1961 News



News Headlines


January 3 --- President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces that the U. S. has severed diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba

January 12 --- President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his final State of the Union Address to Congress

January 20 --- John F. Kennedy becomes President of the United States

January 25 --- President John F. Kennedy delivers first live news conference in U. S. history

January 30 --- President John F. Kennedy delivers his first State of the Union Address to Congress

January 31 --- Ham, a 37 pound male chimpanzee, is rocketed into space on Mercury-Redstone 2 in a test of the Project Mercury capsule designed to carry U. S. astronauts into space (16 minute sub-orbital flight)

February 11 --- Trial of Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem

February 14 --- Chemical element Lawrencium (element 103) is first synthesized in Berkeley, California

March 1 --- President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps

March 3 --- Hassan II, 31, is crowned King Of Morocco

March 15 --- South Africa withdraws from the British Commonwealth

March 29 --- 23rd Amendment to the U. S. Constitution is ratified allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections

April 12 --- Yuri A. Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut, becomes the first human in space with the flight of Vostok I (89 minute orbital flight)

April 17 --- Bay Of Pigs Invasion of Cuba begins, ending in failure on April 19

April 25 --- Robert Noyce is granted the first patent for an integrated circuit

May 5 --- Alan B. Shepard becomes the first American in space with the flight of Freedom 7 (15 minute sub-orbital flight)

May 25 --- President John F. Kennedy announces before a joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to "put a man on the moon before the end of the decade"

May 30 --- Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, totalitarian despot on the Dominican Republic since 1930, is killed in an ambush

June 21 --- Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev requests asylum in France while in Paris with the Kirov Ballet

July 21 --- Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom becomes the second American in space with the flight of Liberty Bell 7 (15 minute sub-orbital flight)

August 6 - 7 --- Gherman S. Titov, Russian cosmonaut, is launched in Soviet spaceship Vostok II on longest space flight to date (17-1/2 orbits / 434,960 miles / 25 hours)

August 13 --- Construction of the Berlin Wall begins; movement between East Berlin and West Berlin remains restricted until November 19, 1989

September 17 - 18 --- Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the United Nations dies in an air crash enroute to Katanga, Congo

September 28 --- Military coup in Damascus, Syria effectively ends the United Arab Republic, the union between Egypt and Syria

November 12 --- Russian city Stalingrad's name is changed to Volgograd

November 29 --- Mercury-Atlas 5 is launched with Enos, a chimpanzee, aboard and successfully completes two orbits of the earth

December 2 --- Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares in a nationally broadcast speech that he is a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt Communism

December 11 --- Vietnam War officially begins as the first American helicopters arrive in Saigon along with 400 U. S. personnel

December 15 --- Israeli war crimes tribunal sentences Adolph Eichmann to die for his part in the Jewish holocaust

December 31 --- Marshall Plan expires after having distributed more than $ 12 billion in foreign aid to rebuild Europe after World War II



In The News


Yo-Yo's become a national craze

"The Twist", "The Jerk", "The Pony", and "The Frug" are popular dances

First in-flight movie is shown on a TWA flight

X-15 rocket plane reached a record altitude of 31.25 miles and speed of 3,000 MPH

Forty more "Dead Sea" scrolls are found in Palestine

Jack Lippes invents the IUD contraceptive device

The singing group "The Supremes" join Motown records

The singing group "The Beach Boys" perform live for the first time

"Wide World of Sports" premiers with Jim McKay as host

Television premiers of "The Mike Douglas Show" and "Dick Van Dike Show"

Pillsbury's "Poppin' Fresh" dough boy is introduced