In a year where multiple countries gained independence from France, Britain and Belgium, 1960 was an important year to remember.

The world’s population was just over 3 billion at the turn of the century, less than half of the current world population in 2020.

To really find out what happened in 1960, our in-depth 1960 timeline is below, and if you’re interested in the way that these 1960 events were reported at the time, check out our selection of 1960 newspapers.

1960 Timeline

This timeline lists all the important events that may have been forgotten over the past 50 years. Use our menu to jump to a certain month or event.

Jump to:

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

1950 Defense Treaty

Failed Coup

Sharpeville massacre

The shoe-banging incident

January

January 1: The Bank of France issues the new franc. The new franc is worth 100 times the value of existing francs.

January 1: The African nation, Cameroon, which became a French colony following WWII, gains independence.

January 1: A photograph of a South African boy wearing a torn vest is published in the Daily Herald. At the time, it was illegal to employ a ‘native’ under 18 in the mines due to the Native Labour Regulation Act.

January 2: John F Kennedy announces his candidacy for the US Presidency, becoming the youngest Democratic candidate to run for president.

January 9: In Egypt, the building of the Aswan dam begins. It will become the worlds largest embankment dam, protecting against droughts and floods while using the power of the Nile to generate hydroelectricity for villages which have never before had access to power.

January 14: Elvis Presley is promoted to Sergeant in the US Army.

January 18: Both the US and Japan sign a revised defense treaty. It agreed that the United States would help defend Japan if it came under military attack, and in return the it provides bases and ports for U.S. armed forces in Japan. 

January 28: The first officially inaugurated photograph is bounced from the Moon from Washington, D.C. to the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Operation Moon Bounce had been developed since 1954 and used the Moon as a natural satellite for telecommunications.

January 30: The African National Party is founded in Chad, created from the merging of four previous political parties: the African Socialist Movement, the Chadian Social Action, the Independent Democratic Union of Chad and the Grouping of Rural and Independent Chadians.

 

1960

February

February 1: In Greensboro, North Carolina, 4 students stage the first civil rights sit-in at a Woolworth’s. The 4 black students sat at the lunch counter all day, despite being refused service. The next day they returned with more young African-American students to continue their sit-in.

February 3: Harold Macmillan, British Prime Minister, makes his famous “Wind of Change” speech in Africa, against the apartheid regime. This angers South African politicians. 

February 8: Queen Elizabeth II announces her and her family will be known as the House of Windsor, and her descendents will take the name Mountbatten-Windsor. Before this Prince Philip’s surname, Mountbatten, would not have been recognised as part of the royal lineage.

February 14: The new President of Pakistan is announced as Marshall Ayub Khan. 

February 18: The 8th Winter Olympic Games open in Squaw Valley, California. British West Indies, Republic of China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Morocco and Singapore all win the first medals in their Olympic history.

February 26: Soviet First Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev, announces support for Indonesia. This meant that the Soviet Union supplied Sukarno, and Indonesia, with large amounts of modern weaponry. By 1962, Indonesia became the biggest non-communist recipient of Soviet military aid.

February 28: The 8th Winter Olympic Games close in California. A total of 81 medals was awarded throughout the 10 day event.

February 29: The first Playboy Club opens in Chicago. It featured a lounge area, Playmate Bar, Dining Room, and a Club Room where guests would be served by Playboy Bunnies.

February 29: An earthquake in Morocco hits the city of Agadir and kills 12,000-15,000 – around third of the population. Aftershocks would still be felt weeks later.

March

March 1: A train crash in Bakersfield California kills 14 people when the San Francisco Chief, bound for Chicago collides with a fuel truck, igniting the fuel and derailing two of its 11 passenger cars.

March 3: NYC experiences its 9th largest snowfall in history. Snow measured up to 14.5 inches. Winds of 30-35 mph caused blizzard-like conditions and Manhattan’s hotels filled with commuters who could not get home.

March 5: Elvis Presley finishes with the US Army after 2 years of service. He receives an honourable discharge.

March 6: President Sukarno disbands Indonesia’s parliament, replacing it with a new parliament made up mostly of members of his own choosing.

March 10: Elizabeth Taylor wins Best Actress at the 17th Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture for her role of Catherine Holly in Suddenly, Last Summer.

March 11: NASAs space probe, Pioneer 5 is launched into orbit between Earth and Venus. The mission was originally planned for November 1959 but technical difficulties delayed launch, meaning the window to view Venus had already passed.

March 22: The first patent for lasers was granted to Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes. Both go on to share Nobel Prizes for Physics with other collaboraters on scientific projects.

March 25: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence, a romance novel which had been banned in the US since 1929, is ruled not obscene in NYC.

March 26: After an attack on President Kassem, Iraq executes 30 people.

March 28: Pope John appoints cardinals for Japan, Africa and the Philippines for the first time. 

March 28: In Glasgow, Scotland, a scotch whisky factory explodes, burying 20 firefighters. The massive blaze, caused by approximately 1 million gallons of the spirit being aged in oak barrels, takes a whole week to extinguish. Over 450 firefighters are involved in battling the blaze.

1960

April

April 1: A French atom bomb explodes over the Sahara, for the second time. The first French atomic bomb test took place on 13th February of this year and was code-named “Gerboise Bleue” (Blue Desert Rat).

April 1: A census estimates the resident population of the United States to be 179,245,000 showing a population increase of 18.5% when compared to the 1950 census.

April 2: Cuba buys oil from USSR.

April 3: In RCA Studios, Nashville, Tennessee, Elvis Presley records It’s Now or Never, Fever and Are You Lonesome TonightFever appeared on the album Elvis Is Back! which is released on April 8, 1960. The other two tracks appeared on the album Elvis’ Golden Records Volume 3 which wouldn’t be released until August 11, 1963.

April 4: France signs an agreement with Senegal, beginning their final steps towards their eventual independence on June 20, 1960.

April 8: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a Civil Rights Bill is passed by the US Senate with measures against discriminatory voting practices. You can read more about the 1960 Civil Rights Bill here.

April 8: Germany and Netherlands sign an accord concerning war casualties. The treaty goes into effect in June 1963 and allowed West Germany to reclaim German territories annexed by the Netherlands under the post-WWII Paris Protocol of 1949. The land boarder established still exists to this day.

April 14: The first underwater launch of a Polaris missile occurs as part of the British Naval Ballistic Missile System tests. Polaris is Britain’s first submarine nuclear weapons program  and will go into effect from 1968 to 1996.

April 21: Brazil’s capital city becomes Brasilia. From 1763, it was previously named Rio de Janerio and from 1549-1763, it was named Salvador.

April 24: 500 are killed due to a heavy earthquake in South Persia, a province of Iran. An estimated $20 million damage is caused by the quake which has a magnitude of 5.9.

April 27: President of South Korea, Syngman Rhee, resigns following political fallout from the student-led April Revolution which began April 11. Rhee is exiled from South Korea and lives the remainder of his life in the United States.

April 27: West African nation, Togo (French Togo formerly) declares independence from the French administration. Togo had previously been an Anglo-French colony since it was taken from Germany during WWI and subsequently split into French Togo and British Togoland, the latter became part of Ghana in 1957.

 

May

May 1: India’s Gujarat and Maharashtra states are made from Bombay. The change is made so that Gujarati-speaking people and Marathi-speaking people can have their own separate states.

May 1: Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane is shot down by Russia over Sverdlovsk. Powers survives the attack and parachutes to safety, where he is captured and imprisoned on charges of espionage. Powers will not be released until a prisoner exchange takes place in February 1962.

May 3: The Anne Frank House opens in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The museum preserves the hiding place of the Frank family before they were captured by Nazis and sent to concentration camps. A permanent exhibition portraying the lives of the Frank family is on show year-round.

May 7: Leonid Brezhnev becomes Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet effectively taking over from Kliment Voroshilov as President of the USSR.

