January 1961

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The following events occurred in January 1961:

January 20, 1961: John F. Kennedy becomes 35th U.S. president
January 17, 1961: Outgoing U.S. President Eisenhower warns against the "military-industrial complex"
January 24, 1961: Nuclear bomb accidentally dropped on Goldsboro, NC
January 25, 1961: British farthing, worth 14 a penny, discontinued after 600 years

January 1, 1961 (Sunday)Edit

January 2, 1961 (Monday)Edit

January 3, 1961 (Tuesday)Edit

  • At the United States National Reactor Testing Station near Idaho Falls, Idaho, the atomic reactor SL-1 exploded, killing three military technicians.[5]
  • U.S. Marines, guarding the United States Embassy in Cuba, lowered the American flag for the last time for what would be more than half a century, as the Embassy closed and the United States and Cuba severed diplomatic relations.[6] On August 14, 2015, the three Marines who had lowered the flag—Larry Morris, James Tracey, and Francis "Mike" East—would be present at the Embassy and would hand the same flag to three new U.S. Marine guards to be raised again.[7]
  • In the worst airplane crash in the history of Finland, all 25 persons on Aero OY Flight 311 were killed when the DC-3 crashed shortly after takeoff from Vaasa while en route to Kronoby.[8] The plane impacted in trees six miles away, near the village of Koivulahti. A subsequent investigation concluded that both the pilot and co-pilot had been drinking as recently as five hours before takeoff.[9][10]
  • The 87th United States Congress began, with the Democratic Party having a 65 to 35 majority in the U.S. Senate, and 263 to 174 majority in the House of Representatives, although Southern Democrats in 11 states from the Deep South (100 representatives and 21 senators) were conservative.

January 4, 1961 (Wednesday)Edit

  • East Germany's Chancellor and Communist party chief, Walter Ulbricht, held a secret emergency meeting of the Politburo of his Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the SED, and told his fellow party leaders that East Germany's own economic failures accounted for 60% of the departure of East Germans to West Germany. He warned the SED that the nation needed to take action to fix housing shortages, low wages, inadequate pensions, and the six-day workweek before the end of the year. Ulbricht also criticized East German schools, pointing out that 75% of the people who left were younger than 25. Most importantly, he created a task force to stop the loss of refugees; the solution would come in the form of the Berlin Wall and the heavily-guarded border in August.[11]
  • Michael Goleniewski, an officer of Poland's Army counter-espionage unit GZI WP (Główny Zarząd Informacji Wojska Polskiego or "Main Directorate of Information of the Polish Army"), who also spied on Poland as a double agent for the Soviet Union's KGB, defected to the American CIA office in West Berlin, becoming, in effect, a triple agent.[12]
  • Died: Erwin Schrödinger, 73, Austrian physicist and pioneer in quantum mechanics, 1933 Nobel laureate for his discovery of the Schrödinger equation. In 1935, he would propose a popular analogy that is referred to now as Schrödinger's cat.[13]

January 5, 1961 (Thursday)Edit

January 6, 1961 (Friday)Edit

  • John F. Kennedy was formally elected as the 35th president of the United States, as a joint session of the U.S. Congress witnessed the counting of the electoral vote. U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon, who had opposed Kennedy in the 1960 election, formally announced the result, saying, "I now declare John F. Kennedy elected president." The results were 303 votes for Kennedy, 219 for Nixon, and 15 for U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr.[15]
  • Blamed on a person smoking in bed, a fire at a San Francisco hotel for the elderly killed 20 of the 135 residents. Police charged the smoker, who escaped unhurt, with manslaughter.[16] He was released for lack of evidence, and would die of cirrhosis four months later.[17]
  • Born: Georges Jobé, Belgian motocross rider, and five-time world champion between 1980 and 1992.

January 7, 1961 (Saturday)Edit

  • In the first round of the Los Angeles Open golf tournament in the United States, golfing legend Arnold Palmer took 12 strokes to complete the 18th hole. The defending Masters and U.S. Open champion hit his first four shots at the green out of bounds, for four penalties; it took two more strokes to reach the green, and, once there, two more to sink the ball.[18]
  • After leading Duke 36–33 at halftime, North Carolina State's basketball team lost 81–67. Months later, it was revealed that two N.C. State players had been paid $1,250 each by gamblers for point shaving. The two were paid $2,500 each in the Wolfpack's 62–56 loss, on February 15, to North Carolina.[19]
  • The NFL's first "Playoff Bowl", between the second-place finishers in the league's Eastern and Western Conferences, took place in Miami. Officially, the game was called the "Bert Bell Benefit Bowl" and raised money for the NFL players' pension fund. Playing a week after Philadelphia beat Green Bay in the NFL championship, the Detroit Lions won third place in a 17–16 victory over the Cleveland Browns.[20]
  • Following a four-day conference in Casablanca, five African chiefs of state announced plans for a NATO-type African organization to ensure common defense. From the Charter of Casablanca emerged the Casablanca Group, consisting of Morocco, the United Arab Republic, Ghana, Guinea, and Mali.[21]

January 8, 1961 (Sunday)Edit

January 9, 1961 (Monday)Edit

January 10, 1961 (Tuesday)Edit

January 11, 1961 (Wednesday)Edit

January 12, 1961 (Thursday)Edit

January 13, 1961 (Friday)Edit

January 14, 1961 (Saturday)Edit

  • The Professional Footballers' Association, trade union for the soccer football players in the professional leagues of England and Wales, called off plans for a strike in the middle of the 1960–61 Football League season. PFA director Jimmy Hill had threatened the strike after The Football League refused to lift a salary cap that limited even the best players to no more than £20 per game (twenty pounds sterling, comparable to £424 in 2017).[42] The English League relented, as "the threat of a strike effectively finished the era of the maximum wage".[43]
  • In the final week of his administration, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued an Executive Order that closed a loophole that allowed American people and companies to own gold outside of the United States. Since 1933, people and companies under American jurisdiction were barred from buying, selling or owning gold within the U.S., but were not prohibited from hoarding it outside of the country. The new order directed that all Americans who held gold coins, gold bars, and foreign gold securities and gold certificates, would have to dispose of their holdings no later than June 1. The move came after the U.S. trade deficit had grown by ten billion dollars over the previous three years.[44][45]
  • India's third nuclear reactor, ZERLINA, the Zero Energy Reactor for Lattice Investigations and New Assemblies, went into operation.[46] The reactor had a maximum power of not more than 100 watts and was limited to research on "the properties of various types of nuclear fuels" and would be dismantled in 1983.[47]
  • Born: Vissarion, Russian mystic who claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, as Sergei Anatolyevich Torop, in Krasnodar, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
  • Died: Barry Fitzgerald, 72, Irish actor

January 15, 1961 (Sunday)Edit

  • The collapse of an offshore radar tower off the coast of New Jersey killed all 28 men on board. Rescuers heard tapping from within the wreckage in the first day after the disaster, but were unable to reach the survivors.[48] At 7:33 pm, the 185-foot (56 m) tall tower, nicknamed "Old Shaky", vanished from radar screens at Otis Air Force Base. Only two bodies were found. Three U.S. Air Force officers were later charged with neglect of duty in connection with the accident.[49]
  • Motown Records signed The Supremes to their first recording contract.[50]

January 16, 1961 (Monday)Edit

  • The United States banned travel by its citizens to Cuba, except in cases where a special endorsement was included on a passport.[51]
  • In Sheldon, Iowa, bank teller Burnice Geiger was arrested after federal bank examiners discovered that she had embezzled money from the Sheldon National Bank. Initially, audits showed more than $120,000 missing over a three-year period. Mrs. Geiger admitted to stealing a total of $2,126,859.10 — an American record to that time, equivalent to $14 million fifty years later.[52] Sentenced to 15 years in prison, she served five, and lived until 1981.[53]
  • The Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo was launched by Rainier III, Prince of Monaco.

