Sixteen foreign tourists drowned in Switzerland's Lake Lucerne after their tour bus was sideswiped by a truck, then plunged down an embankment into the lake, near Hergiswil. There were 22 survivors, including the driver, the tour conductor, and his wife. All of the dead were Americans, and all but two were women. Most were schoolteachers who had been on a European trip organized by Gateway Holiday Tours of New York.
Born:Cui Jian, Korean Chinese singer-songwriter, in Beijing
The nuclear powered submarine USS Thresher was commissioned at the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Naval Shipyard. On April 10, 1963, the Thresher would be lost along with all 129 of its crew during deep diving tests.
Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union, made a "secret" speech at the Conference of first secretaries of Central Committees of Communist and workers parties of socialist countries for the exchange of views on the questions related to preparation and conclusion of German peace treaty. Describing his encounter with U.S. envoy John J. McCloy, he said, "I told him to let Kennedy know...that if he starts a war then he would probably become the last president of the United States of America."
Clarence Earl Gideon, charged with burglary, represented himself at his criminal trial after his request for an attorney was denied. After being sentenced on August 25 to five years in prison, Gideon petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of his conviction, citing the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Born:Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Obama was born at 7:24 pm in the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children, and the birth was reported in The Honolulu Advertiser on August 13.
Residents of Cuba were told that they would have until the end of Monday to exchange their Cuban pesos for new paper money, after which their old bills would be worthless. The terms were that only 250 new pesos in cash would be provided per person, and all other money would have to be deposited into a bank account. On Tuesday, Fidel Castro announced that most bank deposits of more than 10,000 old pesos would be confiscated by the government, although elderly and disabled persons would be allowed to own 20,000 pesos.
The Six Flags over Texas theme park, located in Arlington, Texas, officially opened to the public. The park, first of 31 that have been part of the Six Flags franchise, had had a "soft" opening for selected visitors during the first four days of August.
Berlin Crisis: At the close of the meeting in Moscow, the Warsaw Pact nations announced that they had agreed unanimously to sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany with the objective of ending the occupation of American, British and French troops in Berlin. That day, the number of East Germans fleeing into West Berlin had reached 1,500 or "one per minute". At the same meeting, Soviet Premier Khrushchev gave East German leader Walter Ulbricht his approval for closing the boundaries of East Berlin with a barbed-wire fence.
Construction work began on the Rabindra Sadan theatre in Calcutta, India.
Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov was launched into space at 9:00 a.m. Moscow time on Vostok 2. Staying up for 25 hours and 18 minutes, he became the first human to sleep while in outer space, and the first to be in space for more than a day. He was also the first to experience the nausea of "space sickness". At the age of 25, Titov set a record that still stands, as the youngest person to ever go into outer space. At the time that Titov became the second human into Earth orbit, the U.S. had yet to send an astronaut past the planet's gravitational pull.
The Cape Cod National Seashore was created, as President Kennedy signed legislation setting aside 68 square miles (180 km2) of land in his native Massachusetts for public use. It was the first U.S. National Park to be established from land not already owned by the federal government, and was acquired by eminent domain with the U.S. Department of the Interior paying the landowners for the land taken.
Vostok 2 completed its mission, after cosmonaut Gherman Titov parachuted from the returning craft and landed at 10:18 near Krasny Kut, in Soviet Russia.
On the day of Titov's return, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate approved $1,671,735,000 in aid to the U.S. space program by voice vote. The quickly passed bill devoted $471,750,000 funding for a manned mission to the Moon.
