- Kenji Mizoguchi releases A Story of Chikamatsu and Sansho the Bailiff. The latter wins Venice Film Festival Prize.
- China's population is 602.66 million.
- American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is established to lobby Congress on behalf of Israel.
- Mircea Eliade publishes The Myth of the Eternal Return.
- William F. Buckley and L. Brent Bozell publish McCarthy and His Enemies.
- Robert A. Heinlein publishes anti-religious fundamentalist sci-fi novel Revolt in 2100.
- Gordon Allport publishes The Nature of Prejudice.
- Ernest Hemingway receives the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 (The Old Man and the Sea cited)
- January 4: Che Guevara meets Cuban Ñico López, a veteran of the Moncada attack, in Guatemala City.
- January 15: Mau Mau revolutionary leader Waruhiu Itote is captured.
- January 17: Milovan Djilas, political theorist and Yugoslav dictator Josep Broz Tito's numero due, is purged.
- February 18: Church of Scientology established in Los Angeles, California. In an interesting coincidence, the Unification Church is founded in South Korea in 1954.
- March 1: Puerto Rican freedom fighters/terrorists led by Lolita Lebron open fire in the U.S. House of Representatives. Five Representatives were wounded. Their attack was a violent protest against the United States' "military occupation" of their country. The attackers were released from prison in 1979.
- March 1: Fukuryu Maru Incident. The United States conducts the largest ever test of nuclear weapons at Bikini Atoll with the open-air detonation of hydrogen or fusion weapon called Bravo Shot. Bikini islanders displaced and their island poisoned with radioactivity. Fallout from the blast lands on the crew of the Japanese tunaboat Fukuryi Maru 80 nautical miles away. One dies and others are sickened by radiation poisoning.
- March 30: Toronto subway opens (first in Canada).
- April 22: Anti-communist U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy launches hearings to investigate How the United States Army has been "soft" on Communism.
- May 17: The U.S. Supreme Court declares that segregated schools violates the 14th Amendment in the case Brown v. Board of Education.
- June 2: Report on producing H-bombs presented to the British Chiefs of Staff by the Workign Party on the Operational Use of Atomic Weapons (OAW). The British Chiefs eventually recommend producing a British H-bomb a goal to be achieved by 1958.
- June 7: British mathematician, WWII code-breaker and marathon athlete Alan Turing either commits suicide or is murdered after consuming an apple laced with cyanide. British secret services believed Turing was a security threat because he was gay.
- June 17: Vietnamese "Emperor" Bao Dai names Ngô Đình Diệm as premier of South Vietnam.
- June 17: U.S. supported invasion of democratic Guatemala from Honduras by 150 wingnut exiles and a professional disinformation operation.
- June 27: Democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz forced to resign.
- July 16: Maurice Papon is appointed secretary-general of the French protectorate of Morocco.
- July 21: Geneva Accords on Indochina concluded. The U.S. is limited to 342 military personnel in Vietnam.
- October 21: John F. Kennedy undergoes surgery for a back injury he received during the PT-109 incident.