1949 in the United States
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|1949 in the United States|
|Years:||1946 1947 1948 – 1949 – 1950 1951 1952|
48 stars (1912–59)
Events from the year 1949 in the United States.
- President: Harry S. Truman (Democratic)
- Vice President: vacant (until January 20), Alben W. Barkley (Democratic) (starting January 20)
- Chief Justice: Fred M. Vinson
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Joseph William Martin, Jr. (R-Massachusetts) (until January 3), Sam Rayburn (D-Texas) (starting January 3)
- Senate Majority Leader: Wallace H. White, Jr. (R-Maine) (until January 3), Scott W. Lucas (D-Illinois) (starting January 3)
- Congress: 80th (until January 3), 81st (starting January 3)
- January 2 – Luis Muñoz Marín becomes the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico.
- January 4 – RMS Caronia of the Cunard Line departs Southampton for New York on her maiden voyage.
- January 4–February 22 – Series of winter storms in Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado and Nevada – winds of up to 72 mph – tens of thousands of cattle and sheep perish.
- January 5 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman unveils his Fair Deal program.
- January 11 – Los Angeles, California receives its first recorded snowfall.
- January 17 – The first Volkswagen Beetle to arrive in the United States, a 1948 model, is brought to New York by Dutch businessman Ben Pon. Unable to interest dealers or importers in the Volkswagen, Pon sells the sample car to pay his travel expenses. Only two 1949 models will be sold in America that year, convincing Volkswagen chairman Heinrich Nordhoff that the car has no future in the U.S. (The VW Beetle goes on to become the greatest automobile phenomenon in American history.)
- January 19 – The Poe Toaster first appears at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe.
- January 20 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman begins his full term.
- January 25 – The first Emmy Awards are presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club.
- February 19 – Ezra Pound is awarded the first Bollingen Prize in poetry by the Bollingen Foundation and Yale University.
- February 22 – Grady the Cow, a 1,200-pound cow, gets stuck inside a silo on a farm in Yukon, Oklahoma and garners national media attention.
- March 2 – The B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II under Captain James Gallagher lands in Fort Worth, Texas, after completing the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight (it was refueled in flight 4 times).
- March 17 – The Shamrock Hotel in Houston, Texas, owned by oil tycoon Glenn McCarthy, has its grand opening.
- March 20 – The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Denver & Rio Grande Western and Western Pacific railroads inaugurate the California Zephyr passenger train between Chicago and Oakland, California, as the first long distance train to feature Vista Dome cars as regular equipment.
- March 26 – The first half of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida, conducted by legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini, and performed in concert (i.e. no scenery or costumes), is telecast by NBC, live from Studio 8H at Rockefeller Center. The second half is telecast a week later. This is the only complete opera that Toscanini ever conducts on television.
- March 28 – United States Secretary of Defense James Forrestal resigns suddenly.
- March 29 – The 21st Academy Awards ceremony is held.
- April 4 – The North Atlantic Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C., creating the NATO defense alliance.
- April 7 – Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, starring Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, opens on Broadway and goes on to become R&H's second longest-running musical. It becomes an instant classic of the musical theatre. The score's biggest hit is the song Some Enchanted Evening.
- April 23 – Development of the USS United States (CVA-58) "supercarrier" is cancelled; high-ranking Navy officials resign in protest in what has been called the Revolt of the Admirals.
- June 8 – Red Scare: Celebrities including Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson are named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.
- June 14 – Albert II, a rhesus monkey, becomes the first primate to enter space, on Hermes project V-2 rocket Blossom IVB, but is killed on impact at return.
- June 19 – Glenn Dunaway wins the inaugural NASCAR race at Charlotte Speedway, a 3/4 mile oval in Charlotte, North Carolina, but is disqualified due to illegal springs. Jim Roper is declared the official winner.
- June 24 – The first television western, Hopalong Cassidy, airs on NBC.
- June 29 – The last U.S. troops withdraw from South Korea.
- August 10 – The National Military Establishment (formerly the Department of War) is renamed the Department of Defense.
- August 16 – Office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff created.
- August 28 – The last 6 surviving veterans of the American Civil War meet in Indianapolis.
- September 5 – Howard Unruh, a World War II veteran, kills 13 neighbors in Camden, New Jersey with a souvenir Luger to become America's first single-episode mass murderer.
- September 15 – The Housing Act of 1949 is enacted.
- September 29 – Iva Toguri D'Aquino is found guilty of broadcasting for Japan as "Tokyo Rose" during World War II.
- October 27 – An airliner flying from Paris to New York crashes in the Azores island of São Miguel. Among the victims are violinist Ginette Neveu and boxer Marcel Cerdan.
- November 24 – The ski resort in Squaw Valley, California officially opens.
- The first 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling gun prototypes are completed.
- 1949 was the first year in which no African-American was lynched in the USA.
- January 3 – Sylvia Likens, murder victim. (died 1965)
- May 3 – Ron Wyden, United States Senator from Oregon since 1996.
- June 22 – Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator from Massachusetts since 2013.
- August 11 – Tim Hutchinson, United States Senator from Arkansas from 1997 till 2003.
- August 17 – Norm Coleman, United States Senator from Minnesota from 2003 till 2009.
- October 25 – Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., film producer, record producer, singer, voice artist and the son of the Alvin and the Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.
- November 12 – Jack Reed, United States Senator from Rhode Island since 1997.
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- From Harding to Hiroshima by Barrington Boardman (1988), p. 14. ISBN 0-934878-94-3
- Media related to 1949 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons