Portal:1950s

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1950s portal

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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The flag, with a hole where the communist coat of arms had been cut out, became the symbol of the revolution.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Neo-Stalinist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. It began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building. The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. Thousands organized into militias, battling the State police force and Soviet troops. The new government formally disbanded the State police force, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest using artillery and air strikes, killing thousands of civilians. Organized resistance ceased by 10 November 1956, and mass arrests began. An estimated 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. By January 1957 the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. Soviet actions alienated many Western Marxists, yet strengthened Soviet control over Eastern Europe, cultivating the perception that communism was both irreversible and monolithic. Public discussion about this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for over 30 years, but since the thaw of the 1980s it has been a subject of intense study and debate.


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Зим газ-12.JPG
Credit: Sergey Korovkin 84

GAZ M12 ZIM, manufactered and sold between 1950–1960.

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Photo of Marilyn Monroe from the November 1953 issue of Modern Screen
Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress, model, and singer. Famous for playing comic "blonde bombshell" characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and was emblematic of the era's attitudes towards sexuality. Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962 (equivalent to $2 billion in 2017). More than half a century later, she continues to be a major popular culture icon.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Monroe spent most of her childhood in foster homes and an orphanage and married at the age of sixteen. While working in a radioplane factory in 1944 as part of the war effort, she was introduced to a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit and began a successful pin-up modeling career. The work led to short-lived film contracts with Twentieth Century-Fox (1946–1947) and Columbia Pictures (1948). After a series of minor film roles, she signed a new contract with Fox in 1951. Over the next two years, she became a popular actress and had roles in several comedies, including As Young as You Feel and Monkey Business, and in the dramas Clash by Night and Don't Bother to Knock. Monroe faced a scandal when it was revealed that she had posed for nude photos before she became a star, but the story did not tarnish her career and instead resulted in increased interest in her films. By 1953, Monroe was one of the most marketable Hollywood stars; she had leading roles in the noir film Niagara, which focused on her sex appeal, and the comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, which established her star image as a "dumb blonde". Although she played a significant role in the creation and management of her public image throughout her career, she was disappointed when she was typecast and underpaid by the studio. She was briefly suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project but returned to star in one of the biggest box office successes of her career, The Seven Year Itch (1955).

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