The People History

What Happened in 1949 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

What happened in 1949 Major News Stories include Mao Tse Tung Proclaims The Communist People's Republic of China, Geneva Convention agreed, First Volkswagen Beetle The Peoples Car sold in US, Apartheid begins in South Africa, RCA Perfects a system for broadcasting color television.

1949 After many years of misery through the depression and World War 11 postwar prosperity is starting to get underway with companies now able to supply the cars, Televisions and the other goods demanded in a consumer society. The cars got bigger, the TV's got bigger, with some 6.2 million new cars sold in the US and nearly 10 million Televisions in American homes, A new type of TV programme appeared we now call Soap Operas ( the name came from the fact many soap manufacturers sponsored the shows to catch the stay at home mum with advertising ) . China became a communist country and Russia had the Nuclear Bomb which increased the tension between East and West ( The Cold War ).
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Cost of Living 1949

How Much things cost this year
Yearly Inflation Rate U.S.A. -0.95%
UK 2.6%

Average Cost of new house $7,450.00
Average wages per year $2,950.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 17 cents
Average Cost of a new car $1,420.00
Minimum Hourly Wage Rate 70 cents per hour
Bacon per pound 50 cents
Dobbs Hat $8.50
Kitchen Table and Chairs $100.00
Bacon Sliced 59 cents per pound
Bananas 11 cents per pound
Bleach 21 cents 1/2 gallon
Cantaloupe 23 cents
Coffee 85 cents for 2 pound bag
Fresh Chickens 55 cents per pound
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 1,911

Berlin Blockade

  • Berlin Blockadeofficially comes to an end on May 12 and the airlift ends on September 30th
More Information and Timeline for the Berlin Airlift
1. At the end of World War II, the Allied forces divided Germany into U.S., Great Britain, France, and Soviet Union controlled areas in 1945. With the Soviet Union's zone covering the eastern half of Germany and the other three zones covering the western half. The capital of Berlin was located on the eastern side but also divided into sections.
2. By 1948, the U.S., British, and French zones created a shared currency in an attempt to join their zones together to make them more economically strong.
3. The Soviet Union was angered by the attempt to unify the western half of the country and feared it would destabilize their half of the country with half West Berlin becoming a stronger capitalist force in the middle of their communist controlled area of Germany.
4. On June 24, 1948 the Soviet Union began a blockade of West Berlin so that West Germany could not communicate with the capital.
5. The Berlin Airlift began on June 26, 1948 when the Allies decided to deliver food and important supplies to West Berlin by air.
6. During the airlift, between 5,000 and 8,000 tons of supplies were delivered daily.
7. By May 12, the Soviet Union ended the blockade because it was clearly not successful in breaking up the Allies unification efforts in West Germany.
8. The Allies continued the airlift until September 30th, in order to stock up on supplies in West Berlin because they feared another Soviet blockade. This was one of the first major incidents and conflicts to happen in the Cold War.


Communist People's Republic of China

    • The Communist People's Republic of China is proclaimed under Mao Tse Tung.
    More Information and Timeline for the People's Republic of China
    Communist leader Mao Zedong establishes the People's Republic of China on October 1st, after the Nationalist leader Chang Kai-Shek flees to Taiwan. The nationalists and communists had been in an on and off civil war for control of the country since the late 1920's. A new communist nation was created after the former government was forced to leave and took over the island of Taiwan. The People's Republic of China officially replaced the Republic of China in the United Nations in 1971.


The Geneva Convention

  • The Geneva Convention is agreed providing an agreement on the treatment of prisoners.
More Information and Timeline for the Fourth Geneva Convention
The Fourth Geneva Convention was agreed upon on August 12, . The previous three Geneva Conventions had primarily dealt with rules of war for combatants and the measure to protect civilians in the fourth Geneva Convention was largely a reaction to the atrocities committed against civilians during World War II. The Convention details the rules and guidelines for treating "protected persons" in times of armed conflict. It outlaws murder, torture, degradation and humiliation, hostage taking, and sentencing or executing persons in the absence of a court. While the rules were only binding on the original signatories of the Convention, by 1993 the UN stated that the Geneva Conventions had become customary international law to all nations.

World - First Non-Stop Circumnavigation Flight

1. The Lucky Lady II airplane completes the first non-stop circumnavigation flight on March 2nd after 94 hours and 1 minute of travel time.
2. The Boeing B-50 Superfortress plane was piloted by Captain James Gallagher and had a crew of 14 men.
3. It was re-fueled in the air four times during the 23,452 mile journey.
4. It had taken off from Carswell Air Force Base in Texas on February 26th and successfully returned there.
5. It held the record for a round-the-world flight until 1957 when a B-52 bomber flew the journey in just 45 hours and 19 minutes.


The Goldbergs

  • One of the very first sitcoms, The Goldbergs, premieres on CBS.
More Information and Timeline for The Goldbergs TV Show.
One of the first long-running and successful sitcoms, "The Goldbergs," first aired live on CBS on January 17, . The Goldbergs was created by Gertrude Berg who wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the show which she had originally created for radio in 1929. The TV show was on the air until 1956 and in 1951 Gertrude Berg won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Molly, The Goldbergs' matriarch. The show was groundbreaking at the time and had focused on the daily lives of a Jewish family in New York, tackling the everyday issues of an ordinary family while also addressing their desire to maintain their cultural roots while trying to find a way to assimilate into American culture.

