at a time when packages sent through normal channels are highly susceptible to loss, theft, or damage.
Italians only reluctantly accept pea-soup powder sent to relieve hunger because it is so unfamiliar, but powdered eggs gain universal acceptance.
U.S. food rationing on all items except sugar ends November 23, but food remains scarce in most of the world. Black markets flourish throughout Europe.
A fluoridation program at Grand Rapids, Mich., is the first attempt to fluoridate community water supplies to reduce the incidence of dental caries in children (see Dean, 1933; Cox, 1939). Newburgh, N.Y., follows suit, but the moves arouse widespread political opposition to government interference in people's lives; right-wing groups in some parts of the country mount ideological fear campaigns against fluoridation (see Britain, 1955).
Nutrition researchers find that the amino acid tryptophan, abundant in milk, is a provitamin that triggers production of niacin (vitamin B3) by the human liver. The discovery explains resistance to pellagra among infants who receive enough milk (see 1900; 1906; Elvehejm, 1936).
Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming enact bread-enrichment laws.
Food And Drink
Some 85 percent of U.S. bread is commercially baked, up from 66 percent in 1939.
Returning GIs tell their wives, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends that they never want to see another can of Spam (see 1943), but the luncheon meat will continue to enjoy some popularity.
C. A. Swanson & Sons at Omaha begins to develop a line of canned and frozen chicken and turkey products under the Swanson label, using experience gained in World War II, when nearly all of the firm's poultry was shipped to the armed forces. Called the Jerpe Commission Co. until now, the 45-year-old company has been owned since 1928 by Carl A. Swanson (see "TV Dinners," 1953).
Blevins Popcorn Co. is founded at Nashville, Tenn., by Birmingham, Ala.-born food broker James V. (Victor) Blevins, 34, who signs a Tennessee movie-theater chain to make him its sole supplier and provides it with a fluffier hybrid corn that enables concessionaires to get more bulk for every ounce of popping kernels. Extending sales beyond the state by offering ready-to-pop packaging and a low-fat buttery seasoning, Blevins will introduce his product to Japanese baseball bleachers before selling the business in 1961. It will move to Tampa, Fla., and grow to become the largest supplier of movie-theater concessions before being forced into bankruptcy in 1995.
A U.S. research team pioneers frozen orange juice, using knowledge gained in wartime production of powdered orange juice (see 1942). Working since 1942 at a laboratory provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Lakeland, Fla., the researchers develop an easily frozen sludge of concentrated juice that can be reconstituted to taste far more like fresh-squeezed juice than does ordinary canned juice (see 1946).
The U.S. Army awards a contract for orange juice powder to the National Research Corp., which has adapted an evaporation technique, developed originally for penicillin by a Cambridge, Mass., firm, to concentrate citrus juice, hold it in cold storage, and dry it (see 1942). NRC president John M. Fox, 32, obtains plant financing from investors August 6, just before America drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. While trying to eliminate problems involved in drying his product, he sets out to find consumer markets for frozen orange juice concentrate (see 1942); (see Minute Maid, 1947).
Coca-Cola Company registers the name "Coke" as a trademark (see 1942). The company has sold more than 6 billion bottles to servicemen since 1942, widening its lead over Pepsi-Cola by two to one (see 1955).
Chocolate-bar pioneer Milton S. Hershey dies at Hershey, Pa., October 13 at age 88, having willed his fortune to helping disadvantaged children.
World War II casualties total an estimated 54.8 million dead, including 25 million in the Soviet Union, 7.8 in China, and more than 6 in Poland, whose population has declined by more than 22 percent. The Japanese have lost 3 million, including about 1.5 million civilians.