1950 in the United States
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Events from the year 1950 in the United States.
- President: Harry S. Truman (D-Missouri)
- Vice President: Alben W. Barkley (D-Kentucky)
- Chief Justice: Fred M. Vinson (Kentucky)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Sam Rayburn (D-Texas)
- Senate Majority Leader: Scott W. Lucas (D-Illinois)
- Congress: 81st
- January 5 – U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver introduces a resolution calling for an investigation of organized crime in the U.S.
- January 12 – Cold War: U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson delivers his "Perimeter Speech", outlining the boundary of U.S. security guarantees.
- January 17 – Great Brinks Robbery: 11 thieves steal more than $2,000,000 from an armored car in Boston, Massachusetts.
- January 21 – Accused communist spy Alger Hiss is convicted of perjury.
- January 24 – Cold War: Klaus Fuchs, German émigré and physicist, walks into London's War Office and confesses to being a Soviet spy: for seven years, he passed top secret data on American and British nuclear weapons research to the Soviet Union; formally charged February 2.
- January 31 – President Harry S. Truman orders the development of the hydrogen bomb, in response to the detonation of the Soviet Union's first atomic bomb in 1949.
- February 4 – Ingrid Bergman's illegitimate child arouses ire in the U.S.
- February 9 – Second Red Scare: In his speech to the Republican Women's Club at the McClure Hotel in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joseph McCarthy accuses the U.S. State Department of being filled with 205 Communists.
- February 12 – Albert Einstein warns that nuclear war could lead to mutual destruction.
- February 13
- February 15 – Walt Disney releases his twelfth animated film, Cinderella in Hollywood.
- March 1 – Klaus Fuchs is convicted in London of spying against both the UK and the United States for the Soviet Union, by giving to the latter top secret atomic bomb data.
- March 17 – University of California, Berkeley researchers announce the creation of element 98, which they have named "californium".
- March 23 – The 22nd Academy Awards ceremony is held.
- May 1 – First African American winner of a Pulitzer Prize: Gwendolyn Brooks wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: for her 1949 volume Annie Allen.
- May 9 – L. Ron Hubbard publishes Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
- May 11 – The Kefauver Committee hearings into U.S. organized crime begin.
- May 14 – The Huntsville Times runs the headline, "Dr. von Braun Says Rocket Flights Possible to Moon".
- May 25 – The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel is formally opened to traffic.
- June 1 – Mauna Loa in Hawaii starts erupting.
- June 5 – Sweatt v. Painter decided in the Supreme Court of the United States, challenging the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation in education.
- June 22 – Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television is published.
- June 25 – Korean War: North Korean troops cross the 38th parallel into South Korea.
- June 27 – Korean War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman orders American military forces to aid in the defense of South Korea.
- June 28 – Korean War: North Korean forces capture Seoul.
- June 29 – United States v England (1950 FIFA World Cup): The United States men's national soccer team defeats England 1–0 in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil (Group 2 round).
- July 8 – G. Mennen Williams, the Governor of Michigan, is attacked and briefly held hostage while visiting Marquette Branch Prison, as part of an inmate escape plot.
- August 5 – A bomb-laden B-29 Superfortress crashes into a residential area in California; seventeen are killed and sixty-eight injured.
- August 8 – Winston Churchill supports idea of a pan-European army allied with Canada and the United States.
- August 23 – Legendary African American singer-actor Paul Robeson, whose passport has recently been revoked because of his alleged Communist affiliations, meets with U.S. officials in an effort to get it reinstated. He is unsuccessful, and it is not reinstated until 1958.
- August 25 – Althea Gibson becomes the first African American woman to compete at the U.S. National Championships (tennis).
- September 4
- September 7 – The game show Truth or Consequences debuts on television.
- September 8 – The Defense Production Act is enacted into law in the United States, shaping American military contracting for the next sixty years.
- September 9 – The U.S. state of California celebrates its centennial anniversary.
- September 15 – Korean War – Battle of Inchon: Allied troops commanded by Douglas MacArthur land in Inchon, occupied by North Korea, to begin a U.N. counteroffensive.
- September 30 – NSC 68 is approved by President Harry S. Truman, setting United States foreign policy for the next twenty years.
- October 2 – The comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz is first published in seven U.S. newspapers.
- October 7 – The Agate Pass Bridge opens for traffic in Washington State.
- October 11 – The Federal Communications Commission issues the first license to broadcast television in color, to CBS (RCA will successfully dispute and block the license from taking effect, however).
- October 15 – The second Tacoma Narrows Bridge opens.
- October 30 – The Jayuya Uprising is started by Puerto Rican Nationalists against the United States.
- November 1 – Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempt to assassinate U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who is staying at the Blair-Lee House in Washington, D.C. during White House repairs.
- November 8 – Korean War: While in an F-80, United States Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown intercepts two North Korean MiG-15s near the Yalu River and shoots them down in the first jet-to-jet dogfight in history.
- November 10 – A U.S. Air Force B-50 Superfortress bomber, experiencing an in-flight emergency, jettisons and detonates a Mark 4 nuclear bomb over Quebec, Canada (the device lacked its plutonium core).
- November 11 – The Mattachine Society is founded in Los Angeles as the first gay liberation organization.
- November 22 – Shirley Temple announces her retirement from show business.
- November 25 – Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950: A phenomenal winter storm ravages the northeastern United States, brings 30 to 50 inches of snow, temperatures below zero, and kills 323 people.
- November 26 – Korean War: Troops from the People's Republic of China move into North Korea and launch a massive counterattack against South Korean and American forces at Chosin, dashing any hopes for a quick end to the conflict.
