The People History

What Happened in 1952 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

What happened in 1952 Major News Stories include First Holiday Inn opens, The "Today" Program debuts on NBC, Polio Epidemic gets worse, Diary of Anne Frank published, Military coup d'etat in Egypt, Nelson Mandella arrested, Mother Teresa opens the home for dying and destitute in Calcutta, Puerto Rico becomes a Self Governing Commonwealth Of the United States, Communist teachers are banned from teaching in public schools, London Smog Kills 4,000

Jump To Fashion -- World Leaders -- 1952 Calendar -- Technology -- Cost Of Living -- Popular Culture -- Toys -- News Events

Cost of Living 1952

How Much things cost in 1952 -
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 2.29%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 5.3%
Average Cost of new house $9.050.00 -
Average wages per year $3,850.00 -
Cost of a gallon of Gas 20 cents -
Average Cost of a new car $1,700.00 -
Average Cost of Rent $80.00 per month -
LB of Hamburger Meat 53 cents -
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling -
Average House Price 2,028 -



1952 despite the war in Korea Americans considered themselves to be prospering with average worker earning $3,400 per year, a college teacher could expect to earn $5,100 per year . Three out of 5 families owned a car, 2 out of 3 families now had a telephone, 1 in 3 homes had a television. The average woman in America would be married by 20 years of age looking forward to raising a family but few continued with a career after children were born. Fast Food restaurants were growing in popularity, but the scourge of Polio hit many thousands of families ( 50,000 estimated ) . Many more cars in America were now fitted with automatic gearboxes and gas cost 25 cents per gallon. The worlds first passenger jet The Comet is produced in UK signaling the start of faster and cheaper air travel in later years.

United States - Corvette Prototype

1. The first Chevrolet Corvette prototype was completed during December.
2. The classic convertible sports car was created by famed designer Harley J. Earl, who had also created the auto industry’s first concept car during the 1930s (the Buick Y-Job).
3. The Corvette dream car was unveiled to the public in January of the following year.
4. The first model was driven off the assembly line on June 30, 1953.
5. At first, the vehicle was not very popular but it gained popularity in 1955 when it was given a V8 engine and again in 1961 when the body was completely re-designed.


1952 Year In History Print

Kenya --- The Mau Mau Rebellion

  • The Mau Mau Rebellion starts in Kenya
More Information and Timeline For The Mau Mau Rebellion
1. 1950 / 1951 The Mau Mau formed as an African Nationalist Movement with The main aim to end British Rule in Kenya
2. 1952 Troubles Begin
2a. August 24th Kenyan government imposes a curfew in area's where Mau Mau believed to be intimidating those refusing to join the movement ( Arson used as one form of intimidation )
2b. October 7th Senior Chief Waruhui assassinated British Government suspects Mau Mau Involvement
2c. October 19th British government sends troops to Kenya to help the fight against the Mau Mau.
2d. October 21st Kenyan government declares a state of emergency following 40 murders and increased violence on the streets
2e. October 21st Jomo Kenyatta, president of the Kenya African Union, and 180 other alleged Mau Mau leaders are arrested for alleged Mau Mau involvement.
2f. October 30th British troops arrest more than 500 suspected Mau Mau activists
2g. November 18th Jomo Kenyatta charged with leading the Mau Mau terrorist society in Kenya
2h. November 25th Mau Mau declares open rebellion against British rule in Kenya
2i. November 25th British troops arrest 2,000 more suspected Mau Mau activists
3 1956 October 21st Dedan Kimathi ( rebel leader of the Mau Mau ) captured leading to the ultimate defeat of the Mau Mau uprising
The Mau Mau rebellion continued for the next few years and although effectively ended in 1956 the movement for an end to British Rule continued which ended with Kenyan independence in December 1963 when Jomo Kenyatta became the first Prime Minister of an Indendent Kenya.

United States -- Mr. Potato Head

1. The popular Mr. Potato Head toy is first sold during May .
2. The toy consisted of little plastic goofy faces and body pieces meant to be placed on real vegetables.
3. George Lerner, the creator of the toy, thought that his invention would help make vegetables more appetizing and fun for children.
4. Just prior to the release of Mr. Potato Head, it became the first toy to be advertised on television at the end of the previous month.
5. It was a success and over one million were sold within the first year.
Check Out Our History of Toys Section


England -- Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II becomes the Queen of England and the United Kingdom after the death of her father King George VI on February 6th. Elizabeth II was just 27 years old and had been traveling in Kenya with her husband Prince Philip at the time. Her coronation was held in June of the following year to allow the proper amount of time for mourning and it was the first coronation of a British monarch to be broadcast on television. She has reigned for over 60 years and has since become the longest reigning legitimate British monarch. Although her role is largely ceremonial, Queen Elizabeth II has made an impact on British culture and politics since her ascension and She is considered one of the wealthiest and influential women on the planet.

