The United States severe all diplomatic relations with Cuba.
An atomic reactor (SL-1) explodes at the National Reactor Testing Station near Idaho Falls, killing three military technicians. Three weeks later, a B-52 Stratofortress, with two nuclear bombs, crashes near Goldsboro, North Carolina.
The most recent animated Disney movie is 101 Dalmatians.
The Etruscan terracotta warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, are exposed as forgeries.
A total solar eclipse occurs in the southern part of Europe.
The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is signed at New York; an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific (nominally narcotic) drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research.
Max Conrad circumnavigates the earth in 8 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes, setting a new world record.
The 33rd Academy Awards ceremony is held. Among the Winners and Runners-up: Billy Wilder´s The Apartment, Alfred Hitchcock´s Psycho, John Wayne´s The Alamo, Spartacus, Inherit The Wind, Exodus, The Magnificent Seven, Cimarron, The Time Machine.
The Academy Juvenile Award goes to Hayley Mills.
The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem. After Germany’s defeat in 1945, Eichmann had fled to Austria, then moved to Argentina using false papers. Information collected by the Mossad, Israel‘s intelligence agency, confirmed his location in 1960. A team of Mossad and Shin Bet agents captured Eichmann and brought him to Israel to stand trial.
The Swedish ship Vasa is removed from the water after being sunk 333 years earlier.
U.S. Freedom Riders begin interstate bus rides to test the new U.S. Supreme Court integration decision. A Freedom Riders bus is fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama and the civil rights protestors are beaten by an angry mob of Ku Klux Klan members. Alabama Governor John Patterson declares martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots break out.
May 28 – Peter Benenson‘s article “The Forgotten Prisoners” is published in several internationally read newspapers. This is later considered the founding of the human rights organization Amnesty International.
Kennedy meets de Charles Gaulle in Paris.
The Soviet submarine K-19 reactor leak occurs in the North Atlantic. K-19 was one of the two first generation nuclear submarines equipped with nuclear ballistic missiles. On its initial voyage on 4 July 1961, it suffered a complete loss of coolant to its reactor. With no backup system, the captain ordered members of the engineering crew to find a solution to avoid a nuclear meltdown. Sacrificing their own lives, the engineering crew jerry-rigged a secondary coolant system and kept the reactor from a meltdown. Twenty-two crew members died from radiation sickness during the following two years. The sub experienced several other accidents, including two fires and a collision. The series of accidents inspired crew members to nickname the sub Hiroshima.
Mercury program: Gus Grissom, piloting the Mercury-Redstone 4 capsule Liberty Bell 7, becomes the second American to go into space (sub-orbital). Upon splashdown, the hatch prematurely opens, and the capsule sinks (it is recovered in 1999).
U.S. President John F. Kennedy gives a widely watched TV speech on the Berlin crisis, warning “we will not be driven out of Berlin.” Kennedy urges Americans to build fallout shelters, setting off a four-month debate on civil defense.
- At Fenway Park in Boston, the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game tie occurs, when the game is stopped in the 9th inning due to rain (the only tie until 2002).
The Six Flags Over Texas theme park officially opens to the public. It is the first Six Flags theme park.
The Soviet Union resumes nuclear testing, escalating fears over the ongoing Berlin crisis.
Walt Disney Presents, the Walt Disney anthology television series, renamed Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, moves from ABC to NBC after seven years on the air, and begins telecasting its programs in color for the first time. Years later, after Disney’s death, the still-on-the-air program will be renamed The Wonderful World of Disney.
Baseball player Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hits his 61st home run in the last game of the season, against the Boston Red Sox, setting a new record for the longer baseball season. The record for the shorter season was still held by Babe Ruth.
West Side Story is released as a film.
U.S. President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.
The funeral of longtime House Speaker Sam Rayburn is held in Washington, D.C. Two former Presidents (Truman, Eisenhower) and one future one (Lyndon B. Johnson) join President Kennedy in paying their respects.
The American involvement in the Vietnam War officially begins, as the first American helicopters arrive in Saigon along with 400 U.S. personnel.
Notable toys of the year
Notable childrens´ books of the year
Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Dr Seuss, The Sneetches and other stories
Notable films of the year
The Absent-Minded Professor, The Parent Trap, Blue Hawaii, Gidget goes Hawaiian, also: Tammy tell me true, West Side Story, El Cid, Breakfast at Tiffany´s, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
Notable television shows of the year
Mr Ed, Ben Casey, The Dick Van Dyke Show, American Bandstand, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Captain Kangaroo, Leave it to Beaver, Rocky and his friends/The Bullwinkle Show, Ozzie and Harriet, Andy Griffith Show, Donna Reed Show, Bugs Bunny, Ed Sullivan Show, The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, QuickDraw McGraw, Margie, Top Cat, The Twilight Zone.