U.S. President Kennedy delivered "the first presidential message entirely devoted to public welfare", proposing that federal aid to the poor be extended to include job training programs and day care for children of working parents.
John Uelses became the first person to surpass 16 feet in the pole vault, clearing the mark by a quarter inch at the Millrose Games in New York City. Uelses was assisted by use of a pole made of fiberglass. Prior to 1930, existing techniques limited the maximum height of vaulting to 14 feet. After Cornelius Warmerdam cleared 15 feet in 1942, the 16 foot barrier had been pursued for more than twenty years.
Operation Ranch Hand: Three U.S. Air Force officers were killed when their Fairchild C-123 Provider became the first USAF plane to be lost in Vietnam. The cause of the crash was not determined, although the concern, that it was shot down by Communist insurgents, led to orders that the defoliant spraying aircraft receive a fighter escort.
Pope John XXIII announced the date for "Vatican II", the first worldwide conclave of the Roman Catholic Church in almost 100 years, to begin in Rome on October 11.
The Soviet Union conducted its very first underground nuclear test. Previously, the Soviets had conducted all of its atomic and hydrogen bomb explosions in the atmosphere, including more than fifty since ending a moratorium on testing.
At 7:05 am Indian Standard Time (0135 UTC), a "doomsday period" (as predicted by Hindu astrologers, began. It was reported that the astrologers had predicted that on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the earth would be "bathed in the blood of thousands of kings" because of the alignment of six planets, the Earth, the Sun and the Moon. In Britain, Aetherias Society director Keith Robertson would spend February 4th awaiting disaster along with many of the society's members. He had forecast that "very soon the world will do a 'big flip' when the poles will change places with the equator... 75 percent of the world's population will be killed,", but the alignment and eclipse ended without any notable disaster.
The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital opened in Memphis, Tennessee. American comedian Danny Thomas, the hospital's founder, told a crowd of 9,000 that "If I were to die this minute, I would know why I was born... Anyone may dream, but few have realized a dream as gargantuan as this one." Thomas said that he had made a vow in 1937, when he was unemployed and penniless, that he would build a shrine to Saint Jude Thaddaeus (patron saint of the lost and helpless) "if I made good". After becoming successful, he began raising funds in 1951. Fifty years later, the hospital was treating 7,800 children per year at no cost, and funding cancer research worldwide.
The Sunday Times became the first paper in the United Kingdom to print a colour supplement. At the time that Colour Section was introduced, such supplements "were already commonplace in North America".
During a solar eclipse, an extremely rare grand conjunction of the classical planets occurred, for the first time since 1821. It included all 5 of the naked-eye planets plus the Sun and Moon), all of them within 16° of one another on the ecliptic. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus were on one side of the Sun, while Mercury and Earth were on the opposite side. When the Moon crossed between the Earth and the Sun, the eclipse was visible over India, where predictions of the world's end had been made.
According to famous psychic Jeane Dixon, a child was born "somewhere in the Middle East", who would "revolutionize the world and eventually unite all warring creeds and sects into one all-embracing faiths", and who would bring peace on Earth by 1999. The prediction, which did not come true as scheduled, was published in A Gift of Prophecy, the 1965 biography of Dixon by Ruth Montgomery.
French PresidentCharles de Gaulle informed the nation that he was negotiating with the FLN for the independence of Algeria, conditional on a guarantee of the rights of "the minority of European origin in Algerian activities", and "an effective association" between Algeria and France.
Hours before the Beatles were scheduled to play at the Cavern Club, drummer Pete Best told his fellow musicians that he was ill and wouldn't be able to appear. Determined not to cancel the show, the group called around for a replacement and Ringo Starr, whose group had the day off, appeared in Best's place.
The Warner Brothers studio outbid MGM for the movie rights to produce the Broadway hit musical, My Fair Lady, for the unprecedented price of USD$5,500,000. The deal included an agreement to pay the play's owners 47.5% of any gross revenues over $20,000,000 and a 5% of the distributors' gross to the estate of George Bernard Shaw, upon whose play Pygmalion, the Lerner & Loewe musical had been based. The bid was more than twice the old record, $2,270,000 paid by 20th Century Fox in 1958 for the rights to South Pacific.
Spain selected its entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 1962; the winner was Víctor Balaguer with the song "Llámame", selected by representatives of regional radio stations.
The city of Memphis, Tennessee, ordered the desegregation of its lunch counters, formerly limited to white customers only.
The United States Air Force announced that in the first 15 years of its Project Blue Book investigation of U.F.O. sightings, there was no evidence that any of the 7,369 unidentified flying object reports indicated a threat to national security, any technological advances "beyond the range of our present day scientific knowledge", and no sign of "extraterrestrial vehicles under intelligent controls".
The United States government ban against all U.S.-related Cuban imports (and nearly all exports) went into effect at one minute after midnight. The next day, the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. approved a $133 million program of military aid to Cuba, after having delayed action on it for four months.
At 8:52 a.m. local time, captured American spy pilot Francis Gary Powers was exchanged for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Berlin, at the Glienicke Bridge between Wannsee and Potsdam. Powers had been shot down over Russia on May 1, 1960 while flying a U-2 spyplane. Abel had been arrested in New York on June 21, 1957. Frederic L. Pryor, a 28 year old American student who had been arrested in East Berlin on August 25, was released as part of the deal as well.
Negotiations, between the government of France and Algerian independence leaders, opened at Les Rousses, a remote village in the French Alps, leading to a preliminary agreement on a transitional government.
The body of British aviator Bill Lancaster was discovered almost 29 years after he had disappeared over the Sahara in the Southern Cross Minor. Lancaster had last been seen on April 12, 1933, when he took off from Reggane in French Algeria.
The largest air search effort ever made in New Zealand commenced with the disappearance of five people on a scenic flight from Christchurch to Milford Sound. No trace of the aircraft, a Dragonfly ZK-AFB, has ever been found.
A crowd of between 150,000 and 500,000 people marched in Paris in the first massive protest against the continuing Algerian war, which had gone into its eighth year. The occasion was the funeral ceremony for five of the nine people who had been killed by police in the Charonne metro station the previous Thursday. With many of the participants walking off of their jobs to protest, business in Paris and much of France was brought to a halt.
Born:May Sweet, Burmese singer and actress, in Yangon
"A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy", produced by CBS News and hosted by American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and CBS reporter Charles Collingwood, was broadcast on television by CBS and on NBC at 10:00 pm Eastern time. Attracting 46,000,000 TV viewers, or three out of every four households in America, it was the highest rated television program up to that time. ABC television, which did not wish to share the $100,000 production cost for the commercial-free special, showed Naked City instead, and ran the program the following Sunday.
Urho Kekkonen was re-elected president of Finland. Kekkonen received 199 of 300 electoral votes, after winning the popular vote on January 15. Communist Party candidate was second, with 62 votes, and Social Democratic candidate Rafael Paasio got 37.
U.S. President Kennedy issued nine Executive Orders, numbered 10095 to 11105, delegating "emergency preparedness functions" for various federal agencies and departments, to be implemented in the event of a national emergency that required a declaration of martial law.
Rioters in British Guiana (now Guyana set fire to much of the capital city of Georgetown, as Guianans of African descent attacked those of Indian descent. British troops were sent in to restore order.
North Sea flood of 1962: Hurricane force winds and heavy rains swept across West Germany's North Sea coast and sent the waters flooding over the seawalls. There were 345 deaths in West Germany, of which 281 died in Hamburg when the Elbe River overflowed. An estimated 500,000 people were left homeless.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara outlined the doctrine of flexible response, the nuclear strategy of the Kennedy administration, in an address to the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. The plan called for building a large enough nuclear arsenal that the United States would have the ability to launch a second strike of nuclear missiles against the Soviets even after an initial exchange of destruction.
After being rejected by both her lover, Richard Burton, and her husband, Eddie Fisher, actress Elizabeth Taylor attempted suicide by taking an overdose of Seconal sleeping pills. She was saved after being rushed to the Salvator Mundi Hospital in Rome, where she and Burton were filming Cleopatra. The 20th Century Fox studio invented a cover story that Taylor had become seriously ill from food poisoning.
Born:David McComb, Australian rock musician (died 1999), in Perth
Died:Joseph Kearns, an American actor who portrayed "Mr. Wilson" on the Dennis the Menace TV series, died at the age of 55 after collapsing from a cerebral hemorrhage the previous Sunday. Ironically, the plot for that Sunday evening's episode, "Where There's a Will", dealt with Kearns's character convinced that he had only a short time to live.
Two pilots of the French Air Force, described as "renegades", defied orders, broke away from a routine mission over French Algeria, flew their planes across the border into Morocco, and then attacked a rebel camp in the city of Oujda with rockets and machine gun fire. The two, believed to be members of the Organisation de l'armée secrète, then flew their planes to Saïda, Algeria, landed, and deserted.
Project Mercury: The United States placed an astronaut into orbit for the first time, as John Glenn was launched from Cape Canaveral aboard Friendship 7. Glenn was launched at 9:47 a.m. local time and attained orbit 12 minutes later. After three circuits of the Earth, Glenn left orbit at 2:20 p.m., landed in the Atlantic Ocean at 2:43, and was recovered by the destroyer U.S.S. Noa at 3:04. Glenn, the first American astronaut, would return to outer space on October 29, 1998 at the age of 77, becoming the oldest man to ever orbit the Earth.
The first Samos-F satellite, also referred to as a "ferret satellite" because of its purpose of monitoring Soviet missiles and seeking out information, was launched from Cape Canaveral.
Former Soviet Foreign Minister Dmitri Shepilov was expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, in retaliation for his role in a 1957 attempt to oust Nikita Khrushchev from power.
On the day after John Glenn's historic flight, Soviet Premier Khrushchev sent a telegram to U.S. President Kennedy, proposing that the two nations co-operate on their space program. The first joint venture would take place in 1975.
Pope John XXIII signed Veterum Sapientia ("Ancient Wisdom") as an apostolic constitution, the highest possible papal decree. The declaration, published the next day, directed that Roman Catholic seminary students should not only be instructed on the use of the Latin language, but that lectures should be given in Latin, "a bond of unity between the Christian peoples of Europe". The Pope also prohibited priests from arguing against the use of Latin, and created an institute to create new words in Contemporary Latin to keep it apace of modern developments. In 1963, the second Vatican council would approve an order retaining Latin for specific rituals, but native languages for most other purposes.
Astronaut John Glenn arrived in Cape Canaveral to a hero's welcome and was reunited with his family for the first time since before going into space. U.S. President John F. Kennedy, for whom Cape Canaveral would be renamed during the 1960s, greeted Glenn and to personally award him the NASA Special Services Medal. Kennedy praised Glenn for "professional skill, unflinching courage and extraordinary ability to perform a most difficult task under physical stress." It was then that Glenn revealed in an interview that the heat shield on his capsule began to break up upon re-entry, the loss of which would have been fatal. Glenn calmly said, "it could have been a bad day for everybody".
The Judy Garland Show, a one-time special, appeared on CBS and received a 49.5 rating, the highest rating CBS had had for a variety show to that time. The success of the special led to a weekly series in 1963, which was cancelled after a year because of low ratings.
The Irish Republican Army officially called off its five-year Border Campaign in Northern Ireland. In press releases dropped off at newspapers there as well as in Ireland, the IRA publicity bureau wrote, "The Leadership of the Resistance Movement has ordered the termination of 'The Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation'... all arms and other materials have been dumped and all full-time active service volunteers have been withdrawn." With the exception of a series of 17 bank robberies to finance the organization, the IRA violence halted until 1969.
Born:Etienne Ys, Netherlands Antilles politician, in Curaçao
1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing: Sublieutenant Nguyễn Văn Cử and Lt. Phạm Phú Quốc, two members of the South Vietnamese Air Force, diverted from their combat mission south of Saigon and dropped bombs upon the presidential palace in an attempt to assassinate President Ngô Đình Diệm. One of the 500 pound bombs landed in the room where the President and his advisers were, but failed to detonate because it had been dropped from too low an altitude to arm itself. Quốc was arrested after being forced to land, while Cử fled to neighboring Cambodia. Both men would be reinstated to the Air Force after Diem's assassination in 1963.
After getting word that U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was preparing to fire him from his job as Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover gave the Attorney General a memorandum of an FBI investigation of Judith Exner, noting that she had made phone calls to the private line of Robert's brother, U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Hoover remained FBI Director until his death in 1972.
An explosion at the Tito Coal Mine in Banovici, in the Bosnia republic of Yugoslavia, trapped 177 miners underground. Rescuers were able to save 123 of the men, but 54 were trapped inside and died.
The United Kingdom's House of Commons voted 277-170 in favor of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, designed to limit the immigration into Great Britain by residents of India, Pakistan, and the West Indies.
A group of 15 American Jupiter missiles, with nuclear warheads, became operational at the Izmir U.S. Air Force Base at Çiğli, within range to strike the Soviet Union 1,000 miles away. The presence of American nuclear missiles in a nation bordering the U.S.S.R. would become an issue during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Soviet nuclear missiles were brought to Cuba, within striking distance of the United States. The missiles were withdrawn from both Turkey and Cuba following the crisis.
^Juan Díez Medrano, Framing Europe: Attitudes to European Integration in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom (Princeton University Press, 2003) pp149-152
^"U-2 PILOT POWERS FREED IN SWAP FOR RED SPY", Miami News, February 10, 1962, p1 Giles Whittell, Bridge of Spies: A True Story of the Cold War (Random House Digital, 2010); Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (Basic Books, 2000)
^Martin Evans, Algeria: France’s Undeclared War (Oxford University Press, 2011) p310
^Johnny Cash, with Patrick Carr, Cash: The Autobiography (Harper Collins, 2003) p157
^Jim House and Neil MacMaster, Paris 1961: Algerians, State Terror, and Memory (Oxford University Press, 2006) p251
^John B. Roberts, Rating the First Ladies: The Women Who Influenced the Presidency (Citadel Press, 2004) p279; "TV Tours White House With First Lady Tonight", Youngstown Vindicator, February 14, 1962, p25; "Mrs. Kennedy TV Hostess to Nation; Tells of Restoration of Interior of the White House", New York Times, February 15, 1962, p1
^"Kekkonen Re-Elected In Finnish Vote", Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, February 16, 1962, p14
^Michael Brecher and Jonathan Wilkenfeld, A Study of Crisis (University of Michigan Press, 1997) p435; "Secession End Voted By Katanga", Milwaukee Sentinel, February 15, 1962, p2
^"210 Million Go To Indian Polls, Vote For 14,744", Miami News, February 16, 1962, p3A
^Stephen G. Rabe, U.S. Intervention in British Guiana: A Cold War Story (University of North Carolina Press, 2005) p89; "Troops Sent To Guiana", Ottawa Citizen, February 16, 1962
^"EUROPEAN STORMS FATAL TO 67", Windsor (ON) Star, February 17, 1962, p1; Lee Davis, Natural Disasters (Infobase Publishing, 2008) p162
^Joseph M. Siracusa, The Kennedy years (Infobase Publishing, 2004) p33
^Desmond Ball, Politics and Force Levels: The Strategic Missile Program of the Kennedy Administration (University of California Press, 1980) p196
^Ellis Amburn, The Most Beautiful Woman in the World: The Obsessions, Passions, and Courage of Elizabeth Taylor (HarperCollins, 2011); The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), February 19, 1962, p6
^"'Mr. Wilson' Of 'Dennis' TV Series Dies", Miami News, February 17, 1962, p1
^"Music's Bruno Walter Is Dead at 85", Miami News, February 18, 1962, p1
^"Renegade Pilots Strafe Algerian Rebels", St. Petersburg (FL) Times, February 19, 1962, p31; Nicholas M. Poulantzas, The Right of Hot Pursuit in International Law (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2002) p330
^Michael A. Turner, Historical Dictionary of United States Intelligence (Scarecrow Press, 2006) p120
^Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz, Icons of Rock (Greenwood Publishing, 2008) p66
^Buzz Aldrin and Ken Abraham, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon (Random House Digital, 2010) p251
^David Caute, The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy during the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2005) p488
^Glenn P. Hastedt and Steven W. Guerrier, Spies, Wiretaps, and Secret Operations (ABC-CLIO, 2010) p292
^Dmitrii Shepilov, The Kremlin's Scholar: A Memoir of Soviet Politics under Stalin and Khrushchev (Yale University Press, 2007)
^Yuri Y. Karash, The Superpower Odyssey: A Russian Perspective on Space Cooperation (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1999) p32; "NIK LIKES WAY WE DO IT", Miami Herald, February 21, 1962, p1
^"Pope Bars Attack On Latin Inside Catholic Church", Toledo Blade, February 24, 1962, p7
^Françoise Waquet, Latin, or, The Empire of a Sign (Verso, 2002) p73
^Julie K. Petersen, The Telecommunications Illustrated Dictionary (CRC Press, 2002)
^Sam Irvin, Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise (Simon and Schuster, 2010) p313
^Tim Pat Coogan, The Troubles: Ireland's Ordeal, 1966-1996, and the Search for Peace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002) p66, 84; "Irish Army Pledge: No More Terrorism", Miami News, February 26, 1962, p6A
^"Vaudeville Funnyman Harold Chic Johnson Died Monday", Lexington (NC) Dispatch, February 27, 1962, p5
^Spencer Tucker, The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History, Volume 1 (ABC-CLIO, 2011) p838; "Viet Airmen Bomb Palace Of President", Miami News, February 27, 1962, p6A
^Lamar Waldron, Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK (Basic Books, 2008)
^"52 Killed in Yugoslav Mine Blasts", Calgary Herald, February 28, 1962
^"British Vote To Restrict Immigration", Eugene (OR) Register-Guard, February 28, 1962, p2
^Air Force Missileers (Turner Publishing, 1998) p23