10/1/1951 – A slight easing of winter conditions allows McArthur’s exceptional circumstances to occur. A tidal wave of Chinese armour and manpower hits the allied front as more than 5 million Chinese enter the war. Over the next week, the allies are pushed back more than 100 kilometres.
2/2/1951 – The Allies manage to slow the Chinese and North Korean advance, but the push southwards is relentless. Prime Minister Menzies gives permission for everything short of nuclear weapons to be used against the communist forces.
14/3/1951 – Australia, America and Germany have mobilised every technological advantage against the communist armies. Australian jet fighters have destroyed the Chinese Air Force, American and Australian B-52’s have obliterated the communist supply routes, and Australian warships have launched cruise missiles against supply stores and infrastructure. German, Australian and US fighter bombers relentlessly pound the communist frontline troops with Napalm and white phosphorous.
3/4/1951 – The communist advance is finally stopped in a line running from just south-west of the 38th parallel to just north-east of it. Both sides begin to dig in as stalemate starts to develop.
15/5/1951 – Savage human wave assaults by China and North Korea fail to move the front line by more than a few kilometres. However, counterattacks by the technologically superior Allies are no more successful.
18/6/1951 – The heads of government of the three nuclear powers – the USA, Australia and Germany – meet with General McArthur in Guam. McArthur urges the politicians to consider the use of nuclear weapons to force China to withdraw from the war. Without China, North Korea would have to surrender as well. While President Eisenhower decides to mull over the decision, Prime Minister Menzies and Chancellor Adenauer reject the idea outright. “There have to be options that don’t involve the incineration of millions of civilians”, states Menzies.
20/7/1951 – The German Kaiser Wilhelm III dies in Berlin at the age of 69. He is buried in a lavish ceremony after an official 30-day period of mourning. His son takes the throne as Frederick IV.
4/8/1951 – The Allies decide to ask Russia for help in mediating a possible end to the war in Korea. Krushchev agrees to try, but makes no firm promises. He sends invitations to Mao and Kim Il-Sung to meet in Moscow. Both leaders accept.
19/9/1951 – Krushchev announces that talks on the war would begin in Moscow in the following month. The war is now in a firm stalemate with Allied technical superiority failing to overcome Chinese and North Korean manpower.
22/10/1951 – After some delays, the talks in Russia finally begin. The communists, who are launching the majority of attacks are losing on average 1000 men a day killed and twice that number wounded. Daily allied losses are about 300 killed and 850 wounded. The lower allied death to wounded ration is mainly due to superior medical facilities including the introduction of Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals or MASH’s.
17/11/1951 – The left wing of the Australian Labour Party announces a split from the main body to form a separate party called the Democratic Labour Party. The consequences for the main Labour Party will be disastrous.
10/12/1951 – Germany and America use jet fighters for the first time. The United States unveils the F-14 Tomcat while Germany’s newest aircraft is called the Me 262. France unveils its first jet fighter, the Mirage 1, in an air attack on Viet Minh bases in northern Vietnam. Britain and Austria decided to not re-invent the wheel, but purchase the new planes from the US, Australia and Germany.
28/1/1952 – President Eisenhower uses the State of the Union Address to announce that he will run for another term as President. The Address is the first State of the Union to be televised. Nearly half of all American households have a television with a choice of four channels – ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS - that they can watch. The new medium has spread to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and a number of Asian, African and South American countries as well. Most countries have two or three channels.
11/2/1952 – Australia’s wartime Prime Minister John Curtin dies of a stroke and is buried with a full State funeral. Two days later, Labour leader Ben Chifley retires due to cancer and is succeeded by Arthur Calwell.
24/3/1952 – The space age officially begins when Australia shoots a satellite into orbit. The satellite is launched from their Woomera Space Base and stays in orbit for 14 days before burning up in the atmosphere on re-entry.
28/4/1952 – The Americans enter the space age by launching a satellite of their own. This satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida and its trip lasts for more than a month. Both Nations now work on trying to keep satellites in orbit permanently.
2/5/1952 – King Edward’s younger brother George, Duke of York, dies from throat cancer. Since the nearly 58-year-old Edward VIII is childless, George’s oldest daughter Elizabeth becomes the heir to the throne.
30/6/1952 – Australia shoots a small, unmanned probe at the moon with the aim of landing it there. The probe misses by 2000 kilometres but sends back detailed pictures of Earth’s natural satellite.
29/7/1952 – Only months after retiring, Australia’s former and wildly popular Opposition leader Ben Chifley dies from lung cancer.
18/8/1952 – President Eisenhower is officially confirmed as the Republican Party’s candidate for President. The Democrats endorse Adlai Stevenson to oppose him.
20/9/1952 – A year after they have begun, negotiations to end the war in Korea seem to be going nowhere. Krushchev, who is hosting the talks, warns that he is not prepared to mediate forever and will set a deadline if there is no progress soon.
5/10/1952 – Former president Calvin Coolidge dies aged 80. This leaves Herbert Hoover as the only ex-President still alive.
4/11/1952 – President Eisenhower is elected to his second term after thrashing Adlai Stevenson by 442-89 in the Electoral College.
23/12/1952 – Firebrand Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy gives a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia where he alleges that 205 employees of the State Department are known communists. With the Korean War being more than 2 years old, this is a concern and the US Congress sets up a committee to investigate the claim.
20/1/1953 – President Eisenhower and Vice-President Nixon are sworn in for their 2nd terms.
1/2/1953 – Nikita Krushchev, fed up with the recalcitrance of the Communist and Allied negotiators at the Korean peace talks, uses a speech to his parliament to give the negotiators 6 months to solve the conflict. He becomes so agitated that he takes off his shoe and bangs it on the podium, to the cheers of the other Members.
12/3/1953 – Nearly 50 years after oil is found in Iran, American and British companies find oil in Saudi Arabia. Over the next few months, more oil is found in Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.
6/4/1953 – China and North Korea launch a major offensive to try to bring the war to a military conclusion. The offensive lasts three weeks and then collapses with heavy loss of life on the communist side in particular. The communists decide to stop all offensives and step up negotiations.
22/5/1953 – Peace talks in Moscow are starting to make slow, but steady progress, with the major sticking points relating to the exchange of prisoners. Khrushchev agrees to extend the deadline until the end of the year.
30/6/1953 – Negotiations in Moscow are now making rapid progress, as both sides are weary of the war. It is announced that and end to the Korean War is not far off.
27/7/1953 – A ceasefire comes into effect in Korea. The result of the war is a stalemate, with the new border and a demilitarised zone being established along the frontline. North Korea stays communist under the leadership of Kim Il-Sung, while South Korea stays democratic under the leadership of Syngman Rhee. The war has cost the lives of 380,000 North Korean and 114,000 Chinese troops. South Korea has suffered 227,000 dead, the US has lost 36,940 men, Germany 8142, Austria 5455, Australia 3746, Britain 1078, and about 10,000 soldiers from other nations have also died. Nearly 1,000,000 civilians on both sides have also lost their lives.
31/8/1953 – The migration of Palestinian Arabs from Israel to the largely Palestinian occupied territories of the West Bank (which is part of Jordan) and Gaza Strip (part of Egypt) is virtually complete. About 1,000,000 Arabs live in the two areas while only about 40,000 remain in Israel proper. Israel’s Jewish population has risen to 3.5 million.
29/9/1953 – The Tydings Committee, set up to investigate communist sympathisers in the US State department, finds that Joseph McCarthy’s accusations were mostly groundless and that there is no proof that anyone named by him is a communist or communist sympathiser. McCarthy’s credibility suffers a serious blow, but he calls the committee report a whitewash and vows to continue “exposing the red menace wherever it exists”.
19/10/1953 – After nationalising Iran’s oil reserves two years earlier, the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh is overthrown in a CIA-led coup which restores an absolute monarchy to the country.
20/11/1953 – Australia’s Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, is re-elected to a second term. His coalition government wins the election by six seats over Arthur Calwell’s Labour Party.
31/12/1953 – Investment by British, Dutch and American oil companies in Arab countries begins to make itself felt as the economies of the countries improve. All Arab countries are absolute monarchies and Islamic theocracies, and they start to use the incoming money to arm themselves. The exception is Jordan, which has little oil and has to rely on trading other goods with its oil-rich neighbours. Israel, which is surrounded by potential enemies, also starts to arm itself.
5/1/1954 – The last occupying forces from World War 2 leave Japan as its transition to a parliamentary democracy is complete. Only an American Army base on Okinawa remains.
1/2/1954 – Hawaii is admitted to the US as the 49th State of the Union.
1/3/1954 – Alaska follows Hawaii into the US as it is admitted as the 50th State of the Union.
