What Happened in 1960 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture
What happened in 1960 Major News Stories include US Enters Vietnam War, The IRA starts it's fight against the British, John F Kennedy wins presidential Election , Chubby Chequer and The twist start a new dance craze, Soviet missile shoots down the US U2 spy plane, Aluminum Cans used for the first time, The US announces 3,500 American soldiers are going to be sent to Vietnam, Xerox introduces the first photocopier, Fidel Castro nationalises American Oil, sugar and other US interests in Cuba, OPEC ( Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ) is formed.
Jump To 1960 Fashion
-- World Leaders
-- 1960 Calendar
-- 1960 Technology
-- Cost Of Living
-- Popular Culture
How Much things cost in 1960
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.46%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 1.1%
Average Cost of new house $12,700.00
Average Monthly Rent $98.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 25 cents
23 inch Television $219.95
Average Cost of a new car $2,600.00
Piaggio / Vespa Scooter $319.95
Can of Beef Ravioli 30 cents
Loaf of Bread 20 cents
Mens Electric Shaver $20.30
Polaroid Land Camera, looking back it seems quite expensive but this was the only way to see your photo nearly instantly Polaroid Camera $93.45
The latest in Danish contemporary furniture for the 60's home Danish Contemporary Living Room Furniture $350.00
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 2,530
1960 The cold war continued to become colder as the two sides distrusted the other more and tried to influence other parts of the world. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson won the Presidency with one of the smallest margins in history ( 113,000 votes ) out of 68.3 million. The sexual revolution of the 60's had begun with the use of birth control pills and Hugh Hefner opening the first of his Playboy clubs in Chicago. The "Flintstones" is shown on television for the first time and movies this year include "The Magnificent Seven" and "Psycho" . Notable technical achievements include the invention of the Laser and a Heart Pacemaker. France tests its first atomic bomb and joins those countries with nuclear bomb technology. Notable names that appear in the limelight that year include "Cassius Clay" and "Sir Francis Chichester" . The US sends the first troops to Vietnam following the French withdrawal in 1954 in the fight against communist North Vietnam.
OPEC --- Created
- OPEC ( Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ) is formed during meeting in Baghdad, Iraq
More Information and Timeline For Creation of OPEC
1. 1949 Venezuela and Iran approach Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1949 with the idea of forming an organization
2. September 10th OPEC is formed in Baghdad, Iraq Original OPEC members include Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
3. September 10th to September 14th
Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela meet in Baghdad to discuss ways to increase the price of the crude oil
4. Over the next 30 years OPEC used it's oil production as a political tool including during the 1973
Arab - Israeli War / Yom Kippur War when OPEC placed an Oil Embargo on countries who were supporting Israel during the war, this caused major problems with both the supply chain causing gas rationing and quadrupling the price from $3.00 a barrel to $12.00 a barrel.
OPEC has twelve member countries: six members in the Middle East( Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates ), four members in Africa ( Algeria, Angola, Libya and Nigeria ), and two in South America ( Ecuador and Venezuela ), as of 2010 -- OPEC members collectively hold 79% of world crude oil reserves and 44% of the world's crude oil production, as the changes happen in Oil production shift to alternative production technology including the Athabasca oil sands in Canada which are now the third largest oil reserves in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
Egypt -- Aswan High Dam
Construction on the Aswan High Dam in Egypt began during January. The 364 feet tall by 12,562 feet long dam was built across the Nile river and it was completed in 1970
at a cost of about $1 billion. The dam created the reservoir of Lake Nasser, which has a 5.97 trillion cubic feet capacity. The dam had a positive impact on the economy of Egypt as it produces large amounts of hydroelectric power and allows for better control of flooding and drought conditions. On the negative side, construction of the dam displaced thousands of people and has impacted agriculture, causing problems with the natural fertilization of the surrounding soil.
USA -- Pioneer 5 Spacecraft
NASA launches the Pioneer 5 space probe on March 11th
. The purpose of its mission was to travel between the orbits of Earth and Venus in order to gather information about deep space between the two planets. The space craft measured the interplanetary magnetic field and gathered information about ionization and solar flare particles. It successfully completed its mission and stopped transmitting data back to Earth by April
of that year. In June
, Pioneer 5 was able to establish communications with Earth at a then record 22.5 million miles away, but contact with the craft was lost after that point.
