May 1948

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The following events occurred in May 1948:

May 1, 1948 (Saturday)

  • The Korean People's Committee in the Soviet-controlled northern zone of Korea announced the establishment of a "People's Republic", claiming jurisdiction over all of Korea and adopting a Soviet-style constitution. US Lieutenant General John R. Hodge, commander of the southern zone of Korea, immediately issued a message indicating that he did not recognize the People's Committee as a legitimate government and did not intend to negotiate with it.[1]
  • The Ein al-Zeitun massacre occurred at the Palestinian Arab village of Ein al-Zeitun when the Palmach destroyed the village and killed between 23 and 70 Arab prisoners.
  • Greek Justice Minister Christos Ladas was assassinated in Athens by a man who hurled a grenade from a car window. The assassin, who was shot and captured by police, was identified as a member of the Organization for the Protection of the People's Struggle (OPLA), a Communist-affiliated paramilitary group.[2]
  • Pope Pius XII promulgated Auspicia quaedam, an encyclical on worldwide public prayers for peace and a solution to the Palestine problem.
  • Citation won the Kentucky Derby.
  • Wigan defeated Bradford Northern 8-3 in rugby's Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. It was the first rugby match ever televised.

May 2, 1948 (Sunday)

May 3, 1948 (Monday)

May 4, 1948 (Tuesday)

May 5, 1948 (Wednesday)

  • Soviet-licensed press in Berlin published new postal regulations prohibiting the mailing of food, liquor and precious metals from Berlin to western Germany.[7]
  • Born: Joe Esposito, singer-songwriter, in the United States; Bill Ward, drummer and founding member of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, in Aston, Birmingham, England

May 6, 1948 (Thursday)

  • Four-power talks in London on an Austrian peace treaty were adjourned indefinitely after delegates reached an impasse over Yugoslavia's claim for territory in Carinthia and Styria in addition to reparations.[8]
  • The novel The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer was published.[9]

May 7, 1948 (Friday)

  • The Hague Congress met in the Congress of Europe in The Hague, bringing together about 600 delegates representing a broad political spectrum. Winston Churchill delivered a speech appealing to Europeans to forget "the hatreds of the past" and create a united Europe centered on "the idea of a Charter of Human Rights, guarded by freedom and sustained by law."[10][11]
  • The United States, Britain and France told the UN Atomic Energy Commission to abandon its efforts to devise an international control plan, blaming the Soviet Union for the impasse.[12]

May 8, 1948 (Saturday)

May 9, 1948 (Sunday)

May 10, 1948 (Monday)

  • Constituent Assembly elections were held in the US-occupied southern zone of Korea with supervision from the United Nations. The National Association for the Rapid Realisation of Korean Independence achieved a plurality by winning 55 of 200 seats.
  • US President Harry S. Truman thwarted an imminent nationwide railroad strike by issuing an executive order taking over the country's railroads and directing the Secretary of the Army to operate them in the name of the US government. "It is essential to the public health and to the public welfare generally that every possible step be taken by the Government to assure to the fullest possible extent continuous and uninterrupted transportation service," Truman explained in a statement. "A strike on our railroads would be a nationwide tragedy, with worldwide repercussions."[13]
  • The Golani Brigade of the Haganah launched Operation Gideon with the objective of capturing Beisan, clearing the surrounding area and blocking one of the possible entry routes for Transjordanian forces.

May 11, 1948 (Tuesday)

  • Luigi Einaudi was elected President of Italy in a joint session of parliament.[14]
  • Third-party presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace gave a speech before 19,000 people at Madison Square Garden that was also broadcast over radio and television. Wallace used the speech to publicize an open letter to Joseph Stalin featuring a six-point plan to end the Cold War: A general reduction of armaments, stopping all foreign exports of weapons, unrestricted trade between the two countries, freedom of movement between the two countries, free exchange of scientific information and the establishment of an UN agency for international relief.[15][16]
  • Born: Shigeru Izumiya, poet, folk singer and actor, in Aomori, Japan

May 12, 1948 (Wednesday)

May 13, 1948 (Thursday)

May 14, 1948 (Friday)

  • The Israeli Declaration of Independence was proclaimed, announcing that the State of Israel would come into effect upon termination of the British Mandate for Palestine the following day.
  • Eleven minutes after Israel declared independence, President Truman issued a memo that concisely read: "This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof. The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel."[18]
  • The RAND Corporation was formed.
  • Born: Bob Woolmer, cricketer and coach, in Kanpur, India (d. 2007)