4/4/1954 – Dwight D. Eisenhower gives his "domino theory" speech during a news conference. The domino theory speculates that if one land in a region (e.g. Vietnam) came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries (e.g. Laos, Cambodia, Thailand) would follow in a domino effect.
1/5/1954 – The Palestinians on the West Bank and in the Gaza strip form three separate organisations for the purpose of reclaiming their territory from Israel. The three organisations are the mostly secular Palestinian Liberation organisation or PLO, the moderately Islamic Hamas group and the radically Muslim Islamic Jihad. The three organisations have the same overall goal – the ultimate destruction of Israel - but spend the first few months fighting each other for control. King Hussein of Jordan and the newly elected President Nasser of Egypt do nothing to prevent the establishment of these organisations or to stop them from fighting each other.
12/6/1954 – A major communist uprising begins on the three major Indonesian islands of Java, Sumatra and Borneo. The Indonesian president Sukarno asks Western nations for help. Weary of being sucked into another Asian quagmire, the only help that is given from western nations is material help from Australia and New Zealand. No foreign troops are sent.
8/7/1954 – After initial setbacks, the Indonesian military gains the upper hand over communist rebels and begins a campaign of merciless retribution and suppression. By the end of the year more than 300,000 people have died and the Communists cease to exist as a political movement in Indonesia. The price for this is a virtual military dictatorship headed by Sukarno.
13/8/1954 – Viet Minh forces isolate a large part of the French army in French Indochina on an airbase called Dien Bien Phu. More than 48,000 Vietnamese communists besiege roughly 10,800 French troops. Both sides realise that the outcome of this battle will most likely determine the outcome of the 8-year conflict.
13/9/1954 – After a month of fighting, about half of the airbase is in Viet Minh hands at a cost of some 5000 Vietnamese and 1000 French lives. The French are constantly being reinforced but weight of numbers is beginning to tell. Most French civilians in the colony are starting to pack their bags.
7/10/1954 – The siege of Dien Bien Phu ends as Viet Minh forces overrun what is left of the airbase. About 10,000 French troops are taken prisoner. 2,293 French have been killed and another 5,195 wounded. The Vietnamese have suffered nearly 8,000 deaths and 15,000 wounded. The US and Switzerland broker talks in Geneva to decide the future of the colony. Overall, the conflict has cost 94,000 French and 300,000 Viet Minh lives.
21/11/1954 – A conference in Geneva splits French Indochina into four parts – the Kingdom of Cambodia, the communist controlled People’s Republic of Laos, the communist controlled Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Vietnam, and the Republic of South Vietnam under the leadership of the US-appointed Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem.
22/12/1954 - The division of Vietnam is meant to be temporary until elections scheduled for 1956 clarify under which system Vietnam is to be ruled. Negotiations on these elections run into difficulty when the South Vietnamese delegation walks out on the talks.
1/1/1955 – Britain’s African colonies of Ghana and Nigeria gain independence, as do the former German colonies of Namibia and Mozambique.
2/2/1955 – Having just extracted itself from one colonial war, France becomes embroiled in a second one, this time in Algeria. Islamic militants in the oil-rich colony launch guerrilla attacks against French institutions and civilians.
19/3/1955 – After several failed attempts over the past few years, Australia manages to shoot a satellite into orbit and keep it there. The satellite, called “Hermes” stays in a stationary orbit above Australia for 20 years and is used for telecommunications.
20/4/1955 – India’s spiritual leader, Mahatma Ghandi is assassinated by a Hindu fanatic. The assassin is promptly torn apart and burnt by an enraged mob.
20/5/1955 – America shoots its first permanent satellite into space, following the Australian attempt of two months earlier. A successful German-French attempt follows on May 30.
11/6/1955 – Three Palestinians open fire at an Israeli bus stop, killing five civilians before running off. Hamas claims responsibility for the attack.
2/7/1955 – Israel retaliates for the bus stop attack by launching an airborne missile at what it thinks is the car of the Hamas leader. The leader of Hamas is not in the car, however, his wife, three children and two bodyguards are. There are no survivors.
14/8/1955 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill calls an election and announces his retirement from politics as a whole.
29/9/1955 – Winston Churchill’s successor, Anthony Eden, is confirmed as Prime minister by winning the election by a comfortable margin.
12/10/1955 – The United States launches a probe at the moon. The probe makes a soft landing in the Sea of Tranquillity a few days later.
16/11/1955 – The United States sends the first living creature into space – a dog named Laika. Unfortunately the dog dies when it runs out of oxygen before returning to Earth.
8/12/1955 – Australia also sends an animal into space – a chimpanzee named Bluebeard. Bluebeard meets his doom when the capsule’s parachute fails to open on re-entry.
28/1/1956 – Dwight Eisenhower announces that he will not run for another term as President and endorses his Vice-President, Richard Nixon, as the Republican candidate.
25/2/1956 – A combined German-French mission is next to launch an animal into space. A dachshund named Frederick, after the German Emperor, is the unlucky winner. The mission fails when the spacecraft does not go into orbit but floats off into deep space.
22/3/1956 – Emperor Charles III of Austria-Hungary dies of pneumonia aged 68. He is succeeded by his son, 49-year-old Leopold VII.
10/4/1956 – Robert Menzies scores a crushing victory over Arthur Calwell and is elected to his third successive term and fourth overall as Prime Minister. Calwell resigns the Labour Party leadership and is replaced by Herbert Evatt.
14/5/1956 – Kaiser Frederick IV approves a change in the German constitution that extends German parliamentary terms to five years, from the present 3 or 4. The changes take effect in 1960. France and Austria-Hungary implement similar changes, bringing the electoral cycles of all major European Nations – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy and Austria-Hungary - into line.
6/6/1956 – The US, France and Britain announce that an offer to fund the building of Egypt’s Aswan Dam is withdrawn, due to Egypt’s sponsorship of terrorism attacks against Israel.
26/7/1956 – Egyptian President Nasser announces the nationalisation of the Suez Canal, ostensibly to raise funds for the building of the Aswan Dam.
5/8/1956 – British and French paratroopers land at various ports, bridges and other facilities along the canal, and quickly establish control. The action is, however, widely condemned by the United States and other western nations. Saudi Arabia announces an oil embargo against Britain and France which the US refuses to fill.
6/9/1956 – The US, led by Vice-President and Presidential candidate Nixon, brokers a deal in Rome, which enables the withdrawal of British and French troops, the reopening of the Canal and a contingent of Danish, Canadian and New Zealand forces and officials to facilitate any disputes. The crisis is seen as a victory for Nasser and greatly enhances his standing in the Arab world.
4/10/1956 – The Danish, Canadian and New Zealand forces take up their stations as the Rome agreement comes into effect.
2/11/1956 – Largely due to his role in resolving the Suez crisis, Richard Nixon wins the presidential election over Adlai Stevenson in a landslide. The Electoral College vote is 457-74 and Stevenson only wins 7 of the 50 States. The Republicans also win control of both Houses of Congress, albeit by small margins.
8/12/1956 – The terror campaign against Israel continues as a car bomb explodes outside a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing 10 people. In retaliation, Israel annihilates a Gaza TV station killing more than 50 employees.
20/1/1957 – Richard Nixon is sworn in as the 33rd President of the United States. His Vice-President is the firebrand senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy.
6/2/1957 – A rigged election in Cuba removes the minority Communist Party from parliament and entrenches President Batista in power. The Communist Party under Fidel Castro refuses to accept the result and takes to the hills to start guerrilla warfare.
9/3/1957 – China’s Five-Year plan designed to transform the country from an agrarian economy dominated by peasant farming, into a modern, industrialised communist society is announced. Mao dubs it the “Great Leap Forward”. The hope is to industrialise by making use of the massive supply of cheap labour and avoid having to import heavy machinery. To achieve this Mao advocates a further round of collectivisation in the Chinese countryside where already existing small collectives are merged into huge People's communes containing an average of 5000 households each. Mao sees grain and steel production as the key pillars of economic development and encourages the establishment of small backyard steel furnaces in every commune and in each urban neighbourhood.
15/4/1957 – As Vice-President and therefore President of the Senate, Joseph McCarthy manages to snare himself a seat on the Permanent Senate Subcommittee of Investigations charged with investigating matters of Homeland Security. It is the perfect vehicle for McCarthy to push his anti-communist agenda and over the next 2 years will hold 169 hearings, calling 653 witnesses of which 83 will refuse to answer questions about espionage and subversive activities on constitutional grounds and whose names will therefore be made public.
26/5/1957 – Ministers from the Benelux countries as well as Germany, Austria-Hungary, France and Italy meet in Rome to discuss the formation of a European trading block. Britain is invited but does not attend.
19/6/1957 – Is the planet Venus a twin of Earth, with conditions suitable for life? The Germans and French send the first interplanetary probe to try and find out.
21/7/1957 – Australia sends another chimpanzee, named Goliath, into space. Everything goes smoothly and Goliath returns unharmed. He spends the rest of his life in luxury.
8/8/1957 – Britain announces that a raft of its sub-Saharan colonies will achieve independence on January 1, 1958. France is embroiled in a colonial war in Algeria, and therefore far less magnanimous.
15/9/1957 – David Ben-Gurion is elected to his second stint as Prime Minister of Israel, after a two-year period out of office.
30/10/1957 – A car bomb explodes outside the New Zealand embassy in Tel Aviv. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility stating that the bomb is a protest against New Zealand’s presence at the Suez Canal. New Zealand Prime Minister Walter Nash calls in the ambassador of Egypt (where Islamic Jihad is based) and personally hauls him over the coals.
2/11/1957 - New Zealand Prime Minister Walter Nash, clearly still pissed at the embassy bombing, calls the blast an act of barbarism, lodges a strong protest with Egypt and warns that any further such events will be considered an act of war by the country that harbours the terrorist organisation.
20/12/1957 – After a six-month journey, the German-French Venus probe reaches its destination. It plunges into the planets atmosphere and is squashed like a bug roughly 3000 metres above the surface. “Clearly, the planet is not suitable for life”, says a German astronomer, “we will try again.”
1/1/1958 – A host of British, Belgian and Portuguese colonies in sub-Saharan Africa gain independence from their former European masters. The countries include Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, Angola and Rhodesia whose northern half is split off into Black-governed Zambia and whose southern half stays White-ruled Rhodesia. The only European colonial power left in Africa is France, which shows no sign of wanting to relinquish its colonies.
22/2/1958 – A group of 100 Palestinian terrorists from Islamic Jihad and Hamas attack a contingent of 30 New Zealand soldiers on the Suez Canal. After a vicious 4-hour gun battle, the New Zealanders are rescued by Danish and Canadian troops. Two New Zealanders are dead and 19 wounded, while the Palestinians suffer 46 dead and 36 wounded.
5/3/1958 - Only swift action in the form of a crackdown by Egypt on Hamas and Islamic Jihad prevents a serious escalation of the conflict with New Zealand. A number of the leaders of the two organisations are imprisoned or executed, but New Zealand announces its withdrawal from the Suez Security Force. Norway and Sweden offer to send their troops as replacements.
14/4/1958 – When black seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to move to the back of the bus in Birmingham, Alabama, she is thrown bodily off the bus by the driver and some white passengers. She lands awkwardly on the pavement and breaks her neck. Her death causes a week-long race riot which results in the drivers lynching and 77 other, mostly white, deaths. President Nixon has to send in the army to restore order.
26/5/1958 – A Buddhist monk publicly burns himself to death in Saigon, South Vietnam. It is in protest at the corrupt regime of Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem and his ongoing refusal to hold elections.
18/6/1958 – The first human in space is Australian Charles Ulm, who blasts off from Woomera Space Station in South Australia. He soars to 500 kilometres above the Earth’s surface and stays in space for more than an hour before landing safely in the West Australian desert. A few days later he receives a tickertape parade in Sydney.
24/7/1958 – The US Supreme Court overturns the practise of segregation in a court case involving the right of black school students to attend predominately white High Schools.
12/8/1958 – Cuban revolutionaries under Fidel Castro win a major battle against Batista’s government forces. The revolutionaries control the eastern half of the country and a significant amount of the countryside in the rest of the island.
4/9/1958 – When a group of black High School students attempt to commence classes at a white High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, they are blocked by State Police and white civilians. The following day President Nixon has to use Military Police to ensure the black students get to class. More than 50 whites, including the Arkansas governor are arrested in violent demonstrations.
19/10/1958 – A second Australian, Bert Hinkler, blasts off from Woomera. He is the first human to reach orbit and orbits the Earth 17 times in just over 26 hours.
30/11/1958 – Cuban revolutionaries annihilate a Government regiment near Havana, causing panic to spread to the city. Batista’s government is beginning to disintegrate.
2/12/1958 – Vice-President McCarthy urges his boss to send American units to Cuba in order to help the Batista regime stay in power. Nixon, distracted by civil rights problems and slumping polls at home, refuses, saying he will not interfere in Cuba’s internal affairs.
2/1/1959 – The last of Batista’s forces surrender to Fidel Castro’s revolutionaries in Havana. Batista makes it to his yacht and flees to the Bahamas and then to the United States, which grants him asylum. Castro implements communist rule in Cuba beginning with the nationalisation of every private enterprise in the country.
12/2/1959 – Thousands of foreigners, mainly Americans, and Cuban supporters of Batista flee the island as Communist rule begins to take effect.
10/3/1959 – Two years after being implemented, China’s “Great Leap Forward” is proving to be an economic and social disaster. The enthusiasm of the Chinese for making steel in backyard furnaces has resulted in no labour for the agricultural sector with resulting food shortages causing a famine that has claimed a staggering 15 million lives. To add insult to injury, the steel is of such poor quality as to be useless. The policy is quietly abandoned, with Mao blaming “counter-revolutionaries” for its failure and using the opportunity rid himself of any rivals.
17/4/1959 – In the wake of the Cuban debacle, President Nixon sacks Secretary of State Christian Herter and replaces him with 71-year-old John Foster Dulles who embarks on his second stint in the post, having served President Eisenhower throughout his Presidency.
28/5/1959 – King Victor Emanuel III of Italy dies at the age of 89. He is succeeded by his son Umberto II.
4/6/1959 – American Alan Shepard is the first American in space when he blasts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. He reaches a height of 300 kilometres and spends a few hours in space before landing safely in the Gulf of Mexico.
14/7/1959 – After 18 months of testing, the Germans and French send a second probe to Earth’s neighbour, Venus.
5/8/1959 – John Glenn becomes the second American to travel into space and the first to orbit the Earth. His trip last 48 hours and he circles the planet 20 times during this time.
9/9/1959 – After two years of negotiations Italy’s new king Umberto II announces the signing of the Treaty of Rome. The treaty will found a trading block called the European Economic Community or EEC composed of Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Tariffs will be abolished, multi-country companies are allowed and citizens of the member states will be allowed to travel and work in any other member state without a special visa or permit.
23/10/1959 – Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies wins his fourth election in a row, against Herbert Evatt of the Labour Party.
28/11/1959 – The hard drinking US Vice-President Joseph McCarthy dies of liver failure in his home state of Wisconsin.
6/12/1959 – A day after McCarthy’s funeral, President Nixon announces Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut will be the new Vice-President and his running mate for the 1960 election.
1/1/1960 – The European Economic Community comes into existence as the Treaty of Rome takes effect.
17/2/1960 – After a seven-month trip, the German-French probe to Venus reaches its destination. This time it reaches the planet’s surface and takes measurements of the atmosphere, temperature and surface before it is crushed by the atmospheric pressure.
8/3/1960 – In a series of primaries known as Super Tuesday, Senator and former vice-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy virtually wraps up the Democratic nomination for president. Republican President Nixon and Vice-President Bush are running unopposed.
13/4/1960 – Long-serving German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer retires at the election and is replaced by Ludwig Erhard when the conservative CDU retains power.
21/5/1960 – A long-running communist insurgency in Malaya ends with the defeat and annihilation of rebel forces by Australian and Malayan troops.
11/6/1960 – Elections in Austria-Hungary and Italy bring Social Democrats to power in both countries.
23/7/1960 – President Nixon vetoes a bill to establish a national system of highways, saying it is too expensive and that roads are a State responsibility.
19/8/1960 – After 15 years in power, Nikita Khrushchev of the Socialist Party is replaced by Leonid Brezhnev of the Nationalist Party.
27/9/1960 – Singapore and Malaya announce an amicable divorce, effective from January 1, 1961. Malaya announces that it will change its name to Malaysia on that date.
3/10/1960 – Charles de Gaulle replaces Rene Coty as President of France, while Anthony Eden, still tainted by the Suez Crisis in 1956 is voted out of office when the Labour Party under Harold Wilson is victorious.
8/11/1960 – Democrat John F. Kennedy defeats incumbent President Richard Nixon by an Electoral College margin of 303-234. The national popular vote margin is a lot closer with Kennedy carrying 11 states by three percentage points or less, while Nixon wins 5 states by the same margin.
10/12/1960 – The French Congo wins independence from its colonial master, the first French African colony to do so. It changes its name to Central African Republic on January 1.
20/1/1961 – John F. Kennedy is sworn in as the 34th President of the United States. In his inaugural address he urges the American people to “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.
