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The Year 1948
MAJOR EVENTS:
  • Mahatma Gandhi assassinated in India
  • House Un-American Activities Committee accuses Alger Hiss of spying for the Soviet Union
  • Communists seize power in Czechoslovakia
  • U.S. Congress ratifies Marshall Plan, approving $17 billion in European aid
  • State of Israel created; admits over 200,000 European war refugees
  • Soviet Union seals off land routes to Berlin; West responds with massive airlift of provisions
  • President Harry S Truman re-elected in upset over Thomas E. Dewey
  • President Truman integrates the U.S. Armed Forces


  • BUSINESS & ECONOMY:
  • U.S. continues to cope with severe postwar inflation while rocked by labor unrest
  • United Auto Workers succeed in linking wage increases to cost-of-living index in contract with General Motors
  • Congress enacts federal rent controls


  • SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY:
  • Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male is the first large-scale study of individuals' sexual habits, with stunning revelations about infidelity, homosexuality and other issues
  • U.S. government conducts extensive missile tests in New Mexico desert
  • 200-inch telescope at Mount Palomar begins operation
  • Cortisone introduced as an arthritis treatment
  • "Big bang" theory of the universe's origin postulated
  • Orville Wright dies


  • SPORTS:
  • World Series: Cleveland over Boston, 4-2
  • Olympics held in London
  • "Citation" wins Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky Derby
  • Boxer Joe Louis retires
  • Babe Ruth dies


  • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:
  • Movies: Hamlet, Macbeth (Orson Welles), The Naked City, Oliver Twist, The Fallen Idol
  • Songs: Nature Boy, Buttons and Bows, All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth
  • TV Shows: Howdy Doody, Philco TV Playhouse, Toast of the Town, Kraft Television Theatre, Meet the Press
  • Books: The Big Fisherman, Lloyd C. Douglas; Crusade in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower; Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton; The Ides of March, Thorton Wilder; Tales of the South Pacific, James Michener; The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
  • Long-playing (33-1/3 RPM) record invented
  • Boxing and wrestling are TV's prime attractions


  • EVERYDAY LIFE:
  • Selective Service inaugurated, providing a continuous peacetime military draft until repealed in 1973
  • New York's Idlewild Airport opens (renamed JFK Airport in 1963)
  • Swiss outdoorsman George de Mestral invents Velcro
  • Noted food critic Duncan Hines founds a company to make prepackaged cake mixes


  • FUN FACTS:
  • Popcorn sold on a mass scale for the first time
  • "Scrabble" introduced