January 17, 1961 (Tuesday)Edit

January 18, 1961 (Wednesday)Edit

January 19, 1961 (Thursday)Edit

  • In New Zealand, the filling of Lake Ohakuri began. Within two weeks, a reservoir of nearly five square miles was created and a supply of hydroelectric power was created. At the same time, two of the world's largest geysers—the 295-foot-high Minquini and the 180-foot-high Orakeikorako—were covered over and made extinct.[59]
  • An Aeronaves de México DC-8B airline flight, bound for Mexico City, crashed shortly after taking off in a blizzard from New York's Idlewild Airport. Although the plane fell from an altitude of 50 feet and burst into flames, 102 of the 106 people on board, including all of the passengers, survived.[60]

January 20, 1961 (Friday)Edit

January 21, 1961 (Saturday)Edit

  • Loaded with 16 nuclear tipped Polaris A-1 missiles, the submarine USS George Washington completed its first "deterrent patrol", after having remained submerged for a record 66 consecutive days.[62]
  • Hours after a speedy confirmation in a special session of the United States Senate, all ten members of President John F. Kennedy's cabinet were sworn into office in a ceremony at the White House, including the President's younger brother, Robert F. Kennedy, who became the new Attorney General.[63]
  • The first Cosquín Festival, Argentina's major folk music festival, began.
  • Died: Blaise Cendrars, 73, Swiss/French novelist and poet[64]

January 22, 1961 (Sunday)Edit

January 23, 1961 (Monday)Edit

  • A group of 29 men, led by Portuguese rebel Henrique Malta Galvao, hijacked the cruise ship Santa Maria which was carrying 580 passengers and a crew of 360. The group had boarded with tickets at La Guaira, Venezuela and then executed the attack at 1:30 am. One member of the crew was killed and several wounded. After putting the wounded ashore, the ship sailed with other ships trying to locate it. Galvao threatened to scuttle the ship if it was attacked.[66] The crisis ended on February 2, as Galvao surrendered the ship at Recife, Brazil.[67]
  • In Lebanon, the Political Bureau dissolved the militants' organization; William Hawi created the Regulatory Forces[68]

January 24, 1961 (Tuesday)Edit

  • A B-52 Stratofortress, with two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs, crashed on a farm in the community of Faro, 12 miles (19 km) north of Goldsboro, North Carolina. Three USAF officers were killed.[69] One of the bombs went partially through its arming sequence, as five of its six safety switches failed. The one remaining switch prevented a 24 megaton nuclear explosion.[70]
  • All 21 people onboard Garuda Indonesian Airways Flight 424 were killed when the Douglas DC-3 plane crashed into the 6,772-foot (2,064 m) Mount Burangrang at an altitude of 5,400 feet (1,600 m). The plane had taken off from Jakarta en route to Bandung.[71]
  • Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and many other cartoon characters, was seriously injured in a head-on collision while driving in Los Angeles.[72] Blanc was in a coma for three weeks and was reported as killed in at least one newspaper (possibly the Hilo Tribune-Herald), but his versatile voice was unaffected, and he continued working until his death in 1989.[73]
  • Marilyn Monroe was granted a divorce from playwright Arthur Miller, after filing an action in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.[74]
  • Died: Elsa the Lioness, 5, Kenyan-born lion who was the subject of the 1960 book and the 1966 film Born Free, after being raised by author Joy Adamson and returned to the wild.