1/2/1961 – In his first State of the Union address, President Kennedy issues the challenge that America should “before this decade is out, put a man on the moon, and return him safely to earth”.
4/3/1961 – Britain begins negotiations with the EEC with a view of joining the Organisation.
16/4/1961 – President Kennedy signs the national highways bill vetoed by Richard Nixon the previous year. “I see nothing wrong in helping to facilitate interstate commerce”, he states.
8/5/1961 – A delegation of Cuban exiles asks the Kennedy administration for help in launching an invasion of Cuba to overthrow Castro. They are sent home with a flea in their ear. Kennedy is not pleased with a communist country on America’s doorstep, but rejects a military invasion as the solution to this problem.
22/6/1961 – British Prime Minister Wilson asks his Australian counterpart for an opinion on joining the EEC. Menzies, fearing the loss of Australia’s biggest trading partner, advises Wilson against joining the Community.
28/7/1961 – Russia’s economy since World War 2 has steadily improved on the back of its manufacturing sector, especially weapons manufacturing. The main export market for these arms has been China, but supply is beginning to exceed demand. Tsar Feodor IV writes to the governments of Britain, France, Germany and Austria-Hungary, asking them to approve the formation of a small “self-defence” force which can absorb excess weapons stock. The answer is a flat refusal from all four nations, so Russia sets up a paramilitary force of around 100,000 men, which is tolerated by the NATO powers.
2/8/1961 – Russia asks China for assistance in procuring more customers for its weapons. Soon thereafter, orders from Cuba, Egypt, North Korea, North Vietnam, Pakistan, Central Asia and other nations pour in.
12/9/1961 – With Britain’s entry into the EEC almost inevitable, Australia begins to cast around for new trading partners in the region.
24/10/1961 – The first major multi-country European company is established as a result of the easier EEC rules. The company is an aircraft manufacturer called Airbus, based in Hamburg, Germany and Toulouse, France.
10/11/1961 – Prime Minister Wilson announces that Britain will join the EEC from January 1, 1962. “We should have joined two years ago”, Wilson says.
5/12/1961 – The US Government begins Congressional hearings into organised crime. The hearings are led by Attorney-General Robert F. Kennedy, the younger brother of the President.
10/1/1962 – Australian Aviation’s transition to the jet age is completed as the last long- and medium-range turboprops owned by Qantas and the domestic airlines are replaced by Boeing 707’s, Boeing 727’s and Convair 880’s and 990’s.
16/2/1962 – Russian Prime Minister Brezhnev invites representatives from Poland and the Balkan States to Moscow to discuss a free-trade agreement.
30/3/1962 – Robert Menzies wins his fifth election in a row, defeating the Australian Labour Party by a comfortable margin. Menzies is already the longest serving Prime Minister in history and gives no indication that he wishes to retire. The ALP and the breakaway Democratic Labour Party begin serious negotiations for reunification.
18/4/1962 – Albert Einstein, author of the theory of relativity, dies in Princeton, New Jersey, aged 83. He is given a State funeral.
11/5/1962 – A private expeditionary force of 1511 Cuban exiles attempt a landing at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Their aim is to provoke a popular uprising against Fidel Castro’s government. However, Castro has advance warning through his spies in the US and the invaders are met by the full force of the Cuban military. Only 49 of the exiles are captured, the rest are killed. Cuban deaths amount to 2634, with 5689 injured. President Kennedy is furious at the invasion but nevertheless demands the return of the captured exiles.
4/6/1962 – The world’s most famous actress, Marilyn Monroe, dies in Los Angeles from a suspected drug overdose. She is not given a State funeral.
9/7/1962 – A US spy plane snaps pictures of what look like missiles stationed in central Cuba. President Kennedy orders the CIA to investigate further, while repeating his demand that the Cuban exiles captured in the Bay of Pigs invasion be returned.
13/8/1962 – Castro responds to Kennedy’s demand by executing the 49 exiles, some of them severely wounded, as part of his (Castro’s) 36th birthday celebrations. It takes Kennedy three days to calm down, but there is no immediate reaction from the US.
23/9/1962 – The CIA reports that the missiles that were photographed in July are Chinese-made chemical weapons capable of reaching major cities in the American South.
1/10/1962 – Overnight, a major US airstrike carried out by B-52 bombers hits the Cuban missile sites. This is followed 24 hours later by another airstrike that wallops any sites that the first strike missed, as well as suspicious factories, and transport and communication links.
3/10/1962 – President Kennedy announces that a blockade of Cuba is in place. Any ship approaching Cuban ports will be searched and turned back if they are carrying weapons or anything that can be used to make weapons. No Cuban exports are permitted and travel by US Citizens or from US soil to the island is prohibited.
4/11/1962 – Former President and Vice-President Richard Nixon is elected Governor of California. Despite his assurances, nobody believes that his ambitions end there.
15/12/1962 – The US Navy intercepts a ship trying to run the Cuban blockade. On board, the US authorities discover more Chinese-made missile parts. President Kennedy announces that any further attempts by China to bring missiles to Cuba or any other Central or South American country will be seen as an act of aggression against the United States. Kennedy warns that the consequences would be “severe”.
10/1/1963 – After two years of testing, the contraceptive pill hits the market in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe. It revolutionises the way in which women see themselves and their role in society.
16/2/1963 – President de Gaulle of France announces that the war in Algeria is lost. Algeria will gain independence on July 1, along with Morocco and Tunisia. The time lag is to allow proper parliaments to be set up. De Gaulle states that other French African colonies will be granted independence from January 1, 1964. He further announces that only white, non-Muslim residents in the three countries will be allowed to return to France as citizens.
22/3/1963 – The Socialist party in Romania gains power in elections. Its leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, immediately starts to tighten his grip on power by censoring the media, stronger control of security forces and banning, at first, small opposition parties.
11/4/1963 – Two major American crime bosses, one from Chicago and one from New York, are sentenced to death for multiple murder. More than 20 underlings are sentenced to long prison terms. The convictions are seen as major victories by the US Justice Department over the American Mafia.
14/5/1963 – Joachim Marseille, a dual German-French citizen, becomes the first European in space when he is launched into orbit from French Guiana. He spends more than 12 hours in space, orbiting the earth many times before landing safely.
4/6/1963 – On the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death, a New York Times article alleges that the death was murder and hints at connections with the Mafia and the Kennedy’s. President Kennedy refuses to comment before leaving on a tour of Australia, New Zealand and the Far East a few days later.
2/7/1963 – During a speech at the demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea, Kennedy utters one of his most famous quotes “Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis romanus sum [I am a Roman citizen]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'I am Korean'...All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Korea, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words I am Korean!'”. He says the words “I am Korean” in fluent, accent-free Korean.
4/8/1963 – Tens of thousands of French citizens are leaving the newly independent French colonies of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya. Algeria becomes a Islamic Republic, Tunisia a secular Republic, Morocco a Islamic Kingdom and power in Libya is seized by a military strongman, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
20/9/1963 – Morocco offers to purchase the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla for $US15 million, paid for out of the pocket of the Moroccan king. However, after some negotiations, the deal falls through and Franco takes steps to fortify the enclaves from possible attacks.
2/10/1963 – Vietnamese Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated in a coup conducted by the military and aided by the CIA. America has 12,000 military “advisors” in the country and the removal of Diem was meant to stabilise the country by stopping Diem’s autocratic rule and helping the military crush an increasing communist insurgency. The reality would turn out to be much different.
22/11/1963 – President Kennedy narrowly avoids being assassinated while on a visit to Dallas. While driving along in a motorcade a number of shots are fired from a building along the route. One bullet hits Kennedy in the shoulder, another in the arm. The Texas governor, John Connolly, riding in the car alongside Kennedy, is not so lucky. He is hit in the head and dies almost immediately. Kennedy is rushed to hospital in a serious, but not life threatening condition. The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, is arrested an hour later, after shooting a policeman while attempting to escape.
6/12/1963 – While Oswald is being transferred from one jail to another on live television, a nightclub owner named Jack Ruby tries to shoot him. He misses, hitting a policeman instead. Other policemen draw their weapons and gun Jack Ruby down, while Oswald uses the confusion to grab the dead policeman’s gun and tries to shoot his way to freedom. After a vicious 5-minute fire fight beamed into the homes of millions around the world, Oswald, Ruby, three police officers and a television reporter are dead.
6/1/1964 – President Kennedy returns to work full-time, as separate enquiries by the White House, the Justice Department and Congress are underway into the attempted assassination and its aftermath.
1/2/1964 – A Melbourne Cup field of candidates are running for the Republican nomination for President, with Congressman and former Vice-President Prescott Bush and Senator Barry Goldwater the early favourites. A notable absentee is former President and now Governor of California Richard Nixon.
