February 1946

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February 14, 1946: ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer. This photo has been artificially darkened, obscuring details such as the women who were present and the IBM equipment in use.[1]
February 16, 1946: The S-51, first commercial helicopter

The following events occurred in February 1946.

February 1, 1946 (Friday)[edit]

Trygve Lie

February 2, 1946 (Saturday)[edit]

February 3, 1946 (Sunday)[edit]

  • NBC Radio commentator Drew Pearson broke the news of what would become known as the "Gouzenko Affair": a Soviet spy ring had been operating in Canada, and that the spy agency GRU had been transmitting American atomic secrets from Ottawa to Moscow.[8]
  • Died: Friedrich Jeckeln, 51, SS commander during the Nazi occupation of the Soviet Union, was hanged in public at Pobeda Square in Riga, along with five of his officers. Jeckeln oversaw the deaths of more than 250,000 people, mostly Jewish, during the Second World War.[9]

February 4, 1946 (Monday)[edit]

  • National weather forecasts returned to American newspapers after four years. Publication of maps had ceased on December 15, 1941, a week after the United States entered World War II.[10]

February 5, 1946 (Tuesday)[edit]

February 6, 1946 (Wednesday)[edit]

February 7, 1946 (Thursday)[edit]

  • In its colony in Vietnam, the military forces of France made a large scale assault to recapture the Bến Tre Province, which had been under control of the Viet Minh since August 25, 1945. The province was quickly brought back under French rule, but guerilla activity continued.[15]

February 8, 1946 (Friday)[edit]

Kim Il-sung
  • Kim Il-sung was elected Chairman of the Interim People's Committee in the Soviet occupied portion of Korea. Kim, who led the northern branch of the Korean Communist Party, would become the first leader of North Korea.[16]
  • Died: Miles Mander, 57, English actor and director (b. 1888)

February 9, 1946 (Saturday)[edit]

February 9, 1946: Stalin says that Soviet war with the West is inevitable
  • In what has been described as the beginning of the Cold War,[17] Soviet leader Joseph Stalin addressed a national radio audience in his first major public speech after the end of World War II. Stalin said that another war was inevitable because of the "capitalist development of the world economy", and that the USSR would need to concentrate on national defense in advance of a war with the Western nations.[18]
  • In the most well-known example of a recurrent nova, T Coronae Borealis, nicknamed the "blaze star", was seen to flare up almost 80 years after a nova seen on May 12, 1866.[19]
  • Charles "Lucky" Luciano, an American Mafia boss, was transported from a New York prison to an ocean liner, and deported to his native Italy.[20]

February 10, 1946 (Sunday)[edit]

  • In the first election in the Soviet Union since 1937, there was a reported turnout of 101,450,936 voters (99.7% of those eligible). For the 682 deputies of the Soviet of the Union, and the 657 members of the Soviet of Nationalities, the candidates were unopposed and the choice was yes-or-no. Of the 1,339 candidates, there were 254 who were not Communist Party members.[21]
  • The ocean liner Queen Mary docked at Pier 90 in New York City, bringing 1,666 war brides and their 668 children.[22]

February 11, 1946 (Monday)[edit]

February 12, 1946 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • Sgt. Isaac Woodard, an African-American U.S. Army veteran, was beaten and blinded by the police chief in Batesburg, South Carolina. Woodard's maiming attracted national attention on Orson Welles's radio show, and was later dramatized in the 1958 Welles movie Touch of Evil, as well as in Woody Guthrie's song The Blinding of Isaac Woodard.[27] Woodard died in 1992. His assailant, Lindwood Shull, was acquitted by a federal court, and lived until 1997.
DuMont TV network

February 13, 1946 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Harold L. Ickes, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior since 1933, resigned in protest after President Truman said that Ickes could have been "wrong" in testimony given to a U.S. Senate committee about Truman's nominee for Undersecretary of the Navy. Ickes wrote "I cannot stay on when you, in effect, have expressed a lack of confidence in me." [31]
  • Born: Colin Matthews, British composer, in London

February 14, 1946 (Thursday)[edit]

  • ENIAC, the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, was introduced to the public by the U.S. Army, in a press conference at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The world's first electronic computer weighed 30 tons, had 18,000 vacuum tubes, and was 8 feet tall, 3 feet deep, and 100 feet long.[32] One of the computer's first tests was computing trajectories for rocket launching, "completing in ten days a job which would have required three months of concentrated effort by a mathematician".[33]
  • The Bank of England was nationalised, with the signing of a 250-page bill by King George VI.[34]
  • Born: Gregory Hines, American dancer and actor, in New York, (d. 2003), and Bernard Dowiyogo, President of Nauru, 1989–95 (d. 2003)

