The Year Was 1952

The year was 1952 and military forces from twenty nations were fighting in the Korean War. Over the course of that conflict, more than 1.5 million U.S. troops would serve and “33,629 Americans, numberless Koreans, 717 Turkish soldiers, and 1,109 soldiers of the United Kingdom gave lives during the struggle.” 

A blizzard lasting from January 10 through January 17 buried the Truckee-Donner area (California) in forty-foot drifts driven by eighty-mile-an-hour winds.

In one of the worst disasters in Arkansas history, on March 21, tornadoes that hit Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi took the lives of more than 200 persons. Hardest hit was the town of Judsonia in White County, Arkansas. 

It was a fatal combination of nature and humans that brought on the “Great Smog of 1952” in London, England. Cold weather which caused an increase in coal burning to heat homes, combined with weather conditions that trapped the smoke and fog led to fog so dense that people couldn’t even see their own feet. More than 4,000 deaths were attributed to this phenomenon. This event led to legislation that eventually replaced coal burning with paraffin heaters as a source of heat. 

Disaster also struck that year in Lynmouth, England, in August. Following heavy rains the East and West Lyn Rivers rose and swept through the town carrying boulders, trees, and other debris. Thirty-four people lost their lives and ninety-three buildings were damaged or destroyed. A list of the victims can be found on the Devon Heritage website.

In Canada, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation became the first Canadian television network. (Prior to that, Canadians near the border had been able to tune into American stations).

1952 was a particularly devastating year in terms of polio outbreaks, as epidemics were recorded in all forty-eight states and in the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The disease, which affected 59,000 people that year, was “second only to the atomic bomb in surveys of what Americans feared most.” 

The Academy Awards in 1952 honored such movies as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” “High Noon,” “Come Back, Little Sheba,” “Viva Zapata!” and “The Quiet Man.” In the world of music, songs like “Unforgettable,” “You Belong to Me,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” topped the charts. 

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2 thoughts on “The Year Was 1952

  1. The polio outbreak link is in error – it leads to another site for holiday cards for the troops…..

    must be a glitch….


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