5/3/1964 – The US launches the second phase of its space program with the launch of its Gemini mission. Two astronauts are sent into space. Over the next two years, ten more missions would follow. A week later, the Australians replicate the American efforts with their Didymus project.
27/4/1964 – The French navy turns back three boatloads of North African refugees from Algeria. On the same day, four Palestinian terrorists hijack a German plane en route from Berlin to Rome and demand the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. The plane flies to Amman in Jordan, where German commandos storm the plane, kill three hijackers and manage to get the plane off the ground. The fourth hijacker is taken back to Germany and executed.
18/5/1964 – Viet Cong guerrillas butcher nearly 200 people, including Westerners, at a market in the city of Hue. In response, America sends 2000 more military advisors, and Australia sends 500 advisors as well.
4/6/1964 – On the second anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death, a number of newspapers in major cities expose President Kennedy’s affairs with women going back to the 1940’s. They include affairs with movie stars, including Monroe, spies for the former Soviet Union, gangster molls and other women with unsavoury connections. Kennedy makes no comment beyond “my private life has no bearing on my political life”. The leading Republican presidential candidates condemn the affairs and promise to bring “honour and integrity” back to the White House.
2/7/1964 - President Kennedy signs the Civil Rights and Voting Act into law. It is one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation in American history, prohibiting discrimination in public facilities, government, housing, and employment; outlawing literacy tests and poll taxes for voter qualification, and providing for federal registration of voters all over the United States.
28/8/1964 – The Republican convention selects Prescott Bush as its candidate for president. Bush’s running mate is Nelson Rockefeller after a bunfight with the extremist Barry Goldwater.
24/9/1964 – North Vietnamese frigates attack American and Australian Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. One American destroyer is sunk and two Australian destroyers severely damaged before the North Vietnamese ships are obliterated by a hail of US and Australian cruise missiles.
5/10/1964 – Retaliatory air strikes by US and Australian bombers pound Hanoi and other North Vietnamese cities. Harbour installations, roads, bridges, railway lines and other infrastructure are targeted.
3/11/1964 – After a bitter campaign marred by accusations of sleaze from both sides, Prescott Bush narrowly defeats incumbent President Kennedy by a margin of 276-262 electoral votes. On the same day Kennedy’s brother Robert is elected junior Senator of New York after resigning as Attorney-General.
10/12/1964 – The long-awaited congressional report into the attempted assassination of John F. Kennedy is released. It finds that Lee Harvey Oswald was trained by Cuba as an assassin and hired by the US Mafia in retaliation for the Kennedy administration’s pursuit of its upper echelon. Incoming President Bush vows that “the perpetrators of this cold-blooded evil will not escape justice”.
20/1/1965 – Prescott Bush is sworn in as the 35th President of the United States of America. Nelson Rockefeller is his Vice-President.
3/2/1965 – Retribution for the failed Kennedy assassination gets under way. Three of the five major heads of New Yorks Mafia are arrested, the other two die in a hail of bullets. Major Mafia bosses in other large cities like Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and Philadelphia suffer the same fate. The arrests break the back of Italian-based organised crime in the USA. At the same time, President Bush warns any foreigners to get out of Cuba as soon as possible and announces that the blockade against the island will be tightened. All travel to and from Cuba is banned, and any exports or imports to and from Cuba are prohibited. Cuba is effectively isolated from the rest of the world.
6/3/1965 – Fidel Castro calls the America blockade an unprovoked act of aggression and declares war on the United States. This is followed by a massive attack on the America base in Guantanamo Bay. Nearly 100 Americans lose their lives in the attack before the rest are evacuated. A subsequent American air strike kills more than 6,000 Cuban soldiers. This air strike is followed by a second, much bigger, strike which destroys most of Cuba’s infrastructure in a similar that the bombardment of 3 years earlier did. More then 90,000 Cubans die in that attack although Fidel Castro survives.
18/4/1965 – Australia Prime Minister Robert Menzies wins his sixth election in a row by 9 seats and promptly announces that he will retire on July 1. His designated successor is Treasurer John Gorton. The Labour Party also changes leaders, replacing Herbert Evatt with Gough Whitlam.
20/5/1965 – Elections in Britain and, a week later, in France return incumbents Harold Wilson and Charles de Gaulle to power.
23/6/1965 – Austria-Hungary changes government from Social Democrat to conservative. The following week Germany re-elects the CDU and its leader Ludwig Erhard for a second 5-year term.
15/7/1965 – The last two major European powers, Russia and Italy, return their incumbents to power in elections held on the same day.
8/8/1965 – Vietnamese Prime Minister Bao Dai meets US President Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Gorton in Guam to discuss the deteriorating situation in Vietnam. Gorton and Bush promise a massive troop increase to fight Viet Cong guerrillas and North Vietnamese insurgents.
17/9/1965 – Despite protests by the Labour Party, the first Australian conscripts arrive in Vietnam. Thousands of American conscripts also arrive in the country.
20/10/1965 - Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania assumes absolute power by suspending parliament and appointing himself President for life. The EEC imposes economic sanctions against the country, but Russia, Poland and the Balkan countries continue to trade with Romania.
19/11/1965 – A number of senior Mafia bosses are executed in the United States for their roles in the botched Kennedy assassination.
14/12/1965 – One of Fidel Castro’s senior henchmen, Che Guevara, manages to slip through the US blockade of Cuba and make it to Guatemala, where he disappears.
10/1/1966 – After the success of the Gemini project, the US begins the mission that will hopefully see a man on the moon. The project is code named Apollo.
12/2/1966 – The first major battle between American and North Vietnamese/Viet Cong forces takes place at Ia Drang in South Vietnam. The battle is effectively a draw with both sides forced to leave the battlefield. The Americans lose 305 men, Vietnamese dead number more than 1,500.
28/3/1966 – The hijacking of an Israeli airliner ends violently in Entebbe, Uganda, when Israeli commando’s storm the plane. One hostage, one commando and all seven hijackers are killed.
2/4/1966 – Israel executes 10 Palestinian prisoners and warns Egypt and Jordan, which house most of the Palestinians, that any further acts of terror against Israel will be met with “severe retaliation”.
16/5/1966 – China launches its “Cultural Revolution” officially as a campaign to rid China of its "liberal bourgeoisie" elements and to continue revolutionary class struggle. In other nations however, it is widely recognized as a method to regain control of the party after the disastrous Great Leap Forward policy of the 1950’s. The policy would manifest itself into wide-scale social, political, and economic chaos, growing to include large sections of Chinese society and eventually brought the entire country to the brink of civil war. The policy is officially abandoned in 1969 but in reality lasts until the mid-1970s.
6/6/1966 - With the Central African Republic in economic turmoil, military chief General Bokassa overthrows the autocratic President Dacko in a swift coup d'état and assumes power. Bokassa abolishes the constitution of 1961 a few days later and begins to rule by decree. It soon becomes a reign of terror no better than that of his predecessor.
21/7/1966 – The head of Indonesia’s military, General Soeharto, takes a leaf out of Bokassa’s book and overthrows the politically ailing President Sukarno. To say that Australian Prime Minister Gorton is displeased by this turn of events is putting it mildly.
18/8/1966 – A company of Australian soldiers is ambushed by a Viet Cong regiment in a rubber plantation near Long Tan about 80 kilometres northeast of Saigon. A 12-hour fire fight breaks out in which the Australians, supported by heavy artillery, manage to hold out until an armoured regiment comes to their rescue. The Australians lose 18 men; the Vietnamese suffer at least 250 dead.
7/9/1966 – Australia joins the race for the moon in a project codenamed “Minerva”. Prime Minister Gorton cautions the scientists that safety is paramount and that shortcuts will not be tolerated.
20/10/1966 – The last pre-World War 2 President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, dies in New York, aged 92. His funeral is attended by every ex-president as well as the current one.
8/11/1966 – Left-wing Japanese terrorists trained by the PLO shoot up Vienna and Athens airports simultaneously. More than 50 people are killed before Austrian and Greek security forces hunt down and kill the terrorists. Japan apologises profusely and vows to uncover and destroy any terror cells in its country.
30/12/1966 – The year has seen a serious escalation in the US and Australian commitment to Vietnam. The US has around 320,000 soldiers in Vietnam, while Australia’s commitment amounts to approximately 85,000 personnel.
6/1/1967 – The south-eastern Nigerian province of Biafra declares its independence after a minority tribe living there is persecuted. The Nigerian government cuts of all supplies of food, petrol and other essentials. Famine soon breaks out.