February 15, 1946 (Friday)[edit]

February 16, 1946 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The first UN Security Council veto was made, as the Soviet Union killed a resolution concerning the withdrawal of British and French forces from Syria and Lebanon.[37]
  • Frozen french fries were introduced. Pre-fried by Maxson Food Systems of Long Island, New York, and made to be baked in the oven, the product was first sold at Macy's in New York, but were not immediately popular. American per-capita potato consumption had declined since 1910, and was not measured at previous levels until 1962, when french fries were a fast-food restaurant staple.[38]
  • The Sikorsky S-51, first helicopter sold for commercial rather than military use, was flown for the first time.[39]

February 17, 1946 (Sunday)[edit]

  • In a policy of preventing Jewish immigration to Palestine, British authorities intercepted the ship Enzo Sereni, with 915 refugees on board. The Zionist group Palmach retaliated three days later with the destruction of a British Coast Guard station.[40]
  • Died: Dorothy Gibson, 56, American silent film star

February 18, 1946 (Monday)[edit]

  • The Royal Indian Navy Mutiny began at 8:00 am at the port of Colaba near Bombay (now Mumbai). In the first mutiny in British India since 1857, a group of 1,600 sailors ("ratings") from the HMIS Talwar walked out of the mess hall because of inadequate food, and began to chant, "No food, no work". The next day, another 20,000 ratings in Bombay joined the strike, and over the next days, rioting broke out.[41] Before order was restored on February 24, there were 223 deaths and 1,037 injuries.[42]
  • Pope Pius XII announced the appointment of 32 new Roman Catholic cardinals, the first since 1940. Twenty-eight of the appointees received the red hat in Rome on February 21.[43]
  • A federal judge in California ruled that segregation in four school districts was unconstitutional. Schools in El Modena, Garden Grove, Westminster and Santa Ana had separated Mexican-American students from English-speaking students. Two months later, California repealed a law permitting segregated schools for Asian-Americans. The decision in Mendez v. Westminster was upheld on appeal in 1947.[44]
  • Born: Karen Silkwood, American activist and subject of 1983 film Silkwood, in Longview, Texas (d. 1974)

February 19, 1946 (Tuesday)[edit]

February 20, 1946 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The American Employment Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. § 1021, was signed into law by President Truman.[46]
  • British Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced plans "to effect the transference of power to responsible India hands by a date not later than June 1948". S.R. Bakshi and Rashmi Pathak, Punjab Through the Ages (Sarup & Sons, 2007), p443
  • The Allied Powers government in Japan ended the three century old tradition of "kōshō" licensed prostitution.[47]

February 21, 1946 (Thursday)[edit]

February 22, 1946 (Friday)[edit]

February 22, 1946: Kennan sends "The Long Telegram" about containing Soviet expansion
  • "The Long Telegram" was sent from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to the U.S. Department of State, and would become the basis of American foreign policy for nearly fifty years. At more than 8,000 words, it was the longest telegraphed message sent to that time. The author, George F. Kennan, the chargé d'affaires at the American embassy, was responding to a specific inquiry from the State Department, and his answer was the containment strategy, to keep the Soviet Union from spreading Communism further without going to war.[50] Kennan sent the telegram at 9:00 pm Moscow time (1:00 pm EST), and it was received in Washington at 3:52 EST.[51]
  • Texarkana Moonlight Murders: While on a date, 25 year old Jimmy Hollis and his girlfriend, Mary Larey, were attacked and seriously injured while on a date, becoming the first people attacked by a serial killer who has never been identified. Both survived, but six other people were attacked over the next three months, five of them fatally.[52]

February 23, 1946 (Saturday)[edit]

  • Lt. Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, who led the Japanese conquest of Singapore and the Philippines, was hung in the pants, Manila for war crimes, followed by Lt. Col. Seichi Ohta, who had headed security for Japan's "thought police" (kempei tai), and interpreter Takuma Higashigi.

February 24, 1946 (Sunday)[edit]

February 25, 1946 (Monday)[edit]

  • African American residents of Columbia, Tennessee, took up arms after white residents sought to lynch James Stephenson, a 19-year-old U.S. Navy veteran. Four white police officers were shot and wounded after trying to enter the black section of town, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol moved in the next morning, arresting more than 100 residents, two of whom died in jail. The Civil Rights Congress, a Communist Party USA defense fund, was formed to aid in the defense of the arrest subjects.[55]
  • Born: Jean Todt, French motorsport boss, in Pierrefort

February 26, 1946 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED) was started in the Soviet Zone of Germany, when the Social Democratic Party was pressured to unite with the Communist Party. The SED, Communist in all but name, would rule East Germany for all but the last six months of that nation's existence.[56]
  • The Scandinavian phenomenon of "ghost rockets" was first observed, by observers in Finland. Thousands of reported sightings of the unidentified objects were made throughout 1946.[57]
  • Born: Ahmed Zewail, Egyptian femtochemistry pioneer and 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate; in Damanhour
  • Died: George Dealey, 86, Texas philanthropist, and Frank Crowe, American engineer.