May 7: USSR announces that Francis Gary Powers has confessed to being a CIA spy. Khrushchev openly embarrasses the Eisenhower administration by exposing the attempted cover-up of Powers’ original mission.

May 10: John F. Kennedy wins a primary in West Virginia with 61% of votes against fellow Democrat Hubert Humphrey. JFK would go on to become president of the United States in 1961.

May 11: Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann is captured by Israeli soldiers in Buenos Aires. He is later tried under the Piracy laws, in which pirates may and shall be punished wherever apprehended. 

May 12: On a Frank Sinatra special, Elvis Presley makes an appearance. The TV special was broadcast on the ABC Television Network and titled The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis. Sinatra, who had made his hatred of rock and roll music known, sang duets with Elvis to Love Me Tender and Witchcraft. The TV special was viewed by a whopping 41.5% of America’s viewing audience that evening.

May 13: The first launch of a Delta satellite launching vehicle fails when the Second-stage attitude control system failed to ignite. Subsequently the payload, Echo 1, was fired into the Atlantic Ocean instead of into orbit.

May 16: The “Big 4” summit should begin in Paris but is cancelled as a result of the USSR levelling spy charges against US; another way that the 1960 events surrounding the “U-2 incident” continued to create political tension between America and the Soviet Union.

May 19: A rest day for the self-employed is required by the Belgian parliament.

May 21: The first African American to sing the lead at Italian Opera house, Teatro alla Scala in Milan is soprano, Leontyne Price. She sings Aide, an Opera by Antonio Ghislanzoni and Giuseppe Verdi.

May 24: In The Netherlands, the millionth telephone is installed.

 

June

June 6: 11 Pondos are killed by South African police at Ngquza Hill. 58 were injured and 23 people were arrested. The incident is a result of rising opposition to the application of the South African government’s Land Rehabilitation Programme/Betterment Scheme under the Apartheid regime.

June 9: In China, a storm which formed on June 2 becomes a typhoon and makes landfall in Hong Kong. Typhoon Mary also hits the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, killing at least 1,600 people. It is considered the worst storm since the 1937 typhoon. The storm dissipates on June 12.

June 14: The Head of Cambodia is declared as Prince Norodom Sihanoek following the death of his father, Norodom Suramarit, the King of Cambodia on April 3.

June 15: Puerto Rican jockey, Angel Cordero wins his first horse race. He will go on to win over 7,000 and becomes the first ever Puerto Rican to be inducted into the United States’ Racing Hall of Fame.

June 15: Argentina complains to the UN about the illegal transfer of Adolf Eichmann to Israel. Argentina had a history of refusing to extradite Nazi war criminals and his capture had not been agreed by both governments.

June 16: Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock opens in New York City. The film becomes iconic and goes on to be nominated for Oscars in 1961.

June 16: President Eisenhower cancels a trip to Japan following increased political tension as anti-American demonstrations take place in Tokyo.

June 17: Ted Williams, of the Boston Red Sox team, celebrates his 500th home run. Williams adds another 21 home runs to his career total his final bat hits a home run when he retires on September 28, 1960.

June 18: The New York Giants hire their new manager, Tom Sheehan. Sheehan becomes the oldest debuting manager at age 66.

June 20: Senegal and Federation of Mali become independent from France.

June 21: German sprinter, Armin Hary makes a 100m world record, completing it in 10 seconds.

June 23: In the US, the first contraceptive pill is made available to buy. The oral contraceptive, named Enovid receives full approval from the FDA.

June 25: Madagascar becomes independent from France.

June 25: Somaliland becomes independent from Britain, granted by the British government.

June 30: The US stops the importation of sugar from Cuba.

June 30: Zaira, formerly Belgian Congo, declares independence from Belgium.

 

July

July 1: A US aircraft is shot down by the USSR over the Barents sea. 2 of the 6 crew survive. The incident does little to improve tensions between America and he Soviet Union; the US claims the plane was over international waters, and the Soviets claim it invaded their airspace. 

July 1: Somalia, or Somali Democratic Republic, is formed out of British and Italian territories.

July 1: Ghana becomes a republic.

