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May 24, 1962: Astronaut Scott Carpenter orbits Earth, overshoots landing zone by 250 miles
May 31, 1962: Adolf Eichmann death sentence carried out by Israel

The following events occurred in May 1962:


May 1, 1962 (Tuesday)Edit

May 2, 1962 (Wednesday)Edit

May 3, 1962 (Thursday)Edit

  • The Mikawashima train crash killed 160 people in Japan in the collision involving three separate trains near Tokyo. Engineer Norifumi Minakami drove a freight train through a red signal and sideswiped a commuter train. As surviving passengers climbed out of that train, a third train ran through them, then plunged over an embankment.[6]
  • British supermarket executive Alan Sainsbury was created a life peer.

May 4, 1962 (Friday)Edit

  • Dr. Masaki Watanabe of Japan performed the very first arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear, a common injury for athletes. The first patient to receive the procedure was a 17-year-old basketball player, who was returned to playing six weeks after the meniscectomy and resection of his right knee by Dr. Watanabe.[7]
  • U.S. Ambassador to Canada Livingston Merchant, in his final month as envoy, made a final visit to Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in Ottawa. At the meeting Diefenbaker angrily brought out an American memorandum that had been left behind during President Kennedy's visit in May 1961.[8] The President's handwritten notes in the margin included the letters "OAS", the Organization of American States, "but Diefenbaker read Kennedy's handwriting as 'SOB'"[9] and threatened to use the memo (and the suggestion that Kennedy thought that Diefenbaker was a "son of a bitch") in the upcoming June 18 elections. After conferring with his superiors, the ambassador later told Diefenbaker that he was personally reluctant to report "anything which could be construed as a threat" and that publication of the memo would "make difficult future relations". The memo was never used, but Kennedy and Diefenbaker never trusted each other again.
  • During the El Carupanazo revolt against Venezuelan President Rómulo Betancourt, Venezuelan Air Force aircraft began a two-day attack on rebel positions at Carúpano.[10]
  • U.S. President John F. Kennedy attended a firepower demonstration at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

May 5, 1962 (Saturday)Edit

  • Tottenham Hotspur F.C. retained the FA Cup with a 3–1 win over Burnley F.C. in front of 100,000 fans (including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip) at Wembley Stadium, and became only the second team in Football League history to win the Cup two years in a row. [11] [12] Goals were scored for the Spurs by Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Smith and captain Danny Blanchflower, with the Clarets' sole score coming from Jimmy Robson.
  • Seattle businessman Stanley McDonald inaugurated a cruise ship service that would eventually become Princess Cruises, starting with the departure of the Canadian steamer SS Yarmouth from San Francisco for the first of 17 ten-day cruises to the 1962 Seattle World's Fair and back. [13] [14] After a successful six-month lease of the Yarmouth, McDonald would spend more than three years in making plans for the Princess Cruise line (which would be made famous by The Love Boat television series) on a regular series of winter tours from Los Angeles to Acapulco, starting at the end of 1965. [15] "Yarmouth Cruises, Inc."

May 6, 1962 (Sunday)Edit

  • The first nuclear explosion to be caused by an American ballistic missile, rather than by a bomb dropped from an aircraft or at a fixed site, was accomplished at Christmas Island, 1,200 miles from its launch site. Previous ICBM tests had been done without a nuclear warhead. The USS Ethan Allen fired the armed Polaris A-2 missile, from underwater, to its target.[16]
  • Antonio Segni was elected President of the Italian Republic on the 9th round of balloting in the combined houses of parliament, with 443 of the 856 votes Senators and Deputies present.[17]
  • Martin de Porres (1579-1639) was canonized as the first mulatto Roman Catholic saint, 125 years after his beatification.[18]
  • The National Bowling League rolled its last game, with the Detroit Thunderbirds defeating the Twin Cities Skippers, 27-15, to sweep the best 3-of-five "World Series of Bowling" for the first, and only, NBL championship. [19] [20] [21]
  • Died: Thomas Gilcrease, 72, American philanthropist and collector of indigenous artifacts of the Americas

May 7, 1962 (Monday)Edit

  • Three officials of the Central Intelligence Agency met with U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and implored him to stop investigation of Mafia crime boss Sam Giancana. For the first time, the CIA revealed that it had offered $150,000 to several organized criminals to carry out a "hit" against Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.[22] The secret meeting would become public in 1975, with the release of the Rockefeller Commission's report on an investigation of the CIA.[23]
  • Detroit became the first city in the United States to use traffic cameras and electronic signs to regulate the flow of traffic. The pilot program began with 14 television cameras along a 3.2-mile stretch of the John C. Lodge Freeway, between the Davison Expressway and Interstate 94.[24]
  • The six-member township council of Centralia, Pennsylvania, voted in favor of improving the new landfill at the edge of town, in time for Memorial Day ceremonies. Every year, the contents of the city dump would be set afire, despite a state law prohibiting the practice, and the May 27 burning would prove to be the end of Centralia.[25]
  • The 1962 Cannes Film Festival opened.
  • The Operation Nougat nuclear testing program continued with a blast at the Nevada Test Site.
  • The single-track Hooton to West Kirby branch of the Birkenhead Railway closed to all rail traffic.