The Fantastic Four team of superheroes was introduced by Marvel Comics, as issue #1 of the comic book of the same name, post-dated for November, was placed on American newsstands and stores for the first time.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League defeated the visiting Buffalo Bills, at that time a member of the American Football League, in a preseason exhibition game in Hamilton. The Bills, playing the entire game under Canadian rules, lost 38-21. The game marked the only CFL-AFL meeting. CFL teams lost all six games played against NFL teams, including the last two, played the previous week (August 2, St. Louis 36, Toronto 7, and August 5, Chicago 34, Montreal 16
At a reception in Moscow for cosmonaut Titov, Nikita Khrushchev told foreign diplomats and reporters that the Soviet Union had the capability of making a 100 megaton nuclear weapon. Khrushchev's threat of orbiting the super weapon, sometimes described as arising from the same speech, was made on December 9, 1961, in an address to the World Federation of Trade Unions.
James Benton Parsons became the first African-American to be nominated as a judge of a United States District Court. He would be confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 30 and serve as a federal judge for the Northern District of Illinois until his death in 1993.
A chartered British airliner, carrying 34 schoolboys on a holiday to Norway, crashed into a mountain during a storm, killing all 39 persons on board. The students, ranging in age from 13 to 16 and accompanied by two teachers and the crew, were all from Croydon and were on the way to Stavanger.
Born:Brad Gilbert, American tennis coach and commentator, in Oakland, California; Jesse Vassallo, Puerto Rican world champion swimmer, in Ponce
Died: General Walter Bedell Smith, 65, American U.S. Army commander who accepted Germany's surrender on May 7, 1945
The United Kingdom formally applied for membership in the European Economic Community. Negotiations lasted until 1963, when France's President Charles de Gaulle vetoed the British entry into the Common Market.
Walter Ulbricht, leader of East Germany, signed an order authorizing closure of the border with West Germany.Erich Honecker, SED Politburo member in charge of security matters, then signed the work order for barbed wire to be placed between East Germany and the perimeter of West Berlin and the corridors to West Germany, as referred to in his May 14, 1992 indictment, in absentia by a unified Germany. A record 2,662 East Germans escaped into West Berlin on the last full day before the border was closed, while another 1,400 who had spent the night in West Berlin declined to return.
Among the group of defectors crossing into West Berlin were Soviet KGB assassin Bogdan Stashinsky and his wife Inge, who entered a police station hours before the border was sealed and requested that he be allowed to meet with American officials. Stashinsky told the CIA that he had been trained to use a device that sprayed hydrogen cyanide gas, and that, when sprayed directly into the faces of his victims, the poison would cause immediate death similar to that of a heart attack. Stashinsky used the "gas gun" to kill Ukrainian nationalists Lev Rebet and Stepan Bandera.
Construction of the Berlin Wall, ordered by Walter Ulbricht, began at 2:00 a.m. Central European Time, with the erection of a barbed-wire fence along the line between East Berlin and West Berlin, the digging of trenches along streets at the border, and the closure of railroad lines. The corridors from West Berlin to West Germany were not disturbed, and the other three Allied powers did not move troops or protest about the action. (The wall would eventually be demolished on 9 November 1989.)
Died:Victor Sassoon, 79, British financier with interests in the Far East
Jomo Kenyatta, leader of the Kikuyu rebellion against the colonial administrators of British East Africa, was released from imprisonment after almost nine years, and flown from Maralal back to the capital at Nairobi. Thousands of supporters lined the route of his motorcade back to the town of Gatundu. Sir Patrick Renison, the colonial Governor, begrudgingly ordered Kenyatta's release after increasing public demand. When the colony was granted independence as the nation of Kenya in 1963, Kenyatta became its first Prime Minister, and the nation's first President in 1964.
The trial of Adolf Eichmann adjourned in Israel after 73 days, and the three judge panel began deliberating the evidence. Eichmann, who had escaped Nazi Germany and lived in Argentina until being kidnapped and returned to Israel in 1960, was found guilty on December 11 of causing the deaths of millions of Jews, and sentenced to die. He was hanged on May 31, 1962.
The Brandenburg Gate was closed at 1:00 pm by East Berlin police, after a crowd of 5,000 West Berlin protesters threw rocks at East German soldiers, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. It would not be reopened until 1989.