1/2/1967 – A massacre in the black township of Soweto near Johannesburg in which 150 black youths are murdered by mostly white police and soldiers finally forces the British Commonwealth to act against South Africa’s oppressive Apartheid policies instituted in 1950. South Africa is booted from the Commonwealth and strict economic, sporting and travel sanctions are imposed.
12/3/1967 – The leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Syria meet in secret in Luxor, Egypt, to discuss the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”, as it will become known. In other words, they try to determine a way to eliminate Israel once and for all.
9/4/1967 – The Israeli Prime Minister receives news of the secret summit, although the details of what was discussed are vague. At the same time US spy satellites notice a slow, but steady build-up of military forces in the Sinai desert, the East Bank of the Jordan River and the Golan Heights which are Syrian territory.
22/5/1967 – Egypt announces the closure of the Straits of Tiran to all Israeli shipping. While most of Israel's commerce used Mediterranean ports, oil carried to the Israeli harbour of Eilat was a very significant import. Israel calls the blockade illegal and unacceptable and warns of severe consequences should it continue. Israel also states that it knows about the various military build-ups. A few days later Egyptian President Nasser states that “If Israel embarks on an aggression against Syria or Egypt, the battle against Israel will be a general one and not confined to one spot on the Syrian or Egyptian borders. The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel."
5/6/1967 – Further manoeuvrings by Egypt cause Israel to strike, and strike hard. A surprise air strike by the Israeli Air forces all but destroys the Egyptian Air Force and many of its airfields. Strikes against the Syrian and Jordanian air forces meet with similar success. At the same time, Israel launches a three-pronged invasion of the Sinai, West Bank and Golan heights. Over the next six days, Israel’s superior technology, better training and leadership as well as its air superiority manages to rout the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies. A ceasefire is signed on June 11. Israel seizes the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan River (including all of Jerusalem), and the Golan Heights. Overall, Israel's territory grows by a factor of 3, including about one million Arabs placed under Israel's direct control in the newly captured territories. Israel suffers 779 killed, 2580 wounded; the Arabs suffer about 21,000 dead and 45,000 wounded.
2/7/1967 – Israel does not take long to exploit its victory in the 6-Day War. Captured senior Arab officers supply Israel with details of the “Final Solution” and punishment is swift. Over the next few months, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are rounded up and deported to Jordan and out of the occupied Sinai into Egypt. Their Mosques are razed; their land and homes are seized and sold or auctioned off to Jewish settlers. By the end of the year, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Sinai are devoid of Palestinians or other Arabs.
8/8/1967 – Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who had vanished in Guatemala in 1965, is captured by the Bolivian Army after trying to start a communist revolution there. He is executed two days later.
30/9/1967 – US troop presence in Vietnam reaches 400,000 men, while Australia has kept its presence at 75,000. Most of the war is conducted as a guerrilla war with patrolling, minor skirmishes, ambushes and the occasional full scale battle. Casualties for the two Western powers are low compared to the Communist Vietnamese losses, but they are relentless. US deaths number in the 100’s per week, while the Australians lose a couple of dozen a week.
11/10/1967 – The first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 4, is launched from Cape Canaveral. The first 3 Apollo missions were unmanned test flights. Apollo 4 is a success.
7/11/1967 – Australian Opposition Leader Gough Whitlam announces that the Australian Labour Party and Democratic Labour Party will merge on January 1. The 2 sitting DLP Senators will join the ALP. The DLP has no lower house members.
22/12/1967 – The forced removal of Palestinians from the occupied territories is complete. This removal, and the destruction of the Arab armies in June, leaves Israel as the dominant military and economic power in the Middle East.
30/1/1968 – North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong guerrillas launch a massive offensive to coincide with the Vietnamese New Year or Tet. After years of being promised that victory was just around the corner, the sight of the enemy in the grounds of the US Embassy shocks ordinary Americans.
22/2/1968 – The crew of Apollo 6 becomes the first manned spacecraft to reach the moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William A. Anders become the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and planet Earth as a whole. They orbit the moon a number of times before returning safely.
14/3/1968 - President Prescott Bush announces that, due to his age (and the propaganda defeat of the Tet offensive) he does “not seek, and will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President”.
21/4/1968 – Australian Prime Minister John Gorton wins the election against Gough Whitlam by a margin of 64 seats to 61. The Labour Party does win control of the Senate, which had previously been held by the DLP, minor parties and Independents.
5/5/1968 – The scare at the election prompts a change in the policy on the Vietnam War. The Australian government decides to slowly withdraw regular and conscript soldiers and replace them with Special Forces more versed in guerrilla warfare. The aim is to meet the Viet Cong on its terms and fight “fire with fire” as Prime Minister Gorton puts it.
18/6/1968 – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, says Neil Armstrong as he becomes the first human to set foot on the moon. His colleague Buzz Aldrin follows a short time later, while Michael Collins pilots the Apollo 8 command module overhead. The three astronauts return safely to Earth a few days later.
10/7/1968 – Israel announces the formal annexation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai peninsular. The annexations more than double Israel’s territory. Israel’s population is 5.2 million, with fewer than 100,000 of those being Arabs. The announcement also sees the end of the Suez Protection Force that was created in 1956, as both Israel and Egypt ask that the Scandinavian and Canadian troops leave as soon as possible. The withdrawal is completed by October.
20/8/1968 – The humiliation of losing the Sinai as a result of the 6-Day War defeat is too much for Egyptian President Nasser. He commits suicide and is succeeded to the Presidency by Foreign Minister Anwar al-Sadat.
5/9/1968 – The Republican convention endorses former President Richard Nixon as its candidate for the election. Nixon had entered the race after the withdrawal of Prescott Bush. A week later, the Democrats nominate Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota as their candidate.
8/10/1968 – Lebanese elections marred by fraud and intimidation bring a Syrian-backed government and president to power.
5/11/1968 – Richard Nixon becomes the second man (after Grover Cleveland) to be elected to two non-consecutive terms as President. Nixon beats Humphrey by an Electoral College margin of 312-225.
13/12/1968 – Nigeria, fed up with its renegade province of Biafra, invades the territory in force. The province and its starving inhabitants are quickly overrun. Biafran leaders are summarily executed and the province is reintegrated into Nigeria.
20/1/1969 – Eight Years after leaving office as the 33rd President, Richard Nixon is sworn in as the 36th President of the United States. His vice-president is Gerald Ford.
18/2/1969 – Otto Hahn, the great Australian scientist, dies of throat cancer in Sydney, two weeks short of his 90th Birthday.
30/3/1969 – The Communist party of Cambodia, dubbed “Khmer Rouge” by Cambodia’s Prince Sihanouk, begins an insurgency after failing to gain any seats in the Cambodian parliament.
3/4/1969 – Prince Sihanouk asks America and Australia for help in countering the insurgency. Nixon sends Special Forces and advisers, but Gorton does nothing.
14/5/1969 – A coup in Iraq overthrows the ruling sheik and brings Saddam Hussein and his Baath party to power. Saddam Hussein soon establishes himself as dictator.
8/6/1969 - Edward Kennedy, the youngest brother of former President John Kennedy and New York Senator Robert Kennedy drives off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. After saving himself, he dives back into the water to rescue Mary Jo Kopechne, a former campaign aide to his brother Robert who was in the car with him. This incident does more than almost any other to restore the prestige of the Kennedy family after the sex scandals that plagued the last year of the John Kennedy administration.
20/7/1969 – Australians Charles Kingsford and Hudson Fysh become the seventh and eighth men, and the first non-Americans to walk on the moon. The Minerva 6 mission returns home safely a few days later.
10/8/1969 – An attempt at transparency by the Montenegrin government backfires when voters annihilate the otherwise corrupt Socialist government at the polls. The attempt at transparency involved letting Austrian officials observe the election. The Austrians certify that the election is free and fair so the President has no choice but to let the result stand. The Socialist party is demolished and its membership reduced from 26 seats to just three seats in the 47-member parliament. It is replaced by a centre-right government which immediately moves to lift Montenegro’s economy out of the doldrums and strengthen relations with its giant neighbour, Austria-Hungary.
11/9/1969 – Two more African countries turn to rule by dictatorship. First, the former Belgian Congo, now called Zaire, falls to General Mobuto, and, a week later, military strongman Idi Amin takes power in Uganda.
22/10/1969 – Australia completes its withdrawal of regular army troops from Vietnam. However, some 20,000 special forces remain in the country to train South Vietnamese forces and carry out guerrilla activities against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.
6/11/1969 – American soldiers massacre more than 200 Vietnamese civilians at a village called My Lai in central South Vietnam. The soldiers conducting the massacre are transferred out of Vietnam but suffer no further punishment.