May 8, 1962 (Tuesday)Edit

May 9, 1962 (Wednesday)Edit

May 10, 1962 (Thursday)Edit

  • The Japanese monster film Mothra opened in the United States, after having premiered in Japan on July 30, 1961.[34]
  • Pravda, the official newspaper for the Soviet Communist Party, printed the official response to pleas to prevent the continued tearing down of Moscow's monasteries and churches. The plea had been in an editorial in the magazine Moskva about the urban renewal decisions of the Architectural Planning Administration. The editorials were unsigned, but apparently approved by First Secretary Khrushchev. The day before, three of the journalists from Moskva were informed that the article was anti-Soviet.[35]
  • Oliver Franks, Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, was made a life peer.
  • Born: John Ngugi, Kenyan athlete and 1988 Olympic gold medalist in the 5000 metre race in Kigumo, Muranga District

May 11, 1962 (Friday)Edit

May 12, 1962 (Saturday)Edit

  • Nine men, on a fishing trip, died in shark-infested waters after their boat sank off the coast of Newport Beach, California. Chester McMain of Norwalk was taking the Happy Jack on its first voyage when it ran into rough weather. Though they were wearing life jackets, the sharks apparently pulled them underwater. Searchers on the fishing boat Mardic located six bodies the next day, with sharks swimming around the group.[38]
  • The Philippines continued to distance itself from its past as an American protectorate, changing its name on postage and coinage to Pilipinas.[39]
  • Archie Moore gave up his world light heavyweight boxing title to move up to heavyweight. His successor was Harold Johnson.
  • Born: Emilio Estevez, American actor, to Martin and Janet Sheen, in Staten Island, New York
  • Died: Frank Jenks, 59, American film comedian

May 13, 1962 (Sunday)Edit

May 14, 1962 (Monday)Edit

May 15, 1962 (Tuesday)Edit

May 16, 1962 (Wednesday)Edit

May 17, 1962 (Thursday)Edit

May 18, 1962 (Friday)Edit

  • British soldiers erected a barbed wire barricade along Hong Kong's 12-mile border with the People's Republic of China. The purpose was to block refugees from fleeing China into Hong Kong. At the time, as many as 4,000 people were attempting to flee Communist China into the British colony.[52] The next day, British administrators imposed penalties on any Hong Kong resident attempting to assist a refugee's escape.[53]
  • The Panchen Lama, leader of the Tibetan people since the nation's conquest by Communist China, presented a 70,000-word petition to visiting Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, pleading for relief for the suffering of Tibetans under Communist rule. Repression of Tibetan Buddhists eased to some extent after the Panchen Lama's bold move.[54]
  • Al Oerter became the first person to throw the discus more than 200 feet, setting a mark of 61.10 m (200'5") at Los Angeles.[55]
  • Born: Karel Roden, Czech actor, in České Budějovice

May 19, 1962 (Saturday)Edit

  • Marilyn Monroe made her last significant public appearance, singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at a birthday party for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. The event was part of a fundraiser to pay off the Democratic Party's four million-dollar debt remaining from Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign.[56] Monroe was stitched into a $12,000 dress "made of nothing but beads" and wore nothing underneath as she appeared at the request of Peter Lawford; President Kennedy thanked her afterward, joking, "I can now retire from politics after having had 'Happy Birthday' sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way."[57]
  • Typhoon Hope became the second typhoon of the season, peaking at 95 mph (153 km/h) winds on the following night.
  • Died: Gabriele Münter, 85, German expressionist painter

May 20, 1962 (Sunday)Edit

May 21, 1962 (Monday)Edit

  • Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev accepted the recommendation from his Defense Council, to place nuclear missiles in Cuba.[59]
  • Egypt's President Gamel Abdel Nasser unveiled his "National Charter of the Arab Socialist Union", proclaiming that the "Arab Revolution" would win its "battle of destiny" by "enlightened thought", "free movement" and "clear perception" of the revolution's objectives.[60]
  • In Baltimore, federal district judge Roszel C. Thomsen dismissed the antitrust lawsuit by the American Football League against the National Football League. The suit arose from the NFL's action of placing franchises in Dallas and Minneapolis after the AFL had been founded with teams there.[61]
  • Born:

May 22, 1962 (Tuesday)Edit

  • Continental Airlines Flight 11 crashed on a farm near Unionville, Missouri, after the in-flight detonation of a bomb near the rear lavatory. All 45 passengers and crew, on the Boeing 707 jet flight from Chicago to Kansas City, were killed.[62] Contact was lost at 9:15 pm and the plane had disappeared from radar at 9:40 after leaving behind a 60-mile line of debris, including a briefcase with the initials "T.G.D."; Thomas G. Doty, one of the passengers, who had been on his way to Kansas City to face criminal charges for armed robbery, had taken out $300,000 in insurance payable to his wife, and had bought sticks of dynamite at a hardware store, before carrying out the murder-suicide.[63]

May 23, 1962 (Wednesday)Edit

  • The first successful reattachment (replantation) of a severed limb was accomplished by Dr. Ronald A. Malt at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Everett Knowles, a 12-year-old boy, had had his right arm severed at the shoulder by a freight train. A year after the limb was saved, Everett could move all five fingers and bend his wrist, and by 1965, he was again playing baseball and tennis.[64]
  • U.S. President Kennedy signed a Presidential Directive waiving the quota against accepting immigrants from China. Since 1943, the quota for Chinese immigrants had been only 105 per year. Within three years, President Lyndon Johnson would put the quota for Asian nations at the same level as that for European nations.[65]
  • Drilling for the first subway in Montreal commenced at 8:00 am, as a crew began to bore a 1.2-mile-long tunnel under Berri Street, to run between Metropolitan Boulevard and Jean Talon Street.[66]
  • Raoul Salan, founder of the French terrorist Organisation armée secrète, was sentenced to life imprisonment, rather than death.[67]
  • Ernst Krenek's opera What Price Confidence? premièred at Saarbrücken, seventeen years after its composition.
  • Died: Rubén Jaramillo, 61, Mexican activist for land reform, along with his wife and three of his four children, after being arrested by Mexican soldiers at his home in Xochicalco.[68]

May 24, 1962 (Thursday)Edit

  • Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule, then splashed down 250 miles off course in the fourth mission of Project Mercury. He was located and rescued by the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. Carpenter's rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 7:45 am local time, went around the Earth three times, then began its return at 1:30. Instead of being tilted 34° toward the horizon, the capsule was inclined at 25° and overshot its mark, landing at 1:41 pm. Carpenter deployed a rubber raft and stayed afloat for another three hours before being spotted.[69]
  • The string quartet piece ST/10=1, 080262 was given its first performance. Greek composer Iannis Xenakis had created the work with the aid of an IBM 7090 computer.[70]
  • The U.S. Embassy in Moscow renewed the passport of Lee Harvey Oswald and approved the entry of his wife and daughter into the United States.[31]

May 25, 1962 (Friday)Edit

May 26, 1962 (Saturday)Edit

May 27, 1962 (Sunday)Edit

  • Pursuant to the township council resolution of May 7, the contents of the new landfill in Centralia, Pennsylvania, were burned as part of a cleanup on the day before Memorial Day. As had been done in the past, the volunteer fire department then extinguished the blaze. The new landfill, however, had been placed above an abandoned coal mine and the fire continued to burn underground, ultimately reducing Centralia to a ghost town.[25]
  • Born: Ravi Shastri, Indian cricketer, in Bombay
  • Died: Egon Petri, 81, Dutch pianist

May 28, 1962 (Monday)Edit

  • The Soviet Union launched the Kosmos 5 scientific research and technology demonstration satellite, becoming the last satellite in the Kosmos programme to reach orbit successfully.
  • Born:
  • Died: Assar Gabrielsson, 70, Swedish industrialist and co-founder of the Volvo automobile company

May 29, 1962 (Tuesday)Edit

May 30, 1962 (Wednesday)Edit

May 31, 1962 (Thursday)Edit

  • A speeding freight train crashed through the back of a passenger train near Voghera, Italy, killing 62 people. Most of the dead were vacationers on their way to the French Riviera.[80]
  • The hanging of Adolf Eichmann, 56, German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, began at 11:58 pm local time "on an improvised scaffold in a third story storeroom" at the Ramleh prison near Tel Aviv. Eichmann, who had been captured by agents of Israel's Mossad on March 21, 1960, and then taken from Argentina to Israel for his role in the extermination of 6,000,000 European Jews, would become the first person to be legally executed in the history of modern Israel. The body was cremated soon afterward and Eichmann's ashes scattered over the Mediterranean Sea.[81]
  • The Northern Ireland general election produced a large majority for the Ulster Unionist Party, which won 34 out of 51 seats. The Nationalist Party gained 2 seats to give it a total of nine.
  • Born: Sebastian Koch, German film actor (The Lives of Others and '"Bridge of Spies), in Karlsruhe, West Germany