January 25, 1961 (Wednesday)Edit

January 26, 1961 (Thursday)Edit

January 27, 1961 (Friday)Edit

January 28, 1961 (Saturday)Edit

  • In Atlanta, United States, Malcolm X and Jeremiah Shabazz of the black supremacist Nation of Islam met secretly with representatives of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan to discuss common interests, including preventing integration of the races. NOI leader Elijah Muhammad and KKK leader J.B. Stoner had arranged the meeting, with the Klan agreeing to help the "Black Muslims" acquire land for resettlement.[81]
  • In Gitarama, in the Belgian colony of Rwanda, a group of Hutu politicians declared an end to the Tutsi monarchy and the creation of a republic, with Dominique Mbonyumutwa as its first President. Mbonyumutwa was replaced by Grégoire Kayibanda before Rwanda was granted independence in 1962.[82]
  • The Smothers Brothers, comedians Tom and Dick Smothers, first appeared on US national television, as guests on the Tonight show, hosted by Jack Paar.[83]
  • Bobo Brazil became the first African American to win a US National Wrestling Alliance title, pinning Dick the Bruiser in the heavyweight pro wrestling match at Detroit.[84]
  • An indoor high school basketball game in Pennsylvania, US, was "rained out". Cold air from an open window combined with heat in a gymnasium to create puddles of condensation on the floor. The game was called with West Hazleton High leading McAdoo High, 31–29.[85]

January 29, 1961 (Sunday)Edit

January 30, 1961 (Monday)Edit

  • US President John F. Kennedy delivered his first State of the Union Address, a pessimistic outlook of the challenges posed in the Cold War.[89]
  • President Kennedy approved a $41 million counterinsurgency plan, drawn up for President Eisenhower by General Edward Lansdale, to help the government of South Vietnam resist communist aggression. Designed to add 52,000 men to that nation's army and civil guards, the plan included provisions for American soldiers and military advisers to assist in the effort.[90]
  • Disenchanted with life in the Soviet Union, American defector Lee Harvey Oswald wrote to President Kennedy's newly appointed U.S. Secretary of the Navy, John Connally, to ask for a reversal of Oswald's dishonorable discharge from the United States Marines. The letter was never acted upon, and on November 22, 1963, Oswald would shoot both Kennedy and Connally.[91]
  • Born: Dexter Scott King, African-American activist, in Atlanta
  • Died:

January 31, 1961 (Tuesday)Edit

 
Ham, a spacefaring chimpanzee
  • Ham, a 37-pound (17 kg) male chimpanzee, was rocketed into space aboard Mercury-Redstone 2, in a test of the Project Mercury capsule. His successful 1612-minute flight demonstrated to American NASA officials that the capsule could safely carry human astronauts into space.[92]
  • The American State of Georgia, with the support of most its residents, repealed its longstanding laws requiring segregation by race in its public schools. Governor S. Ernest Vandiver, in signing the "open schools package" of legislation, declared "These are the four most important bills to be signed in this century in Georgia".[93]
  • James Meredith, an African-American, applied for admission to the all-white University of Mississippi, beginning a legal action that would result in the desegregation of the university.[94]
  • Hermann Höfle, an Austrian born member of the Nazi Party who had overseen the deportation of Poland's Jews to extermination camps, was arrested in Salzburg shortly after being identified as a war criminal by Adolf Eichmann during Eichmann's war crimes trial. For nine years, Höfle had been working at his pre-war trade as an auto mechanic and was working at the Salzburg water department at the time of his arrest.[95] His crime confirmed in the 1943 "Höfle Telegram", in which he bragged of exterminating a total of 1,274,166 Jews in four camps during Operation Reinhard, Höfle would hang himself in a Vienna prison on August 21, 1962 before he could be put on trial.[96]

ReferencesEdit

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  4. ^ "Huskies' 1st Half Blitz Too Much for Gophers", Milwaukee Sentinel, January 3, 1961, p8
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  7. ^ "Marines who lowered the flag in Cuba in 1961 return and raise it today", USMC Life, August 14, 2015
  8. ^ "25 Die In Airliner Explosion", Ottawa Citizen, January 3, 1961, p1
  9. ^ "Report Pilot Drank Before Fatal Flight", Milwaukee Journal, January 10, 1961, p2
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  95. ^ Stan Nadel, Salzburg and the Jews: A Historical Walking Guide (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009) p108
  96. ^ "Held for Killing Jews, Hangs Self in Prison", Chicago Daily Tribune, August 22, 1962, p21