Brazil --- Brasilia
More Information and Timeline for Brasilia
- The new capital city of Brazil Brasilia is officially inaugurated on April 21,
The President of Brazil Juscelino Kubitschek ordered the construction of Brasilia to change the capital city of Brazil from Rio De Janeiro which was not ideal as it was not in a central location, fulfilling the promise of the Constitution and his own political campaign promise. Brasilia was planned and developed by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in order to move the capital from Rio De Janeiro to a more central location
2. Brasilia was built in 41 months, from 1956 to April 21, 1960, when it was officially inaugurated.
3. The centers of all three branches of the federal government of Brazil are in Brasilia, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. Plus over 124 foreign embassies
4. Brasilia now has an estimated population of about 2 1/2 million
Civil Rights Act of 1960
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law on May 6th
. The purpose of the law was to close loopholes from the Civil Rights Act of 1957
and dealt primarily with voter disenfranchisement. The act created some penalties for anyone who tried to obstruct voter registration and extended the life of the Civil Rights Commission which had been set to expire. It also established federal inspection of local voter registration polls in an effort to counter-act discriminatory laws in the South that worked to disenfranchise voters on a racial basis.
Boynton v. Virginia
The United States Supreme Court decides the Boynton v. Virginia case during December
. The case revolved around Bruce Boynton, an African-American law student, who was arrested for trying to order at a “whites only” restaurant in a bus terminal. The court ruled in a 7-2 decision that racial segregation in public transportation was unconstitutional as it violated the Interstate Commerce Act. Boynton’s case was argued by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. The case was just one of several that inspired civil rights activists, known as Freedom Riders, to begin challenging racial segregation laws by riding interstate buses into the South starting in 1961
UK --- CND / Ban The Bomb
- 100,000 Join "Ban The Bomb" Rally on April 18th in London
More Information and Timeline For Creation of CND / Ban The Bomb
1. 1957 CND formed to promote an end to British nuclear weapons and global abolition of nuclear weapons
2. 1958 CND holds first public meeting at Central Hall, Westminster, London attracts 5,000 people.
3. 1958 Gerald Holtom designs the CND symbol which over the years has become best known as a Peace Symbol
4. 1959 Organizes the first Aldermaston March, which is held over the Easter weekend ( Aldermaston is the home to the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment )
5. 1960 attracts 100,000 at the "Ban The Bomb" Rally on April 18th in London
CND is still an outspoken organization against nuclear, chemical or biological weapons but following the end of the cold war and agreements by the super powers to limit nuclear arms proliferation public support is not as strong as it was.
More Information for the Rome Olympics
- The Summer Olympics are held in Rome, Italy.
1. The Summer Olympics begin in August , with Rome as the host city.
2. These were the first games to be fully covered on television.
3. A total of 83 countries sent over 5,000 athletes to participate in the 150 sporting events.
4. The Soviet Union, United States, and Italy won the most medals.
5. These games were also notable because the city of Rome decided to restore and use some of their ancient sites to host certain events, providing a more interesting backdrop for these particular games.
United States --- JFK Wins Presidential Election
More Information and Timeline for JFK's Election.
- John F Kennedy wins presidential Election.
Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy wins the United States Presidential election on Tuesday, November 8th after defeating current Vice President, Richard Nixon, at the polls. Kennedy was the first Catholic and the youngest person to be elected at 43 years old. He was a Harvard educated, World War II veteran who came from one of the country's wealthiest families. He previously held office as a U.S. Senator for the state of Massachusetts. Kennedy became a wildly popular leader, despite his narrow win against Nixon, as he faced tense situations and private and public drama during the early years of the cold war. He was assassinated, tragically, in November of 1963
Vietnam --- Vietnam War
- The United States announces that 3,500 American soldiers are going to be sent to Vietnam
More Information and Timeline For Early History Of Vietnam War
1. 1946 France reoccupies French Indochina following the end of World War II
2. 1946 The Viet Minh launched a rebellion against the French authority governing the colonies of French Indochina
3. 1949 France officially recognized the "independence" of the State of Vietnam as an associated state within the French Union
4. 1949 The Vietnamese Communists obtain outside support from Chairman Mao Zedong of China just across the border
5. 1950 The United States began to give military aid to France in the form of weaponry and military observers
6. 1950 North Vietnam Gains Military Aid including Arms and Troops From China and The Soviet Union
7. 1950 to 1954 North Vietnamese Soldiers under the leadership of Vo Nguyen Giap gain Military Supremacy over South Vietnam and French Troops
8. 1954 The Geneva Conference creates territorial integrity and sovereignty of Indochina and separated Vietnam into two zones, a northern zone to be governed by the Viet Minh, and a southern zone to be governed by the State of Vietnam
9. 1954 France pulls out of Vietnam following it's losses at The Battle of Dien Bien Phu and The Geneva Conference
10. 1954 Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel creating a North and South Vietnam.