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  2. ^ "Algerian Carnage Takes Lives Of 110", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 3, 1962, p1
  3. ^ "A History of the Canadian Dollar" (Bank of Canada) pp61-62, p71; Michael Hart, A Trading Nation: Canadian Trade Policy from Colonialism to Globalization (UBC Press, 2003) p222
  4. ^ "Biggest N-Test Exploded", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 3, 1962, p1
  5. ^ "Zombies: Do They Exist?", TIME Magazine, October 17, 1983; Andre J. Louis, Voodoo in Haiti: Catholicism, Protestantism & A Model of Effective Ministry in the Context of Voodoo In Haiti (Tate Publishing, 2007) p166
  6. ^ "Engineer Arrested After Train Crash Kills 163 In Japan", Nashua (NH) Telegraph, May 4, 1962, p1
  7. ^ Mark D. Miller and Brian J. Cole, Textbook of Arthroscopy (Elsevier Health Sciences, 2004) pp 4–5
  8. ^ Jamie Glazov, Canadian Policy toward Khrushchev's Soviet Union (McGill-Queens University Press, 2003) p147
  9. ^ Edelgard Mahant and Graeme S. Mount, Invisible and Inaudible in Washington: American Policies Toward Canada (University of British Columbia Press, 1999) p48
  10. ^ Scheina, Robert L., Latin America: A Naval History 1810-1987, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1987, ISBN 0-87021-295-8, p. 225.
  11. ^ "Super Spurs turn Cup Final into a Soccer Classic", The Observer (London), May 6, 1962, p20
  12. ^ "Tottenham English Soccer King Again", Miami News, May 6, 1962, p1C
  13. ^ "Cruise Ship to Make Fair Runs", The Daily Chronicle (Centralia WA), April 18, 1962, p7
  14. ^ "Just Announced! Fabulous 10-day Seattle World's Fair Cruise... from just $195 round trip", advertisement, Los Angeles Times, April 18, 1962, p25
  15. ^ Peter Plowman, The SITMAR Liners: Past and Present (Rosenberg Publishing, 2004) pp189-190
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  18. ^ Michael J. Walsh, ed., Butler's Lives of the Saints (HarperCollins, 1991) p 361
  19. ^ "Detroit Wins Title In U.S. Pin Loop, May 7, 1962, p19
  20. ^ "Thunderbirds Sweep Bowling World Series", Lansing (MI) State Journal, May 7, 1962, C-1
  21. ^ "For the Record", Sports Illustrated, May 21, 1962, p 117
  22. ^ Evan Thomas, Robert Kennedy: His Life (Simon and Schuster, 2002) p171
  23. ^ Andrew Downer Crain, The Ford Presidency: A History (McFarland, 2009) p123
  24. ^ Mary M. Stolberg, Bridging the River of Hatred: The Pioneering Efforts of Detroit Police Commissioner George Edwards (Wayne State University Press, 2002) p177
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  30. ^ Vincent P. Benitez, The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years (ABC-CLIO, 2010) p6
  31. ^ a b The Warren Commission Report: Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Associated Press, 1964)
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2011-05-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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  34. ^ August Ragone, Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters (Chronicle Books, 2007) p 63
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  36. ^ "'First' Elephant Race Puts College on Map", Youngstown Vindicator, May 12, 1962, p 1
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  38. ^ "Shark-Mangled Bodies Found At Sea", Toledo Blade, May 14, 1962, p2; "Sharks Eat Sea Victims", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 14, 1962, p1
  39. ^ Charles J-H. MacDonald, Old Ties and New Solidarities: Studies on Philippine Communities (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2000) p276
  40. ^ "New India President In Plea for Unity", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 14, 1962, p2
  41. ^ Robert N. Minor, Radhakrishnan: A Religious Biography (SUNY Press, 1987)
  42. ^ "Royal Houses of Spain and Greece Joined", Lewiston (ME) Daily Sun, May 15, 1962, p1
  43. ^ Angel Smith, Historical Dictionary of Spain (Scarecrow Press, 2009) p368
  44. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  45. ^ James W. Marquart, et al., The Rope, The Chair, and the Needle: Capital Punishment in Texas, 1923–1990 (University of Texas Press, 1998) p 116
