The significant events of 1949
Posted: Sep 06, 2022
The calendar year of 1949 was shaped by a number of significant events. The year started with a United Nations sponsored ceasefire agreement to bring an end to the Indo-Pakistani War that started in 1947. This resulted in a stalemate that divided Kashmir and those divisions and tensions still continue today with the occasional brief conflicts. On January 20, Harry S. Truman is sworn in as the President of the United States. This was his second term and the 41st inauguration ceremony. This was the first televised US presidential inauguration and the first with an air parade.
The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington, DC on April 4 creating the NATO defence alliance. The Treaty forms the legal basis for the alliance of this intergovernmental military co-operation between 30 member states – 28 European and two North American countries in the aftermath of World War II. On May 12, the Soviet Union lifts the Berlin Blockade. This blockade stated on 24 June 1948 was the first major international crisis of the Cold War. It occurred during the multinational occupation of Berlin following World War II where the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin that were under their control. Airlifts were the only way for the movement of people and goods in and out.
On June 14, 1949, the rhesus monkey Albert II, becomes the first primate to travel into space aboard the USA Hermes project rocket. He was killed instantly upon re-entry after the capsules parachute failed to open causing the capsule to impact the ground. On July 27, the world's first commercial jet-powered airliner, the de Havilland Comet made its first flight, in England. It did not make its first commercial flight until 1952. On August 12, 1949, the Fourth Geneva Convention is agreed to. This convention was the first to deal with the humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone. As of 2022, there are 196 countries that are party to this convention. In 1993, the United Nations concluded that the Geneva Conventions had passed into the body of customary international law, which makes them binding on non-signatories to the Convention whenever they engage in armed conflicts. On August 29 the Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb nicknamed Joe 1 by the USA in reference to Joseph Stalin. Its design is a copy of the American plutonium bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945. The test did surprise USA intelligence as they did not believe that the Soviet Union was capable of nuclear weapons at that stage.
In Australia on December 10, 1949 in the Australian federal elections the Liberal/Country Coalition Party who was led by Robert Menzies defeated the Labor Government, led by the current Prime Minister, Ben Chifley. Menzies was sworn in on December 19 making this his second term as Prime Minister, a position he holds for the next 16 years until his retirement in 1966. Labor will not win back the office again until 1972
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.