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BOOMERNET Chronicle: 1952


Korean War truce talks continue sporadically throughout 1952, as does limited ground combat. Primarily a defensive war by this time, most fighting is limited to artillery assaults and small-unit actions. Dwight Eisenhower, former 5-star general, supreme commander of allied forces in Europe in World War II, and commander of NATO, runs for president on a campaign which includes ending the war in Korea.

On the home front, President Truman — becoming unpopular even with Democrats — decides not to seek re-election. He still attempts to use emergency war-related powers, however, to block strikes in the steel industry. When he seizes most of the country’s steel mills, the case goes to the Supreme Court, which then rules against his use of such executive powers. Seven of the nine justices write opinions, though, with many actually laying out the constitutional premises under which later presidents could be more successful in such actions.

TV becomes even more a part of the American scene, not only broadcasting the presidential campaigns, but also seeing shows like The Today Show, Jackie Gleason’s Honeymooners, and Dick Clark’s Bandstand begin their decades-long runs. An episode of I Love Lucy sets a new record, being watched in more than 10 million homes at once. In a sign of the times, though, the U.S. televison industry adopts a morals code, raising necklines for women appearing on TV.

U.S. Facts

  • President: Harry S Truman (D)
  • Population: 157,553,000
  • Life Expectancy: 68.6 years
  • Unemployment: 3.0%
  • Average Annual Salary: $4,200
  • Minimum Wage: $0.75 per hour
  • Inflation Rate: 1.9%

What Things Cost

  • Automobile: $1,850
  • Gasoline: $0.27 per gallon
  • House: $17,000
  • Bread: $0.16 per loaf
  • Milk: $0.96 per gallon
  • Postage Stamp: $0.03

Major U.S. Events

  • U.S. begins construction of first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus
  • Korean conflict continues as truce attempts fail
  • U.S. detonates world’s first hydrogen bomb

Major World Events

  • Elizabeth II becomes Queen of England upon the death of her father, King George VI
  • European Coal and Steel Community formed (later becomes European Union)
  • NATO conference approves European army


  • West Germany has 8 million refugees inside its borders
  • U.K. Prime Minister Churchill says they have atomic bomb
  • Batista regains power in Cuba
  • U.S. Senate ratifies peace treaty with Japan
  • Pres. Truman announces he will not seek re-election


  • Truman nationalizes steel industry to avoid strike
  • West Germany and Japan begin diplomatic relations
  • Supreme Court rules against Truman in steel case


  • East Germany announces formation of its peoples’ army
  • Puetro Rico becomes a self-governing commonwealth of the U.S.
  • TV debuts in Canada on CBC in Montreal


  • Gen. Eisenhower (R) defeats Illinois Gov. Stevenson (D) for president
  • 8.25 Richter Scale earthquake hits Kamchatka peninsula of far eastern Russia
  • U.S. National Security Agency founded
  • “The Great Smog,” also referred to as “the Big Smoke,” descends on London, killing thousands

Top Songs

  • Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson
  • Wheel of Fortune by Kay Starr
  • Cry by Johnny Ray
  • You Belong To Me by Jo Stafford
  • Auf Wiederseh’n, Sweetheart by Vera Lynn

Other New Songs

  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • Blues In the Night by Rosemary Clooney
  • High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me) by Frankie Laine
  • A Guy is a Guy by Doris Day
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Guy Mitchell

Top Movies

  • The Greatest Show on Earth
  • High Noon
  • The Bad and the Beautiful
  • The Quiet Man
  • Come Back, Little Sheba

Top Books

  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Top Radio Shows (1951-52)

  • Amos ‘n’ Andy Show
  • Jack Benny Show
  • Lux Radio Theater
  • Edgar Bergen-Charlie McCarthy Show
  • Walter Winchell

Top TV Shows (1951-52)

  • Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts
  • Texaco Star Theater
  • I Love Lucy
  • The Red Skelton Show
  • Colgate Comedy Hour

Major League Baseball: World Series

  • New York Yankees d. Brooklyn Dodgers

Pro Football: Championship

  • Detroit Lions d. Cleveland Browns

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup

  • Detroit Red Wings d. Montreal Canadiens

Pro Basketball: Championship

  • Minneapolis Lakers d. New York Knickerbockers

NCAA Champions

  • Football: Michigan State Spartans
  • Basketball: Kansas Jayhawks

Other Champions

  • Winter Olympics (Oslo, Norway): Norway
  • Summer Olympics (Helsinki, Finland): USA
  • Boxing: Jersey Joe Wolcott defends heavyweight title once, but then loses it to Rocky Marciano
  • Golf: Julius Boros is PGA player of the year
  • Tennis: Frank Sedgman and Maureen Connolly win U.S. Open
  • Horse Racing: Hill Gail wins Kentucky Derby
  • Auto Racing: Troy Ruttman wins Indianapolis 500

Inventions, Fads, & Fashion

  • Jonas Salk develops mass-produced polio vaccine
  • First computer compiler developed, to program computer automatically instead of writing instructions for each new action
  • Videotape is demonstrated for the first time
  • Mad magazine appears in initial comic book form
  • Mr. Potato Head (and Mrs. Potato Head) first toys promoted on TV
  • Tony the Tiger is created to market the new Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes

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