The People History

What Happened in 1950 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

1950 Year In History including South Africa the Group Areas Act creates Apartheid, NATO Created, China invades Tibet, McCarthy Begins his Persecution of Communists, US Leads World in Korean War following North Korea invasion of South Korea, James Dean big break comes with Pepsi Commercial.
Jump To Fashion -- World Leaders -- 1950 Calendar -- Technology -- Cost Of Living -- Popular Culture -- Toys -- News Events

Cost of Living 1950

- How Much things cost in 1950 -
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.09%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 2.8%
Average Cost of new house - $8,450.00 -
Average wages per year - $3,210.00 -
Cost of a gallon of Gas - 18 cents -
Average Cost of a new car - $1,510.00 -
Stromburg Black and White Television - $249.95 -
Ball Point Pen - 25 cents -
Samsonite Case - $25.00 -
Clock Radio - $59.95 -
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling -
Average House Price - 1,940 -


1950 was the start of the fast changes that would be seen in the next 2 decades , the great depression was becoming a faint memory and families were moving out to the suburbs, kids watched howdy doody on 12 inch black and white TV sets and spent Saturday afternoons watching cartoons at Cinema matinees , times were gentler with little violence and the consumer revolution was about to start in a big way, and the man of the household became the sole breadwinner. The median family income was $3,300 a year and milk was still delivered to the doorstep.

Korean War begins when North Korea invaded South Korea in June

The Korean War begins when North Korea invaded South Korea in June . The country had previously been divided after the end of World War II with the North becoming Communist and the South remaining Capitalist. After the initial division each side had indicated that they wanted to unify the country under their preferred ideology but only small attacks had been made. Full on civil war began after the North launched a full invasion and eventually captured the South's capital of Seoul. Not long after the war began, it became an international conflict when the United States and United Nations sent troops to help the South and China began helping the North. The war ended in 1953 when the two countries settled on maintaining the original division.

South Korea -- More Information for the Battle of Osan.

  • American troops and North Korean forces fight each other for the first time in the Korean War during the Battle of Osan.
More Information for the Battle of Osan.
In July American troops and North Korean forces fought against each other for the first time in the Battle of Osan. The Korean War had only just begun in June when North Korea launched a full scale invasion of the South. Only a few U.S. troops had arrived in Korea by the time the Battle of Osan began, and they were considered largely unprepared to face the North Koreans. During the battle, the North Koreans quickly moved in on the U.S. forces and the Americans decided to withdraw from the fighting. Unfortunately, the withdrawal was uncoordinated and in the confusion the U.S. Troops suffered many casualties. The aftermath of the battle revealed that a combination of outdated equipment and a lack of organization would likely make it difficult for the Americans to win against the more well-prepared and organized North Korean forces.

President Truman receives the NSC-68 Report about the Cold War.

  • President Truman receives the NSC-68 Report about the Cold War.
More Information for the NSC-68 Report.
In April , the NSC-68 report was completed and presented to U.S. President Harry Truman. The report contained recommendations on how to approach the Cold War with the Soviet Union and would influence U.S. Policy in regards to the Cold War for the next twenty years. Some of the main results of the report was the United States' aggressive military expansion and build up of nuclear weaponry, as well as enacting the policy of containment against Communist nations. The recommendations of NSC-68 became official U.S. policy in September after the outbreak of the Korean War. One of the long term effects of the report was the massive increase in military spending, with the budget nearly tripling soon after the policy change was enacted. The document was not officially declassified until 1975.

United States - Great Brinks Robbery

1. The Great Brinks Robbery takes place on January 17th.
2. The Brinks Armored Car Depot in Boston, Massachusetts was burglarized by a group of 11 men in a well-planned and coordinated robbery, masterminded by Anthony Pino.
3. The robbers used Halloween masks as disguises and completed the robbery in about 30 minutes and stole about $2.7 million.
4. The perpetrators were caught because one of the men involved in the crime, Joseph "Specs" O'Keefe, had been apprehended for another crime and threatened to cooperate with authorities.
5. The other members of the group tried to have O'Keefe assassinated but the attempt failed.
6. After the botched hit, O'Keefe decided to cooperate with the FBI and made a deal to testify against his accomplices.
7. Two of the burglars died before facing trial and the remaining eight burglars were sentenced to life in prison.
8. They were not caught until January of 1956, just before the statute of limitations for the robbery expired. Only some of the money was ever recovered.