Conrad Schumann, a 19-year-old East German border guard, defected to the West by jumping over a section of the barbed-wire fence that would soon be replaced the by cinderblocks of the Berlin Wall, crossing at Bernauer Street from East Berlin into West Berlin.Peter Leibing took the iconic photograph of Schumann's action. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Schumann returned to the former DDR and found himself ostracized by the friends he had left behind, and committed suicide in 1998.
Explorer program: Explorer 12 was launched at 10:22 pm from Florida (0322 UTC Aug 16), with the aim of carrying out energetic particle research. It remained in orbit for two years and determined the boundaries of the Earth's magnetosphere.
Tara Singh Malhotra, the 76 year old leader of India's Sikh community, began a hunger strike at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, vowing to fast until the government agreed to give the Sikhs a state of their own, or until he died. Tara Singh took no food for more than six weeks, but ended the fast on October 1 after Prime Minister Nehru sent a personal emissary. The state of Punjab would be divided in 1966 to create a Sikh state and, Haryana, a Hindu state.
The Bell UH-1D, which would become the U.S. Army's primary troop transport and medevac helicopter during the Vietnam War, was test flown for the first time.
Three years after Egypt and Syria had merged to created the United Arab Republic, Egyptian UAR President Gamal Abdel Nasser decreed that the Egyptian and Syrian regional governments would be replaced by a "unified cabinet" with 1/3 of the ministers being Syrian, and based in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. Syria dissolved the UAR agreement the following month.
Died:Ferdinand Smith, 68, Jamaican-born black Communist, who served as the National Secretary of the U.S. National Maritime Union from 1939 to 1951. Smith died ten years and one day after leaving the U.S. on August 15, 1951 under threat of deportation.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover persuaded U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to sign an authorization for "microphone surveillance," giving the appearance of U.S. Department of Justice approval of illegal eavesdropping.
The U.S. Public Health Service approved use of the oral vaccine against polio. Unlike the Salk shots, which used an inactivated polio virus, Dr. Albert Sabin's invention used a weakened live Type I polio virus.
After four days without comment, the United States, the United Kingdom and France made the first former protest to the Soviet Union concerning the Berlin Wall.
Eight children and a woman in Aversa, Italy were killed when a howitzer shell, left over from World War II, exploded. Several children had dug the shell out of a courtyard while the others were playing.
East German leader Walter Ulbricht ordered border troops to brick up the entrances and windows on the groundfloor of the houses on the southern side of Bernauer Strasse in Berlin. Civilian workers began building the Berlin Wall, block by block, under the close supervision of the border guards, who had orders to shoot any employee who attempted to jump over to West Berlin.
Died:Learned Hand, 89, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, whose opinions were so influential that he was often referred to as "the tenth justice of the U.S. Supreme Court". Though he was never appointed to the nation's highest court, that court cited his opinions more often than those of any other lower court judge.
Professor Timothy Leary, a lecturer in psychology at Harvard University, delivered his paper "How to Change Behavior" at the Fourteenth International Congress of Applied Psychology, held in Copenhagen, describing use of the hallucinogen LSD, legal at the time, as the most efficient way of expanding consciousness.
In order to show American support for West Berlin and reinforce the 11,000 Allied soldiers there, a convoy of 1,500 U.S. Army troops was sent by President Kennedy on 110-mile (180 km) trip through East Germany, along the autobahn from Helmstedt to Berlin. More than 100 trucks with men, weapons and supplies were accompanied by jeeps and three M-41 tanks. The Soviet Army abided by prior agreements to permit American, British and French armies to use the Helmstedt-Berlin highway as a corridor, and the 1st Battle Group, 18th Infantry Regiment of the 18th U.S. Infantry was greeted in West Berlin by U.S. Vice-President Lyndon Johnson.