Indonesia becomes independent

  • Indonesia becomes independent.
More Information for Indonesia
The country of Indonesia, formerly the Dutch East Indies colony, was granted sovereignty from the Netherlands during December . Indonesian nationalists had declared their independence following the end of World War II in 1945, leading to the Indonesian War of Independence. The armed conflict between the Dutch and Indonesians lasted for several years and eventually worldwide opinion turned in favor of granting independence to Indonesia. By December the conflict ended and the Republic of the United States of Indonesia was established. Within a year the states were dissolved and the country became just the Republic of Indonesia.


Nineteen Eighty-Four is published

  • George Orwell's book Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.
More Information for the novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four"
George Orwell's classic dystopian novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" was published in the United Kingdom on June 8, . Considered to be one of the most influential novels written during the twentieth century, the story focused on a futuristic totalitarian state that set out to control the thoughts of its citizens and rewrite history. The novel was an immediate success and was made into a movie in 1956 and 1984. The book was so influential that many of its made up terms have become part of normal speech such as "Big Brother," "Thought Police" and "doublethink."


NATO Established

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established during April. It was a collective defense pact meant to protect Europe from the Soviet Union which had been aggressively controlling much of Eastern Europe at the time. It also guaranteed US influence in the region, bolstering the status of the United States at the start of the Cold War. The pact originally included a total of 12 Western nations; the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Portugal, Norway, and Iceland. The Soviet Union countered with the Warsaw Pact in 1955.


1949 Year In History Print

De-Havilland Comet

  • De-Havilland Comet first commercial passenger jet airliner takes it's first test flight on July 27th.
More Information and Timeline for the De Havilland Comet.
The prototype De Havilland Comet jetliner has its first flight in July . The Comet was the first commercial passenger jet and it was created by De Havilland in Hertfordshire, England between 1947 and 1949. The first test flight happened on July 27th and it lasted for about thirty minutes. They continued to test the Comet and build prototypes until its commercial introduction in 1952. It was predicted to be a financial success but soon after its debut, the Comet began suffering from several mechanical malfunctions. There were several incidents in which the jets broke up mid-flight and after extensive research they found the problems and redesigned the Comet. It remained in production in some form until the late 1990's.

Calendar For The Year 1949

1949 Calendar


Earthquake in Ecuador
  • 6.75 Richter scale earthquake in Ecuador kills 6000 and destroys 50 towns

Soviet Union first atomic bomb
  • Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb.

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Established

  • Federal Republic of Germany officially founded

  • Republic of China / Taiwan on the island of Formosa comes into being following the defeat by Mao Tse Tung

Color Television
  • RCA Perfects a system for broadcasting color television

  • First Polaroid Camera sold for $89.95

Palestinian refugees
  • President Harry S. Truman authorizes $16 million in aid for Palestinian refugees

Truman "fair deal speech"
  • President Harry S. Truman gave his fair deal speech. He expressed his thoughts on how every American should expect a "fair deal" from the U.S. government.

Emmy Awards
  • The Emmy Awards for US Television first presented

First Beetle Sold In US
  • First Volkswagen Beetle The Peoples Car sold in US

  • The first car with a Porsche badge is shown at the International Automobile Show in Geneva ( Porsche 356 )

  • Newfoundland Joins Canada Confederation

National Basketball Association NBA

Popular Culture

  • George Orwell's book Nineteen Eighty-Four is published
  • First 45 rpm Vinyl Record are introduced on January 10th
  • First Polaroid Camera History sold for $89.95
  • "A" your adorable " by Perry Como
  • "Mule Train " by Frankie laine
  • FILM Twelve O'Clock High
  • First Polaroid Camera sold for $89.95
  • Frank Sinatra stars in "On The Town" with Gene Kelly
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein debut the musical "South Pacific" on Broadway
  • Silly Putty goes on sale in plastic eggs for $1.00

Check Out Our History of Toys Section


Born This Year

Larry Holmes November 3rd
Jeff Bridges December 4 News Events
Lionel Richie June 20th
Bruce Springsteen September 23rd
John Belushi February 4th -- Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Patrick Duffy March 17th -- Townsend, Montana, U.S.
Gloria Gaynor September 7th -- Newark, New Jersey, United States
Maurice Gibb December 22nd -- Isle of Man
Andy Kaufman January 17th -- New York City, New York, United States
Jessica Lange April 20th -- Cloquet, Minnesota, U.S.
Meryl Streep June 22nd -- Summit, New Jersey, U.S.
Vera Wang June 27th -- New York, New York, U.S.
Sigourney Weaver October 8th -- Manhattan, New York, U.S.


Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )

The first automatic street lights are installed in New Milford, Connecticut
45 rpm Record USA

The world's first commercially available computer The Ferranti Mark 1 Released

Major World Political Leaders

Australia -- Prime Minister -- Ben Chifley -- Till 19 December
Australia -- Prime Minister -- Sir Robert Menzies -- From 19 December
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 -- From 15 September
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 --