United States and American History: 1951

About the history of the United States in 1951, the Korean War continues, Mickey Spillane hates communists, amendment limits Presidential terms, the Rosenberg executed as spies.


--Approximately 3 million Koreans were dead after one year of war. American casualties totaled about 15,000 dead and 75,000 wounded.

--Popular songs included "Hello, Young Lovers" and "Getting to Know You," from the Rodgers and Hammerstein score for The King and I, the Broadway smash of the season.

--Mickey Spillane's One Lonely Night sold 3 million copies. In it, the hero, Mike Hammer, gloats: "I killed more people tonight than I have fingers on my hands. I shot them in cold blood and enjoyed every minute of it....They were Commies, Lee. They were red sons-of-bitches who should have died long ago...They never thought that there were people like me in this country. They figured us all to be soft as horse manure and just as stupid."

--The American Committee for Cultural Freedom was founded by James Burnham, James T. Farrell, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Sidney Hook, and others to "counteract the influence of mendacious communist propaganda." Annual forums were held on topics like "The ExCommunist: His Role in a Democracy" and ideas like "the end of ideology" were approvingly discussed. The ACCF was an affiliate of the international Congress for Cultural Freedom, which was funded by the CIA.

Feb. 5 General Grow, the U.S. military attache in Moscow, wrote in his diary: "War! As soon as possible! Now! We need a voice to lead us without equivocation: Communism must be destroyed!" Grow's diary was made public in late 1951. Six months later he was court-martialed for failure to safeguard secret military information.

Feb. 26 The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was adopted. It stipulated that no person could be elected to the Presidency for more than 2 terms.

Apr. 5 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to die in the electric chair for stealing atomic-bomb secrets. The main prosecution exhibits were 2 Jell-O box halves for spy-to-spy identification, photostats of New Mexico hotel registration cards signed "Harry Gold" (a key prosecution witness, later revealed to be a mythomaniac), and sketches of the atomic bomb made by David Greenglass, who flunked most of his academic courses in high school and was Ethel Rosenberg's younger brother. Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the foremost U.S. scientific authority on atomic weapons stated in January, 1951: "....there were no 'unpublished secrets concerning atomic weapons, and no 'secret laws of nature' available to only a few." Judge Irving Kaufman said in his judgment of the Rosenbergs: "I consider your crime worse than murder." He accused the couple of causing "the communist aggression in Korea."

Apr. 11 Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander in chief of the American Army in Korea, was dismissed from his post by President Truman for publicly challenging the policies of his civilian superiors. MacArthur had advocated the American bombing of China and an invasion of the Chinese mainland. His slogan was: "There is no substitute for victory!" MacArthur was greeted at home with tumultuous ticker-tape parades and addressed a reverent congressional audience, after which he gradually faded from public view.

Nov. W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the greatest black scholars of the century, after being hand-cuffed, fingerprinted, and searched for concealed weapons, was brought to trial for not registering as a subversive. He was acquitted. Du Bois said: "A great silence has fallen on the real soul of this nation."

Dec. 17 A delegation of black Americans, led by Paul Robeson and William L. Patterson, presented a petition to the UN which charged the U.S. Government with a policy of genocide against its black citizens.

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