- November 29
- Korean War: North Korean and Chinese troops force a retreat of United Nations forces from North Korea.
- The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA is founded.
- November 30 – Douglas MacArthur threatens to use nuclear weapons in Korea.
- December 12 – Paula Ackerman becomes the first woman in the United States to serve a congregation as a Rabbi.
- December 16 – The Office of Defense Mobilization is established in the United States.
- President Harry S. Truman sends United States military advisors to Vietnam to aid French forces.
- The first TV remote control, Zenith Radio's Lazy Bones, is marketed.
- January 4 – John Louis Evans, murderer (executed 1983)
- January 10 – Roy Blunt, U.S. Senator from Missouri from 2011
- January 19 – Jon Matlack, baseball player and coach
- January 23 – Suzanne Scotchmer, economist and academic (d. 2014)
- January 26 – Jack Youngblood, American football player, sportscaster and actor
- January 29 – Max Carl, singer-songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player
- February 6 – Natalie Cole, singer (d. 2015)
- March 2 – Karen Carpenter, pop singer and drummer (d. 1983)
- March 4 – Rick Perry, 47th Governor of Texas
- March 10 – Catherine Pugh, Democratic politician and mayor of Baltimore
- April 1 – Samuel Alito, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S. from 2006
- April 12 – David Cassidy, singer (d. 2017)
- April 20 – Milt Wilcox, baseball player
- April 29 – Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Senator from Michigan from 2001
- May 9
- May 11
- May 13 – Stevie Wonder, musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist
- May 14 – Jill Stein, Green Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 and 2016 elections
- May 15 – Jim Simons, golfer (d. 2005)
- June 18 – Mike Johanns, U.S. Senator from Nebraska from 2009
- July 1 – David Duke, politician and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan
- July 4 – Steven Sasson, electrical engineer
- July 5 – Huey Lewis, actor, musician and songwriter
- July 18 – Mark Udall, U.S. Senator from Colorado from 2009
- August 11 – Steve Wozniak, inventor
- August 15 – Tom Kelly, baseball player and manager
- August 25 – Charles Fambrough, musician and composer (d. 2011)
- August 31 – Dean Barkley, U.S. Senator from Minnesota from 2002 to 2003
- September 8 – James Mattis, 26th United States Secretary of Defense
- September 24 – Alan Colmes, TV/radio host and political commentator (d. 2017)
- October 11 – Patty Murray, U.S. Senator from Washington from 1993
- October 20 – Tom Petty, rock singer-songwriter (d. 2017)
- November 12 – Barbara Fairchild, singer-songwriter
- November 23 – Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senator from New York from 1999
- November 28 – Ed Harris, actor, screenwriter and director
- December 2 – Bob Kevoian, radio host
- December 3 – Asa Hutchinson, 46th Governor of Arkansas
- December 10 – John Boozman, U.S. Senator from Arkansas from 2011
- January 2 – Anthony Prusinski, politician (b. 1901)
- January 15 – Henry H. Arnold, five-star general (b. 1886)
- January 22 – Alan Hale, Sr., actor (b. 1892)
- February 11 – Kiki Cuyler, baseball player (Chicago Cubs) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1898)
- February 25 – George Minot, physician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1885)
- March 11 – Heinrich Mann, German writer, died in Santa Monica, California (b. 1871)
- April 1 – Charles R. Drew, African American physician, pioneer in blood transfusion, died as result of automobile accident (b. 1904)
- April 7 – Walter Huston, actor (b. 1884)
- April 11 – Bainbridge Colby, United States Secretary of State (b. 1869)
- April 16 – Henry J. Knauf, politician (b. 1891)
- April 26 – G. Murray Hulbert, politician (b. 1881)
- April 27 – Hobart Cavanaugh, character actor (b. 1886)
- May 1 – Lothrop Stoddard, eugenicist (b. 1883)
- May 10 – Belle da Costa Greene, librarian, bibliographer and archivist (b. 1883)
- May 20 – John Gould Fletcher, poet (b. 1886)
- June 22 – Jane Cowl, actress (b. 1883)
- July 7 – Fats Navarro, jazz trumpet player (b. 1923)
- July 8 – Helen Holmes, actress (b. 1893)
- July 10 – Richard Maury, American naturalized Argentine engineer (b. 1882)
- July 11 – Buddy DeSylva, songwriter (b. 1895)
- July 12 – Elsie de Wolfe, socialite and interior decorator (b. 1865)
- July 21 – Rex Ingram, director (b. 1892)
- August 19 – Black Elk, Wičháša Wakȟáŋ (Medicine Man or Holy Man) of the Ogala Teton Lakota (Western Sioux) (b. 1863)
- August 22 – Kirk Bryan, geologist (b. 1888)
- August 23 – Frank Phillips, oil executive (b. 1873)
- August 26 – Ransom E. Olds, automotive pioneer (b. 1864)
- September 10 – Raymond Sommer, race car driver (b. 1906)
- September 16 – Pedro de Cordoba, actor (b. 1881)
- October 11 – Pauline Lord, actress (b. 1890)
- October 13 – Ernest Haycox, writer (b. 1899)
- October 19 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, poet (b. 1892)
- October 20 – Henry L. Stimson, United States Secretary of State (b. 1867)
- October 23 – Al Jolson, musician and actor (b. 1886)
- October 28 – Maurice Costello, actor (b. 1877)
- November 4 – Grover Cleveland Alexander, baseball player (Philadelphia Phillies) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1887)
- December 4 – Jesse L. Brown, first African-American aviator in the United States Navy (killed in action) (b. 1926)
- December 28 – Max Beckmann, German painter and graphic artist, died in New York City, New York (b. 1884)
- Media related to 1950 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons