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Ad*Access Research Guide: 1946-1955

A portal into the Ad*Access digital collection that includes links to advertising categories and subcategories and historical context.

1946-1950

International Affairs

  • 1946. The International Tribunal at Nuremberg convicts 22 Nazi leaders of war crimes. Goering commits suicide before his scheduled execution.
  • June 5, 1947. The Marshall Plan, which outlines U.S. involvement in the reconstruction of Europe, is introduced.
  • 1947. The Truman Doctrine establishes the U.S. policy of providing aid to any government resisting Communism.
  • 1948. Gandhi is fatally shot by a Hindu fanatic in New Delhi.
  • June 1948. The Berlin Airlift begins and lasts until May 1949. The airlift was a humanitarian effort of the United States, Britain and France to preserve the non-Soviet held portions of the cityof Berlin, which had been isolated from all access to trade, including the importation of food and necessary goods.
  • October 10, 1949. Communists establish the People's Republic of China.
  • October 24, 1949. United Nations headquarters are dedicated in New York City.
  • 1949. The United States and West European countries establish the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for collective security.
  • June 27, 1950. Truman orders troops to South Korea to participate in a UN force that will help repel North Korean troops from the country, the beginning of U.S. involvement in the Korean War.

U.S. Politics & Government

  • 1947. A housing crisis becomes a major national concern in the United States.
  • November 2, 1948. Harry Trumanis reelected President.
  • 1948. The term "Cold War" becomes widely used to describe the U.S. relationship with the U.S.S.R.

Companies, Inventions, Discoveries & Technology

  • June 17, 1947. The first globe circumnavigating passenger airliner is inaugurated by Pan Am. The fare to travel around the world was $1700.
  • October 11, 1950. A license to begin color TV broadcasts is issued by the FCC to Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) causing a controversy when RCA claims that they had developed a superior color broadcasting device.
  • In 1950, 9% of homes own TV sets. By 1979, 98% of U.S. homes had a television.

Humanities and the Arts, Entertainment & Sports

  • 1947. Jackie Robinson becomes the first black baseball player in the major leagues when he joins the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • May 5, 1947. The Pulitzer Prize is awarded to Robert Penn Warren for All the King's Men.
  • December 3, 1947. A Street Car Named Desire by Tennessee Williams opens in New York.
  • December, 1947. The children's television series "Howdy Doody" premieres on NBC.
  • April 7, 1949. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific opens on Broadway.
  • April 1950. The first National Basketball Association championship is played. The Minneapolis Lakers defeat the Syracuse Nationals.

Miscellaneous

  • 1946. Strikes this year involve 4.6 million workers and cost 116,000,000 hours of labor.
  • March 8, 1948. Offering religious education in public schools is declared a violation of the First Amendment by the Supreme Court.

1951-1955

International Affairs

  • The Korean War ends in 1953, after lasting three years. U.S. casualties totaled 137,051; 25,604 of those resulted in death. 7,955 soldiers remained missing after the war.
  • May 7, 1954. French forces withdraw from Vietnam. The country becomes partitioned into northern and southern states.
  • 1955. Foreign aid to South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos is begun by the United States.
  • Feb. 26, 1955. U.S. stockpile of atomic bombs reaches 4,000. The U.S.S.R is estimated to have 1,000.

U.S. Politics & Government

  • 1951. Price controls are introduced to curb high inflation.
  • March 2, 1952. The Supreme Court rules that "subversives" can be barred from teaching in public schools.
  • 1953. Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated as President.
  • 1953. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for espionage.
  • January 2, 1953. Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin is investigated by the Senate Privileges and Elections subcommittee, which finds his political activities to be motivated by self-interest. Sen. McCarthy led the congressional investigation of hundreds of accused dissidents. These investigations centered around the perceived threat of communist infiltration into United States society.
  • May 17, 1954. In the case of Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas the Supreme Court rules racial segration in public schools unconstitutional.

Companies, Inventions, Discoveries & Technology

  • June 25, 1951. CBS presents the first commercial color TV broadcast. It lasts for four hours. There were no color TV sets owned by the public at this time, so only CBS executives and engineers viewed the accomplishment. By 1954 1% of televisions owned in the U.S. were color, a decade later the proportion had increased to 3.1%. By the early 1980s, over 90% of televisions sold were color.
  • September 4, 1951. The first transcontinental television broadcast is presented.
  • November 10, 1951. The first transcontinental direct dial telephone service is introduced in New Jersey.
  • April 12, 1955. The Salk vaccine against polio is introduced.
  • 1955 sees dramatic increases in the sales of home appliances, new homes, andtelevisions. By 1954 54% of American homes had television sets.

Humanities and the Arts, Entertainment & Sports

  • 1950-1955. Marilyn Monroe releases some of her most notable films and becomes a movie star of legendary proportions: All About Eve, 1950; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953; The Seven Year Itch, 1955.
  • 1951. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I premiers on Broadway
  • 1951. Bedtime for Bonzo, starring Ronald Reagan, is released by Universal Pictures.
  • 1952. Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man is published.
  • 1954. The children's morning television series "Captain Kangaroo" premieres on CBS.
  • July 1954. Elvis Presley joins Sun Records and what would come to be called Sun's "Million Dollar Quartet" - the foursome that also included Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. By 1955 Elvis had recorded 5 songs and gained some popularity in the South. By 1956 Elvis had achieved national fame by making appearances on such television shows as "The Ed Sullivan Show".

Miscellaneous

  • December 9, 1953. General Electric announces that all communist employees will be discharged.
  • 1954. 45% of Americans smoke at least one pack of cigarettes a day. 90% of adults drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day. America's favorite meal is fruit cup, vegetable soup, steak and potatoes, peas, rolls with butter, and pie a la mode.
  • 1955. Blue jeans, rock & roll and comic books become increasingly popular.