8/12/1969 – The Americans lose 508 soldiers when they attack a hill nicknamed “Hamburger Hill”. They take the hill while killing 2536 North Vietnamese, but it is abandoned two days later as “strategically unimportant”. This battle, and the aftermath of the My Lai massacre is beamed live into American homes causing support for the war to plummet even further.
16/1/1970 – Stalinist opposition leader Enver Hoxha seizes power in Albania after a loose coalition government in the country collapses. With the military in his pocket (literally – Hoxha is one of the richest men in Albania), he begins exiling or imprisoning political opponents and starts to isolate the country from the rest of Europe, just like Kim Il-Sung has done with North Korea.
22/2/1970 – Female astronaut Gabrielle Kennard becomes the first woman to set foot on the moon when she and her colleague Richard Smith complete the Australian Minerva 8 mission.
8/3/1970 – The French Intelligence services deliver a report to Charles de Gaulle, confirming reports of a reign of terror by the Central African Republics President, Bokassa. De Gaulle is not planning to stand for re-election in May, and decides to leave any action up to his successor.
16/4/1970 – The European election season gets under way, with Germans ending the long reign of the CDU and voting the SPD and their leader Willy Brandt into power. A week later, Austria-Hungary goes to the polls with the Conservative Party retaining office.
26/5/1970 – Outgoing President Charles de Gaulle, a conservative republican is replaced by Valery Giscard D’Estaing, a centre-left Democrat.
17/6/1970 – A security guard at the Watergate Office and Apartment Complex in Washington notices tape covering the locks on several doors in the complex. He calls the police and within minutes, five men are arrested inside the Democratic National Committee's office. The five are charged with attempted burglary and attempted interception of telephone and other communications.
10/7/1970 – Voters in Britain dump the Labour government of Harold Wilson and elect the Tories under Edward Heath. A few days later elections in Italy replace the Social democrats with a Centre-right coalition, while voters in Russia elect Leonid Brezhnev to his third successive term in office.
5/8/1970 – New French President Giscard D’Estaing sends more spies to the Central African Republic to further investigate reports of atrocities under Bokassa’s regime.
15/9/1970 – Citing repeated armed incursions by Pakistan into Indian-controlled Kashmir, India launches an all-out offensive in the region. Surprise air raids wipe out most of Pakistan’s command structure in the region, leaving the Pakistani forces without a unified command. As a result, Indian forces make rapid progress in the mountainous terrain.
20/10/1970 – After five weeks of vicious fighting, Pakistan asks for an armistice. Indian troops occupy the region bordered by the Indus River, Afghanistan and China. A treaty signed a few months’ later enables India to annex the region, which they immediately fortify. Some 23,000 Pakistanis and 5,500 Indians die in the brief war.
29/11/1970 – President Nixon’s secret orders for US Forces to cross into neutral Cambodia, which threaten to widen the Vietnam War, are splashed all over the New York Times sparking nation wide protests.
6/12/1970 - Four students at Kent State University in Ohio are killed and 9 wounded by Ohio State National Guardsmen at a protest against the incursion into Cambodia. President Nixon is unsympathetic, calling the dead students “communist sympathisers and troublemakers”.
11/1/1971 – The five men caught in the Watergate burglary are sentenced to between 18 months and 36 months in prison.
17/2/1971 – The absolute monarchy in Cambodia is overthrown by Cambodian general Lon Nol. Prince Sihanouk remains as a figurehead as the civil war between government forces (aided by the United States) and the communist Khmer Rouge heats up.
16/3/1971 – After hearing Intelligence confirmation that more than 300 Central African schoolgirls were massacred for refusing to wear a school uniform, French President Giscard D’Estaing acts. More than 40,000 French paratroopers rain down on the Central African Republics capital, quickly secure the airport and pave the way for tens of thousands of additional French troops.
14/4/1971 – France’s control of its former colony is complete. The Central African Republics military is disarmed and Bokassa is deceased after being lynched by outraged citizens. France sends an administrator and other bureaucrats to rule the country until elections can be held.
24/5/1971 – The Khmer Rouge, assisted by Chinese and North Korean advisors, collects their scattered units and establishes a frontline in northern Cambodia. The frontline stretches from Thailand to Vietnam.
3/6/1971 - Socialist Salvador Allende is elected President of Chile. Nixon calls the elections “flawed” and declares that “communism in South America has no future”.
14/7/1971 – Former French President and General, Charles de Gaulle, dies on Bastille Day in Paris.
19/8/1971 – New Zealand withdraws its 8,000 troops, mainly artillery gunners, helicopter pilots and medics, from Vietnam.
13/9/1971 – The Chilean military, backed by the CIA overthrows the Allende government. Allende disappears during the violent coup, and is presumed dead. Chief of the Chilean army, Augusto Pinochet, takes over.
24/10/1971 – James McCord, one of the five men convicted of the Watergate break-in, writes a letter to U.S. District Judge John Sirica (as well as several newspapers) stating that his plea and testimony, some of which he claimed was perjured, were compelled by pressure from White House counsel John Dean and former Attorney General John N. Mitchell.
27/11/1971 – In Australia, 21 years of Liberal rule come to an end as the Labour Party of Gough Whitlam defeats the Liberal/National party coalition of John Gorton by a margin of 8 seats.
18/12/1971 – Whitlam announces that Australian troops will begin to withdraw from Vietnam as soon as South Vietnamese troops are sufficiently trained to defend themselves against communist troops. He calls the process “Vietnamisation”.
6/1/1972 – The US Senate sets up the Watergate Committee to investigate the claims made by James McCord. A few days later, President Nixon announces that he intends to run for a third term.
26/1/1972 – Jordanian-based Palestinian terrorists hijack a Swiss, American and British plane and fly them to Jordan. The terrorists announce that the hijackings are intended "to teach the Americans a lesson because of their long-standing support of Israel". After all hostages are removed, the planes are demonstratively blown up in front of TV cameras, directly confronting and angering Jordan’s King.
11/3/1972 – Fighting breaks out in the streets of Amman between large groups of Palestinians, who had set up an effective mini-state within Jordan, and Jordanian security forces, killing about 300 people.
7/4/1972 – After a failed assassination attempt on King Hussein of Jordan, martial law is declared and Jordanian tanks attack the headquarters of Palestinian organizations in Amman; the army also attacks four Palestinian townships. After two weeks of heavy fighting, the Palestinians are driven out of Jordan into Syria and Lebanon.
19/5/1972 – Australian Prime Minister Whitlam announces that he will begin to withdraw the last 20,000 Australian troops from Vietnam.
22/6/1972 – The Watergate hearings, along with the ongoing quagmire in Vietnam and the withdrawal of America’s only remaining ally from it, is causing major damage to President Nixon’s already shaky poll numbers. Matters look even worse for Nixon when he refuses to release White House tape recordings, citing executive privilege.
17/7/1972 – After the Supreme Court orders the tapes to be released, Nixon complies. The tapes confirm most of the original evidence, even though some 18 minutes of crucial recordings have been erased. The US House of Representatives prepare articles of impeachment for Nixon.
28/8/1972 – The US House of Representatives impeaches President Nixon for obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress. The case is sent to Senate for trial and possible removal of the President. Two weeks later Robert Kennedy wins the nomination of the Democratic Party as their presidential candidate.
5/9/1972 – Palestinian terrorists kidnap 11 Israeli athletes from their rooms in the Olympic village in Munich, Germany, and keep them hostage in a cafeteria while negotiations begin. A few hours later, German commandos storm the cafeteria, kill 5 terrorists and capture 2 more. One commando and two Israeli athletes are also killed.
1/10/1972 – The Senate votes on the issue of removing President Nixon from office. The vote is 57-43 in favour of dismissal. This falls short of the 66 votes needed, therefore Nixon survives. Nixon does, however, withdraw his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election, and asks that the Republican Party endorse Vice-President Ford instead. The party complies, pitting Gerald Ford against Robert Kennedy in the election.
7/11/1972 – Even though Gerald Ford is relatively untainted by the Watergate scandal and Vietnam, he suffers a crushing defeat at the election. Robert Kennedy wins the poll with a margin of 490-47 Electoral College seats, taking every state except Michigan (Ford’s home state) and Texas.
5/12/1972 – Three months after the Munich hostage crisis, Germany takes revenge on the PLO by showering Palestinian suburbs of Beirut and other Lebanese cities with cruise missiles, napalm and bombs. More than 10,000 people die in the attack, but German Chancellor Willy Brandt is unrepentant. “Terror begets terror”, he says, “if the Palestinians conduct any more terrorist activities against Germany and its citizens, this raid will be just a taste of what is to come”.
20/1/1973 – Robert F. Kennedy is sworn in as the 37th President of the United States. His Vice-President is the ex-Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter.