11. 1958 to 1960 North Vietnamese guerilla incidents against South Vietnam increased gradually,
12. 1959 North Vietnamese buildup military personal prior to a full scale military conquest of South Vietnam
13. 1960 North Vietnam escalates military operations against South Vietnam
13. 1960 The United States announces that 3,500 American soldiers are going to be sent to Vietnam
The Vietnam conflict had it's history in the original French Control of the region which changed to U.S.A. support following French withdrawal, Together with distrust by both sides during the cold war and successive US Presidents starting with Dwight D. Eisenhower believing in the Domino Theory / Effect that if one country fell to communism each country with borders would be more likely to fall, combined with the financial / Military backing of the Soviet Union and China of North Vietnam. Over the next few years the war escalated on both sides eventually ending in 1973 when the US pulled out of Vietnam following a North Vietnam Victory
USA -- Psycho Film Premieres
The classic suspenseful horror film “Psycho” premiered on June 16th
in New York City. The film was produced and directed by legendary film maker Alfred Hitchcock and it was considered the mother of modern slasher films. It starred Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, and Martin Balsam. It was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Supporting Actress for Janet Leigh. The plot revolved around a psychologically disturbed motel owner and his Mother and the mystery surrounding the murder of a motel guest. It was based on the 1959
book with the same title by Robert Bloch.
United States - TIROS-1
NASA launches TIROS-1 (Television Infra-Red Observation Satellite), the nation’s first weather satellite, during April
of 1960. It was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida and was one of the world’s first successful weather satellites. TIROS-1 weighed about 270 pounds and measured 19 inches in height and 42 inches in diameter. The satellite could only function during daylight hours but was able to transmit thousands of photos of cloud patterns and document the formation of cloud systems. It was in use for about 78 days until it lost functionality.
USA -- To Kill a Mockingbird Published
The classic American novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee was published on July 11th
. It was Lee’s first novel and was an immediate success, earning her critical acclaim and a Pulitzer Prize the following year. The themes of the novel revolved around morality, racial injustice, courage, and the loss of innocence. The plot focused on the trial of a falsely accused black man and the characters were loosely based Lee’s own small town growing up in the segregated South during the Great Depression. In 1962
, it was turned into a successful Academy Award-winning film starring Gregory Peck.
United States - First TV Presidential Debate
More Information for First TV Debate
- The first televise U.S. Presidential debate takes place between Kennedy and Nixon.
U.S. Presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon take part in the first ever televised presidential debate during September . The debate was held in Chicago and the two discussed domestic issues. In this historic debate, Kennedy seemed to have an advantage over his opponent as he appeared more collected in contrast to Nixon's visible nerves. Three more debates were held where Nixon was able to recover his composure. Kennedy would go on to win the election in November and Nixon would eventually win the presidential election in 1968.
Soviet Union --- U2 Plane Shot Down
- Soviet missile shoots down the US U2 spy plane
More Information and Timeline For U2 Plane and Francis Gary Powers
1. The Lockheed U-2 is a single-engine, very high-altitude ( 70,000 feet over 13 miles ) reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) Introduced in 1957
2. 1958 Base for set up for U-2 spy plane to fly from Pakistan over Soviet Union
3. 1960 May 1st
Lockheed U-2 with Pilot Francis Gary Powers shot down by SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missiles over Soviet Airspace while photographing ICBM sites in and around Sverdlovsk and Plesetsk
4. US denies Aircraft is a covert surveillance aircraft but Soviet Union produced its intact remains and surviving pilot, Francis Gary Powers plus photos of military bases in Russia taken by pilot
5. August 19th US Pilot Francis Gary Powers sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and 7 years of hard labor for espionage in the Soviet Union
February 10th Francis Gary Powers and American student Frederic Pryor exchanged for Soviet KGB Colonel Vilyam Fisher
The U2 incident and subsequent bad publicity for the United States helped accelerate the use of spy satellites for reconnaissance by the United States and the Soviet Union during the 60's and the cold war.
Calendar For The Year 1960
Part of our Collection of Toys From 1960
Toys From The Year 1960
More News and Key Events From 1960
Food shortages in East Germany
- Following major food shortages in East Germany 160,000 refugees cross to West Germany, Nikita Khrushchev orders the construction of the Berlin Wall
Northern Ireland - IRA
- The Irish Republican Army ( IRA ) starts it's fight against the British
South Africa - Sharpeville
- Afrikaner police open fire with sub machine guns on demonstrators March 21st in the black township of Sharpeville, South African
Chile -- one of the greatest earthquakes on record
- Chile subduction fault ruptures from Talcahuano to Peninsula de Taitao, loosing a tsunami and one of the greatest earthquakes on record
U.S.A. -- Gypsy Moth 11
- Sir Francis Chichester arrives in New York aboard Gypsy Moth 11 - he has made a record solo Atlantic crossing in 40 days
- Hurricane Donna forms on August 31st and batters the Caribbean and Eastern United States until mid-September.
