Portal:1950s

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The 1950s (pronounced nineteen-fifties; commonly abbreviated as the '50s or Fifties) was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1950, and ended on December 31, 1959.

By its end, the world had largely recovered from World War II and the Cold War developed from its modest beginning in the late-1940s to a hot competition between the United States and the Soviet Union by the early-1960s.

Clashes between communism and capitalism dominated the decade, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. The conflicts included the Korean War in the beginnings of the decade and the beginning of the Space Race with the launch of Sputnik 1. Along with increased testing of nuclear weapons (such as RDS-37 and Upshot–Knothole), this created a politically conservative climate. In the United States, the Second Red Scare caused Congressional hearings by both houses in Congress and anti-communism was the prevailing sentiment in the United States throughout the decade. The beginning of decolonization in Africa and Asia took place in this decade and accelerated in the following decade.

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Hurricane Hazel -- debris.jpg
Hurricane Hazel was the deadliest and costliest hurricane of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane killed as many as 1,000 people in Haiti before striking the United States near the border between North and South Carolina, as a Category 4 hurricane. After causing 95 fatalities in the US, Hazel struck Canada as an extratropical storm. As a result of its damaging effects and high death toll, its name was retired and will never again be used for a hurricane in the North Atlantic basin. The effects of Hurricane Hazel in Canada included C$137,552,400 ($1,126,947,163 in 2009) in damages and 81 deaths. Hazel, the deadliest and costliest storm of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as one of the deadliest and costliest storms of the 20th century, reached Toronto, Ontario by the evening of October 15, 1954.


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Publicity photo of the I Love Lucy cast
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I Love Lucy is a landmark American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley that ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, on CBS. I Love Lucy was the most watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings (an accomplishment later matched only by The Andy Griffith Show in 1968 and Seinfeld in 1998). The show is still syndicated in dozens of languages across the world and remains popular with an American audience of 40 million each year. I Love Lucy is often regarded as one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms in history.

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Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev in Vienna
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (15 April 1894 – 11 September 1971) was a Soviet statesman who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the early Soviet space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev's party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

Stalin's death in 1953 triggered a power struggle, from which Khrushchev ultimately emerged victorious. On 25 February 1956, at the 20th Party Congress, he delivered the "Secret Speech", which denounced Stalin's purges and ushered in a less repressive era in the Soviet Union. His domestic policies, aimed at bettering the lives of ordinary citizens, were often ineffective, especially in agriculture. Hoping eventually to rely on missiles for national defense, Khrushchev ordered major cuts in conventional forces. Despite the cuts, Khrushchev's rule saw the most tense years of the Cold War, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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