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1961 1962 1963



  • United Farm Workers of America is founded.
  • Rachel Carsons publishes Silent Spring.
  • Herman Kahn publishes Thinking About the Unthinkable.
  • LSD tested as interrogation tool on espionage and smuggling suspects at Atsugi Naval Base in Japan.
  • The Beatles audition for EMI.
  • Vanguard Services established.
  • Saudia Arabia formally abolishes slavery.
  • Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring.
  • China's population is 672.95 million.
  • British Parliament passes the Commonwealth Immigrants Act.
  • United Nations issues report on Economic and Social Consequences of Disarmament.
  • George Blake is caught as a Soviet spy and Kim Philby is discovered to have been a Soviet spy all along.
  • John Kerry graduates from St. Paul's School.
  • Future father of the Iraq Quagmire Donald Rumsfeld is elected to the U.S. of Representatives from Illinois.



  • January 3: Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro. Francisco Franco is still a Roman Catholic in good standing.
  • January 23: Kim Philby defects to the Soviet Union.
  • January 26: Charles "Lucky" Luciano dies at 65.
  • January 31: On "The Tonight Show", host Jack Parr is brutally honest with pseudo-patrician conservative ideologue William F. Buckley: "I think you're sincere in what you believe; for me, Bill, you lack all feeling for people; and in many things I read I find no feeling for humanity."


  • February 4: Izvestia reports that baseball is actualkly an old Russian game. The claim is not widely believed but is frequently much parodied.
  • February 5: French President Charles De Gaulle called for Algeria's independence.
  • February 8: Mormon Republican George Romney announces that he will fast before making a decision to run for Michigan Governor. "My final step in making such an important decision is to seek devine guidance," he says. Source: Damon Stetson. "Romney Starts 24-Fast." The New York Times. February 9, 1962. p. 16
  • February 12: Darwin Day


  • March: Operation Mongoose activated to destablize Cuba and assassinate Fidel Castro. Big failure.
  • March: Explosive Harvard faculty meeting at which Timothy Leary is charged with conducting his drug studies in nonchalant and irresponsible manner. Leary responds that pychiatrists' tripping with their patients was common practice.
  • March 12: U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk meets with Soviet Foreign Minisater Andrei Gromyko.
  • March 18: Agreement between France and Algerian nationalists to end the French colonial war in Algeria. President Charles De Gaulle forced to abandon oil rich Sahara which he had hoped to keep as a French enclave.
  • March 22: FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover briefs U.S. President John F. Kennedy about his mistress Judith Cambell's romantic relationship to Mafia boss Sam Giancana. JFK gives up Judith Campbell.
  • March 26: U.S. Supreme Court decides Baker v. Carr, begins series of decisions that eliminate malapportionment in every elected legislature in the U.S. except the U.S. Senate.
  • March 26 - France shortens the term for military service from 26 months to 18 months.


  • April 10: Appropriations War begins between Democratic Chair of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee Clarence Cannon (Missouri) and Democratic Chair of the senate Approproations Committee Carl Hayden (Arizona) battle over the emaning of Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution.
  • April 12: Soviet Prsidium approves shipment of 180 SA-2 anti-aircraft missiles to Cuba.
  • April 20: French rebel General Salan is captured.


  • May 5: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara gives speech to NATO Council in Athens reaffirming commitment to use nuclear weapons in resposne to Soviet use warns that a provocation like Berlin does not call for a nuclear response.


  • June 11: Medgar Evers is assassinated in Mississippi.



  • July 1: French rule in Algeria ends after 130 years when 91% of Algerian voters vote for independence in a referendum.
  • July 1: Rwanda and Burundi granted independence.


  • August 16: Algeria joins Arab League.
  • August 22: Unsuccessful OAS assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle at Petit-Clamart.
  • August 27: The 24th Amendment is passed by Congress.


  • September 12: John F. Kennedy delivers speech at Rice University pledging the United States will put a man on the moon "before the end of this decade." The promise is made good in 1969. Later the Nixon administration's disastrous space policy decision undo much of the progress made in the 1960s.
  • September 22: Charles de Gaulle announces an October referendum over whether the President of France will be elected by direct election or by the electoral college specified in the 1958 constitution: 62% of French voters vote for direct election.



  • November 1: Soviets begins dismantling IRNMS in Cuba.
  • November 6: UN General Assembly passes resolution condemning apartheid in South Africa and calling for economic sanctions.


  • December: President John F. Kennedy commutes sentence of Junius Scales who had served 15 months in prison for being a member of the Communist Party. Scales was first arrested in 1954 and was later convicted and sentenced to 6 years in prison, the only American ever sent to prison for being a member of the Communist Party.
  • December 7: Lacking a desert of its own to poison, Britain is allowed to conduct a nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site.
  • December 21: U.S. and Cuban governments reach accord to release Bay of Pigs prisoners.
  • December 25: Bay of Pigs prisonsers are ransomed, and then vow to return and topple Castro. Instead they retire in Miami.
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