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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.

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

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 )

What Events Happened in 1950

  • North Korea invades South Korea capturing Seoul.
More Information for the Korean War.
The Korean War begins when North Korea invaded South Korea in June of 1950. 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
  • 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 of 1950, 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.


United States
  • President Truman receives the NSC-68 Report about the Cold War.
More Information for the NSC-68 Report.
In April of 1950, 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 of 1950 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.

  • 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 of 1950. 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.

  • President Truman approved U.S. construction of the hydrogen bomb
  • US Defense Production Act starts wage and price controls.
South Korea
  • US leads UN in Korean War
  • Persecution of Communists is initiated by Senator McCarthy
  • The Eastern United States suffers 7 days of Blizzard Conditions and strong winds leaving more than 1 million homes without power.
United States
  • The 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 of 1950.
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.

  • Belgian citizens vote in a referendum to determine whether or not to allow the controversial King Leopold III to return to the throne.
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 of 1950 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 1950 referendum, the king returned on July 22nd of 1950. 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.

  • The Tollund Man, a mummified body from the 4th Century, is found.
More Information for the Tollund Man.
In May of 1950 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.

  • Chinese invasion of Tibet
  • 12 nations agree to the creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization / NATO for the defense of the United States and Europe.
  • Formation of the Warsaw Pact in answer to the wests NATO
Papua New Guinea
  • Volcanic cloud kills 5000 in Mount Lamington, New Guinea
  • Albert Einstein warns that nuclear war could lead to mutual destruction
South Africa
  • In South Africa, the Group Areas Act is passed formally segregating races
  • Violent storms and a tornado devastate southern England
  • India's new constitution officially takes effect on January 26th.
More Information and Timeline for the India Constitution.
India’s new constitution officially takes effect on January 26th of 1950 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.

  • The evacuation of Hungnam takes place during the Korean War and is largely successful.
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 of 1950. 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.

  • Earthquake and floods in Assam, India - 574 deaths, 5,000,000 believed homeless
  • President Harry Truman sends United States military personnel to Vietnam to aid French forces
  • President Harry S. Truman places America’s railroads under the control of the U.S. Army
  • Two Long Island commuter trains collide in the Richmond Hills section of Queens killing 79 people
  • The British Labour party wins the 1950 general election
  • Petrol Rationing Ends in Great Britain after 11 years
  • Uruguay wins the 1950 World Cup in Brazil
  • Fangio wins the Monaco Grand Prix his first Grand Prix of a total of 24 Grand Prix victories

1950 Calendar

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 Alemán Valdés Russia / Soviet Union
Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Joseph Stalin South Africa Prime Minister Daniel François 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 )