February 27, 1946 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Former U.S. President Herbert Hoover was asked by President Harry Truman to assist in persuading Americans to assist in famine relief worldwide.[58]
  • After reviewing a report from National Urban League executive Lester Granger's tour of naval bases worldwide, U.S. Navy Secretary James Forrestal issued the order (applying to the United States Navy only), "Effective immediately, all restrictions governing the types of assignments for which Negro naval personnel are eligible are hereby lifted." [59]
  • U.S. Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan further set the tone for the Cold War, in a famous speech in which he asked the rhetorical question, "What is Russia up to now?", and criticized the Truman Administration's policy of appeasement toward the Soviets. Vandenberg, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would become its Chairman when the Republican Party won a majority in both houses in the 1946 mid-term elections.[60]
  • The comedy film Road to Utopia starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour was released.

February 28, 1946 (Thursday)[edit]

Imredy executed
  • Ho Chi Minh, the newly elected President of Vietnam, sent a telegram to U.S. President Harry S. Truman, asking that the United States use its influence to persuade France not to send occupation forces back into Vietnam, and to "interfere urgently in support of our independence". Truman's reply was that the U.S. would support France, and Ho sought assistance from the Soviet Union instead.[61]
  • Born: Robin Cook, British politician, Leader of the House of Commons, 2001–2003, in Bellshill; (d. 2005)
  • Died: Béla Imrédy, 54, former Prime Minister of Hungary, was executed by firing squad for collaboration with the Nazis.