6/2/1973 – King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom dies of a cerebral haemorrhage a few months short of his 79th birthday. His niece, 46-year-old Elizabeth succeeds him as Elizabeth II.
28/3/1973 – Former President Dwight Eisenhower dies in New York at the age of 82. He is given a State Funeral attended by all living presidents and buried in Arlington War cemetery in Virginia.
19/4/1973 – President Kennedy approaches Russian Premier Brezhnev for help in negotiating a “mutually acceptable outcome” to the Vietnam War. Brezhnev agrees to give it a shot.
10/5/1973 – North and South Vietnam as well as the United States agree to talks in Moscow, moderated by Russia.
30/6/1973 – The last Australian troops leave Vietnam. The nearly decade-long commitment has cost 6453 Australian lives and left another 20274 wounded.
25/7/1973 – Negotiations in Moscow are making slow, but steady progress, especially when President Kennedy declares that he will withdraw 100,000 troops from Vietnam by the end of the year. However, even with that withdrawal, there will still be 400,000 troops in the country.
15/8/1973 – The U.S. bombing of Cambodia ends, ordered by President Kennedy to keep the Moscow peace talks on track.
25/9/1973 – The Israeli secret intelligence agency informs Prime Minister Golda Meir of a large Syrian troop build-up in southern Lebanon, while Egypt conducts a military exercise on their side of the Suez Canal.
6/10/1973 – Egypt and Syria launch a two-pronged attack on Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. Egyptian forces drive deep into the Sinai, while Syrian tanks reach the outskirts of the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Israel mobilises with lightning speed, and, while fighting a defensive campaign in the sparsely populated Sinai, launches an all-out counterattack against the Syrians. On October 10, the Syrians are driven back into Lebanon. The Israelis switch their forces to the Sinai and manage to encircle the Egyptians. On October 15, the Egyptian army is driven back across the Suez Canal, pursued by the Israeli Air Force. Egypt tries a number of times to re-cross the canal but each attempt is demolished by Israeli bombers and missiles. Israel again switches most troops from the Sinai to the Lebanese border and invades Lebanon with full force.
10/11/1973 – The Israeli conquest of Lebanon is complete, with Beirut occupied by Israeli troops and the Syrian forces driven back into Syria. The Palestinian militia groups which had attempted to join the war are either destroyed or driven into Syria as well. Syria and Egypt are forced to sue for a humiliating ceasefire, brokered by Italy. Israeli losses amount to 7256 killed and 8568 wounded, while the Arab nations have lost 19,547 killed and about 35,000 wounded.
1/12/1973 – Israel begins deporting Lebanese and Palestinian Muslims to Syria (who is in no position to refuse them entry), seizing their homes, businesses and land as well as installing a temporary administrator (General Ariel Sharon) in Beirut.
12/1/1974 – President Kennedy announces that some restriction on travel and trade with Cuba will be lifted. Americans are still prohibited from travelling to Cuba and vice versa, but restrictions on Cubans travelling to other countries, and travel by non-Americans to Cuba will be lifted. Limited trade by other countries with Cuba will also be allowed. There is no reaction from Castro to the changes.
27/2/1974 – Taking revenge for Israel’s victory in the Yom Kippur War and its subsequent deportations from Lebanon, the Arab members of OPEC, as well as Syria and Egypt place an embargo on oil shipments to the United States and the EEC. The results are immediate, with a tripling of petrol prices and a sharp downturn in the stock markets of the US and Europe.
10/3/1974 – The countries affected by the oil embargo hit back by placing trade embargos of their own, mainly with regards to wheat and other foodstuffs, weapons, technology and other manufactured goods. They also freeze the bank accounts of the Arab rulers and other officials and downgrade diplomatic relations. Countries not directly affected by the oil embargo, such as Russia, Australia and New Zealand, join the sanctions.
11/4/1974 – Energy Ministers and scientists from the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand meet in San Francisco to discuss measures to lessen the dependency on oil. In the meantime, the economies of oil producing countries that have not joined the embargo, such as Iran, Nigeria and Venezuela are starting to boom.
15/5/1974 – The economies of western nations affected by the oil embargo are taking a hit, with higher inflation, petrol shortages and increased unemployment. These effects flow on to some other countries not directly affected by the embargo.
9/6/1974 - The economies of Arab countries involved in the trade war are faring worse. Basic food items are becoming scarce, oil refineries are slowing in production because western experts are leaving the countries, and cars, fridges and other items break down due to a lack of spare parts. The crisis drags on until the end of the year when sanctions by each side are progressively lifted.
1/7/1974 – A raft of social and economic laws come into effect in Australia. They include a broadening of public health insurance to cover the entire population, not just the elderly, under-18’s and unemployed or low income earners; the Trade Practices Act; the Corporations Act; legalisation of same-sex marriage; no-fault divorce laws; a reduction of the period of national service from 24 months to 17 months; a pardon of Vietnam War draft dodgers; and the introduction of compulsory superannuation payments by employers for employees.
14/8/1974 – With the oil crisis in hand, President Kennedy travels to Moscow to give Vietnam War negotiations a kick along. With Kennedy’s presence, the negotiations make rapid progress. Relations between the US and Russia also rapidly improve from frosty to lukewarm.
22/9/1974 – After years of stalemate and build-up, the Khmer Rouge launches a massive offensive in Cambodia. Without the US support they had previously enjoyed, Cambodian government resistance begins to collapse.
8/10/1974 – Former President Prescott Bush dies in New York at the age of 79. He is given a State Funeral with all current and former Presidents attending.
17/11/1974 – Gough Whitlam wins a tight election by a margin of 66 seats to 61 seats to be elected to his second term in office. However, the Coalition regains the balance of power in the Senate.
24/12/1974 – The Australian city of Darwin is hammered by Category 5 Cyclone “Tracy”. The cyclone kills 66 people, injures hundreds more, and demolishes most homes and the entire infrastructure of the city of 100,000 people. The army swings into action on Christmas Day and most of the city is evacuated by December 27. Rebuilding begins in the New Year, but it takes Darwin about two years to recover fully from one of Australia’s worst natural disasters.
15/1/1975 – Khmer Rouge Forces have sealed the Cambodian borders with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, and are besieging the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Government forces are holding out in scattered areas of the country but are slowly being overcome.
4/2/1975 – The Cambodian government surrenders as Khmer Rouge troops march into the capital. Lon Nol and some of his minsters are executed, but others manage to escape and make their way to Thailand. Phnom Penh civilians are ordered to leave their homes and begin to be evacuated to camps in the countryside. The reign of terror has begun.
15/3/1975 – A stagnant economy in Russia causes Nationalist Party Premier Leonid Brezhnev to lose office and be replaced by Yuri Andropov of the Russian Socialist party.
17/4/1975 – In Britain, the Tories are voted out of office after one term when the Labour Party under James Callaghan wins government.
22/5/1975 – The next cabs off the election rank are France and Austria. France re-elects Giscard D’Estaing as its president, while the Austrian Conservative Party makes way for the Austrian Social Democrats.
23/6/1975 – Chancellor Willi Brandt retires at the election, which is won by the SPD. His deputy Helmut Schmidt becomes German chancellor. A week later, the conservative coalition in Italy retains power.
12/7/1975 – Two retiring Labour Senators in Australia are replaced by Coalition politicians. This is something that goes against the spirit, but not the letter, of the constitution. The Coalition cements its control of the Senate with the two new appointments.
9/8/1975 – President Robert Kennedy and Premier Yuri Andropov announce that an agreement on the Vietnam War has been reached. The United States will withdraw all military and diplomatic personnel by the end of 1976. Elections, monitored by Russian observers, will be held in February 1976, to decide whether country will be reunified or stay separated. The Russian observers will be protected by Austrian and Danish troops, who will stay no longer than July 1976.
22/9/1975 – Israel announces that it will annex Lebanon on January 1, 1976. Only isolated pockets of Lebanese Muslims remain in the country, along with nearly 1 million Lebanese Christians. The total population of Israel is about 8.5 million.
21/10/1975 – Citing financial mismanagement by the Whitlam government, Opposition leader Bill Snedden states that all supply bills will be blocked in the Senate. The announcement sparks a constitutional crisis.
11/11/1975 – With the Australian constitutional crisis dragging on, the Governor-General dissolves both houses of parliament and calls an election for December. Whitlam is not happy, but has no choice but to comply.
13/12/1975 – Whitlam retains office by the narrowest of margins winning 65 seats to the Coalitions 62 seats. The Coalition loses control of the Senate, with the balance of power going to the minor party Australian Democrats and Greens. Bill Snedden resigns and at a by-election in January, the seat goes to an independent. The new Opposition leader is Malcolm Fraser.