Notes from the late 1940s

1945    President Truman orders reduction in military - “bring the boys home.” Number of troops reduced from 12,000,000 to 3,000,000


1945   First veterans benefit from the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (G.I. Bill) – provides funds for college education, loans for buying a home, or loans for starting a business.


1945    United Nations formed - 50 countries met in san Francisco to build world wide  peace organization.


1945    U.S. funds begin the rebuilding of Japan. General Douglas MacArthur oversees rebuilding process.


1946    Winston Churchill speaks at a college in Fulton, Missouri. In his speech he tells of an “Iron Curtain” descending on Europe. A division between free Europe and Communist Europe.


1946    Philippines gain complete independence from U.S. - July 4th 1946.


1946    Nuremberg Trials begin - Nazi war criminals put on trial – 12 are executed.


1946    United Nations establishes permanent home in New York City.


1946-47 The N.B.A. plays its first season. Only two teams from the original 11 are still in existence - The Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.


1947    Marshall plan (European recovery plan) unveiled – Congress appropriates $6,000,000,000 for the rebuilding of Europe.


1947    Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager breaks sound barrier. In a jet plane he exceeds 700 mph at 43,000 feet.


1947    Jackie Robinson becomes first African-American in major league baseball. Signed by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey.


1947    Congress establishes H.U.A.C. ( House Un-American Activities Committee) to investigate communist activities in our country – including the government.


1947    Baseball World Series televised for the first time. Number of television sets in the U.S. 1947 – 7,000      1950 – 4,400,000    by 1956 – 20,000 sets sold each day.


1948    State of Israel formed in the middle Eastern region of Palestine - tension between Arabs & Jews continue - US ambassador Ralph Bunche wins Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts - First African-American to win this award.


1948    Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orders blockade of Berlin. Blockade will last for 321 days before Stalin lifts the order. Communist governments are set up in Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany.


1948     Richard and Maurice McDonald open “fast food” restaurant in San Bernardino, California  - Hamburger 15 cents, French Fries 10 cents, and Milkshakes, 25 cents


1948    Babe Ruth Dies of cancer at the age of 53.


1948    7 Japanese officials hanged for war crimes in WWII.


1948    Harry Truman defeats Thomas Dewey in close Presidential Election. Truman gets just over 50% of the popular vote. Electoral votes – Truman 303, Dewey 189.


1947-48  What’s New?  Scrabble, Silly Putty, cake mixes in a box, Roller Derby, Pizza Parlors, Honda Motorcycles, Dial Soap, Baskin Robbins, Nestles Quik, Michelin Radial Tires.


1949    China Becomes Communist under the leadership of Mao Zedong.


1949    North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established - a mutual defense system.


1949    Soviet Union detonates their first atomic bomb.


1950    Official census shows U.S. population at 150,000,000.


1950    George Mikan (former DePaul University all-American) and the Minneapolis Lakers win their first NBA championship.


1950    U.S.A. & UN back South Korea following communist invasion - 60,000 reservists called up to active duty.


1950    Korean War involves many nations - General Douglas MacArthur & UN troops push Communists back toward the northern border. Most of the UN troops are from U.S. and South Korea.


1950    “Peanuts” comic strip, featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, & Linus, makes its debut on October 2nd.