USA -- Singin' In The Rain

The iconic musical film “Singin’ In The Rain” premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on March 27th. The film starred Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds Donald O’Connor, and Jean Hagen. It was written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donan. The MGM-produced film went on to be nominated for Best Music and Best Actress at the Academy Awards and was only a moderate box office success. The plot focused on Hollywood’s transition from the silent film era to talkies during the 1920s as well as a classic love story. Since its release, it has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest American films ever made and it was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in 1989.

1952 Back In Time Gifts

Japan -- Treaty of San Francisco

The Treaty of San Francisco, also known as the Peace Treaty with Japan, becomes effective on April 28th. The treaty formally put an end to the state of war between the Allied powers and Japan at the end of World War II. It also brought an end to the Allied occupation of Japan and set terms for the relationship between the United States and Japan for the future. The Soviet Union and China objected to the terms of the treaty, but nearly all of the Allied nations signed it.

USA -- Diary of Anne Frank

The English version of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” was published in June. Anne Frank was a teenage Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis with her family and 4 others in an annex in Amsterdam. Frank’s diary documented her daily life from June of 1942 to August of 1944 just before the Gestapo was tipped off to the Annex. The Frank family was deported to concentration camps and Anne died at the Bergen-Belsen camp at the age of 15 just a few weeks before the camp was liberated in 1945. Anne’s father Otto was the only survivor in the family and he published her diary originally in Dutch during 1947. The English version was eventually released with an introduction written by Eleanor Roosevelt.

U.S. - Charlie Chaplin

  • Charlie Chaplin refused entry back to the US after living in Hollywood for 20 years.
More Information for Chaplin's Re-Entry
Legendary film maker Charlie Chaplin is denied re-entry into the United States during September . Chaplin and his family had been traveling to London for the premiere of his movie "Limelight" when they were told they would not be allowed back into the country. Chaplin, along with many others in Hollywood, had faced harsh scrutiny from the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy during the height of the Cold War due to Chaplin's perceived leftist political beliefs. Chaplin vowed to never return to the United States, but eventually visited again in 1972.

Finland - XV Olympics

  • The Summer Olympics are held in July in Helsinki, Finland.
More Information for the Finland Olympics
The Summer Olympics begin in Helsinki, Finland during July . A total of 69 counties participated in the games with the Soviet Union and Israel doing so for the first time. There were 149 total events with 4,955 athletes competing in them. The United States won the most medals with 76 and the Soviet Union won the second most with 71, the host nation came in eighth place on the medals table with a total of 22 medals. These games also marked the first time that equestrian competitions allowed women to compete with men in mixed events.

China - Treaty of Taipei

  • The Second Sino War ends when Japan and China sign the Treaty of Taipei.
More Information for the Treaty of Taipei
1. The Treaty of Taipei came into force during August , formally ending the Second Sino War.
2. The parties of the treaty, Japan and China, had already signed the it in April .
3. The Treaty of Taipei outlined many of the same conditions as the Treaty of San Francisco which had was signed between the Allies and Japan in 1951, formally ending World War II in the Pacific.
4. The Republic of China (in Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China (on the mainland) had not been included in the Treaty of San Francisco due to civil war between the two factions and the question of government legitimacy.

UK --- London Smog Kills 4,000

  • Thick smog in London on December 4th , England causes 4,000 fatalities
More Information and Timeline For London Smog
1. Following the end of World War II London increases in population density
2. Most home heating uses relatively low-grade, sulfurous variety coal for heating which increased the amount of sulphur dioxide in the smoke
3. The increased use of cars also leads to further pollutants in the air
4. Londoner's become used to thick fog / smog in and around the city called "Pea Soupers"
5. A cold spell leads to increased coal fire usage
6. Unusual windless conditions create large clouds above the city with heavy pollutant content
7 December 5th to December 9th . Unusual weather conditions over the city of London, England combined with the heavy use of coal fired heating formed a thick layer of smog ( chimney smoke combined with car exhaust fumes and sulphur dioxide ) making a deadly combination over the city of London
8. Visibility was reduced to a few yards and most Public transport did not operate
9. The ambulance service stopped functioning which led to a number of the deaths because the public found it difficult if not impossible to seek medical attention.
10. An estimated 4,000 to 12,000 die from respiratory tract infections in just 4 days
The large number of deaths caused by the worst environmental disaster in UK history leads to the The Clean Air Act of 1956 which required smokeless fuels must be used in heavily populated area's including cleaner coals, electricity, and gas, reducing the amount of smoke pollution and sulphur dioxide from household fires.

United States -- First Hydrogen Bomb

1. The United States tests the first hydrogen bomb during November at the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
2. The thermonuclear bomb, codenamed Mike, was dropped on the island of Elugelab in Enewetak Atoll as a part of Operation Ivy.
3. The island was completely destroyed in the blast which was equivalent to the force of 10 million tons of T.N.T. and the wildlife and vegetation on the surrounding islands was also demolished.
4. The first hydrogen bomb was a two-stage fusion device designed by Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam.
5. It was about 1000 times more powerful than the original atomic bomb and its successful detonation accelerated the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.
6. In 1953, the Soviet Union would test their own version.


United Kingdom - Great Britain Tests Atomic Bomb

  • The United Kingdom tests its first atomic bomb in Australia.
More Information for the British Nuclear Bomb
1. The United Kingdom tests its first atomic bomb during October becoming the world's third nuclear power.
2. The test took place at the Montebello Islands in Australia.
3. The British nuclear program began in 1947 in secret and was headed by many British scientists who had previously worked on the first atomic bomb with the United States as a part of the Los Alamos program.
4. By February , the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced the planned test to the public and the 25-kiloton bomb was successfully detonated in October.

1952 Birthday Mug

United States --- Polio Epidemic Kills 3300

  • 3300 die of polio in U.S 57,000 children are paralyzed prior to the widespread use of Polio vaccine
More Information and Timeline For Polio in the 1950s
1. Polio / Poliomyelitis / Infantile Paralysis
2. Polio is an acute viral infectious disease spread from person to person
3. 1910 Polio Epidemics appear around the world in increasing numbers leaving thousands of children and adults paralyzed
4. The March of Dimes Foundation established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) on January 3, 1938, to combat Polio.
5. The March of Dimes Foundation funded much of the research which produced the two vaccines used to combat Polio
6. Two independent researchers both funded by March of Dimes Foundation came up with vaccines in the battle against Polio Jonas Salk vaccine in use from 1955 and Albert Bruce Sabin in use from 1963
7. In two years Polio numbers increase from 20,000 per year prior to 52 up to 58,000 in 1952 and 35,000 in 1953
8. By 1965, only 61 cases of paralytic polio were diagnosed in the United States
Polio is now rare in the Western world following the use of Polio vaccine to induce immunity blocking person-to-person transmission. But Polio was still endemic in South Asia and Nigeria up until the late 80's, in 1988 there were an estimated 350,000 cases. A global effort to eradicate polio began led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and The Rotary Foundation and Polio cases number less than 1,000 per year today.

India --- Mother Teresa

  • Mother Teresa opens the home for dying and destitute in Calcutta
More Information and Timeline For Mother Teresa
1. 1910 Mother Teresa born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Uskub, Ottoman Empire
2. 1928 Join the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary
3. 1929 Taught at the St. Teresa's School in Darjeeling, India
4. 1944 Appointed headmistress of Loreto convent school in Entally, eastern Calcutta
5. 1948 Begins her missionary work with the poor and adopted Indian citizenship
6 1950 Receives Vatican permission to start the diocesan congregation that would become the Missionaries of Charity
7. 1952 Opens the first Home for the Dying in space made available by the city of Calcutta
She devoted the rest of her life to helping the poor in India including opening a home for victims of leprosy, many have criticized her methods of care and beliefs, but in this webmasters humble opinion at least she did something to help those in need which is the most one human being can do for another. Mother Teresa died on September 5th 1997 in Calcutta and following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

The "Today Show" debuts on NBC with host Dave Garroway.

More Information for the "Today Show"
NBC's "The Today Show" debuts during January . Hosted by Dave Garroway, the show featured national and world news, as well as interviews and lighter content in a two-hour live format. The concept of the show was envisioned by Sylvester Weaver Jr. who would later become the president of NBC from 1953 until 1955. Dave Garroway would host the show as the main anchor from its start in 1952 until he left in 1961. "The Today Show" was the very first of its kind and inspired the creation of other similarly modeled programs such as "Good Morning America" and "The Early Show."