July 1: Following a treaty signed in 1958, as of this day in 1960, no passports are needed inside Benelux. The three neighbouring countries that make up the Benelux are Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. 

July 1: Australian, Neale Fraser wins his only Wimbledon singles title, beating fellow Australian Rod Laver.

July 4: America’s new 50-star flag is revealed to include Hawaii.

July 5: Mongolia creates its constitution, amending the previous Constitution created in 1940. This version will last until 1992 when it is amended again to include more human rights protection for its citisens.

July 11: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is published by J B Lippincott & Co. It will stay in the best-sellers list for 41 weeks and be awarded the 1961 Pulitzer Prize.

July 17: Gastone Nencini, from Italy, wins the 47th Tour de France with a time of 112 hours 8 minutes and 42 seconds. Fellow Italian, Graziano Battistini comes second, just 5 minutes and 2 seconds behind Nencini.

July 18: Premier Nobusuke Kishi of Japan resigns. Nobusuke Kishi is the maternal grandfather of current Japanese prime minister, Shinzō Abe.

July 21: Sirimavo Bandaranaike becomes Prime Minister of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. She is the country’s first head of state to be elected rather than inherit the title.

July 22: Cuba nationalises all US-owned sugar factories.

July 27: US Vice-president, Richard Nixon, is nominated for the presidential candidate at the Republican convention in Chicago, Illinois. Nixon loses this race for presidency but would later become the 37th President of the United States in 1969.

1960

August

August 1: Aretha Franklin’s first recording session takes place in New York. Her first single for Colombia Records would be released in September of this year and her first album will be released in January ’61.

August 1: Benin gains independence from France. The country had been under French power since the late 1800s.

August 3: Niger gains independence from France.

August 3: NASCAR driver, Lee Petty and his two sons, Richard and Maurice, race against each other for the first and only time in Birmingham, Alabama. Ned Jarrett wins, with Richard coming second and Lee coming third; Maurice comes 8th.

August 6: Chubby Checker performs his dance The Twist on The Dick Clark Show. This starts a worldwide dance craze. To find out more about the iconic move that swept the nation you can read our blog post about it here.

August 7: Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) gains independence from France.

August 7: Students stage kneel-in demonstrations in Atlanta churches. The kneel-ins were not held to protest unjust laws, but to test white churches’ tolerance and resilience to integrated worship.

August 8: 53 of the 76 charges against African’s detained after the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa are dropped. The incident, where police fired on a crowd of black protesters, was one of the first and most deadly demonstrations against apartheid. 67 people were killed and around 180 more were injured.

August 12: Ralph Boston sets the long jump record at 8.21m, breaking the record that lasted 25 years. He will go on to break this record to set a new one in 1961.

August 13: Both Central African Republic and Chad proclaim independence from France.

August 16: Great Britain grants independence to Cyprus.

August 17: Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 spy trial starts in Moscow. Two days later he is found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at Vladimir Central Prison. He will be released in 1962 as part of a prisoner exchange with a KGB agent imprisoned in the US.

August 17: Indonesia drops diplomatic relations with the Netherlands. The political ties remain severed until they are restored by Indonesia’s New Order government in 1968.

August 18: The Beatles, with their original drummer Pete Best, perform their first public performance at the Indra club in Hamburg, Germany.

August 19: USSR’s Sputnik 5 launched with 2 dogs. Belka (Whitey in English) and Strelka (Little Arrow)  are also accompanied by 40 mice, two rats, a rabbit, some fruit flies, and various plants. These are the first animals to return alive from orbit.

August 24: 60 people are killed when a bus plunges off a bridge into the Turvo River, Brazil.

August 25: The AFL (Australian Football League) starts placing players’ names on the back of their shirts. Aussie rules football is similar to American football, the players can move the ball with any part of their body however, the players cannot throw the ball.

August 30: East Germany imposes a partial blockage on West Berlin, though the Berlin wall will not be built until one year later.

 

September

September 4: Hurricane Donna kills 148 people in the Caribbean and the US over the course of 8 days. Areas affected include the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida and New England. The storm which became Hurricane Donna formed on August 31 and finally dissipated on September 14.

September 8: German Democratic Republic limits access of East Berlin for residents of West Berlin.

September 10: Yugoslavia wins against Denmark 3-1 in the final of the men’s football at the Rome Olympics. Yugoslavia wins the Gold medal.

September 12: Democratic candidate for 35th US President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, says that he doesn’t speak for the Roman Catholic Church, and vise versa. There had been concerns that voters would see his Catholicism as a negative as he would put religion before his policies.

September 15: Maurice Richard announces his retirement after 18 years. He finishes with 544 goals, a National Hockey League record earning him his nickname Maurice “Rocket” Richard. 

September 19: LIFE magazine celebrates American folk artist Grandma Moses’ 100th birthday by placing her on the cover. The Governor of New York also declared the day Grandma Moses Day in her honour.

September 19: Chubby Checker’s song ‘The Twist’ reaches #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single stayed in the charts for a massive 39 weeks.

September 26: Fidel Castro, Cuban President, delivers a 4 hour and 29 minute speech at the United Nations. In his speech he denounced the U.S. use of force against the Cuban revolutionists. It remains the longest uninterrupted speech given at the UN to date.

September 27: Europe’s first ‘moving pavement’, now known as a travelator debuts at Bank station on the London Underground.

September 30: The Flintstones, the first animated sitcom, premieres on ABC in the US.

 

October

October 1: Nigeria becomes the 99th member of the United Nations.

October 1: Nigeria gains independence from Britain. It is celebrated as a National Day in Nigeria.

October 3: The newly elected president of Brazil is Janio Quadros. He will hold the largest majority margin (15.6%) until 1994 and his share of the popular vote is 48%, larger than any previous president. He will be inaugurated on January 31, 1961.

October 7: The second debate between JFK and Richard Nixon takes place, almost 62 million Americans tune in to watch.

October 10: Around 4,000 die due to a cyclone that hits the coast of Gulf of Bengal. This was the second of three storms to hit during this cyclone season. Around 35,000 homes and 300 schools are destroyed, worst hit is Ramgati Island, where only 5% of the island’s structures survive and 3,500 people are killed.

October 12: JFK and Nixon’s third presidential debate takes place and estimated viewership is around 63.7 million. For the first time the debate is televised as a split screen so that TV viewers can watch both candidates at the same time without the broadcaster switching cameras constantly between debates. Real-time reactions of each opponent could now also be seen.

October 13: Khrushchev, Soviet leader, bangs his shoe on his desk at the UN General Assembly session, an event discussed in more detail at the end of this timeline of 1960.

October 18: News Chronicle and Daily Mail merge, and London Evening Star merges with Evening News.

October 19: Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested at an Atlanta sit-in. Of the many things that happened in 1960, peaceful sit-in protests for the advancement Civil Rights became more common. 52 people, including Dr King refuse to leave their seats after being denied service at segregated lunch counters in department stores.

October 20: Providence, Rhode Island gets the first fully mechanised post office. The new building includes 13 sorting machines and over 15,700 feet of conveyer belts to transport the letters and parcels.

October 25: Cuba nationalises all remaining US businesses. This is one of the final steps taken by the Revolutionary Government to bring about reform in Cuba and reclaim foreign-owned land.

October 31: Only three weeks after the devastation of October 10th cyclone another cyclone hits the coast off the Gulf of Bengal. This cyclone, which formed on October 26, records wind speeds of over 130 km per hour (80 mph) and kills an estimated 10,000 people.

1960

November

November 2: Penguin Books is cleared of obscenity for publishing DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover after a heavily publicised trial at the Old Bailey, London. The success of the trial made it a landmark case in British obscenity law, significantly affecting the publishing world, which was now given more freedom to launch books with explicit content.

November 3: Ivory Coast creates and adopts a constitution, following a presidential system now it is no longer a French colony.