1950 Back In Time Gifts

First Peanuts Comic Strip

The first Peanuts comic strip was published on October 2nd and it was initially shown in seven different newspapers. The comic was created by Charles Schulz and featured the classic character Charlie Brown. The Peanuts comics soon became a huge hit, spawning TV shows, cartoon films, books, and merchandise, all featuring the beloved characters. The comics became a pop culture fixture and ran in the U.S. newspapers until February of 2000 when the last Peanuts comic strip hit the presses a day after Charles Schulz’s death.


President Truman signs the Organic Act of Guam.

More Information for the Guam Act.
The Organic Act of Guam is signed into law by U.S. President Harry S. Truman during August . The act made the island an unincorporated territory of the United States and granted all Guam residents U.S. Citizenship. The act also gave a small amount of autonomy with the creation of legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and a bill of rights. Jurisdiction over the territory was also transferred to from the Untied States Navy to the United States Department of the Interior. The act marked the first time in over 300 years of colonialism that Guam would be given some form of self governance.

Diner's Club issues the first credit cards.

More Information and Timeline for first credit cards.
1. The first independent credit card company is created by Frank McNamara in February .
2. The first cards were made with cardboard and the plastic versions did not appear until the 1960s.
3. The Diners Club credit card was the first multi-purpose charge card and within a year of beginning operations the company had over 40,000 members.
4. Soon after that businesses in other countries began to accept the Diners Club Card as a form of payment, making it the first international credit membership in 1953.
5. By the end of the decade, over one million people were members in 1959.
6. In 1981 Citicorp took over Diners Club and it continued to be a popular choice for businesses and travelers.
7. In 2008 it was taken over by Discover and in 2009 BMO Financial Group was given the right to issue Diners Club credit cards in North America.

Belgium King Referendum.

More Information and Timeline for Belgium King Referendum.
The citizens of Belgium vote in a referendum to decide whether or not to allow the exiled King Leopold III to return to the throne. The vote took place on March 12th and the result was that 57.68% of the Belgian voters were in favor of his return. King Leopold III had first come into power in 1934 and had given Belgium's unconditional surrender to Nazi Germany when they invaded in 1940, an unpopular and controversial decision. In 1944, Leopold III and his family were deported to Germany and then to Austria, only to be liberated by the Allies in May of 1945. After the March referendum, the king returned on July 22nd . In the next year King Leopold III renounced the throne in an effort to resolve issues over his controversial return. His son, Prince Baudouin, took over the crown after he left.

Denmark - The Tollund Man, a mummified body from the 4th Century, is found.

More Information for the Tollund Man.
In May Viggo and Emil Hojgaard found the mummified body of a 4th century man in a peat bog on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark. After its discovery, the body was excavated and examined as if he had been a recent murder victim as he had been so well preserved that the men who discovered him called the police to report a crime. Similar ancient bodies had been found before in that region so the police decided to consult with a local museum. They determined that the body was pre-historic and had belonged to a man between the age of 30 and 40 who had died by hanging while being sacrificed to the Gods and buried in the peat bog by his village over 2,400 years ago.

India's new constitution

More Information and Timeline for the India Constitution.
India's new constitution officially takes effect on January 26th when the new President Dr. Rajendrea Prasad took the oath of office. The original draft of the constitution was submitted during November of 1947 and was re-worked until it was finally approved by the Constituent Assembly in November of 1949. The new constitution declared that the country of India would be a sovereign socialist and democratic republic that would be organized as a federal union of territories and states, ruled under a parliamentary system. As the constitution of India took effect, the newly self-governing country became the most populous democracy in the world.

Korea - Evacuation of Hungnam

More Information and Timeline for the Evacuation of Hungnam.
After the Chinese intervene in the Korean conflict on behalf of North Korea, United Nations and Republic of Korea troops are overrun and left with no land evacuation options during December . The UN and ROK forces decided to attempt a "reverse amphibious operation" to evacuate over 100,000 troops and hundreds of thousands of tons of supplies and vehicles. They did so by ferrying from the Port of Hungnam out to sea and back to Korean locations south of the 38th parallel. The plan faced complications as nearly 100,000 refugees showed up, asking for evacuation as well. The operation began on December 10th and it lasted until December 24th. They were miraculously successful in their efforts as the troops and most of the refugees were transported by ship to safety. The UN Troops also demolished the port and destroyed all of the left over supplies that could have been useful to the enemy as they left.


More News and Key Events

Earthquake and floods in Assam
  • Earthquake and floods in Assam, India - 574 deaths, 5,000,000 believed homeless

U.S.A. -- Sends Troops To Vietnam
  • President Harry Truman sends United States military personnel to Vietnam to aid French forces

U.S.A. -- Railroads
  • President Harry S. Truman places America's railroads under the control of the U.S. Army

U.S.A. -- Train Crash
  • Two Long Island commuter trains collide in the Richmond Hills section of Queens killing 79 people

UK -- General Election
  • The British Labour party wins the 1950 general election

UK -- Petrol Rationing Ends
  • Petrol Rationing Ends in Great Britain after 11 years

Uruquay -- World Cup
  • Uruguay wins World Cup in Brazil

Monaco -- Grand Prix
  • Fangio wins the Monaco Grand Prix his first Grand Prix of a total of 24 Grand Prix victories

Albert Einstein
  • Albert Einstein warns that nuclear war could lead to mutual destruction

Papua New Guinea -- Volcanic cloud
  • Volcanic cloud kills 5000 in Mount Lamington, New Guinea

Warsaw Pact
  • Formation of the Warsaw Pact in answer to the wests NATO
  • Papua New Guinea

  • 12 nations agree to the creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization / NATO for the defense of the United States and Europe.

    Tibet - China Invades
    • Chinese invasion of Tibet

    U.S.A. -- Blizzard Conditions
  • The Eastern United States suffers 7 days of Blizzard Conditions and strong winds leaving more than 1 million homes without power.

    U.S. -- Senator McCarthy
  • Persecution of Communists is initiated by Senator McCarthy

    U.S. -- Defense Production Act
  • US Defense Production Act starts wage and price controls.

    U.S. -- hydrogen bomb
  • President Truman approved U.S. construction of the hydrogen bomb

    U.S. -- Brinks Robbery
  • Great Brinks Robbery on January 17th in Boston

    South Africa -- Group Areas Act
    • In South Africa, the Group Areas Act is passed formally segregating races

    UK -- Storms
    • Violent storms and a tornado devastate southern England

    Popular Culture 1950

    • James Dean gets his break when he appears in a Pepsi Commercial

    Popular Films

    • Cinderella
    • Samson and Delilah
    • Sunset Blvd
    • Father of The Bride
    • King Solomon's Mines
    • Annie Get Your Gun

    Born This Year

    Loyd Grossman September 16th
    Tom Petty October 20th
    Stevie Wonder May 13th
    Jay Leno April 28th


    • First TV remote control, Zenith Radio's Lazy Bones is marketed
    • Diners Club Issues First Credit Cards
    • President Truman authorizes production of hydrogen bomb
    • 8 million homes in the US now own Televisions

    Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
    Credit Card USA by Ralph Schneider
    Transistor USA by William Shockley ( Bell Telephone )

    Major World Political Leaders

    - Australia - Prime Minister - Sir Robert Menzies -
    - Brazil - President - Gaspar Dutra -
    - Canada - Prime Minister - Louis St. Laurent -
    - China - Chairman of the People's Republic of China - Mao Zedong -
    - France - President - Vincent Auriol -
    - Germany - Chancellor - Konrad Adenauer -
    - India - Prime Minister - Jawahar Lal Nehru -
    - Italy - Prime Minister - Alcide De Gasperi -
    - Japan - Prime Minister - Shigeru Yoshida -
    - Mexico - President - Miguel Aleman Valdes -
    - Russia / Soviet Union -
    Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars - Joseph Stalin -
    - South Africa - Prime Minister - Daniel Francois Malan -
    - United States - President - Harry S. Truman -
    - United Kingdom - Prime Minister - Clement Attlee -

    Political Elections

    British General Election - - 1950 - Clement Attlee ( Labour ) defeats Winston Churchill ( Conservative ) and Clement Davies ( Liberal ) -