American Heart Association
- The American Heart Association links smoking to heart disease and death in middle-aged men.
UK -- Princess Margaret
- Princess Margaret marries Antony Armstrong Jones
Cuba -- Fidel Castro nationalises everything
- Fidel Castro nationalises American Oil, sugar and other US interests in Cuba.
Sri Lanka - Female Prime Minister
- The Worlds First Female Prime Minister Is Elected Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike Ceylon / Sri Lanka
United States -- Cassius Clay
- In Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay (who later took the name Muhammad Ali) wins his first professional fight after having won the Gold Medal in Rome in the Olympic games
United States -- USS Enterprise
- The United States launches the world's first nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier the USS Enterprise.
Italy - Olympics
- The Summer Olympics are held in Rome, Italy
U.S. - Winter Olympic Games
- The Winter Olympic Games are held in Squaw Valley, California, United States
Togo - Independence
- Togo Gains Independence From France
Central African Republic - Independence
- Central African Republic Gains Independence From France
Morocco -- Agadir Tidal Wave
- Tidal Wave at Agadir in Morocco kills 12,000
Cote D'Ivore - Independence
- Cote D'Ivore Gains Independence From France
Benin - Independence
- Benin Gains Independence From France
Chad, Mauritania and Senegal - Independence
- Chad Gains Independence From France
- Senegal Gains Independence From France
- Mauritania Gains Independence From France
South Africa -- Independence
- Fifteen African countries gain independence and South Africa leaves the commonwealth
Check Out Our History of Toys Section
- Lady Chatterley's Lover goes on sale in England 32 years after it was banned
- Coronation Street Soap premieres on ITV in the UK,
- The Flintstones premiers
- Chubby Chequer and The twist start a new dance craze
- The Etch A Sketch is introduced for $2.99 manufactured by Ohio Art Company
Check out our Television Programmes From The 60s whenever possible we have included a trailer to jog your memory. Series trailers and more information are found on the decade they started.
- Can Can
- Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho
- Operation Petticoat
- Only The Lonely by Roy Orbison
Born This Year
Diego Maradona October 30th
Antonio Banderas August 10th
Hugh Grant September 9th
Bono May 10th
- Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh in the bathyscaph USS Trieste break a depth record when they descend to the bottom of Challenger Deep 35,820 feet (10,750 meters) below sea level in the Pacific Ocean
- France tests its first atomic bomb in Sahara and joins US, UK and USSR as Nuclear Power
- Over one hundred million television sets in use worldwide.
- Aluminum Cans used for the first time
- The MOT Test is introduced in Britain
- US Experimental rocket powered airplane travels at 2,200 MPH
- Xerox introduces the first Commercial Document reproduction Machine
- The United States launches the first weather satellite, TIROS-1.
- Dr Kazuo Hashimoto Invents the Ansafone sold in the USA as a
Automatic Telephone Answering Machine
Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
USA by Theodore Maiman
USA by Wilson Greatbatch
USA Tiros I
Vertical Take off Jet
Major World Political Leaders
Australia -- Prime Minister -- Sir Robert Menzies --
Brazil -- President -- Juscelino Kubitschek --
Canada -- Prime Minister -- John Diefenbaker --
China -- Chairman of the People's Republic of China -- Liu Shaoqi --
France -- President -- Charles de Gaulle --
Germany -- Chancellor -- Konrad Adenauer --
India -- Prime Minister -- Jawahar Lal Nehru --
Italy -- Prime Minister -- Antonio Segni -- Till 23 March
Italy -- Prime Minister -- Fernando Tambroni -- From 25 March
Italy -- Prime Minister -- Fernando Tambroni -- Till 26 July
Italy -- Prime Minister -- Amintore Fanfani -- From 26 July
Japan -- Prime Minister -- Nobusuke Kishi -- Till 19 July
Japan -- Prime Minister -- Hayato Ikeda -- From 19 July
Mexico -- President -- Adolfo López Mateos --
Russia / Soviet Union -- First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union -- Nikita Khrushchev --
South Africa -- Prime Minister -- Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd --
United States -- President -- Dwight D. Eisenhower --
United Kingdom -- Prime Minister -- Harold Macmillan --
United States Presidential Election -- 1960 -- John F. Kennedy (Democratic) Defeats Richard Nixon (Republican) and Harry F. Byrd (Democratic) --