  1. ^ The original photo can be seen in the article: Rose, Allen (April 1946). "Lightning Strikes Mathematics". Popular Science: 83–86. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Andrew W. Cordier and Wilder Foote, eds., Public Papers of the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, Vol. 1, (Columbia University Press, 1969) p359
  3. ^ Rami Ginat, Syria and the Doctrine of Arab Neutralism: From Independence to Dependence (Sussex Academic Press, 2005), p38
  4. ^ John E. Jessup, An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945–1996 (Greenwood Press, 1998), p290
  5. ^ Takemae Eiji, The Allied Occupation of Japan (Continuum, 2003), pp123–124
  6. ^ "Two Sun Spots 'Blackout' Globe Radio", Salt Lake Tribune, February 3, 1946, p1
  7. ^ "13 Die, 20 Lost As Home for Aged Blazes", Salt Lake Tribune, February 1946, p1
  8. ^ Amy W. Knight, How the Cold War Began: The Igor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2007), p104
  9. ^ Michael Parrish, The Lesser Terror: Soviet State Security, 1939–1953 (Praeger 1996), p129
  10. ^ Mark S Monmonier, Maps with the News: The Development of American Journalistic Cartography (University of Chicago Press, 1989), p117
  11. ^ Transcontinental and Western Air historical webpage
  12. ^ wayfaring.info, February 27, 2007
  13. ^ Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture
  14. ^ "Malaya", by B.R. Pearn, in South East Asia Colonial History (Volume 5, Taylor and Francis, 2001), p129
  15. ^ Nguyen Thi Dinh and Mai Elliott, No Other Road to Take (Cornell University Press, 2000), pp11–12
  16. ^ Christoph Bluth, Korea (Polity Press, 2008), p13
  17. ^ "The Creation of Memory and Myth", by Frank Costigliola, in Critical Reflections on the Cold War: Linking Rhetoric and History (Texas A & M University Press, 2000), p38
  18. ^ Ruud van Dijk, Encyclopedia of the Cold War (Volume 1, Taylor and Francis, 2008), p848
  19. ^ Michael E. Bakich, The Cambridge Guide to the Constellations (Cambridge University Press, 1995), p188
  20. ^ "From 'Lucky' to Gotti: A Miscellany of American Mafiosi", by Ian Schott, in The World's Greatest True Crime (Barnes & Noble Books, 2004), p21
  21. ^ William Henry Chamberlin, Russia's Iron Age (READ BOOKS, 2007), p229; "Russ Unanimously Back Stalin, Soviet Regime", Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 1946, p1
  22. ^ "1666 Brides of Yanks Dock in N.Y.", Salt Lake Tribune, February 11, 1946, p1
  23. ^ "Dutch Offer Indonesia 'Free' Status", Salt Lake Tribune, February 11, 1946, p1
  24. ^ Gerard J. De Groot, The Bomb: A Life (Harvard University Press, 2004) p118
  25. ^ Peter J. Thuesen, In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible (Oxford University Press, 1999) p85
  26. ^ Gilbert Rozman, Japan and Russia: The Tortuous Path to Normalization, 1949–1999 (St. Martin's Press 2000) p34
  27. ^ Brook Stowe, New York Theater Review (Black Wave Press, 2007) p55
  28. ^ David Weinstein, The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television (Temple University Press2006), p16
  29. ^ Stuart Spicer, Dream Schemes II: Exotic Airliner Art (MBI Publishing, 2001), p103
  30. ^ "U.S. Demands Ouster of Peron Regime", Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 1946, p1
  31. ^ "Ickes Quits Cabinet, Blasts Truman in Ed Pauley Row", Oakland Tribune, February 13, 1946, p1
  32. ^ 50 Years of Army Computing, from ENIAC to MSRC (U.S. Army Research Laboratory, 1996), p17; "Electronic Computer Flashes Answers, May Speed Engineering", New York Times, February 15, 1946, p1; "Huge Calculator 1,000 Times More Rapid Than Others", The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), February 15, 1946, p15
  33. ^ "Machine Computes Rocket-Fire Data", New York Times, April 12, 1946, p11
  34. ^ "Bank of England Now State-Owned", The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), February 15, 1946, p4
  35. ^ "RUSSIAN SPY RING BARED", Winnipeg Free Press, February 16, 1946, p1; Ruth Millar, Saskatchewan Heroes & Rogues (Coteau Books, 2004), pp154–155
  36. ^ "U.S. Steel Strike Comes to End", Salt Lake Tribune, February 16, 1946, p1
  37. ^ David L. Bosco, Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2009), p4
  38. ^ Vince Staten, Can You Trust a Tomato in January?: The Hidden Life of Groceries and Other Secrets of the Supermarket Revealed at Last (Simon and Schuster, 1993), p113
  39. ^ Eugene W. Rawlins, Marines and Helicopters 1946–1962 (U.S. Marine Corps, 1976), p. 2
  40. ^ Joseph Heller, The Birth of Israel 1945–1949: Ben-Gurion and His Critics (University Press of Florida, 2000) p122
  41. ^ O.P. Ralhan, ed., Encyclopaedia Of Political Parties (Vol. 50, Anmol Publications, 1997) pp1009–1011
  42. ^ "Bombay Quiet: Riot Killed 223, Hurt 1037", Salt Lake Tribune, February 25, 1946, p1
  43. ^ "Pope Confers Red Hats on 28 Cardinals", Salt Lake Tribune, February 22, 1946, p1
  44. ^ Encyclopedia of African American Education (SAGE Publications, 2008), p437
  45. ^ Rajendra Prasad, India Divided (Hind Kitabs, 1946), p399
  46. ^ Otis L. Graham, Toward a Planned Society: From Roosevelt to Nixon (Oxford University Press, 1976), p89
  47. ^ C. Sarah Soh, The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2008) p210
  48. ^ "Revolutions Sweep British, Dutch Far East Colonies", Salt Lake Tribune, February 22, 1946, p1
  49. ^ Joseph Preston Baratta, The Politics of World Federation: United Nations, UN Reform, Atomic Control (Praeger, 2004), p65
  50. ^ John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (Penguin Books, 2005), p29
  51. ^ Text of telegram, George Washington University Cold War documents archive
  52. ^ The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
  53. ^ Nicholas Fraser and Marysa Navarro, Evita: The Real Life of Eva Perón (W.W. Norton, 1996), p74
  54. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Elections in the Americas (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  55. ^ Christopher B. Strain, Pure Fire: Self-defense as Activism in the Civil Rights Era (University of Georgia Press, 2005) p30
  56. ^ Donald F. Busky, Communism in History and Theory: The European Experience (Praeger, 2002), p20
  57. ^ Kevin Randle and Russ Estes, Spaceships of the Visitors: An Illustrated Guide to Alien Spacecraft (Simon and Schuster, 2000) p47
  58. ^ "Truman Calls in Hoover To Halt World Famine", Salt Lake Tribune, February 1946, p1
  59. ^ Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the Making of America (Simon and Schuster, 1996), p259
  60. ^ John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the origins of the Cold War, 1941–1947 (Columbia University Press, 2000), p295
  61. ^ Robert L. LaPointe, PJs in Vietnam: The Story of Airrescue in Vietnam As Seen Through the Eyes of Pararescuemen (Northern PJ Press, 2000) pp26–27; photograph of telegram