  46. ^ "U.S. Jets Land In Thailand", Miami News, May 16, 1962, p1
  47. ^ Corinna Laughlin and Jennifer Kerr Breedlove, Sourcebook for Sundays Seasons and Weekdays 2009 (Liturgy Training Publications, 2008) p 283
  48. ^ James B. Roberts and Alexander Skutt, The Boxing Register: International Boxing Hall of Fame Official Record Book (McBooks Press,2006) pp 564-565
  49. ^ Warren Upham, Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001)
  50. ^ Kunio Goto, A Social History of Science and Technology in Contemporary Japan (Trans Pacific Press, 2006) pp 489–490
  51. ^ Plácido Domingo, with Helena Matheopoulos, Plácido Domingo: My Operatic Roles (Baskerville Publishers, 2000) p53
  52. ^ "Barbed Wire Curtain Halts Flight To Hong Kong", Miami News, May 18, 1962, p1
  53. ^ "Hong Kong Refugee Aid Is Banned", Miami News, May 19, 1962, p1
  54. ^ Tséring Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947 (Columbia University Press, 1999) pp271-273
  55. ^ Peter Matthews, Historical Dictionary of Track and Field (Scarecrow Press, 2012) p 64
  56. ^ "$1,000,000 Raised for Party at JFK 'Birthday Salute'", St. Joseph (MO) News-Press, May 20, 1962, p1
  57. ^ Richard D. Mahoney, Sons & Brothers: The Days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy (Arcade Publishing, 1999) p 161
  58. ^ Nigel I. Jowett, et al., Comprehensive Coronary Care (Elsevier Health Sciences, 2007) p 16; "Resuscitating a Circulation Abstract to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Coronary Care Unit Concept", by W. Bruce Fye, M.D., Circulation magazine, May 1, 1962, pp1886-93
  59. ^ Norman Polmar, Spyplane: The U-2 History Declassified (Zenith Imprint, 2001) p182
  60. ^ Arthur Goldschmidt, A Brief History of Egypt (Infobase Publishing, 2008) p174
  61. ^ "$10 Million AFL Suit Ruled Out", The Milwaukee Sentinel, May 22, 1962, p 2–3
  62. ^ "JET LINER CRASH KILLS 45 IN WILD MIDWEST STORM", Miami News, May 23, 1962, p1; "Bomb Ripped Jet On Which 45 Perished", Miami News, May 27, 1962, p1
  63. ^ "Brief Case Clue To Jet Crash Studied By FBI", Miami News, May 29, 1962, p 2; "Death Plane Passengers Had Bought Dynamite", Miami News, June 17, 1962, p 1
  64. ^ Wilson Casey, Firsts: Origins of Everyday Things That Changed the World (Penguin, 2009); "He Takes a Grip on Life: A boy who made medical history puts his sewed-on arm to work", LIFE Magazine, August 2, 1963, pp 31–34
  65. ^ Victor Nee and Brett De Bary Nee, Longtime Californ': A Documentary Study of an American Chinatown (Stanford University Press, 1986) p 254
  66. ^ "Subway Started, New Tenders Set", Montreal Gazette, May 24, 1962, p3
  67. ^ Todd Shepard, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (Cornell University Press, 2008) p131
  68. ^ Donald C. Hodges and Ross Gandy, Mexico, the End of the Revolution (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002) pp1 02-103
  69. ^ "CARPENTER LIFTED SAFELY FROM SEA: Overshot Target By 250 Miles In 3 Orbital Flight", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 25, 1962, p 1
  70. ^ Peter Manning, Electronic and Computer Music (Oxford University Press, 2004) p203
  71. ^ Alfred F. Havighurst, Britain in Transition: The Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 1985) p643
  72. ^ "Racist Wins Alabama Bid for Primary", Chicago Tribune, May 31, 1962, p11; "Alabama Chooses Foe Of Integration", Miami News, May 30, 1962, p10A
  73. ^ "1929 Stock Market-- Big Question 1962"; "World Exchanges Suffer Heavy Blows", Miami News, May 30, 1962, p1
  74. ^ "Four Window Washers Die As Work Platform Plunges Down 43-Story Building". Lewiston Evening Journal: 1. May 29, 1962. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
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  77. ^ "Bus Crash In India Kills 69 Out of 90", El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, May 31, 1962, p5
  78. ^ "Gujarat Bus Mishap Toll 70", Indian Express, June 1, 1962, p7
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