November 4: Mary and Louis Leakey discover the first Homo habilis jaw fragments in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. These Homo habilis fossils are somewhere between 2.4 to 1.5 million years old, making this discovery a paleantological breakthrough. Previously, the oldest known human fossils were from the Asian specimens of Homo erectus, but these fossils far outdate them; providing proof for the theory of evolution.

November 8: John F. Kennedy is elected the 35th US President, beating the incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon. Kennedy is the first Catholic President and youngest every to be elected at the age of 43. He has a majority of 303 to 219 in the electoral vote but this is one of the closest general elections in US history, as his margin over Nixon is 118,550 out of a total of nearly 69 million votes cast.

November 10: An uncensored version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover goes on sale in the UK after a jury finds Penguin Books not guilty in an obscenity trial. All 200,000 published copies are sold-out after just one day. 

November 11: A coup against South Vietnam’s president fails. Rebels storm the Independence Palace in Saigon but the coup attempt is crushed after a short but violent battle. Many of the 400 people killed are protesters outside the palace grounds.

November 13: A fire in a cinema breaks out in Amude, Syria. Hundreds of Kurdish schoolchildren die in the blaze, most of them are no older than 14. The cinema is over capacity and the overheating projector easily catches fire to the building which is primarily made of wood, straw and clay. The exits to the cinema open inwards and the panicking children block them in their stampede to escape, around 200 die.

November 14: 118 people are killed when two passenger trains collide at high speed in Czechoslovakia. A steam train was signalled to depart from Stéblová station despite track signals showing it should stop. Visibility is bad and so it is too late to stop when the diesel railcar comes into view. The Diesel travelling at 37 miles per hour (60km/h) and the steam train travelling at 34 miles per hour (55km/h) collide and passenger cars on both trains are crushed. In an attempt to prevent a boiler explosion, the fireman of the steam engine dumps the hot coals from the firebox on the ground. These ignite spilled diesel causing the trains to burst into flames.

November 14: Three black 6-year-old girls enter, previously all-white school, McDonogh No. 19 in New Orleans. That day there is a white boycott of the school, along with another elementary school, William Frantz Elementary, which is also being desegregated. Two days later a riot breaks out outside McDonogh No. 1 which is attended by white supremacist groups. The riot is dispersed by police but not before white residents of the town are televised booing the black 6-year-olds.

November 18: Copyright office receives, and issues its 10 millionth registration almost 64 years after the offices were established.

November 27: Gordie Howe becomes the first Hockey player to score 1,000 points. No stranger to being a high scorer Howe has already won the Art Ross Trophy awarded to the highest point scorer, for four consecutive seasons (1950-51 through 1953-54). This is Howe’s 938th NHL game.

December

December 1: Paul McCartney and original drummer, Pete Best are arrested and deported from Hamburg for accusation of attempted arson. This came just days after George Harrison had been deported after officials discovered he was under the age of 18, and therefore not legally permitted to play the gigs they were booked for. The band had been managing with the loss of Harrison but end their season early now they are 3 members down.

December 2: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorises $1 million to be used for relief and resettlement of Cuban refugees, who are arriving in Florida at the rate of about 1,000 per week. The refugees are mainly from Cuba’s educated upper class and are leaving due to the new president, Castro’s new plans to introduce communism after creating ties with the Soviet Union.

December 9: The first broadcast of Coronation Street on ITV is shown. The British soap opera chronicles working class life of a street near Manchester and though not initially a roaring success, the 13 planned episodes are extended and go on to become the longest-running TV soap in the world. Its 10,000th episode airs on 7 February 2020.

December 10: Willard Libby wins the Nobel prize in Chemistry. Libby developed carbon-14 dating,a process which revolutionized archaeology and palaeontology.

December 13: In international tennis, Italy beats the US in the Davis Cup. This marks the first time in 24 years that the US were not in the finals.

