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BOOMERNET Chronicle: 1950


The Cold War heats up as North Korean Communist forces invade South Korea. President Truman, without consulting Congress, authorizes use of U.S. troops in response. This later leads to Americans calling this the Korean Conflict or a “police action,” instead of the Korean War, as it is known elsewhere. With U.N. backing, Truman places General Douglas MacArthur in charge of the U.S.-led forces.

After U.N. troops control most of North Korea and reach the border with China, a massive Chinese Communist force intervenes in the conflict. They drive the American-led troops out of North Korea and inflict heavy casualities, especially on the American 10th Corps, trapped in northeastern Korea near the Chosin reservoir. MacArthur had originally spoken of having the troops come home by Christmas, but now says “We face an entirely new war.”

Although combat is restricted to the Korean peninsula, Americans feel a pervasive threat from Communists everywhere. Thus, there is widespread support for continuing investigations by Senator Joseph McCarthy and others into Communists in government and for legislation to restrict the freedoms of known Communist supporters. President Truman declares a state of national emergency, although life for most Americans goes on as usual.

U.S. Facts

  • President: Harry S Truman (D)
  • Population: 152,271,000
  • Life Expectancy: 68.2 years
  • Unemployment: 5.3%
  • Average Annual Salary: $3,800
  • Minimum Wage: $0.75 per hour
  • Inflation Rate: 1.3%

What Things Cost

  • Automobile: $1,750
  • Gasoline: $0.27 per gallon
  • House: $14,500
  • Bread: $0.14 per loaf
  • Milk: $0.82 per gallon
  • Postage Stamp: $0.03

Major U.S. Events

  • Congress acts to restrict Communists
  • Truman threatens use of atomic bomb

Major World Events

  • Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China sign mutual defense treaty
  • North Korea invades South Korea
  • Chinese intervene after initial success of U.N. forces in Korea


  • $2.7 mil. stolen in Great Brinks Robbery
  • Sen. Joe McCarthy begins hunt for Communists in government
  • Diner’s Club offers first credit card, for use by 200 members at 28 restaurants
  • RCA demonstrates color TV tube
  • John L. Lewis leads coal miners to first industry-wide contract


  • Sen. Kefauver chairs televised hearings on organized crime
  • U.S. agrees to aid French in Indochina
  • N. Korean foces invade S. Korea


  • 62,000 reservists called to active duty
  • Truman orders government seizure of railroads to avoid strike
  • U.N. launches assault at Inchon
  • Congress overrides veto of Internal Security Act; Communists to register


  • Charles Schulz’s Peanuts cartoon debuts
  • U.N. forces go near Chinese border
  • 2 Puerto Rican nationalists attempt to assassinate Pres. Truman
  • Massive Chinese force enters war, drives U.N. troops from N. Korea
  • Truman declares state of emergency

Top Songs

  • Goodnight, Irene by Gordon Jenkins & the Weavers
  • Mona Lisa by Nat King Cole
  • The Third Man Theme by Anton Karas
  • Sam’s Song by Bing Crosby
  • Simple Melody by Bing Crosby

Other New Songs

  • Daddy’s Little Girl by the Mills Brothers
  • Music! Music! Music! by Teresa Brewer
  • The Tennessee Waltz by Patti Page
  • Rag Mop by the Ames Brothers
  • Harbor Lights by Sammy Kaye

Top Movies

  • All About Eve
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Born Yesterday
  • Harvey
  • Father of the Bride

Top Books

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Top Radio Shows (1949-50)

  • The Jack Benny Show
  • Lux Radio Theater
  • Arthur Godfrey & His Talent Scouts
  • My Friend Irma
  • Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy

Top TV Shows (1949-50)

  • The Howdy Doody Show
  • Captain Video
  • Texaco Star Theater
  • The Goldbergs
  • The Lone Ranger

Major League Baseball: World Series

  • New York Yankees d. Philadelphia Phillies

Pro Football: Championship

  • Cleveland Browns d. Los Angeles Rams

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup

  • Detroit Red Wings d. New York Rangers

Pro Basketball: Championship

  • Minneapolis Lakers d. Syracuse Nationals

NCAA Champions

  • Football: Oklahoma Sooners
  • Basketball: CCNY Beavers

Other Champions

  • Boxing: Ezzard Charles defends heavyweight title 3 times
  • Golf: Ben Hogan is PGA player of the year
  • Tennis: Arthur Larsen and Margaret Osborne duPont win U.S. Open
  • Horse Racing: Middleground wins Kentucky Derby
  • Auto Racing: Johnnie Parsons wins Indianapolis 500

Inventions, Fads, & Fashion

  • Saturday morning TV programming for children begins
  • Otis Elevator installs the first self-service elevator, in Dallas
  • Antihistamines become popular as medications for cold relief
  • The Lazy Bones from Zenith is marketed as the first TV remote control
  • 75% of telephone service customers have shared “party lines”
  • 600,000 Hopalong Cassidy lunch boxes are sold in the latest marketing craze

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