1952 Mens and Womens Fashion Clothes

Part of our Collection of Clothing From this Year
Part of our Collection of Fashion Accessories From this Year
Women's Fashion Clothing Examples From this Year

Calendar For The Year 1952

1952 Calendar

Part of our Collection of Toys

Part of our 1950s Toys Selection of 250 Fifties Toys

1952 Toys


More News and Key Events

Israel -- Albert Einstein
  • Albert Einstein refuses Presidency of Israel

UK -- Elizabeth II
  • Elizabeth II becomes Queen upon the death of her father George VI.

World -- Big Bang Theory
  • Big Bang Theory of the creation of the Universe first propounded

UK -- Farnborough Air Show
  • De Havilland 110 fighter aircraft breaks up over spectators at Farnborough Air Show killing 30

South Africa -- Nelson Mandella
  • South African Police Arrest Nelson Mandella

India -- General Election
  • India holds it's first general elections

UK -- Atomic Bomb
  • Britain announces it has Atomic Bomb

U.S. -- Yucca Flats
  • Live Atomic bomb Test from testing site in Yucca Flats, Nevada shown on Television

U.S. -- California Earthquake
  • California has it's second largest earthquake rocking 100,000 sq miles

U.S. -- Communist Teachers Banned
  • Following the U.S. Supreme Court upholding a New York state law communist teachers are banned from teaching in public schools

U.S. -- Charlie Chaplin
  • Charlie Chaplin refused entry back to the US after living in Hollywood for 20 years.

U.S. -- Rocky Marciano
  • Rocky Marciano becomes world heavyweight champion after knocking out Jersey Joe Walcott

U.S. -- Richard M. Nixon
  • Vice Presidential Candidate Richard M. Nixon defends himself on Television over allegations of secret cash fund

UK -- Trains Crash
  • Three Trains crash at Harrow in North London

  • The Last London Trams Decommissioned

  • The Summer Olympics are held in July in Helsinki, Finland

Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Rico becomes a Self Governing Commonwealth Of the United States

  • Steel Plants Placed Under Presidential Control after Steel Unions Threaten to Strike

  • Military coup d'etat in Egypt on July 23rd headed by Nasser

  • The Winter Olympic Games are held in Oslo, Norway


Popular Culture 1952

Popular Culture

  • The Diary of Anne Frank published
  • The "Today" Program debuts on NBC the first of it's kind hosted by Dave Garroway. The shows current presenters are Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira
  • KFC Fried Chicken Franchise Opens ( Kentucky Fried Chicken )
  • MAD Magazine first issue
  • Agatha Christie's murder-mystery play The Mousetrap opens and becomes the longest continuously production running play in history

Popular Films

  • The African Queen
  • Greatest Show on Earth
  • The Quiet man
  • Singin' in the Rain

Check out our Television Programmes From The 50s whenever possible we have included a trailer to jog your memory. Series trailers and more information are found on the decade they started.


Born This Year

Sharon Osbourne October 9th
Christopher Reeve September 25th
David Hasselhoff July 17th
Douglas Adams March 11th


  • The worlds first passenger jet is produced in UK ( The Comet ) and flies for the first time on May 2nd
  • Atom Bomb Developed by Britain
  • The worlds first successful use of a mechanical heart in US
  • The first "Don't Walk" sign is installed in New York City
  • The First Holiday Inn is opened in Tennessee
  • SS United States wins Blue Ribband crossing the Atlantic in 3 days 10hrs and 40 minutes
  • The United States successfully detonates the first hydrogen bomb, code named "Mike" ["m" for megaton],
  • The first Patent for a bar code used to identify products issued in 1952 to Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver but the industry standard till 1970 when the Universal Grocery Products Identification Product Code or UGPIC was written which evolved into the UPC or Universal product Code
  • First Roll On Deodorant introduced under the brand name Ban-Roll-On

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
Hydrogen Bomb USA by Edward Teller's team
Mr Potato Head Game USA by George Lerner
Polio Vaccine by Jonas Salk

Major World Political Leaders

Australia -- Prime Minister -- Sir Robert Menzies --
Brazil -- President -- Getúlio Vargas --
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 -- Till 30 November
Mexico -- President -- Adolfo Ruiz Cortines -- From 30 November
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 -- Sir Winston Churchill --

Political Elections

United States Presidential Election 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican) Defeats Adlai Stevenson (Democratic)