World History 1960

About the history of the world in 1960, the laser is patented, the first weather satellite is launched, the Nixon and Kennedy presidential debates take place.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1960

* Brazil moved its capital from Rio de Janeiro to a new city, Brasilia, carved out of the wilderness to encourage development of the vast Brazilian interior.

* Albania became the only Communist country to side with China in the widening Sino-Soviet rift.

* The African republic of Dahomey gained independence from France.

* In the U.S., reports of rigged TV quiz shows ($64,000 Question and Dotto, among others) invited federal legislation setting stiff fines for video fraud.

* U.S. scientists Charles H. Townes and Arthur L. Schawlow patented the laser, acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation."

Feb. 16-May 10 The U.S. atomic submarine Triton circumnavigated the globe underwater.

Apr. 1 The U.S. launched the first weather satellite, Tiros 1.

May 5 A U.S. Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance jet with CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers at the controls was shot down over Sverdlovsk, Russia. In captivity Powers confessed to violation of Soviet air space and was sentenced to 10 years in Soviet prisons. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev seized the incident as a demonstration of American treachery, and the affair aborted a scheduled summit meeting between the Soviet leader and President Eisenhower. Ike discontinued the U-2 flights, switching instead to satellites to photograph Russian territory. As for Powers, he was exchanged in February, 1962, for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. No longer much use to the CIA, Powers later found work monitoring auto traffic from a helicopter for a Los Angeles radio station. He died in a helicopter accident in 1977.

June 30 Belgium granted independence to the Congo (now Zaire).

Aug. Cyprus became an independent republic with Archbishop Makarios as president.

Sept. 26-Oct. 17 An estimated 8 million Americans watched presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John Kennedy square off in four TV debates. Neither candidate knocked the other out of the box. Most watching scored the series a narrow Kennedy victory, while many who listened to the debates on radio declared Nixon the winner.

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