December 16: Above New York United Airlines Flight 826 collides with Trans World Airlines Flight 266. It is thought the collision is  caused by the pilot of the United Airlines DC-8 plane being unused to the new aircraft’s higher speeds and they ventured away from its cleared flight path. Flight 266 was also deviating slightly from its cleared route and is not picked up by malfunctioning navigation equipment aboard Flight 826. All passengers and crew aboard the two airliners are killed along with six people on the ground in Brooklyn, who are hit by the wreckage of Flight 826.

December 19: Frank Sinatra has his first session with self-created record label Reprise Records. He created the label to gain more control over the songs he releases. His way of running the record allows artists to be more widely distributed through other labels in future as they have full creative freedom over their music, and it is included in their contracts that, at some point they gain complete ownership of their work, including all publishing rights.

December 19: The final stages of construction of the USS Constellation are delayed when a fire breaks out in the hanger where it is being constructed in Brooklyn, New York. Named for the new constellation of stars on the American flag the new United States Navy supercarrier is not extinguished for 17 hours due to the 1,900 litre (500 US gallon) diesel tank igniting. 50 workers die and a further 150 are injured.

the largest U.S. aircraft carrier, while it is under construction at a Brooklyn Navy Yard pier, killing 50 and injuring 150.

December 27: France performs nuclear test, its third test to be undertaken in a nuclear weapons testing range near Reggane, Algeria.

December 31: First minted in England in the 13th century, farthing coins will no longer be legal tender in the United Kingdom after today.

 

1950 Defense Treaty 

Both the US and Japan sign a revised defense treaty. It was first signed in 1951 which officially ended World War Two. The revised treaty grants the US the right to base military forces in Japan in exchange for the promise that America will defend the nation if it’s attacked. In certain circumstances, this treaty would come into effect if Japan was cyberattacked. 

By keeping the troops in Japan, it has helped the US maintain security and stability which has been essential to the economic and trade growth of Japan, which benefits US exporters.

The US gains approximately $1.8 billion per year* from Japan, as they subsidise the costs of maintaining the troops. Experts say that it’s cheaper for the US to keep the troops in Japan than bringing them home. 

*Information correct as of 2019.

Failed Coup of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam

The coup was led by Lieutenant Colonel Vuong Van Dong and Colonel Nguyen Chanh Thi of the Airborne Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The coup occurred in response to the President’s autocratic rule and the negative political influence of his brother and sister-in-law. They did not like the politicisation of the military where the family members of Ngo were promoted ahead of competent officers. 

The coup took the Ngo off guard, but it was executed poorly. The events after the attempted coup lead to the deaths of more than 400 people.

Sharpeville Massacre

This event was one of the first and most violent demonstrations against apartheid in South Africa. Police open fired on a crowd of black people, killing or wounding up to 250.

The demonstration was to abolish South Africa’s pass laws. The participants were told to surrender their passes and invite police to arrest them. According to police, 20,000 people gathered near a police station in Sharpeville, 30km from Johannesburg. The people were alleged to begin stoning police officers and their vehicles, so the officers opened fire with submachine guns. Around 69 people were killed, with more than 180 wounded. A state of emergency was declared in South Africa and as a result the Pan-African Congress and African National Congress were outlawed. Following the collapse of apartheid, South African president Nelson Mandele chose Sharpeville as the site in which he signed the country’s new constitution. 

The Shoe-Banging Incident

You cannot round off a 1960 timeline without discussing the infamous “shoe-banging incident.”

This incident occurred during the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, held in New York City. During the meeting, the head of Filipino delegation Lorenzo Sumulong referred to the “the peoples of Eastern Europe and elsewhere which have been deprived of the free exercise of their civil and political rights and which have been swallowed up, so to speak, by the Soviet Union.” After hearing this, Khrushchev quickly rose and pretended to brush Sumulong aside and proceeded to brand him a “jerk, a stooge, and a lackey”. According to reports, Khrushchev then pounded his first on his desk after Sumulong continued to speak and picked up his shoe and banged it on the desk.

In 2003, William Taubman, an American scholar, reported that he had interviewed eyewitnesses who said that he presented the shoe but never banged it.

Apart from one fake photo, there are no photos or videos records found. However, Taubman later accepted that this incident happened in his biography.