May 15, 1948 (Saturday)

May 16, 1948 (Sunday)

May 17, 1948 (Monday)

  • Moscow radio read a message from Joseph Stalin replying to Henry Wallace's open letter, welcoming it as a good basis "for peaceful settlement of the differences between the USSR and the United States."[21]
  • The Soviet Union diplomatically recognized Israel.[22]
  • At the United Nations, US Ambassador Warren Austin presented a resolution to the Security Council ordering Jews and Arabs to observe a truce in Palestine within 36 hours.[23]

May 18, 1948 (Tuesday)

  • By a 4-4 tie, the US Supreme Court refused to review the cases of 74 Germans for a massacre of unarmed American prisoners during the Battle of the Bulge. The four judges who opposed reviewing the case argued that the court had no jurisdiction over decisions of the international tribunal.[24]
  • The Linfen Campaign ended in Communist victory.
  • Aquila Airways was founded.
  • Born: Mikko Heiniö, composer and musicologist, in Tampere, Finland

May 19, 1948 (Wednesday)

  • US Secretary of State George Marshall said during a press conference that Stalin's sincerity in promoting understanding between Russia and the United States would be demonstrated by showing co-operation on outstanding world issues before the United Nations and other international agencies.[25] Henry A. Wallace fired back in a speech that night, calling Marshall's answer "not satisfactory. It is an answer calculated to continue the cold war, when we need peace."[26]
  • The Battle of Yad Mordechai began in the Arab-Israeli War.
  • By a vote of 319-58 the US House of Representatives passed the Mundt-Nixon Communist Control Bill, which proposed regulating Communist organizations as well as providing stiff jail terms and fines for subversive activities.[27]
  • Another instance of Czech nationals defecting by plane occurred when eight former members of the Czech Air Force landed at Manston RAF Station in Kent, England in a "borrowed" plane.[28]
  • The Making of an Insurgent, an autiobiography of Fiorello H. La Guardia covering the early years of his life, was posthumously published.[29]
  • Born: Grace Jones, musician, model and actress, in Spanish Town, Jamaica
  • Died: Maximilian Lenz, 87, Austrian artist

May 20, 1948 (Thursday)

May 21, 1948 (Friday)

May 22, 1948 (Saturday)

  • By a vote of 8-0, the United Nations Security Council ordered a ceasefire in Palestine within 36 hours from midnight, New York time.[34]
  • Swedish President Juho Kusti Paasikivi dismissed Yrjö Leino as Interior Minister three days after Swedish Parliament passed a vote of censure on Leino, ostensibly for handing over ten Finnish subjects and ten stateless persons over to the Soviets in 1945. Leino had refrained from resigning his post even though he was constitutionally required to do so.[35]
  • Died: Georgios Tsolakoglou, 62, Greek military officer and Prime Minister of the Greek collaborationist government during World War II

May 23, 1948 (Sunday)

May 24, 1948 (Monday)

May 25, 1948 (Tuesday)

  • General Motors averted a strike of its auto workers by agreeing to raise the wages of 225,000 employees by 11 cents an hour in a contract tying pay raises to increases in the cost of living, the first provision of its kind in the auto industry.[38]
  • Ben Hogan won the PGA Championship.
  • Born: Klaus Meine, lead singer of the rock band Scorpions, in Hanover, Germany

May 26, 1948 (Wednesday)

May 27, 1948 (Thursday)

  • A general election was held in Panama, in which Domingo Díaz Arosemena was controversially elected president.
  • US President Harry S. Truman ordered an investigation of the Voice of America program after congressmen complained about several things that had been said about US states during the broadcasts. The controversy was over a Spanish-language program produced by NBC and broadcast to Latin America called "Know North America". In one case, the narrator described Nevada as "a land of cowboys, and its two principal cities are in competition. In Las Vegas people get married and in Reno they get divorced." Of Wyoming it was said that "the important thing isn't the people, but the cattle," while a profile of Texas included the remark, "an American writer has made the statement New England was founded by hypocrisy and Texas by sin." NBC said that the script writer had been fired.[40][41]
  • The Walt Disney film Melody Time was released.