Died:Percy Williams Bridgman, 79, American physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in 1946, completed an index to seven volumes of his collected works despite suffering from painful bone cancer, mailed it to the Harvard University Press, and then shot himself. He left a note commenting on the prohibition against assisted suicide for the terminally ill, writing, "It is not decent for Society to make a man do this to himself. Probably, this is the last day I will be able to do it myself."
Died:Dorothy Burgess, 54, American stage and film actress, of tuberculosis; and Gwen Lee, 56, American film actress
All restrictions on Jomo Kenyatta's movement were lifted, a month after his release from prison and after one week confinement to his home in Gatundu in Kenya. Besides signing the papers acknowledging the end of his arrest, he also signed a receipt for his carved walking stick, given back to him nine years after his 1952 arrest.
Born:Igor Chudinov, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan 2007-2009; in Frunze; and David Morales, American musician and 1998 Grammy award winner; in Brooklyn
The Politburo of East Germany's SED approved an order instructing police and soldiers at the Antifaschistischer Schutzwall (the Anti-Fascist Protection Wall known in the West as the Berlin Wall) that persons attempting to flee to the "fascist" side in West Berlin were to be "called to order, if necessary, by use of weapons", a euphemism for shooting anyone who ignored a warning to halt. The first shooting under the law would take place two days later.
Rotherham United FC defeated Aston Villa at home at Millmoor, 2-0 in the first leg (first of two games) for the inaugural English League Cup. The semifinal matches had taken place in the spring. Since the championship would be based on the aggregate score of both games, Aston Villa was down 2-0 when it hosted the second game on September 5.
The first American "space platform", Ranger 1, was launched into orbit, but a rocket failure prevented the satellite from reaching the planned higher altitude, sending it tumbling into low Earth orbit instead. Ranger 1 re-entered the atmosphere a week later and burned up.
A6 murder case: Michael Gregsten was killed at Deadman's Hill on the A6 highway, near the village of Clophill, Bedfordshire, England. Gregsten's companion, Valerie Storie, was raped, shot and left for dead. James Hanratty was later convicted and executed for the murder.
Under a new regulation from East Germany (DDR), residents of West Berlin were no longer allowed to cross into East Berlin unless they were issued a pass by the East German government. However, the only two DDR offices in West Berlin had been ordered closed by West Germany and the Western Allies, so no passes were available until an agreement was reached in 1963.
The San Francisco Giants tied a major league record by hitting five home runs in one inning in a game against the Cincinnati Reds, winning 14-0 after going into the final inning with a 2-0 lead. It was only the third game with 5 homers in an inning, and the Reds were losers on all three. The first had been a Giants-Reds game on June 6, 1939, and the second had been a Phillies-Reds game on June 2, 1949. Since then, it has happened once in an American League game (Twins v. A's, June 9, 1966), and in a fourth Reds' loss, April 22, 2006 to the Brewers.
Günter Litfin, a 24 year old tailor's assistant, became the first person to be killed by border guards while trying to escape from East Berlin across the Berlin Wall. Liftin was attempting to swim across the Humboldt Harbor to the British Sector, and sank underwater after being shot multiple times. Rudolf Urban, who had fallen on August 19 while trying to cross the Wall, died of his injuries three weeks later.
Jânio Quadros resigned suddenly as President of Brazil. In a letter read to a surprised Chamber of Deputies at 3:00 that afternoon, four hours after Quadros left Brasília, he wrote that "Terrible forces rose against me and plotted against me or maligned me, even while pretending to collaborate." It was speculated that the popular Quadros had gambled that the National Congress would ask him to return and grant him stronger powers, rather than let his unpopular vice-president, João Goulart, take office. Instead, a joint session of the Senate and the Chamber voted to accept the resignation, and Chamber of Deputies leader Pascoal Ranieri Mazzilli was sworn in as Acting President. After initial objections by the military, Goulart was allowed to become the new President on September 7.
Burma (now Myanmar) amended its constitution to declare Buddhism as the nation's official religion. Provision for a state religion was omitted when a new constitution was promulgated in 1974.
Reynolds v. Sims: A group of registered voters in Jefferson County, Alabama, filed suit in the federal court in Birmingham, challenging the apportionment of the state legislature, which had been unchanged since 1901. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court would rule that unequally populated state legislative districts were a violation of "equal participation" by voters, and thus a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The result would be the reapportionment of state legislatures nationwide.
In Hungary, László Nickelsburg was executed, by hanging, after being convicted of leading a conspiracy against the government. He would be the last of at least 229 people put to death for participating in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
The Hockey Hall of Fame was opened in Toronto. Renowned players had been inducted since 1943, but it was 18 years before a museum was created.
Died:Howard P. Robertson, 58, American mathematician, chemist and presidential adviser, from injuries sustained in an August 10 automobile accident in Pasadena.;Gail Russell, 36, American film actress whose career as a leading lady was ruined by alcoholism; of alcohol-related liver damage); and Vladimir Sofronitsky, 60, Russian pianist
ONUC, the multinational United Nations peacekeeping force in the former Belgian Congo, carried out Operation RUMPUNCHKatanga, rounding up all "white officers and mercenaries" of the Belgian Gendarmerie. Striking at dawn, Indian troops seized the radio station and telephone exchange in Elisabethville (now Lubumbashi), while troops from Sweden, India and Ireland captured military posts, and within 12 hours, 79 foreigners had been arrested, while another 350 surrendered.
Opening of line U9 on the Berlin underground transport system.
Born:Kim Appleby, an English singer, songwriter and actor, in Stoke Newington, England.
The first group of volunteers for the Peace Corps departed Washington for Accra, the capital of Ghana. The afternoon before, the Ghana volunteers, and another group bound for Tanganyika, were hosted by President Kennedy at the White House.
Six people in an aerial tramway car plummeted 700 feet (210 m) to their deaths when an Armée de l'AirF-84F Thunderstreak jet fighter accidentally struck and severed the cable. The car, with a German family of four and an Italian father and son, was returning from the Alpine peak of Aiguille du Midi to Chamonix. The upward traveling cable was undamaged, but 81 tourists were stranded for hours until they were rescued.
The first launch of a missile from an underground missile silo ended in failure. A Minuteman left the silo, at Cape Canaveral, then veered out of control and crashed back down into the launch area.
School segregation in Atlanta ended after more than a century, and without serious incident, as nine African-American students enrolled in four previously all-White schools Henry W. Grady High School, as well as the Murphy, Brown and Northside High Schools, under the supervision of city police. There were 48,000 students in five Negro other schools, and 69,000 in the 17 White schools. Atlanta's 73 White and 41 Negro elementary and middle schools remained unintegrated.
The Soviet Union announced the end of a three-year worldwide moratorium on nuclear testing, with the news that it would detonate a nuclear weapon the next day. Over the next three months, the Soviets conducted 31 atmospheric bomb explosions.
A type H5 meteorite fell in Angola, at that time Portugal's West African colony, near the village of Namakunde. Given the designation "Ehole", the crystalline chondrite meteorite struck the Earth about 4:45 pm local time and broke into two fragments, the larger of which weighed more than five pounds.
Alpha Phi Epsilon, described as "an inter-university collegiate service fraternity and sorority was founded in South Cotabato, Philippines.
^"1st Royal Visit Since 1690 Made", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 9, 1961, p1
^"Hamilton Tiger-Cats Defeat Buffalo 38-21 Before 12,000", Montreal Gazette, August 9, 1961; Jeffrey J. Miller and Billy Shaw, Rockin' the Rockpile: The Buffalo Bills of the American Football League (ECW Press, 2007) p123; "CFL vs. NFL 1950-1961
^Mark Roberts, Sub: An Oral History of U.S. Navy Submarines (Penguin, 2007) p151
^"Nikita Rattles 100-Megaton Hydrogen Bomb", St. Petersburg (FL) Times, August 10, 1961, p1
^"Red Space Ships Can Drop 100-Tonners", Bridgeport (CT) Sunday Herald, December 10, 1961, p1, p17
^"JFK Appoints Negro Judge", Youngstown Vindicator, August 10, 1961, p1
^"39 Aboard Missing Plane", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 10, 1961, p1 "Norway Air Tragedy Area Is Sealed Off", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 11, 1961, p6
^Howard Langer, The Vietnam War: an Encyclopedia of Quotations (Greenwood Publishing, 2005) p59
^"Defoliation During the Vietnam War", by Goro Nakamura, in Extreme Conflict and Tropical Forests (Springer, 2007) p153
^Sieglinde Gstöhl, Reluctant Europeans: Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland in the Process of Integration (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002) p92
^Tara Boland-Crewe and David Lea, The Territories and States of India (Taylor and Francis, 2005) p276
^A. James McAdams, Judging the past in unified Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2001) p35
^ abBruce L. Brager, The Iron Curtain: the Cold War in Europe (Infobase Publishing, 2004)
^T.H. Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City (Methuen & Co., 1988) p49
^Boris Volodarsky, The KGB's Poison Factory: From Lenin to Litvinenko (MBI Publishing Company, 2010) p182
^Donald A. Torres, Handbook of Federal Police and Investigative Agencies (Greenwood Publishing, 1985) p149
^Robert P. Grathwol and Donita M. Moorhus, Building for peace: U.S. Army Engineers in Europe, 1945-1991 (Government Printing Office, 2005) p133
^"Reds Slam West Berlin Escape Hatch", Miami News, August 13, 1961, p1; "Border Is Closed by East Germany", Spokane Spokesman-Review, August 13, 1961, p1; "Berlin: The Wall", TIME Magazine, August 25, 1961
^ abcAnn Tusa, The Last Division: A History of Berlin, 1945-1989 (Basic Books, 1997)
^Dudley Thompson, From Kingston to Kenya: The Making of a Pan-Africanist Lawyer (Majority Press, 1993) p121
^Ahron Bregman, A History of Israel (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) pp98-99
^Frederick Taylor, The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989 (HarperCollins, 2008)
^C. Stewart Gillmor and John R. Spreiter, Discovery of the Magnetosphere (American Geophysical Union, 1997) p42; "Satellite Is Launched To Probe Magnetic Field — Thor-Delta Rocket Sends 'Windmill' Explorer XII Into Wide Orbit In Space", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 16, 1961
^J. S. Grewal, The Sikhs of the Punjab (Cambridge University Press, 1998) pp199-200
^Stanley S. McGowen, Helicopters: An Illustrated History of Their Impact (ABC-CLIO, 2005) p100
^Amitai Etzioni, Political Unification Revisited: On Building Supranational Communities (Lexington Books, 2001) p145; "U.A.R. Cabinet Gets Shakeup", Spokane Daily Chronicle, August 16, 1961, p2
^René De La Pedraja Tomán, Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Merchant Marine and Shipping Industry (Greenwood Publishing, 1994) p561
^Peter Calvert, A political and economic dictionary of Latin America (Europa Publications, 2004) p7
^Kenneth Owen, Concorde: Story of a Supersonic Pioneer (NMSI Trading Ltd, 2001) p42
^James W. Hilty, Robert Kennedy: Brother Protector (Temple University Press, 2000) p238
^"U.S. Approves Oral Type Polio Vaccine", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 18, 1961, p1
^ abHans-Hermann Hertle, The Berlin Wall: Monument of the Cold War (Ch. Links Verlag, 2008) p44
^Joseph A. Angelo, Robot Spacecraft (Infobase Publishing, 2007) p73; "Space Platform in Orbit — But Agena Fails to Put Its Own Satellite Into Gigantic Million-Mile Round Trip in Space", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 24, 1961, p1