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Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century

Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s - 1950s - 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

Years: 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959

Table of contents
1 The United States in the 1950s
2 Events and trends
3 World leaders
4 Entertainers
5 Sports figures

The United States in the 1950s

The 1950s are noted in United States history as a time of both compliance and conformity and also of rebellion. Major U.S. events during the decade included:

Compliance and attempts at social perfection were hallmarks of the 1950s domestic scene, where the two-parent families in which the father worked in industry and the mother remained home as a homemaker were idealized in television programs such as Leave it to Beaver. Social undercurrents subverting this view were seen in movements such as beat poetry, rock and roll music, and in motion pictures such as Rebel Without a Cause, starring 1950s icon James Dean. In fact, Dean and rock star Elvis Presley are almost universally seen as 1950s icons, as is motion picture actress Marilyn Monroe. Television became almost universally available in the United States by the end of the decade, and its social effects have been debated from then until now.

One of the most influential and most highly critically-acclaimed of the many books about the era is The Fifties by journalist and author David Halberstam.

Events and trends



War, peace and politics


Culture, religion


World leaders


See also: List of rock and roll albums in the 1950s

Sports figures