May 28, 1948 (Friday)

  • The 1948 Litang earthquake occurred near Litang, China, causing more than 800 deaths.
  • Following his defeat at the polls, 78-year old Jan Smuts resigned as Prime Minister of South Africa and retired rather than lead the Opposition.[42]
  • Chrysler workers in the United States ended a 17-day strike after accepting a wage increase of 13 cents an hour.[43]
  • Died: Unity Mitford, 33, British socialite and fascist (meningitis caused by the cerebral swelling around a bullet from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1939)

May 29, 1948 (Saturday)

  • The United Nations Security Council called for a four-week ceasefire in Palestine and threatened to apply sanctions if the parties did not comply within 72 hours.[44]
  • The Yanzhou Campaign began during the Chinese Civil War.
  • An explosion of camphor oil aboard a train in Taiwan killed over 60 people, about 40 of whom burned to death although others drowned jumping from the train into a river below.[45][46]
  • Israeli forces commenced Operation Pleshet, aimed at capturing Isdud and stopping the northward Egyptian advance.
  • A referendum was held in Australia on a proposed alteration to the Australian Constitution to increase the power of the Commonwealth to make laws with respect to rents and prices. 59.34% rejected the proposal.
  • Henry A. Wallace appeared before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee to testify against the Mundt-Nixon Communist control bill, blasting its sponsors as "warmongers, fearmongers and hatemongers" who would stand in history as "American counterparts of Mussolini and Hitler." Wallace maintained that existing laws were adequate to deal with acts of subversion and swore that his third party would refuse to comply with the measure if it passed.[47]
  • Oklahoma! closed on Broadway after a record 2,202 performances.[48]
  • Born: Michael Berkeley, composer and broadcaster, in London, England
  • Died: May Whitty, 82, English stage and film actress

May 30, 1948 (Sunday)

May 31, 1948 (Monday)


