Major events that occurred in 1960 include: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first birth control pill, “The Pill,”; the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the population had reached 179,245,781, an increase of 9.7 percent over the 1950 census; and the Civil Rights Act of 1960 was signed into law.
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The United States
In the United States, the year 1960 was marked by several significant events. The most notable event was the election of John F. Kennedy as the 35th president of the United States. Kennedy’s election marked the first time that a Catholic had been elected to the presidency. In addition to Kennedy’s election, 1960 was also the year that the U.S. population surpassed 200 million people.
The presidential election
The election of 1960 was one of the most consequential in American history. It saw the election of John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, and his victory over Richard Nixon, the incumbent vice president. The election was also a close one, with Kennedy winning by a margin of just over 100,000 votes.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion
From April 17-19, 1961, a CIA-funded and -trained force of Cuban exiles launched an invasion of Cuba from the sea in the Bay of Pigs, in hopes of sparking a popular uprising against Communist dictator Fidel Castro. The invasion failed miserably, and President John F. Kennedy—who had approved it—took responsibility for the fiasco.
The Freedom Riders
The Freedom Riders were a group of civil rights activists who rode buses together through the American South to challenge segregation laws. Their goal was to force the federal government to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Boynton v. Virginia, which had ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.
The Freedom Riders faced violent opposition from white segregationists, and their campaign received national attention. It played a significant role in spurring the Civil Rights Movement and led to the desegregation of many public facilities in the American South.
The Soviet Union
1960 was the year that the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 spy plane. The United States had been flying U-2 planes over the Soviet Union to gather information about their nuclear program. The Soviets were not happy about this and decided to take action. The U-2 incident caused a lot of tension between the two countries and led to the cancellation of a meeting between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and American President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The U-2 incident
The U-2 Incident occurred on May 1, 1960, during the Cold War, when a United States U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union by a surface-to-air missile after straying into Soviet airspace, causing an international diplomatic crisis. The aircraft, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, was operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and its mission was to collect photographic evidence of Soviet military bases and missle sites.
The Paris Summit
In May of 1960, the Paris Summit was held in an attempt to ease tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. The meeting was attended by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and French President Charles de Gaulle. While the summit did not result in any concrete agreements, it was seen as a positive step forward in relations between the two superpowers.
The Berlin Crisis
The Berlin Crisis was a major event that occurred in 1960. It was a direct result of the ongoing tension between the Soviet Union and the United States. This tension had been building for years, but it came to a head when the Soviet Union began construction of the Berlin Wall. This wall prevented East Germans from fleeing to the West, and it also served as a symbol of the division between East and West. The crisis culminated in a standoff between Soviet and American tanks in Berlin, but it was eventually resolved without violence.
The Republic of the Congo becomes independent from Belgium.
The Congo Crisis
The Congo Crisis began in 1960 when the Republic of the Congo declared independence from Belgium. The newly independent country was struggling to find its footing, and a number of different factions vied for power. This led to a period of instability and violence that lasted for several years. ultimately, the situation was resolved through negotiations and the country stabilised.
The decolonization of Africa
In 1960, 17 African countries were granted independence from their colonial rulers. This process, known as decolonization, was largely a result of the political pressure exerted by African nationalist movements and the growing Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The newly independent states of Africa faced many challenges, including economic underdevelopment, cultural divisions, and the legacy of European colonialism. In subsequent years, some African countries would come to experience military dictatorship, civil war, and other problems. However, the decolonization of Africa was a major step forward in the history of the continent.
The Sino-Soviet split
The Sino-Soviet split was the breaking of political relations between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), caused by doctrinal divergences that arose from their different interpretations and practical applications of Marxism–Leninism, as influenced by their own geopolitical interests during the Cold War. In the 1960s, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s policies of de-Stalinization and peaceful coexistence led Mao Zedong and other Chinese Communist Party leaders to fear a revisionist takeover of Marxism–Leninism. The split occurred after Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953, when Nikita Khrushchev, who had been one of Stalin’s closest allies, denounced his policies at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, revealing a fundamental divergence in interpretation of Leninism.
The USSR responded by severing ties with the PRC on August 23, 1960. Ideological differences were exacerbated by a 1961 divergence over tactics in the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis; and disagreements over economic policy, territory claims on India’s northeast border, and support for terrorist groups also led toproblems in bilateral relations. Mao saw Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization as an attempt to undermine communism around the world; meanwhile, Khrushchev increasingly saw Chairman Mao Zedong as an undisciplined ideological extremist who had brought much undue suffering upon his own people with his Great Leap Forward campaign and Cultural Revolution.
Although relations remained more or less cordial during much of the 1950s despite such injuries as Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech”, which denounced many past actions by Stalin (Mao was not present at that event), underlying tensions gradually mounted. On November 19, 1956 Premier Nikita Khrushchev issued his famous speech On The Personality Cult And Its Consequences before an assembly of senior party officials in Moscow. Publicly denouncing Stalin “cult” damaged Soviet prestige internationally and gave rise to many critiques within communist parties worldwide – most notably from China – who believed these revelations would undermine their efforts to spread communism around the world.