World History 1956

About the history of the world in 1956, Canada declares independence, Elvis hits the charts, Hungary's revolt is crushed.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1956

* In its Ottawa Declaration, Canada announced its foreign policy independence from Great Britain and the U.S.

* With "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" climbing the charts, Elvis Aaron Presley, a 21-year-old former choirboy from Mississippi, grew to stardom as a new style of music, first dubbed "rockabilly," later called "rock 'n' roll," swept the U.S.

* Dr. Albert Sabin, 50, a research professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, perfected an oral polio vaccine. It proved cheaper and more stable than Salk's vaccine and provided immunization for life.

Oct. Soviet troops crushed a sudden revolt in Hungary. After 50,000 lives had been lost and 200,000 Hungarian refugees had fled to Austria and the U.S., the wayward satellite was wrenched back into the Soviet orbit.

Oct. 30 Israeli forces invaded the Sinai Peninsula in retaliation for Egyptian Pres. Gamal Abdel Nasser's decision to nationalize the Suez Canal and to exclude Israeli shipping therefrom. The next day Britain and France began bombing Egypt, and Nasser bottled up the canal with sunken ships. The U.S.S.R. threatened intervention on the side of Egypt, but U.S. pressure forced the withdrawal of the Anglo-French-Israeli troops under U.N. supervision. A nasty mix of religious and cultural differences, petroleum politics, and the worldwide struggle over communism combined to make the Middle East a hot spot for years to come.

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