  1. ^ "Soviet-Dominated Koreans Create A Regime Claiming Whole Nation". The New York Times: p. 1, 5. May 1, 1948. 
  2. ^ Sedgwick, A. C. (May 2, 1948). "Athens Bomb Kills Minister; Red Plot on Cabinet Alleged". The New York Times: p. 1, 5. 
  3. ^ Newton, Marshall E. (May 3, 1948). "Eisenhower Ends Army Life, Comes to New Home Here". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  4. ^ "Colombia Breaks Off Relations With Soviet". The New York Times: p. 1. May 4, 1948. 
  5. ^ Adams, Frank S. (May 4, 1948). "Pulitzer Prizes Go to 'Streetcar' And Michener's Stories of Pacific". The New York Times: p. 1, 22. 
  6. ^ Sedgwick, A. C. (May 5, 1948). "Greece Executes Scores of Leftists". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  7. ^ "Russians Place Curbs On Berlin Mail to West". The New York Times: p. 12. May 6, 1948. 
  8. ^ Welles, Benjamin (May 7, 1948). "Big 4 Halt Parley on Austrian Pact". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  9. ^ "Books Published Today". The New York Times: p. 12. May 6, 1948. 
  10. ^ Anderson, David (May 8, 1948). "Churchill Bids Europe Unite To Avoid Impending Perils". The New York Times: p. 1, 6. 
  11. ^ "Churchill addresses The Congress of Europe". The Churchill Society. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  12. ^ Rosenthal, A. M. (May 8, 1948). "End of U. N. Effort to Bind Atom Fixed". The New York Times: p. 1, 5. 
  13. ^ "Statement by the President Upon Issuing Order Averting a Railroad Strike". Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  14. ^ Cortesi, Arnaldo (May 12, 1948). "Einaudi Is Elected President of Italy". The New York Times: p. 18. 
  15. ^ Moscow, Warren (May 12, 1948). "Wallace Presents Peace Bid to Stalin". The New York Times: p. 1, 14. 
  16. ^ "Text of Wallace Letter to Stalin". The New York Times: p. 14. May 12, 1948. 
  17. ^ Anderson, David (May 13, 1948). "Wilhelmina Will Abdicate; Juliana to Be Queen in Fall". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  18. ^ Carenan, Caitlin (2012). The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel. New York University Press. p. xi. ISBN 9780814708378. 
  19. ^ Roach, James (May 16, 1948). "Big Calumet Day". The New York Times: p. S1. 
  20. ^ "Zionist, 73, Heads Regime; State Asks U. N. Membership". The New York Times: p. 1. May 17, 1948. 
  21. ^ "Stalin Declares Wallace Letter Is Basis For Talk". The New York Times: p. 1. May 18, 1948. 
  22. ^ "Moscow Note to New State Broad in Diplomatic Scope". The New York Times: p. 1. May 17, 1948. 
  23. ^ Hamilton, Thomas J. (May 17, 1948). "Quick Act Sought". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  24. ^ "High Court Denies Germans a Review". The New York Times: p. 9. May 19, 1948. 
  25. ^ Hulen, Bertram D. (May 20, 1948). "Marshall Asserts Soviet Cooperation Is Test of Sincerity". The New York Times: p. 1, 8. 
  26. ^ "Wallace Attacks Marshall Stand On Stalin Offer". San Bernardino Sun: p. 2. May 19, 1948. 
  27. ^ Morris, John D. (May 20, 1948). "Bill to Control Communists Passed by House, 319 to 58". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  28. ^ "Escape by Czech Airmen". The Advertiser. Adelaide: p. 1. May 21, 1948. 
  29. ^ "Books Published Today". The New York Times: p. 25. May 19, 1948. 
  30. ^ Sullivan, Walter (May 21, 1948). "Count Bernadotte of Sweden To Be Mediator in Palestine". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  31. ^ "Britain and Brazil Sign Trade Treaty". The New York Times: p. 5. May 22, 1948. 
  32. ^ "Meat Workers End Strike Today; Return to 3 Major Plants Today". The New York Times: p. 1. May 22, 1948. 
  33. ^ "Surgeons Warned by Pius". The New York Times: p. 16. May 22, 1948. 
  34. ^ Browne, Mallory (May 23, 1948). "Compromise Wins". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  35. ^ "No. 1 Red Is Ousted By Finnish Cabinet". The New York Times: p. 1. May 23, 1948. 
  36. ^ "Hungarian Primate Concurs". The New York Times: p. 9. May 24, 1948. 
  37. ^ Hmailton, Thomas J. (May 25, 1948). "Soviet Uses U.N. Double Veto To Bar Study of Czech Group". The New York Times: p. 1, 10. 
  38. ^ "GM Raises Wages 11c An Hour, Ties Pay to Living Cost". The New York Times: p. 1, 21. May 26, 1948. 
  39. ^ Hamilton, Thomas J. (May 27, 1948). "Conditions Asked". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  40. ^ Tower, Samuel A. (May 28, 1948). "Truman and Congress Rush 'Voice' Broadcast Inquiries". The New York Times: p. 1, 8-9. 
  41. ^ "Many Inquiries Launched Into U.S. Broadcasts". San Bernardino Sun: p. 2. May 28, 1948. 
  42. ^ Archambault, G. H. (May 29, 1948). "Smuts Resigns, Leaves Public Life; Nationalist Asked to Form Cabinet". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  43. ^ Ruch, Walter W. (May 29, 1948). "Chrysler Walkout Ended by 13c Raise". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  44. ^ Browne, Mallory (May 30, 1948). "U. N. Asks a 4-Week Truce, Palestine Arms Embargo; Sanctions Are Threatened". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  45. ^ "Camphor Explosion Kills 11". The New York Times: p. 8. May 30, 1948. 
  46. ^ "Formosa Death Toll Raised". The New York Times: p. 8. May 31, 1948. 
  47. ^ White, William S. (May 30, 1948). "Wallace Assails Red-Control Bill As War-Mongering". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  48. ^ Schumach, Murray (May 30, 1948). "'Oklahoma!' Ends Broadway Run With 2,500% Net on Investment". The New York Times: p. 36. 
  49. ^ "Pope Backs Fight on Budapest Reds". The New York Times: p. 6. May 31, 1948. 
  50. ^ Johnston, Richard J. H. (June 1, 1948). "Rhee Claims Rule for All Korea, But Wants U. S. Troops to Remain". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  51. ^ Schnabel, James F. (1990). United States Army in the Korean War, Policy and Direction: The First Year. Washington: Center of Military History. p. 26-27. ISBN 9780160882340. 
  52. ^ Matthews, Herbert L. (June 1, 1948). "Six Powers Agree on West Germany". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  53. ^ Yust, Walter, ed. (1949). 1949 Britannica Book of the Year. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. p. 8. 
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